Walter Caddel

Biography of Walter Caddel

Walter Caddell was born in St Michael Parish, Barbados on 24th July 1774, one of five children of Walter, a doctor, and his wife, Rebecca Simmons.

He came to Glasgow to study Medicine and graduated MD on 19th May 1800. He may have practised in Surinam but was principally associated with Barbados, where he observed and wrote about the medical conditions of the plantation enslaved, urging dietary changes. Enslaved persons, he argued, were weakened by poor nutrition and often died after succumbing to the ‘dysentry, pleurisy, catarrhal affections which are generally epidemic in this country’. In particular he observed the impact of vitamin deficiencies in the conditions Pellagra and Beriberi and that not enough attention was paid to symptoms resulting in ‘the swelling of the Negroes’ until it was too late and the condition was beyond cure.

His report, submitted to the Society for the Improvement of West Indian Plantership on 14th November 1812, must have been compiled shortly before his own death in September that year. He was thirty-eight.

A Walter Caddell, probably his father, was listed as owning 57 enslaved at St.Peter, Barbados, in 1780.

‘The Peerage, a Genealogical Survey of the Peerage of Britain as well as the Royal Families of Europe’

‘Minute Book of the Society for the Improvement of West Indian Plantership. Report on the Health of Barbados Slaves, Meeting of the 14th November,1812’ in Jerome Handler, ‘Diseases and Medical Disabilities of Enslaved Barbadians, From the Seventeeth Century to Around 1838’, J.of Caribbean History 40, 1 (2006)

‘Walter Caddell’, Legacies of British Slave-ownership database,


Walter Caddel
Born 24 July 1774.
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate, Student
GU Degree: MD, 1800;
Record last updated: 1st Jul 2022

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