Stephen Yeldham M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. L.A.C. (1810 – 10 August 1895) was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, to become Consulting Surgeon to the London Homeopathic Hospital. Yeldham was formerly Surgeon to the Royal South London Dispensary and the Royal Maternity Charity Hospital

Stephen Yeldham was a Fellow and Council Member of the British Homeopathic Society. He served as a Vice President of the Society in 1861-4 and 1877, and in 1880 became its third President, succeeding Frederick Hervey Foster Quin (President, 1844 – 1878) and Robert Ellis Dudgeon (President, 1879). Yeldham was also a member of the English Homeopathic Association.

Yeldham was a colleague of Marmaduke Blake Sampson, the Chairman of the British Homeopathic Association, and many other homeopaths, including Robert Baikie, Hugh Cameron, A. C. Edwards, Edward Hamilton, J. Hutton Hill, Joseph Kidd, Thomas Robinson Leadam, Thomas Mackern, William Morgan, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Samuel Thomas Partridge, John Rutherford Russell, Daniel Smith, Severin Wielobycki, George Wyld.

Stephen Yeldham practiced at 9 Stamford Street, Blackfriars Road in London, a neighbour of surgeon Joshua Lambert Vardy. It was Yeldham who introduced Vardy to homeopathy.

In 1858, his address was 7 Upper Montague Street, Russell Square. By 1866, Yeldham was practicing at 53 Moorgate Street Chambers, Bank, and at 10 Taviton Street, Gordon Square.

Stephen Yeldham was born in Colne Engaine, Essex, in 1810 to Joseph Yeldham (1770 – 1852) and Mary Owers (1772 – 1858).

In March 1827, Yeldham obtained his License from the Royal Society of Apothecaries, and in February 1833 was admitted as member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Thirty-one years later, in 1864, he received his License from the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians.

In April, 1835, Yeldham married Emma Banister (1816 – 1899). They had one son, Captain Walter Yeldham (1837 – 1916), an author and cavalry officer in the Bengal Army.

After qualifying, Yeldham entered into private practice in Stamford Street, London. He helped found the South London Dispensary where he served as Surgeon, and was also on the medical staff of the Royal Maternity Charity.

In 1844 Yeldham was introduced to homeopathy. With the support of Frederick Hervey Foster Quin and Edward Hamilton he conducted clinical experiments on a thousand cases over the next five years and as a result became firmly convinced of the efficacy of homeopathic treatment. The results of his trials were published in his 1849 book, Homeopathy in Acute Diseases.

As a result of his conversion – and the animosity now directed at him from his orthodox colleagues – Yeldham resigned his appointments at the South London Dispensary and the Royal Maternity Charity. Alongside his friends Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Edward Hamilton, and others, Yeldham threw himself wholeheartedly into the creation of a new, metropolitan homeopathic hospital.

Stephen Yeldham was active in the foundation of what would become the London Homeopathic Hospital, which was established at 32 Golden Square in 1849, and he was appointed surgeon at its opening. Nearly a decade later, he was present at the Festival in Aid of the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1858, and Yeldham’s wife was also in attendance at the festival, alongside “five Duchesses, three Marchionesses, eleven Countesses, six Viscountesses and thirty one additional ladies of title.” Other hospital medical staff present included Dr.’s William Edward Ayerst, William Bayes, Hugh Cameron, Edward Charles Chepmell, William Vallancy Drury, George Napoleon Epps, Arthur Guinness, Edward Hamilton, Frantz Hartmann, Amos Henriques, Joseph Kidd, Thomas Robinson Leadam, James Bell Metcalfe, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Henry Reynolds, John Rutherford Russell, Charles Caulfield Tuckey, George Wyld.

Around 1854 Yeldham took over the Moorgate Street consultation rooms used by a fellow convert to homeopathy, the recently deceased Henry Smith Searle (c. 1795 – 1854), Assistant Surgeon to the the London Homeopathic Hospital. Yeldham continued to maintain his Stamford Street general practice until 1860, thereafter continuing consulting at Moorgate Street, whilst residing in Taviton Street, until he retired altogether in 1887 and relocated to Upper Tooting.

On 6th July 1865, Stephen Yeldham testified in favour of his patient, a Mr. Piercy, who was dismissed from his job as Drawing Master on the school-ship Britannia. Piercy won his court case against unfair dismissal on the testimony of his homeopaths Stephen Yeldham and James John Garth Wilkinson. Three old medicine physicians were overruled by this testimony, which resulted in them complaining indignantly to The Lancet. This episode was also reported in The Medical Times and Gazette.

In February 1875, Yeldham established a Medical Benevolent Society to support homeopathic physicians and their families in times of financial need.

Stephen Yeldham was also a colleague of John Chapman, Matthew James Chapman, Paul Francois Curie, James Epps, John Epps, James Manby Gully, George Calvert Holland, Richard Hughes, Victor Massol, Samuel Thomas Partridge, James John Garth WilkinsonDavid Wilson and many others.

Yeldham was a low dilution homeopath, as Peter Morrell has noted in Some Abiding Themes Hewn from British Homeopathic History:

In contrast to devotees of high potency, for doctors likeJohn James Drysdale…low dilutions did best and he found no advantage above the 3rd  decimal”

Thus the 3x became the officially approved and standard tool of UK homeopathic practice from 1830 to 1900.

The early UK homeopaths therefore comprised “a remarkably able cohort of 3x men – Stephen Yeldham, John Galley Blackley, John Moorhead Byres Moir, Washington Epps, Charles Thomas Knox Shaw… to which we can also add the names of John Epps, Paul Francois Curie, David Wilson as well as Alfred Crosby Pope, Richard Hughes, David Dyce Brown, William Bayes, Thomas Robinson Leadam and Robert Ellis Dudgeon.

Yeldham contributed many articles for the The British Journal of Homeopathy, The British Homeopathic Review, Annals and Transactions of the British Homeopathic Society, and was cited in a range of papers in publications such as the Anthropological Journal, A Treatise on Apoplexy, Surgery and Its Adaptation Into Homeopathic Practice, and many others.

In 1857, Yeldham obtained a patent for improved indices to books, as recorded in Newton’s London Journal of Arts and Sciences.

Yeldham became ill in the summer of 1895 and was attended by Dr.’s George Lough of Hastings and Frank Shaw, surgeon at the homeopathic Buchanan Hospital in St. Leonards-on-Sea.

Stephen Yeldham died on 10 August, 1895, in Hastings. His obituary was in the The Journal of the British Homeopathic Society in 1896.

Select Publications:

Of Interest:

Walter Yeldham son of Stephen Yeldham, surgeon, of Stamford Street, London. Born in the parish of Christ Church, Surrey, Oct. 4, 1837 is mentioned in the Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, 1349-1897.

Colonel Ronald Ernest Stephen Yeldham CBE (18 August 1902 – 14 August 1983) was an Indian-born British Army officer and cricketer.