John Beddoe

John Beddoe

John Beddoe
Born (1826-09-21)21 September 1826
Bewdley, Worcestershire
Died 19 July 1911(1911-07-19) (aged 84)
Nationality British
Alma mater University College, London;
Edinburgh University
Occupation ethnologist

John Beddoe (21 September 1826 – 19 July 1911) was one of the most prominent English ethnologists in Victorian Britain.


Beddoe was born in Bewdley, Worcestershire, and educated at University College, London (BA (London)) and Edinburgh University (M.D. 1853). He served in the Crimean War and was a physician at Bristol Royal Infirmary from 1862 to 1873.[1] He retired from practice in Bristol in 1891.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1873.[2] He was a founder of the Ethnological Society and president of the Anthropological Institute from 1889 to 1891.[1]

He died at Bradford-on-Avon on 19 July 1911.[1]


In 1858, he married Agnes Montgomerie Cameron, daughter of Rev. A. Christison and niece of Robert Christison.[1]


He believed that eye and hair colour were valuable evidence in the origins of the British people. He wrote The Races of Britain: A Contribution to the Anthropology of Western Europe, (1862) which was re-published in 1862, 1885, 1905 and 1971. Beddoe wrote in his work that all geniuses tended to be "orthognathous" (that is, have receding jaws) while the Irish and the Welsh were "prognathous" (have large jaws). Beddoe also maintained that Celts were similar to Cromagnon man, and Cromagnon man was similar to the "Africanoid" race. Celts in Beddoe's "Index of Negrescence" are very different from Anglo-Saxons.


  1. ^ a b c d James 1912.
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 12 December 2010.