James Peddie Harper M.D. L.R.C.S. (8 February 1826 – 19 December 1911) was a British orthodox physician, Physician at the Fever and Casualty Hospital in Leith, Surgeon to the Edinburgh Artilery Regimental Militia, House Surgeon at the Royal Dumfries Infirmary, Assistant Medical Officer at Minto House Hospital and Dispensary, who converted to homeopathy to become a Member of the British Homeopathic Society, the Physician at the Windsor Homeopathic Dispensary, and the successor to Hugh Cameron‘s homeopathic practice in Hertford Street, London. Harper was also the homeopathic physician of Florence Nightingale‘s sister, Frances Parthenope Verney (1819 – 1890).

James Peddie Harper was born in Leith, in February 1826, the third of fourteen children born to Free Church of Scotland Reverend and Professor of Systematic Theology, James Harper D.D. (1795 – 1879) and his wife Barbara Peddie (1802 – 1885), herself the daughter of Scottish Secession Presbytarian Minister James Peddie D.D.

Harper determined on a career in medicine and in 1848 obtained his Licence from the Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons. That same year he was awarded his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh.

Harper worked as Physician to the Fever and Casualty Hospital, Leith. He was also House Surgeon at the Royal Dumfries Infirmary, and was Medical Officer for the Minto House Hospital and Dispensary.

By 1850, Harper’s father had moved to England and he was listed as residing at 21 Trinity Place, Windsor.

In November 1854 James Peddie Harper was appointed as Surgeon to the newly raised City of Edinburgh Artillery Regiment of Militia. By 1866, his younger brother William Peddie Harper was also in the Leith militia.

In July 1856 Harper married Jessie McGowan (1834 – 1924). They had nine children, including the eldest, James Harper M.D. (1857 – 1916), who followed his father into medicine to become a well-regarded Kensington-based orthodox physician.

Harper was recorded as residing at Constitution Street, Leith in January, 1858. That year he published a small book, Homeopathy Tested by Facts, that detailed his own experiments with prescribing homeopathically. Owing to the demand this book, a purposefully objective and scientific examination of Hahnemann‘s system, went into a second print run.

From 1868, James Peddie Harper lived at Clydesdale Villa, Osbourne Road, Windsor and worked at the Windsor Homeopathic Dispensary.

In 1882, Harper moved from Windsor to take over the practice of Hugh Cameron in Hertford Street, London, and his grateful patient’s at Windsor had a collection for him that was presented in an ornate, ormolu casket:

The accompanying casket, containing two hundred and fifty guineas, was presented to James Peddie Harper, Esq., MD, LRCS Edin., by the undermentioned among his patients and friends of all classes, in token of their gratitude for his unremitting sympathetic professional attention; their recognition of his great medical skill; their admiration of his high Christian character; their appreciation of his constant and gratuitous aid to the needy; their deeply felt regret at his removal from Windsor (after twenty-four years of most successful practice)….”

In 1890, Florence Nightingale asked Harper to see her sister, who had refused to consult orthodox physician Andrew Clark 1st Baronet again as the sisters believed he had made her condition worse.

In 1903, Harper was still practicing at 43 Hertford Street, Mayfair, and living at Millburn House, West Norwood.

Although he did not play a prominent role in contributing to homeopathic literature, Society, or hospitals, James Peddie Harper was “for many years one of the leading West End practitioners of Homoeopathy.” He had retired from practice when he died in December, 1911, aged 84.

Select Publications:

Homeopathy Tested by Facts (1858)

Of interest:

Reverend James Harper D.D. (1795 – 1879) father of James Peddie Harper, Minister of Secession and United Presbyterian Church at North Leith, 1817-79; Professor of Theology to Secession and United Presbyterian Churches from 1843; Principal of United Presbyterian Divinity Hall from 1876.

Rev Dr James Peddie married twice, his first marriage being to Margaret Coventry, which brought a link by marriage with the civil and railway engineers Benjamin Hall Blyth and Edward Lawrence Blyth which was to be important later.  His second marriage to Barbara Smith,  daughter of Lord Provost Donald Smith of the private bank Donald Smith & Company, brought a significant range of business connections…

Alexander Peddie (1810 – 1907), brother-in-law of Reverend James Harper, uncle of James Peddie Harper, received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1835. Alexander Peddie was President of the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians from 1877-1879. He also served as President of the Edinburgh Harveian Society in 1890.

William Peddie Harper (1830 – 1916), son of Reverend James Harper, brother of James Peddie Harper, was a successful merchant in London, Leith and Liverpool.

Captain George Peddie (1833 – 1869) [no evident relation] was decorated for serving at Sevastopol in 1854 with the Welsh Regiment of Foot.