George Bidie

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Surgeon General
George Bidie
Superintendent of the Government Museum, Chennai
In office
Preceded by Jesse Mitchell
Succeeded by Edgar Thurston
Personal details
Born 1830
Died 1913
Spouse(s) Isabella Wiseman
Profession physician
Religion Christian

Surgeon General George Bidie CIE (3 April 1830 – 19 February 1913) was a British physician who worked in India in the Madras Medical Service. He was also Superintendent of the Government Museum, Chennai from 1872 to 1885.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Bidie was born in Buckies, Banffshire, United Kingdom on 3 April 1830. He studied at Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen and received an MD degree from Marischal College. In 1853 he received the FRCS from Edinburgh and joined the Indian Medical Service as an Assistant Surgeon on 20 February 1856.[2]


Bidie joined the Madras Medical Service in 1856 and served with the Hyderabad contingent during the 1857 rebellion and received a medal. He was a Civil Surgeon at Guntur during 1859 and between 1867 and 1868, served on special duty in Mysore and Coorg to investigate the stem borer (Xylotrechus quadripes) and its damage to coffee.[3] He was a Professor of Botany at the Madras Medical College and a Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum between 1866 and 1870. During this period he also took an interest in the deforestation-desiccation debate and wrote about the effects of deforestation in Coorg.[4] He rose through the ranks becoming Surgeon (20 February 1868), Surgeon-Major (1 July 1873), Brigade Surgeon (28 February 1883), Deputy Surgeon-General (11 October 1884) and Surgeon-General (9 October 1886). During his service he was decorated Order of the Crown of Italy (1882) and made a CIE (1 January 1883) and appointed Honorary Surgeon to the Queen (16 February 1898), a position he held under Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V.[2][5]

Bidie also worked as Superintendent of the Madras Museum from 1872 to 1884 as well as serving on the Cinchona Commission in 1873. He became a Fellow of Madras University in 1879. He also worked on sanitation, becoming Sanitary Commissioner of the Madras Presidency (1886) and was a delegate in the International Congress on Hygiene and Demography in 1891. While at the Madras Museum, he wrote on a wide range of subjects including natural history, numismatics and archaeology.[2]

Bidie married Isabella, daughter of Alexander Wiseman of Banchory, Aberdeenshire on 11 July 1854. One of his sons, George Bidie, became a Lieutenant-Colonel and followed in his footsteps to serve in the Madras Medical Service.[2]


  1. ^ "BIDIE, Surgeon-General George". Who's Who, 59: p. 151. 1907. 
  2. ^ a b c d Anonymous (1913). "Obituary Surgeon-General George Bidie, CIE". British Medical Journal: 473. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2722.473-a. 
  3. ^ Bidie, G (1869). Report of the ravages of the borer in coffee estates. Madras: Gantz Brothers. 
  4. ^ Bidie, George (1869). "Effects of Forest Destruction in Coorg". Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 39: 77–90. 
  5. ^ Buckland, C.E. (1906). Dictionary of Indian Biography. London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co. p. 41. 

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