James Douglas Kenyon B.Sc. M.B. Ch.B. M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. (9 September 1891 – 12 June 1958) was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a Consultant Physician at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital for his entire working life. He was an Editor of the British Homeopathic Journal until 1957.
James Douglas Kenyon was born in Accrington, Lancashire, in September, 1891, the eldest of three children of engineer William Henry Kenyon (1863 – 1952) and Emily Redfearn (1868 – 1946).
In 1912 Kenyon graduated B.Sc. from the Victoria University of Manchester; three years later, in 1915, he was awarded Bachelor’s diplomas in Medicine and Surgery from the same institution. In 1917, Kenyon was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and obtained his License from the Royal College of Physicians.
Kenyon served brief stints as House Surgeon at Stanley Hospital Liverpool, as House Physician at Ancoats Hospital, Manchester, and as Assistant Medical Officer at the London Fever Hospital.
In 1921, J.D. Kenyon was appointed resident medical officer to the London Homeopathic Hospital. He would remain on staff there for more than three decades.
An Obituary for Douglas Kenyon was published in the British Homeopathic Journal vol. 57, no. 4 (October, 1958), page 308:
“We regret to announce the death, on June 12th, of Dr. J D Kenyon. He qualified in 1915 and came to the London Homeopathic Hospital as a Resident Medical Officer in 1921, and continued in unbroken service to the London Homeopathic Hospital and British Homeopathic Society and to the Faculty until his death.
He became Assistant Physician to the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1923, Physician in charge of Out Patients in 1933, and Physician in charge of In patients in 1943.
He was assistant Editor of this Journal from 1937 to 1939, and Editor from 1939 to 1943, and again in 1947-8, and in 1956-7.
In 1938, he was appointed Honeyman Gillespie Lecturer on Materia Medica in which position he continued until his death. He served on the Council of the British Homeopathic Society in 1933-4, and of the Faculty of Homeopathy from 1947 to 1950.
Dr. Kenyon was a physician of unusual gifts and interests. He was over sensitive to the sufferings in human life, and whilst this led to a shyness in social relationships, it gave him a sympathy and understanding for the sufferings of his patients which enabled him to render them of help of an exceptional kind. The love and admiration in which he was held by an enormous number of his patients is his best memorial. He would never spare himself with them and his personality reached its fullest expression in his relationships with his patients.
In the modern World, he felt somehow out of place. Gifted with a high intelligence and wide literary culture, he was never satisfied with the dominant outlooks and attitudes, and kept a remarkably open mind, searching for possible ways and means to realise better his inner dreams and hopes.
From youth he was an enthusiast for the Drama, an interest which he shared with Dr. Wheeler, and later his lifelong love of music became of increasing importance to him.
He inherited his medical interests from his ancestors on his father’s side, and very early displayed the keen intelligent curiosity in scientific matters which developed into his lifelong pursuit of new ideas and approaches. He was led into a study of modern psychology, and also enquired into the work of James Eustace Radclyffe McDonagh and Edward Bach.
He contributed papers to the Society and faculty on Diabetes and Caries in Children, and a number of papers on Lesser Known Remedies. In 1936 he was responsible for organizing a symposium series of meetings on the actions of potentised remedies on humab beings.
In his practice he made much use of lesser known remedies in low potency, and his successful use of eel serum in uraemia will have been impressed upon many of those who saw his cases. He became very interested in the grouping of remedies according to the chronic miasms, and before his health finally gave way he was planning a comparative Materia Medica on this basis.
As a teacher he was most kind and sympathetic, encouraging the new comer in the travails of homeopathic case taking and prescribing, and encouraging all attempts to develop further the science and art of homeopathy.
He often referred with admiration to the late Charles Edwin Wheeler‘s gift for grasping the potential importance of a new idea, and he himself constantly attempted the same discipline. He became the co author with Charles Edwin Wheeler of An Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Homeopathy, and after Charles Edwin Wheeler‘s death became responsible for the further edition of this valuable text book.
His modesty and shyness prevented him from presenting his own ideas with the force which would have been necessary for their acceptance, and he was too easily discouraged from developing and working out his notions. But these qualities which impeded his full development as a teacher and leader of homeopathy, were just those which as a friend and counsellor and guide to many troubled patients made him the physician and friend who will long be mourned.
A patient of Dr. Kenyon has written:
The news of the passing, in mid June, of Dr. Kenyon brought first a sense of profound thankfulness that his great weariness and pain were at an end – then came the sense of desolation that a most ‘beloved physician’ had been withdrawn from earthly contact with the many whom he so faithfully served.
The present writer did not see Dr. Kenyon often – living a distance from London – but she, her household and her friends will always have the abiding influence of visits to his consulting room. One left him feeling restored, healed and with the certain knowledge that he had not only dealt with the ills of the body, but with the wounded spirit and the bewildered mind. His understanding of the problems created by the pace of contemporary life never failed, nor did his humour and compassion.
His approach to his great work of healing was sacrametal, and his patients knew that because he was a practicing Christian, he was a great doctor in a World where men, women and children of all sorts and conditions are increasingly beset by fear. Latterly, he made frequent reference to this sense of fear and to the dark horizons for so many. May one grateful patient speak for others these words:
“… Through such souls alone,
God shows sufficient of his Light,
For us i’ the dark to rise by,
And I rise.”
James Douglas Kenyon wrote An Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Homeopathy and Observations on possible uses for potentised kava with Charles Edwin Wheeler.
James Douglas Kenyon moved to 9 Seapoint Road, Broadstairs, Kent. He died in a nursing home in Broadstairs on 12 June, 1958.