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Edith Neild - 1st Female member British Homeopathic Society

Edith Neild 1874 - 1927

Edith Neild, who became the first female member of the British Homeopathic Society, was the daughter of Dr. Frederic Neild and his wife Annie, née Miller. Frederic had studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and it was in Scotland that he met and married his wife in 1872. Following their marriage they moved to Plymouth, Devon where Edith was born on 15th January 1874, the first of eight children (6 daughters and 2 sons).

While in Plymouth, Frederic Neild founded the Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall Homeopathic Dispensary and Cottage Hospital where he worked as physician. Shortly after the birth of their son Charles in 1885 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells, and the 1891 census shows the household living in the town centre at Belvedere House, 1 Church Road (latterly the cinema site), though neither parent was present on the day in question. The census lists all eight children, aged from 2 to 17, together with their grandmother (Jane Miller), a locum and five servants including a governess. At this date Edith was 17 and still classed as a scholar.

Once in Tunbridge Wells, Frederic Neild became the consulting physician at Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital near the other end of Church Road. It is not surprising, therefore, that his eldest daughter not only chose to study medicine, but also eventually moved into homeopathic medicine, working first in London before moving back to Tunbridge Wells to assist her father. She held the position of honorary physician at the hospital for 27 years and also opened her own practice across the road at 32 Church Road; the censuses for 1911 and 1921 show her living there, along with her cook and parlour/housemaid.

Edith’s mother died in 1900 aged 53; her father died in 1926 aged 79, having retired in 1914 to Hartfield, a few miles away in Sussex. Just a year after the death of her father, Edith herself died on 29th August 1927, aged 53, while visiting her sisters at Shaugh Cottage, Hartfield. Obituaries in the local press record that she had been in indifferent health since 1910 and had finally retired because of this, only two months before her death.

Edith Neild was buried alongside her parents in Hawkenbury Cemetery according to the rites of the Society of Friends, of which the family were members.

More information on Edith’s medical career can be found by following this link Neild, Edith (1874 – 1927) – Hahnemann House Trust

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