Bryan and William Higgins

  • J. R. Partington


Bryan Higgins (Collooney, Co. Sligo, 1737 or 1741–Walford, Staffs., 1818) took the external M.D. of Leyden and practised as a physician in London, where he opened a School of Practical Chemistry on 5 July 1774 in Greek Street, Soho, giving a course of lectures and demonstrations.1 He was assisted for a time by his nephew William Higgins, who calls him ‘a phlogistian’.2 The syllabus of the lectures was issued first in 1775 (I), then reprinted with many slight changes of wording and omissions in 1776 (II). In I Higgins says many subscribers had asked for a previous course of practical chemistry in which a didactic order would be preserved, and a syllabus of this was published as III:
  1. I.

    A Syllabus of the Discourses and Experiments, With which the Meetings of the Subscribers are to be opened, after the Course of Chemistry is concluded; undated. On p. 2: Advertisement. The following Proposals, altho’ formerly published, are inserted with a view to express the purposes for which the approaching meetings are to be held.

  2. II.

    A Syllabus of Chemical and Philosophical Enquiries, composed for the Use of the Noblemen and Gentlemen who have subscribed to the Proposals made for the Advancement of Natural Knowledge; in IV, pp. xix–liii, and separately (same title): London, printed for J. Robson and Co., New Bond Street, and B. Law, Ave Maria Lane, 1776.



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  1. 1.
    Goodwin, DNB, 1891, xxvi, 366; B. Higgins, IV, viii; Lippmann, (3), ii, 248; and the literature cited under William Higgins, p. 737.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W. Higgins, A Comparative View of the Phlogistic and Antiphlogistic Théories, 1789, xii, 249.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Atkinson, ,J. Chem. Educ., 1940, xvii, 3; T. Dillon, Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Journal, I955-6, iv, 11; Goodwin, DNB, 1891, xxxvi, 366 (Bryan), 371 (William); Kopp, (3), 282; Meldrum, ‘Two Great Irish Chemists: B. and W. Higgins’, New Ireland Review, 1909-10, xxxii, 275, 350; Partington, Nature, 1951, clxvii, 120, 735; 1955, clxxvi, 8; J. Reilly and D. T. MacSweeney, Sci. Proc. Roy. Dublin Soc, 1929, xix, 139; R. A. Smith, Manchester Mem., 1856, xiii, 175, 184-5; W. K. Sullivan, Dublin Quart. J. Medical Sci., 1849, viii, 465 (incl. other Irish chemists); T. S. Wheeler, Endeavour, 1952, xi, 47; id., Studies, Dublin, 1954, liv, 78, 207, 327; id. and J. R. Partington, The Life and Work of William Higgins, Chemist, London, i960 (with reprints of II and III); J. H. White, Sci. Progr., 1929, xxiv, 300; see also p. 749.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    John Davy, Memoirs of the Life of Sir Humphry Davy, 1836, i, 440.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. R. Partington 1962

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Partington
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LondonUK
  2. 2.Queen Mary CollegeLondonUK

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