Percy Roberts Wilde M.D. M.B. C.M. (12 July 1857 – 27 April 1929) was an homeopathic physician who became Honorary Physician and Medical Officer at the Lansdown Hospital in Bath, Medical Superintendent at the West of England Hydro, and Physician at the Bath Homeopathic Hospital. Wilde was elected a Fellow of the British Homeopathic Society in 1891, and was President of the 1903 British Homeopathic Congress. Wilde was also a member of the homeopathic Western Counties Therapeutical Society, alongside Archibald Spiers Alexander, Francis Hervey Bodman, Robert Hume Fallon, William George Hardy, John Hamilton McKechnie, Samuel Morgan, Thomas Dickinson Nicholson, George Norman, and Eubulus Williams. Wilde was also a friend of James John Garth Wilkinson.
Percy Roberts Wilde was an Editor of The Monthly Homeopathic Review, and the first Editor of The Medical Annual and Practitioner’s Index. Wilde introduced the remedy Silicea into the homeopathic pharmacopoeia, and he also proved cocaine and Magnesia Sulphurica. Wilde also devised a ‘Hot Box’ or ‘Vaporium’ for treatments with heat and cold.
Percy Roberts Wilde was born in Twyford, Hampshire in July 1857 to homeopathic surgeon John Wilde (1828 – 1903) and his wife Mary Ann Stanley (1828 – 1905).
Percy Roberts Wilde studied at the University of Aberdeen, where he graduated in 1880 as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM). Four years later, in 1884, Wilde received his M.D. from Aberdeen.
Wilde was the homeopathic practitioner of Gerard Van De Linde, and he was a colleague of Bevill, David Dyce Brown, Sydney Gilbert, James Johnstone, John Hamilton McKechnie, MacLachlan, and many others.
Percy Roberts Wilde briefly practiced in Ipswich, Suffolk. While there he participated in the intellectual and cultural life of the town, including delivering a paper to the Ipswich Scientific Society in 1882 on his experiments in identifying the mechanical, physical basis for the phenomena of “table-turning.”
For most of his career Percy Roberts Wilde practiced in Bath. There he was honorary physician to the older Bath Homoeopathic Hospital and to the Lansdown Hospital. The latter was not a dedicated homeopathic institution but, rather, an establishment under Wilde’s supervision, and managed by the executive committee of the Bath homeopathic hospital, that offered a range of therapeutic strategies for patients, including balneology and heat treatment.
In September 1879 Wilde married Ada Hawkes (c.1855 – c.1917), daughter of Captain John Clifton Hawkes, in East Brent, Somerset. They had five children: Lt. Percy Montague Clifton Wilde (1880 – 1916), 2nd Lt. Brinkley Wilde (1882 – 1902), Gordon Wilde (1884 – 1928), Dorothy Gladys Wilde (1888 – 1954), Cecil Arden Graham Wilde Cpl (1894 – 1934). Brinkley, born in Ipswich, died of enteric (typhoid) fever in February, 1902, in Harrismith, South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Wilde’s oldest child, Percy Montague Clifton, was killed in action on the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable during the Battle of Jutland in May, 1916. The following year his wife Ada died.
In 1883 Wilde took charge as editor of the new The Medical Annual and Practitioner’s Index. He remained in that role from its founding until 1910. The Annual reflected Wilde’s non-sectarian professional character, as the British Medical Journal review of the Annual observed in May 1932:
The first editor, Dr. Percy Wilde, is described as a man of great vigor of mind, with a distinct bias towards heterodoxy; in other words, he was a homeopath who practiced with much success in Bath. He conceived the idea that an annual medical survey could be written which should be committed to no particular system of practice, and should consider critically and impartially every possible avenue of progress. It was Wilde’s plan to invoke the aid of any member of the profession to write on such topics as he might be thoroughly qualified to discuss.
Percy Roberts Wilde served as president of the British Homoeopathic Congress in 1903. His presidential address “Hindrances to the Truth,” at the annual congress held in Oxford in July, was reprinted in the British Homoeopathic Journal.
Percy Roberts Wilde practiced at 23 The Circus, Bath, and at 64 Seymour Street, Bath, and for over forty years, he conducted experiments and research into pathology and homeopathy. He wrote extensively on homeopathy and scientific matters and submitted many cases, letters and articles to various homeopathic publications, including: “In the Footsteps of Hahnemann,” “Stimuli and the Organism,” “Provings of Cocaine,” “Kali Bichromicum in Syphilitic Nodes, “Energy, in Its Relation to Drug Action,” “On the Kyrograph,” “Utilising Flames of Gas Burners and the like for heating purposes,” “Drug Attenuated beyond the Demonstable Divisability,” “The Art of Bathing,” “Therapeutic Progress and its Obstacles,” “Thermotherapeutics,” “Notes on Bandages,” and many other lectures, and articles.
Wilde’s wife, Ada, died in 1917. In 1920 Wilde remarried New Zealander Ruth Campbell Chambers (c. 1886 – 1965).
Percy Roberts Wilde died at his home in Bath, in April 1929.
- Medical Annual and Practitioner’s Index (1883 -)
- The Elimination of Medical Sectarianism (1887)
- Rheumatism: Some Investigations Respecting its Cause, Prevention and Cure (1893)
- Hindrances to Truth: Being the Presidential Addresses at the British Homoeopathic Congress, Oxford, 1903
- The Physiology of Gout, Rheumatism and Arthritis, as a Guide to Accurate Diagnosis & Efficient Treatment (1921)
- Pyretic Treatment of Rheumatism and Allied Disorders (1928)
Percy Wilde’s older brother Frederick George Stanley Wilde L.M. L.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. (July 1850 – 24 January 1927) was Physician at the Nottingham Homeopathic Dispensary and later Medical Officer to the Cheltenham Homeopathic Dispensary.
His younger brother, Herbert Henry Wilde MB, CM Edinburgh, LRCP, LRCS Edinburgh, (20 May 1862 – 15 July 1944) was Medical Officer to the Brighton Homeopathic Dispensary in 1901, and previously Medical Officer at the Liverpool Homeopathic Dispensary. Herbert Wilde practiced at 18 Clifton Terrace Brighton, and married Amy Ellen (1865 – 1953). They had a daughter, Nora Margaret, and a son, John A., born in Liverpool in 1891 and 1892 respectively.