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Shoolbred, William Andrew MD (1852 - 1928)

Biographical notes

William Andrew Shoolbred is best known as an active botanist with a particular interest in Hieraceum. He was the first son of John and Ann Shoolbred of Tettenhall Wood, Wolverhampton. His grandfather, a native of Dunfermline, had moved to England early in the century and many related Shoolbreds were in the tailoring trade in London and Wolverhampton.

After studying medicine in Edinburgh and St Bartholomew's, London, he became assistant to Dr Frederick George White of Castle House, 4 Bridge Street, Chepstow. He remained a Chepstow surgeon and resident until his death half a century later.

Although no firm evidence has yet been discovered, it seems likely that Shoolbred may have been an associate, and perhaps even a protégé of Dr John Fraser (1820 - 1909) who lived in the same part of Wolverhampton and who's family had business connections to the Shoolbreds. This could account for the large number (over 140) specimens in the Hull University Herbarium HLU which incorporated John Fraser's personal herbarium. Shoolbred's extensive personal herbarium was donated to the National Museum of Wales and his collectings appear in many other herbaria as a result of his exchange club activities.


1861 Census - Tettenhall Wood
1871 Census - Tettenhall Wood
1878 March Chepstow
1881 Census - 50 Bridge St., Chepstow
1891 Census - 50 Bridge St., Chepstow
1901 Census - St Ann, Bridge St., Chepstow
1911 Census - St Ann's, Chepstow
1928 St Ann's Chepstow



Additional links

Annotated family tree of the Shoolbreds of Wolverhampton. link
The Herbaria at Home project has catalogued almost 500 of his specimens in various British harbaria. link
Chronological list of specimens in HLU collected by W A Shoolbred. link
Price W Carter (1898 - 1971) prepared papers on the botanical history of all 13 Welsh counties. His treatment of Monmouthshire was published posthumously (after preparation by Gwynn Ellis). BSBI Welsh Bulletin no 66, Winter 1999 18 - 30. It provides some useful biographical information of W A Shoolbred.
[Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland]
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1852 March 11 : Birth William was born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, son of John and Ann Shoolbred. His father was a tailor employing several men.
1868 : Entomology - The Entomologist 1869 4 p 136
"Larva of Acronycta alni near Wolverhampton - I found a larva of Acronycta alni near here on July [sic] 28th. It was on the decayed trunk of an alder-bush in a hedge. It was apparently descending to spin up. I took it home, and on the 27th it had spun up inside a small piece of rotten willow wood. It was of a velvety black colour, with an oblong yellow patch on the back of each segment, and from each segment long spines isued, clubbed and flattened at the end, somewhat like a butterfly's antennae. - W. A. Shoolbred, jun.; Tettenhall Wood, Compton, Wolverhampton, July 28, 1868."
1872 June 6 : First HLU specimen His first dated specimen in the Hull University Herbarium is of Ajuga reptans collected in Shropshire.
1874 : Gold Medal Medical News - 1874 July 11
At the competitive examination for the prize in botany given annualy by the apothecaries' Society to medical students, the gold medal has been awarded to William Andrew Shoolbred, of St. Bartholomew's Hospital ..."
1877 March 31 : Medical Registration First registered as a medical practitioner. He had become Mem. R. Col. Surg. Eng. and Lic. Soc. Apoth. Lond. the previous year.
1878 May : Chepstow His first specimen in HLU from the Chepstow area is Veronica arvensis from Sedbury.
1888 September 13 : Chepstow
The British Association
¹Bristol Mercury - 1888 September 14
A party numbering 59, conducted by Messrs J.S. Turner, J.P., B.H. Watts, J.S. Bartrum, J.P., J. Yeats, LL.D., &c., the Rev E.J. Hensley, M.A., the Rev W.E. Rosedale, M.A., and Dr Shoolbred, arrived at Chepstow about eleven ..."
1889 May : Italy HLU has a specimen of Aristolochia clematitis collected in Northern Italy.
1894 : Publication Botanical Trip to Co. Antrim. The Irish Naturalist 3 146-9, 167-9.
[Biodiversity Heritage Library]
1895 : Publication Plants observed in the Outer Hebrides in 1894. Journal of botany 33, 237-249.
[Biodiversity Heritage Library]
1902 : FLS William Andrew Shoolbred elected a fellow of the Linnean Society.
1907 July 13 : New York William sailed fron Liverpool to New York on the SS Devonian. He is described as 5' 11½" tall, with fair hair and complexion and grey eyes.
1914 July 4 : New York Dr William Andrew Shoolbred (62) of Chepstow, sailed from Southampton to New York. He was visiting his brother, J N Shoolbred, in Waynesville, North Carolina. He is described as having fair hair and complexion with grey eyes. He had previously travelled to the US in 1906
Travelling on the same ticket is Lucy Shoolbred (17) who is described as a wife but in another part of the manifest he is described as single. She is listed elsewhere as Mary Lucy Shoolbred born 1897.10.17 in Elizabethton Tennessee, returning to her father in Waynesville - it was his niece.
William arrived back in Southampton on 1914 August 1.
1920 : Publication The Flora of Chepstow Taylor and Francis, London.
1928 January 25 : Death ¹Western Daily Press - 1928 January 31
CHEPSTOW. A Doctor's Funeral.
The interment of Dr Schoolbred at Chepstow Cemetery was preceded by a service in the Parish Church where the deceased waas formerly Churchwarden. There was a large and representative gathering, and the officiating clergy were the Revs. D. Hughres (Vicar), J.D. Hughes (Cardiff), B.G. Williams (Undy), and R.A. Sluman (curate), with Mr Chapman (lay preacher). The principal mourners were Mr and Mrs John Shoolbred (brother and sister-in-law), Miss Ryder and the indoor and outdoor staff at St Ann's. The pallbearers were the two Churchwardens (Messrs C.H. Clarke and C.E. Edmonds). Mr G.C. Francus, Mr J.E.G. Lawrence, Dr. Drapes and Dr. Thompson.

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton : last updated 2016 March 6