Beddoe, John (DNB12)

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BEDDOE, JOHN (1826–1911), physician and anthropologist, born at Bewdley, Worcestershire, on 21 Sept. 1826, was son of John Beddoe by his wife Emma, only daughter of Henry Barrer Child of Bewdley.

Educated at Bridgnorth School, he read for the law, but soon entered University College,London, where he began the study of medicine. After graduating B.A. at London in 1851, he pursued his medical studies at Edinburgh University, qualifying M.D. in 1853. For some time he was house physician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. During the Crimean war Beddoe served at Renkioi on the medical staff of a civil hospital, afterwards proceeding to Vienna to complete his medical training. He subsequently made an extended continental tour, and then in 1857 began practice as a physician at Clifton. He was physician to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (1862-73), and consulting physician to the Children's Hospital there (1866-1911). He was elected F.R.C.P. in 1873. Retiring from practice in Bristol (1891), he settled at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.

Beddoe began active researches in ethnology during his early wanderings in Austria, Hungary, Italy, France, and other countries, and ultimately he became an authority on the physical characteristics of living European races. Much of his work was pioneer, and was carried on when researches of the kind were little valued. But Beddoe's unflagging industry and stimulating zeal influenced profoundly the development of anthropological science at home and abroad.

In 1846, when twenty years old, he began observations on hair and eye colours in the West of England, continuing these in Orkney (1852), with amended methods. There followed a long series of kindred observations, as time and areas served. In 1853 he published 'Contributions to Scottish Ethnology,' and fifty-five years afterwards, in 'A Last Contribution to Scottish Ethnology,' a paper before the Royal Anthropological Institute, he surveyed the intervening progress (Journ. Roy. Anthrop. Inst. xxxviii.). In 1867 he received from the Welsh National Eisteddfod a prize of 100 guineas for the best essay on the origin of the English nation, subsequently embodied in ' The Races of Britain' (1885). His racial data on ' Stature and Bulk of Man in the British Isles ' appeared with critical observations and deductions in 1870 (Memoirs Anthrop. Soc. Lond. iii.). A paper, ' De l'Évaluation et de la Signification de la Capacité cranienne,' which he communicated in 1903 to 'L'Anthropologie' (vol. xiv.), met with hostile criticism from Mr. M. A. Lewenz and Prof. Karl Pearson, F.R.S., in a joint paper in ' Biometrika ' (vol. iii. 1904). Beddoe replied in the ' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute ' (vol. xxxiv. 1904) at the same time as he published there ' The Somatology of Eight Hundred Boys in Training for the Royal Navy,' a series of detailed colour-observations and head-measurements. Later (ibid, xxxvii. 1907) he sent a paper ' On a Series of Skulls collected by John E. Pritchard from a Carmelite Burying-ground in Bristol.'

Beddoe was a foundation member (1857) of the Ethnological Society, president of the Anthropological Society, 1869-70, and of the (Royal) Anthropological Institute, 1889-91. In 1905 he delivered the Huxley lecture of the institute on ' Colour and Race ' (Journ. Roy. Anthrop. Inst. xxxv.), and received on that occasion the Huxley memorial medal. He served on the council of the British Association 1870-5, and as chairman of the anthropological department of Section D, at the Bradford meeting in 1873, delivered an address on the 'Anthropology of Yorkshire.' He was joint author of the association's 'Anthropological Instructions for Travellers.'

He was elected F.R.S. on 12 June 1873. In 1891 the University of Edinburgh conferred the honorary degree of LL.D., and he delivered there the Rhind lectures in archaeology, on 'The Anthropological History of Europe,' of which the substance appeared in the 'Scottish Review' in 1892. Shortly before his death Beddoe expanded the MS. of the lectures for issue in volume form. Beddoe was made Officier (Ire classe) de I'lnstruction Publique, France, in 1890, and he was a member of the chief continental anthropological societies. In 1908 the University of Bristol elected him honorary professor of anthropology.

One of the founders in 1875 of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archæological Society, he was president in 1890; in 1909 president of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, and at the time of his death president of the British Kyrle Society.

Beddoe's 'Memories of Eighty Years' appeared in 1910. He died at Bradford-on-Avon on 19 July 1911. In 1858 he married Agnes Montgomerie Cameron, daughter of Rev. A. Christison and niece of Sir Robert Christison, first baronet [q. v.], and had issue one son, who pre-deceased him, and one daughter.

A portrait of Beddoe, painted by Miss E. B. Warne, and purchased by private subscription in 1907, was presented to the Municipal Art Gallery, Bristol.

[Beddoe's Memories of Eighty Years, 1910; Proc. Roy. Soc., Anniv. Address, 30 Nov. 1911; Nature, 27 July 1911; The Times, 20 July 1911; Man (with portrait), Oct. 1911; Brit. Mod. Journal (with portrait), 5 Aug. 1911; Lancet, 29 July 1911; Men and Women of the Time, 1899; Trans. Bristol and Gloucestershire Archseol. Soc. xxxiii.; Rept. Bristol Kyrle Soc. (with portrait), Oct. 1911.]

T. E. J.