William Budd 1811 – 1880

William Budd 1811 – 1880, MD Edinburgh 1838 (Gold Medalist), Faculté de Médicine de Paris, 1828-29, 1833-34 and 1836-37, was a British orthodox physician, Lecturer at the Bristol Medical School, Physician at St Peter’s Hospital, Senior Physician at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Director at the Bristol Water Company, who converted to homeopathy to become a Collector at the London Homeopathic Hospital,

William Budd also practiced at 14 High Street, Pimlico, and at 13 Lansdowne Place, Clifton, Bristol,

In 1945, the William Budd Health Centre was opened in Bristol, and a ward at the Bristol Royal Infirmary bears his name, and a Plaque has been placed at 89 Park Street, Bristol in his honour,

William Budd wrote Stone and Homeopathy (published in The British Medical Journal 7.1.1860) – describing an incident of a patient expressing a stone 2/3″ long and a 1/4″ thick from the salivary gland under his tongue under the power of the homeopathic remedy mercurius (after allopathic drugging by mercury), an event which impressed him enough to effect his conversion to homeopathy,

John Snow first discovered the cause when he linked it to a well in Broad Street, Soho, London 1854John Snow beat William Budd to the water theory of transmission of cholera by only 10 days.

However, although William Budd’s thesis was based on more thorough surveys of rural outbreaks, he made the mistake of proposing a fungal cause…. (William Budd correctly identified the contagious nature of typhoid and successfully ‘stamped out’ an epidemic in Bristol in 1854),

William Budd was the son of Samuel Budd, surgeon of North Tawton, and his wife Catherine Wreford. Of nine children, eight were boys; of those I have been able to trace so far most were medical doctors – the ninth, Francis Nonus Budd, was a barrister – and William Budd mentions the assistance of his brothers during the outbreak.

Other researchers cite a paper by Samuel Budd concerning typhoid, but I have not as yet found this publication, and do not know if it was by Samuel Budd snr. or jnr. William’s son George Turnavine Budd also rose to eminence in the field of medical research…

William Budd – (described as ‘the greatest physician of the West of England‘)) objected to his name being associated with ‘worm lozenges’ in Callington Market, and proceeded to ‘administer sundry kicks on the nethermost person of the unfortunate quack

William Budd has been described by his biographer, Michael Dunnill, as Bristol’s most famous physician. He was born in 1811 into a large Devon medical family; his father and five of his brothers were also physicians.

During his training in medicine William spent three separate years in Paris, interrupted by his catching typhoid fever.  He qualified at Edinburgh as a doctor of medicine and won a gold medal for his thesis.

In 1841 he moved to Bristol and became a consulting physician to the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1847.  He was a genial, vivacious, ebullient man, fond of good food, good wine and female company.  An enthusiast in his work he could sometimes be seen running from his home in Park Street to the Infirmary so that he could see more quickly how his patients were getting along.

His interest in epidemiology led him to play an active role in the development of the Bristol Water Company.

Apart from his pioneering work on cholera, 1849, he described the contagious nature and prevention of Diphtheria, 1861; Anthrax, 1862; Tuberculosis, 1867, Scarlet Fever, 1869, and he also studied cattle plague and sheep smallpox.

He is perhaps most renowned for his work on the waterborne transmission of Typhoid 1873.  He died when he was 69 having suffered a stroke six years earlier, which had left him hemiplegic.

William Budd and Richard Budd submitted cases and articles to various homeopathic publications, and William Budd submitted many articles to allopathic Journals, and he wrote On the Symetry of Disease, Typhoid fever, its nature, mode of spreading, and prevention, Malignant cholera: its mode of propagation and its prevention, Rules for the prevention of typhoid fever, On the occurrence of the malignant pustule in England, Memoranda on Asiatic cholera: its mode of spreading, and its prevention, Cholera and disinfection: Asiatic cholera in Bristol in 1866, On the Propogation of Typhoid Fever, Diphtheria, A report on the progress of anatomy and physiology in the year 1843-1844, Scarlet fever: and its prevention, Variola ovina, sheep’s small-pox: or, The laws of contagious epidemics illustrated by an experimental type, Can the government further beneficially interfere in the prevention of infectious diseases?, The Siberian cattle-plague; or, The typhoid fever of the ox, On the causes and mode of propagation of the common continued fevers of Great Britain and Ireland, Researches on gout,

Of interest:

George Turnavine Budd MD Cambridge 1840, FRCP London 1841, George Budd attended John Snow during his final illness in 1858,

Christian Budd, North Tawton, Devon MB Cambridge 1839, Member of the Epidemiology Society, Visiting Physician at the Charity Hospital,

John Wreford Budd 1804 – 1873
, (brother of William Budd), Princess Square. Plymouth, Devon Lic. Med. Cambridge 1832, was practicing in Plymouth when the young Arthur Conan Doyle came to work with George Turnavine Budd (the son of William Budd, and a former classmate of  Arthur Conan Doyle) in his practice, a medical practice described in The British Medical Journal 1959;1:1341-1342, as:

George Turnavine Budd … was a maniacal enthusiast, full of energy and wild ideas, and the practice must have been one of the most curious and unethical that has been known.’

Arthur Conan Doyle and George Turnavine Budd worked together for six months, a time of ‘many rows‘ and ‘at least one fight‘, and Arthur Conan Doyle used the character of George Turnavine Budd in different characters in his tales.

Richard Budd, Barnstaple, Devon – MD Edinburgh 1831, FRCP London 1863, was also a homeopath, submitting cases to The Homeopathic Journal of Surgery and Gynecology, Volume 1, Issues 1-2 in 1898,

Samuel Budd, 20 Southernhay, Exeter, MD Edinburgh 1831,

8 thoughts on “William Budd 1811 – 1880”

  1. Hi Sue
    I don’t think William Budd can be considered a homoeopath. He was passionately opposed to homoeopathy. If you read the report of the 1857 Association general meeting in British Medical Journal August 8, 1857 page 670, you will see that Budd proposed removing a Vice President of the British Medical Association (Dr Horner of Hull) from membership of the BMA as he was a homoeopath. He then went on to say ‘of all forms of quackery, none was so insidious, so miserable, and wretched as that form of it called homoeopathy’.
    If you re-read the report you quote on ‘Stone and homeopathy’ I think you will see that it is really poking fun at a colleague who is a homoeopath.
    who converted to homeopathy. You state that Budd was a Collector at the London Homeopathic Hospital – are you sure? and you also state that he submitted papers to Homeopathic Journals – I would love to have details of these.
    Can I finally say though, how much I appreciate you web page and the information it contains. I am trying to get together a history of Homeopathy in Bristol in the Nineteenth Century.

  2. Hi Michael

    The reference to William Budd as a Collector at the Homeopathic Hospital comes from Homeopathic Medical Directory of Great Britain and Ireland printed in 1868 and 1872 and he is there bold as brass at his address 14 High Street Pimlico – click on my hyperlinks for all references – and for all the references to his papers to homeopathic journals…

    I have no doubt that strong views were expressed on both sides of this debate and very many staunch opponents subsequently converted to homeopathy – and indeed many said they were opposed to homeopathy to placate allopathic colleagues and keep their lucrative positions and their reputations – playing both sides against the middle so to speak.

    My biography of Budd is not ‘in depth’ nor do I propose it is definitive, – the information is presented to be challenged and picked about until the evidence is clear – each case needs to be studied carefully – and this is especially true for ‘famous’ characters who had so very much to loose at the time – and also because they suffer greatly from subsequent biographers who desperately want to ‘disinfect’ their favourites from contamination with homeopathy and cast them in all sorts of lights that favour their version of history (true of both sides of course) with the ‘truth’ in their somewhere – often as the first casualty!?

    see my biography of http://sueyounghistories.com/archives/2010/02/07/fewster-robert-horner-1803-1863/

    The strength of my web bios is that there are about 1600 of them, so I have a bird’s eye view of the 19th century – not one in depth – but quick glimpses of a great many of them – this is a perspective which has never previously been considered* as most ‘history’ is one or two people done in some depth with no checks or balances or comparisons to time and tide of events. There is a very great deal of work to be done here to get any real perspective on the medical history of the 19th century and anyone who thinks they have it is probably wrong.

    Budd’s support for both sides to save his bacon is not at all unusual – if that is what he is doing? See the prime example of Grindrod and all the people he acuses of similar behaviors


    * I believe Elizabeth Cady Stanton compiled a history of 1300 odd interesting suffragist characters from her campaigns but I have lost the reference – I have not seen this multi character view point anywhere else in my research travels and it is certainly not considered by modern historian research anywhere today that I can discover…


  3. Hi Sue

    I have been researching the Budd family and have compiled a monograph on them.

    William Bud (1811-1880) spent his working life in Bristol, he never was in Plymouth.

    It was John Wreford Budd that was in Plymouth. Hope this helps. Brian.

  4. Hi Sue

    Yes, brothers. John Wreford Budd (1804-1873), William Budd (1811-1880). An amazing family of doctors. Brian.

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