chemistWilliam Headland (c. 1808 – 3 April 1860) was an homeopathic chemist and publisher, a member of the British Homeopathic Society, and was described by his homeopathic colleagues as “our first chemist” and “our chief homeopathic chemist.”

Headland was Honorary Chemist to the London Hahnemann Hospital at 39, Bloomsbury Square. He was also the homeopathic chemist of the earlier London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square, and the Islington Homeopathic Dispensary and the West London Homeopathic Dispensary.

In 1835, William Headland founded Headland & Co. in London. Headland published and sold a wide range of homeopathic books, products and supplies, and he supplied remedies to many of the early British homeopaths and Dispensaries. By 1851 he was capable of preparing high dilutions to the 200th and 800th dilutions along the lines of Caspar Julius Jenichen.

William Headland’s wife Harriet was an ardent suffragette. [was he married?]

William Headland established a pharmacy at 15 Princes Street, Hanover Square, London.

In 1843, Headland lectured on homeopathic pharmacy at the London Homoeopathic Medical Institution.

Two years later, in 1845, Headland was one of a number of subscribers who donated to the construction of a Hahnemann Monument in Köthen, Germany. Headland provided his offices for the collection of British donations for the monument.

By 1849, Headland & Co. had a second location, at 63 Hanover Street, Edinburgh. Also listed at this address was homeopath Dr. George Edward Allshorn who used remedies supplied by Headland in a local veterinary case.

In 1855, Headland also collected donations in support of Dr. David M’Connell Reed, a Homeopath who had been dismissed without pay or pension for curing a fellow doctor of cholera, whilst travelling aboard the steam transport Candia between Southampton and the Dardanelles.

William Headland published books by Juan Norberto Casanova, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, William Vallancey Drury, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Roupell Everest, Edward Hamilton, Carl Georg Christian Hartlaub, William Henderson, Amos Henriques, Henry Victor Malan, John H Nankivell, John Edward Norton, John Rutherford Russell, George McKenzie Scott, George Strong, John Stuart Sutherland and James John Garth Wilkinson. He also published the 5th Edition of Samuel Hahnemann‘s Organon, works by Gottlieb Heinrich Georg Jahr, and many other homeopathic publications.

William Headland died in April 1860, and was buried in the churchyard of  St Mary Magdalene in Reigate, Surrey. His will revealed investments in a mining concern in Cornwall.

By 1890 Headland and Co. had been succeeded by Keene and Ashwell, Manufacturing Homoeopathic Chemists, located at New Bond Street, London. Keene and Ashwell was later amalgamated with Nelson’s Homeopathic Pharmacy.

In 1927, The Pharmaceutical Journal revealed that Headland & Co “A well known business in the Western Road is that of Headland and Co., now controlled by Mr. H A Bancks… was founded by William Headland, a homeopathic chemist in 1860… has now become a wholly allopathic concern…”

Select Publications:

Anonymous author, published by Headland:

Medical Reform in the Direction of Homoeopathy (1856)

Of interest:

Alfred Headland (1844 – c. 1874), a relative of William Headland, was an homeopathic chemist in Brighton in 1868. He contributed to a debate on The Urgent Need for a New Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia, and worked for the Brighton Homeopathic Institute for Diseases of Children at 148 Western Road, alongside Edward Acworth, Richard Tuthill Massy. Alfred Headland & Co. were listed as Homeopathic Chemists at this address as late as 1874. He also resided at 46 Harmer Street, Gravesend.

Edward Headland M.R.C S. L.S.A. (1803 – 8 December 1869), brother of William Headland, father of Frederick William Headland, was an allopath who initially experimented with homeopathy. He was a colleague of William Kingdon and lay homeopath Thomas Uwins, and in 1826, they raised the subject of homeopathy before the Medical Society of London, to much ridicule. When Thomas Uwins, who was one of the speakers at this meeting, asked politely for a copy of the minutes of this meeting, he was refused them in a “churlish, sectarian and ungentlemanly spirit.” In 1849, Edward Headland and William Kingdon read another paper in favour of homeopathy before the Medical Society of London, and yet again, they were roundly ridiculed for this. Edward Headland was a physician of Charles Darwin‘s family. According to Emma Darwin’s diary, Horace Darwin had been ill since January 1862. Emma took him to London in February for a consultation with Edward Headland.

Frederick William Headland M.D. (8 November 1829 – 4 September 1875), the son of Edward Headland, nephew of William Headland, was an orthodox physician and one of Charles Darwin’s doctors. Frederick William Headland clearly studied homeopathy and, in 1845, he wrote Arnica Montana and Rhus Toxicodendron as External Remedies. In 1852, he wrote An Essay on the Action of Medicines in the System (Being the prize essay to which the Medical Society of London awarded the Fothergillian gold medal for MDCCCLII), in which he criticised homeopathy. The 1858 edition of this book was reviewed in the British Homeopathic Review, Volume 2 in 1858, and concluded that he knew very little about homeopathy, but when he did so they “had so much respect and esteme” for him, that they would welcome him into the fold.

More insight into this favourable reaction by homeopaths may be gleaned from the review by the North American Journal of Homoeopathy, Volume 6 in 1858, which comments “But singularly enough, he too occasionally is able to do a mite of justice to each system…” (allopathy and homeopathy) due to his “accidental admissions,” for example his clear explanation of the action of arsenic, his “admissions in favour of homeopathy” and “plunging still deeper into homeopathy” and for his acceptance that contraria contrariis curantur and similia similibus curantur are two laws which are the complements of each other and not diametrically opposed to each other. Though the North American Journal of Homoeopathy despairs of his analysis in places, they also applaud how far he had come in his understanding.