Archibald Richard Shaw M.D. (15 December 1821 – 30 April 1899) was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become Physician at St. Mary’s Homeopathic Convalescent Home and Dispensary, located at 80, High Street, Hastings. Prior to this, in 1853 he had served as resident assistant physician to Dr. Carl Fischer (c.1824 – 1893) at the Homoeopathic Medical Institution at 6 Hackney Grove, Hackney.
Archibald Shaw was born in Hackney, Middlesex in 1821, the sixth of ten children born to Hosier Robert Elgie Shaw (1778 – 1861) and his wife, Mary Davenport (1787 – 1862).
The following year, 1859, Scottish painter Thomas John Hughes was commissioned to paint a portrait of Shaw.
Shaw married Laura Ellen Sansom Hills (1834 – 1909). She was an active proponent of women’s rights and in 1872 served as Treasurer of the Hastings branch of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. They had five children; two daughters, Ellen Maude Shaw (1860 – 1949) and Lillian Grace Shaw (1866 – 1938), and three sons. All the sons became doctors: Charles Thomas Knox Shaw (1855 – 1939), Frank Herbert Shaw (1858 – 1929), Lauriston Elgie Shaw (1859 – 1923).
Archibald Shaw served as Physician to St. Mary’s Convalescent Home at 79-80 High Street, Hastings. This institution, founded in 1866 by Miss Martha Kingsbury (1824 – 1905) and her brother, Reverend Thomas Luck Kingsbury M.A. (c. 1822 – 1899), was organized on homeopathic principles. The Home advertised itself “for the purpose of affording the advantages of sea-air, rest, and Homoeopathic medical treatment, to a few respectable women out of health.”
An homeopathic dispensary was also located at the Convalescent Home, with Shaw as its Physician. This was one of two homeopathic dispensaries in Hastings, the other overseen by Dr. Alexander Richard Croucher at 52 Robertson Street. It appears around 1880 that the two dispensaries merged to form the Hastings and St. Leonards’ Homeopathic Dispensary, with Croucher as Honorary Physician and Shaw’s son’s Frank Herbert Shaw as surgeon and Charles Thomas Knox Shaw as eye specialist.
In addition to his medical work, Archibald Shaw was also an inventor. In October 1865, he was granted a patent on improvements to brakes for carriages and other vehicles.
Shaw practiced at 1 Carlton Terrace, St. Andrew’s Road, Hastings, and at 32 Marina, St. Leonard’s on Sea. In the Bexhill electoral register for 1893 he was also listed as resident at 33 Warrior Square, St Leonard’s.
Shaw died in April 1899 and was buried in Richmond Cemetery, Surrey.
Charles Thomas Knox Shaw M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. (1855 – 23 November 1939) [no evident relation], son of Archibald Richard Shaw, was an homeopathic Ophthalmic Surgeon and Senior Surgeon at the London Homeopathic Hospital and Consulting Surgeon to the Phillips Memorial Homeopathic Hospital in Bromley, Kent.
Frank Herbert Shaw M.D. (1858 – 1929), also an homeopath, was the brother of C. T. Knox Shaw.
Lauriston Elgie Shaw F.R.C.P. (31 March 1859 – 25 December 1923), an orthodox physician and Dean of Guy’s Hospital, was another brother of C. T. Knox Shaw
Alexander Renfrew Shaw M.D. (12 December 1834 – 11 June 1906) [no evident relation] was an American homeopath who received his M.D. from the Homoeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1857. He practiced in Newark, DE, and from 1860-1864 in Chambersburg, Franklin County, PA, where he succeeded Dr Ehrmann and, from 1849 -1851, German homeopath Proctor Louis Schucking.