James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker Samuel Beckett Sam Hanna Bell William Carleton John Hewitt Rosamond Praegar Bernard (Barney) Hughes

David McBride (1726 - 1778):
Physician and Chemist


David McBride was a naval doctor and chemist, who published widely; notably on how to treat scurvy, scourge of sailors everfywhere.

McBride was born in Ballymoney, County Antrim, eldest son of Rev Robert cBride, Minister of Ballymoney Presbyterian Church. He joined the Naval Medical Service in time to serve as surgeon’s mate during the War of the Austrian Succession (1741-1748). He studied medicine at Edinburgh, London and Leyden and after a spell back in Ballymena, in 1751 he moved to Dublin where he set up in Cavendish Row successful practice as physician, surgeon and obstetrician (some sources claim he delivered the future Duke of Wellington). In 1753 he as a co-founder of the Meath Hospital.

He sought to tackle the perennial problem for the Navy of scurvy; McBride's theory which he propounded in 1762, was to use malt wort or yeast, this conflicting with the theory advanced by James Lind, of citrus juice (lemon or lime); the Admiralty preferred McBride’s method, perhaps because of the cost of fresh limes. In 1764 he obtained his MD. He was awarded the silver medal of the Dublin Society for his invention of new method of tanning with lime and later was awarded the gold medal of the society of Arts. He also was one of the first to relate angina pectoris to diet and obesity.

His publications included collections entitled Experimental Essays, which appeared in 1784, 1767 and 1776; Historical Account of a New Method of Treating the Scurvy at Sea (1767); and A Methodical Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Physic (1772). His work was translated into a number of languages.

He was married twice, having outlived his first wife. His brother John also served in the Navy and attained the rank of Admiral.



Born: 26 April 1726
Died: 28 December 1778
Kate Newmann
Acknowledgements:

Additional material Richard Froggatt, 08/2015, from RSJ Clarke: A Directory of Ulster Doctors (Ulster Historical Foundation 2013)