S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Biccard, Dr Ludwig Gottlob (medical sciences)

Born: 4 December 1775, Germany.
Died: 1822, Cape Town, South Africa.

Ludwig Gottlob (also Godlieb) Biccard qualified as Doctor of Medicine (MD) at Hanover, Germany. He came to the Cape of Good Hope in 1803, when the colony was handed over to the administration of the Batavian Republic, as surgeon-major of the 9th Battalion of J├Ągers, having been commissioned in June 1802. At the Cape he served as Inspector of Hospitals under Dr. R. de K. Dibbitz*, who was in charge of the medical establishment. When smallpox vaccination was introduced to the Cape in December 1803 Biccard served on the medical commission appointed to control vaccination of the population. In 1806, when the Cape again came under British control, he remained to practise privately in Cape Town. He was appointed a member of the new administration's Vaccine Commission that same year, becoming its secretary in 1807.

In April 1807 a Supreme Medical Committee was established by Lieutenant-Governor H.G. Grey to control quackery in both medicine and pharmacy, with Biccard as one of its three members. He served it energetically for more than ten years. In August 1807 the Committee compiled the first list of recognised medical practitioners, apothecaries and chemists at the Cape. Biccard, physician and surgeon, headed the list and was therefore the first doctor officially licensed to practice in South Africa. During the next decade he became one of the leading medical practitioners at the Cape. In 1814 he requested a salary as surgeon to the Cape district and three years later applied for citizenship of the colony. For many years until his resignation in 1818 he was physician and surgeon to the Court of Justice, that is, police surgeon.

Biccard was married to Renetta (or Renette) Wilhelmina Duminy, daughter of the cartographer Francois Duminy*. Their eldest son, Francois L.C. Biccard* became a prominent physician like his father.

List of sources:
African court calendar, 1812, Supreme Medical Committee. (Reprint by South African Library, 1982).

Burrows, E.H. A history of medicine in South Africa up to the end of the nineteenth century. Cape Town: Balkema, 1958.

Hoge, J. Personalia of the Germans at the Cape, 1652-1806. Archives Yearbook for South African History. Cape Town, 1946.

Kaapsche Stads Courant en Afrikaansche Berigter (Cape Town Gazette...), 25 April 1807, Proclamatie... ; 15 Augustus 1807, Gouvernements advertentie (List of medical practitioners).

Laidler, P.W. & Gelfand, M. South Africa: Its medical history, 1652-1898. Cape Town: Struik, 1971.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Ludwig Godlieb Biccard / L.G. Biccard.

Compiled by: C. Plug