William Headland 1800 – 1860

chemistWilliam Headland ?1800 – 1860 was a publisher and chemist, member of the British Homeopathic Society, described by his homeopathic colleagues as ‘our first chemist‘ and ‘our chief homeopathic chemist‘, stocked a wide range of homeopathic books, products and supplies, and he supplied remedies to all the early British homeopaths and Dispensaries, and he published their books  and writings,

William Headland founded Headland & Co in 1860, and he was the homeopathic chemist of the London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square in 1840, the Islington Homeopathic Dispensary, the West London Homeopathic Dispensary, (and he supplied 19 other homeopathic dispensaries all over Britainn), and he was capable of preparing high dilutions to the 200th and 800th dilutions (along the lines of Caspar Julius Jenichen by 1851).

William Headland’s wife Harriet was an ardent suffragette,

William Headland published Juan Norberto Casanova, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, William Vallancy Drury, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Roupell Everest, Edward Hamilton, Carl Georg Christian Hartlaub, William Henderson, Amos Henriques, Henry Victor Malan, John H Nankivell, John Edward Norton, John Rutherford Russell, George McKenzie Scott, George Strong, John Stuart Sutherland, and he also published the 5th Edition of Samuel Hahnemann‘s Organon, works by Gottlieb Heinrich Georg Jahr, and many other homeopathic publications.

William Headland practiced at 15 Princes Street, Hanover Square,

William Headland collected donations in support of a Homeopath who had been summarily dismissed without pay or pension for curing a fellow doctor of cholera in 1855, whilst travelling in the steam transport Candida between Southampton and the Dardanelles.

Of interest:

Alfred Headland, ?son of William Headland, was a homeopathic chemist in Brighton in 1868, and he wrote The Urgent Need for a new Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia, and worked for the Brighton Homeopathic Institute for Diseases of Children at 148 Western Road, alongside Edward Acworth, Richard Tuthill Massy,

Edward Headland 1803 – 1869 MD, brother of William Headland, father of Frederick William Headland, was a colleague of William Kingdon and Thomas Uwins, and in 1826, they raised the subject of homeopathy before the Medical Society of London, to much ridicule.

When Thomas Uwins, who was one of the speakers at this meeting, asked politely for a copy of the minutes of this meeting, he was refused them in a ‘churlish, sectarian and ungentlemanly spirit‘,

In 1849, Edward Headland and William Kingdon read another paper in favour of homeopathy before the Medical Society of London, and yet again, they were roundly ridiculed for this.

Edward Headland remained in allopathic practice, though he should be commended for his brave forays in defence of homeopathy.

Edward Headland was a physician of Charles Darwin‘s family,

According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Horace Darwin had been ill since January. Emma took him to London in February for a consultation with Edward Headland (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February [1862]).

Frederick William Headland MD, the son of Edward Headland, the nephew of William Headland,

Frederick William Headland was a physician of Charles Darwin,

According to Frederick William Headland’s theory of the action of medicines, `nitro-muriatic acid’ (nitro-hydrochloric acid) was valuable in the treatment of blood disorders such as gout.

He recommended its usage specifically in cases of oxaluria, a condition that was attributed to `some fault in the complicated processes of assimilation and nutrition’ (Headland 1852, p. 184).

Headland may have diagnosed Charles Darwin as suffering from oxaluria, in which there is an abnormal formation of oxalic acid in the blood and an excess of urea in the urine. The treatment described by Charles Darwin in the letter was intended to interrupt and neutralise the formation of oxalic acid and urea during the digestive process. See Headland 1852, pp. 186–90.

Frederick William Headland obviously did study homeopathy, and in 1845, he wrote Arnica montana and rhus toxicodendron as external remedies, and in 1852, he wrote An essay on the action of medicines in the system (Being the prize essay to which the Medical Society of London awarded the Fothergillian gold medal for MDCCCLII), which was favourably reviewed in the British Journal of Homeopathy,

Frederick William Headland wrote The Action of Medicines, in which he criticised homeopathy (but only in the 1858 edition of this book, which carries a special dedication to the Medical Society of London – the first two editions of this book (1853) do not mention homeopathy at all – and the fourth edition in 1868 has the criticism of homeopathy removed – ?was Frederick William Headland applying for membership of the Medical Society of London or attempting some intricate balancing act, ?was he up against some protest due to his famous relatives who had come out in support of homeopathy?)

The 1858 edition of this book was reviewed in the British Homeopathic Review, Volume 2 in 1858, and in The Lancet, and the British Homeopathic Review, Volume 2 concluded that Frederick William Headland knew very little about homeopathy, but when he did so they ‘had so much respect and esteme’ for him, that they would welcome him into the fold. Did they have family information in his favour, ?possibly his uncle William Headland and his father Edward Headland had put in a good word for him with the homeopaths.

More insight into this favourable reaction by homeopaths may be gleaned from the review by the North American Journal of homoeopathy, Volume 6 in 1858, which comments ‘But singularly enough, he too occasionally is able to do a mite of justice to each system…’ (allopathy and homeopathy) due to his ‘accidental admissions‘, for example his clear explaination of the action of arsenic, his ‘admissions in favour of homeopathy‘ and ‘plunging still deeper into homeopathy‘ and for his acceptance that contraria contrariis curantur and similia similibus curantur are two laws which are the complements of each other and not diametrically opposed to each other. Though the North American Journal of homoeopathy, Volume 6 despairs of his analysis in places, they also applaud how far he has come in his understanding.

Headland & CoA well known business in the Western Road is that of Headland and Co, now controlled by Mr. H A Bancks… was founded by William Headland, a homeopathic chemist in 1860… has now become a wholly allopathic concern…’ (1927)

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