Frank Herbert Shaw
Source: Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Frank Herbert Shaw M.R.C.S. (1858 –  11 November 1929) was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a surgeon at the Buchanan Homeopathic Hospital in St. Leonards-on-Sea, and surgeon to the Hastings and St. Leonards Homeopathic Dispensary.

In 1898, Frank Shaw practiced at 33 Warrior Square, St. Leonards-on-Sea. By 1911, he was at The Gables, Pevensey Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea.

Shaw was a member of the British Homeopathic Society, and also served as Vice-President and President of the British Homeopathic Congress.

Frank Herbert Shaw worked alongside his older brother, homeopathic surgeon Charles Thomas Knox Shaw, and was a colleague of Edwin Awdas Neatby. He was also a colleague of many other homeopathic physician. In 1886, Frank Shaw and his brother Charles worked at Hastings Homeopathic Dispensary, alongside honorary physician Alexander Richard Croucher and dental surgeon C. Philip. Later, in 1904, Shaw’s colleagues at the Dispensary included physician Percy Capper, ophthalmic surgeon William Clowes Pritchard, and dentist J. R. Richards.

Frank Herbert Shaw was born in London, the son of homeopath Dr. Archibald Richard Shaw (1821 – 1899) and Laura Ellen Sansom Hills (1834 – 1909).

Shaw followed his father and older brother Charles into the medical profession, training at Guy’s Hospital in London. In 1881, he was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Shaw was appointed Resident Medical Officer at the London Homeopathic Hospital in March 1882. That same year he was also listed as being in private practice in Chester, at 8 Nicholas Street.

Buchanan Hospital Frank Shaw Memorial Window
Source: ESHT

In September 1883, Shaw married Fanny Mary Edwards (c. 1855 – 1902), daughter of Reverend John Edwards, Vicar of Minety, Wiltshire. Their youngest son, Second Lieutenant Cuthbert Frank Shaw, was killed during the First Battle of Ypres on 30 October 1914. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate.

Shaw was elected a member of the British Homeopathic Society in 1885. He remained an active member of the Society, and continued to support homeopathy for the rest of his career.

By April 1886, Frank Shaw had been appointed as honorary surgeon to the Hastings and St. Leonards Homeopathic Dispensary and medical officer to to the Buchanan Homeopathic Hospital.

In 1890, F. H. Shaw was listed as Acting Surgeon to the Cinque Ports Artillery volunteers.

Frank Shaw was one of the physicians, alongside Dr. George Lough of Hastings, who attended veteran homeopath Dr. Stephen Yeldham during his final illness in 1895.

In April 1904, Shaw re-married Katharine Alice Waller (1878 – 1943) of Farmington, Gloucestershire. They had two children together.

The following September, 1905, Shaw served as Vice-President of the British Homeopathic Congress, held in Hastings. During the meeting Shaw acted as “cicerone,” conducting the Congress attendees on a tour of the Buchanan Hospital. At the Congress dinner, held at the Queen’s Hotel, Hastings, on Friday evening, Shaw emphasized the important contribution to homeopathy made by lay people, and especially by women:

As I look around I see many laymen, who have done so much to help us in our medical work, both as regards our work in hospitals and dispensaries. I also wish particularly to welcome the many ladies who are here to night. When the history of our movement comes to be written, as it will be some day, it will be then made known what a very large share the ladies have had in helping forward the cause we all have so much at heart. I do not simply allude to those who devote their life to the actual work of nursing of the sick, because we take it for granted that they will give their work, heart and soul, to help the cause; but I allude to the ladies who help us so largely in founding our hospitals, in supporting them, and helping us in committee work, and so on; and we are particularly grateful to them for their presence here to-night.”

In July 1911, Shaw was one of the organizers of the 8th Quinqennial international homeopathic congress, held in London.

Shaw also contributed to homeopathic fundraising initiatives. In 1895, he was a subscriber to the Dudgeon Memorial Fund and, in 1920, he was a subscriber to a special appeal by the British Homeopathic Association, while the following year he was listed as a subscriber to the BHA’s general fund.

Also in 1920, Frank Shaw served alongside Charles Edwin Wheeler as a Vice-President of the British Homeopathic Congress. The following September, Shaw was President of the Congress. Remarkably, Shaw stoically fulfilled his duties as President of the 1921 Congress, despite suffering the loss of his third son, Kenneth Frank Shaw (1891 – 1921), just six days earlier.

Frank Herbert Shaw was born in 1858. Son of a homeopathic physician his family moved to Hastings in 1871 where they lived at 33 Marina. Frank trained at King’s College and Guy’s Hospital in London and also in Germany, and became a surgeon.

By 1891 he lived with his wife and four sons and a daughter in a large house, The Gables, 2 Pevensey Road in St. Leonards-on-Sea which Frank Shaw had designed and built, to house his growing family, three servants and his surgery, from where he ran an extensive private practice. It is known that if patients were unable to pay for his services he was happy to take payment in the form of vegetables, fish and poultry.

In 1895 Frank Shaw was appointed advisory medical officer to the Buchanan Hospital and was generally thought of as the ‘father of the hospital’.

The Buchanan Hospital, originally founded in 1880 as the Buchanan Homeopathic Ophthalmic and Cottage Hospital in Southwater Road in St Leonards had moved to a permanent site in Springfield Road, St Leonards in 1884. It originally had 15 beds and 2 private wards and was a general hospital taking both medical and surgical cases. It continued to have strong links with homeopathy – in 1905 it hosted the International Homeopathic Congress and Frank Shaw became president of that body.

Frank Shaw remarried on 14th April 1904, Katherine Alice Waller, and continued to live and practice at The Gables. The couple had two more children, Sydney Richard (Dick) and Francesca Elizabeth Waller (Betty).

Frank died in November 1929, at which time he was living at 60 London Road in St. Leonards-on-Sea. He left £3,850 13s 4d to his widow. He is buried in the same grave as Fanny, EE N07.

The post natal maternity ward at the Conquest Hospital is named after him.

Frank Herbert Shaw died at 11 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, on 11 November 1929.

Of Interest:

Archibald Richard Shaw M.D. (15 December 1821 – 30 April 1899), father of Frank Herbert Shaw, was a St. Leonard’s based homeopathic physician, and a committee member for the Hastings Homeopathic Dispensary.

2nd Lieutenant Cuthbert Frank Shaw (1892 – 1914), 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, son of Frank Herbert Shaw.

Charles Thomas Knox Shaw (1855 – 1939), brother of Frank Herbert Shaw, was also an homeopathic physician and worked alongside Frank Shaw at the Buchanan Homeopathic Hospital.