Edward Phillips M.D. M.R.C.S. (1823 – 5 January 1875) was an Irish-born orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become Medical Officer and Surgeon at the Manchester Homeopathic Hospital, Consulting Physician at The Lower Tottenham Infirmary for Woman and Children, Member of the Cheltenham Homeopathic Medical Society, Secretary to the 1853 British Homeopathic Congress, and Member of the Hahnemann Publishing Society.

Edward Phillips was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1823 to Captain Robert Phillips (1787 – 1843), a veteran of Waterloo and the Peninsular Campaign, and Sarah Delaney (1795 – 1877). He studied first at Cork and subsequently at the University of Glasgow, where he was introduced to homeopathy by Dr. Geddes Mckenzie Scott and lodged in the same house as fellow student and homeopath, Sarkes C. Davids.

Phillips progressed rapidly through his studies and in 1843 he was awarded the diploma of the London College of Surgeons. The day after his college examination Phillips moved to Manchester to assist Sarkes C. Davids who, in January 1843, had founded the Manchester Homeopathic Dispensary.

After Davids‘ untimely death in 1844, aged just 25, Edward Phillips took over his private practice, which he built up to become a thriving and successful one.

In March 1845, Phillips was one of the signatories to a letter sent to the London Morning Post newspaper that sought to distance British homeopathy from the dietetic treatment used by Dr. Paul Francois Curie in a case that had resulted in the death of the patient. The other homeopaths who signed this “unwise document” repudiating Curie’s methods were: Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Hugh Cameron, John Darby Charles, J. Chapman, Alfred Day, John James Drysdale, Harris Dunsford, Thomas Engall, Joseph Gilioli, James Walter Goodshaw, William Hering, Claudius B. Ker, Charles Berry King, William Hamilton Kittoe, Henry Rider Madden, Victor Massol, William H. Mayne, George Newman, John Norton, Samuel Thomas Partridge, Robert Walker, and William Wardroper.

In 1846, Phillips moved from Piccadilly to Bloomsbury in Manchester, where his practice continued to grow. The following year he married Janet Anderson Wightman (c. 1827 – 1896), daughter of Waterloo veteran, Major General William Cochrane Anderson (1791 – 1865). They had four children: Robert Edward (1849 – 1888), who followed his father to become an homeopathic physician, William Hamilton (1850 – 1916), Christina Clementina (c. 1852 – 1937), and Reverend Edward Egerton Phillips (1866 – 1950).

Phillips subsequently moved to 2 Arlington Place, Oxford Road, and later resided at Burlington House, Oxford Road, Manchester, by which time his practice was said to be larger than that of any medical man – allopath or homeopath – in the city.

In 1853, Edward Phillips became surgeon to the Manchester Homoeopathic Hospital. There he worked alongside Robert Walker, who had settled in the city in 1844, John Matthews, William P. Harrison, Charles Caulfield Tuckey, John McDowall, and his friend and successor, William Harris Cox, latterly of Rochdale. Philips was also a colleague of Manchester homeopathic chemist Henry Turner.

In August, 1853, Phillips was an attendee and one of the Secretaries, alongside Robert Walker, at the British Homeopathic Congress, held at the Albion Hotel in Manchester.

Also in 1853, Edward Phillips was the homeopath of Adolf Salis Schwabe, a German Jew who had moved to Manchester and converted to Unitarianism. Schwabe, a wealthy calico printer and philanthropist, became Chairman of the Manchester School of Free Traders, and a Patron of the Manchester Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary. Schwabe and his wife, Julie Salis Schwabe, were related to the founder of Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, and were friends of homeopath James John Garth Wilkinson.

In 1856, Phillips was awarded the Lambeth Degree of Doctor of Medicine, and in 1863, after twenty years service to his Manchester patients, he relocated to London, where he established a thriving practice at 40, Harley Street, his patients drawn primarily from the aristocracy of the West End.

Edward Phillips submitted cases and articles to various homeopathic publications, and he delivered a paper On the Dose and its Repetition at the 1852 British Homeopathic Congress held in Edinburgh.

Phillips excessive workload took a toll on his health and he suffered from repeat bouts of rheumatic fever. In June 1874, his homeopathic physician, Dr Joseph Kidd, advised him to rest. Phillips took three months off, visiting Norway and also residing at St. Leonards-on-Sea.

On his return to London, Phillips appeared restored to health. However, on 22 December 1874, he became very ill after taking his usual cold-bath. Homeopaths William Vallancey Drury and William Bayes attended him and, as his condition worsened, they were joined by doctors Stephen Yeldham and Wilberforce-Smith, the latter a former student of Dr Kidd who later rejected homeopathy, with Kidd taking overall charge.

Edward Phillips went into a coma on Sunday 3 January, from which he never recovered. He died at his London home on Tuesday 5 January, 1875, aged just 51. He was laid to rest at Kensal Green Cemetery.

His Obituary was in the Monthly Homoeopathic Review, the British Journal of Homeopathy and the Homeopathic World.

Of Interest:

Robert Edward Phillips M. D. (1849 – 1888), son of Edward Phillips and nephew of Charles D. F. Phillips, followed his father in becoming an homeopathic Physician, working at the Phillips Memorial Homeopathic Hospital, in Bromley.

William Hamilton Phillips (c. 1850 – 1916), son of Edward Phillips,  brother of Robert Edward Phillips, and nephew of Charles D. F. Phillips, was a Lancashire Cotton spinner and owner of Park Mills Spinning Company in Preston. This business failed in August 1883.

Charles Douglas Fergusson Phillips MD (Aberdeen 1852), MRCS Edinburgh 1852, MRMS Edinburgh (c. 1825 – c. 1894), older brother of Edward Phillips and uncle of Robert Edward Phillips, was a British orthodox physician who, for a time, converted to homeopathy. He was appointed Resident Surgeon and Physician at the Manchester Homeopathic Hospital, and was a Member of the Manchester Homeopathic Medico Chirurgical Society, a Member of the Cheltenham Homeopathic Medical Society, and a Member of the Northern Homeopathic Association. Charles D. F. Phillips resided at Burlington House, Oxford Road, Manchester. He attended the Homeopathic Congress in 1853, and was an active prover of remedies. He wrote a paper “On the Action and Uses of Ipecacuana,” and published a book, Materia Medica and Therapeutics that purportedly sold many more copies than there were homeopaths in Britain at this time. Intriguingly, before the publication of his Materia Medica, Charles Phillips had relocated to London where he renounced homeopathy.

Herbert Phillips (1834 – 1905) [no evident relation], was a wealthy Manchester philanthropist and Justice of the Peace, who was an advocate of homeopathy and served on the general committee of the Manchester Homeopathic Institution.