Walter Robert Hadwen MD MRCS MRCP (3 August 1854, Woolwich – 27 December 1932) was a Gloucester general practitioner and pharmaceutical chemist, president of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), and an anti-vaccination campaigner known for his denial of the germ theory of disease.
Hadwen began his career as a pharmacist in Clapham then Somerset, then subsequently trained as a doctor at Bristol University. After qualifying, he moved to Gloucester in 1896. Hadwen was recruited as a member of BUAV by its founder and then president Frances Power Cobbe who hired a private investigator to assess his credentials (he was a vegetarian and total abstainer, had a reputation as a "firebrand" orator and was held in "high local esteem"). She subsequently selected him as her successor.
He joined the Plymouth Brethren as an adult.
He was a frequent speaker for the National Anti-Vaccination League.
He was also a member of the London Association for the Prevention of Premature Burial (founded in 1896).
In 1924, having applied his rejection of the germ theory of disease, and his refusal to use diphtheria anti-serum produced by inoculation of animals to the treatment of Nellie Burnham, a young girl, she died and he was tried for manslaughter by criminal medical negligence. He was acquitted of all charges.
- 1896, "The Case Against Vaccination"
- The Difficulties of Dr Deguerre
- 1902 Smallpox at Gloucester. A reply to Dr. Coupland’s Report by Walter Hadwen. Reprinted from "The Reformer," National Anti-Vaccination League: Gloucester
- Hadwen of Gloucester: Man, Medico, Martyr, by Beatrice E. Kidd and M. Edith Richards, 1933, John Murray, London
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- The Times up to and including 30 October 1924
- Who was Dr Hadwen Biography at Dr Hadwen Trust
- Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminism, Journalist, Reformer, Sally Mitchell, 2004, University of Virginia Press ISBN 0-8139-2271-2
- Bodily Matters: The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, 1853-1907, Nadja Durbach, 2005, Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-3423-2
- Obituary, The Times, Saturday, 25 February 1933 John Murray, London, 1933