Melson, Dr John Barritt, JP

Physician, scientist and magistrate, born at Brechin. He was the son of a radical WM minister, Robert Melson (bap. 2 April 1780; e.m. 1803) who left the ministry in 1852 in protest against Conference policies, and his wife Elizabeth, née Barritt, daughter of John Barritt (1754-1841; e.m. 1786) and niece of Mary Barritt. While at Woodhouse Grove School he delivered the Greek speech before the 1824 Conference meeting in Leeds. He studied medicine at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in both Arts and Science, became a successful doctor in Birmingham and one of the founders and first physicians of the Queen's Hospital. He lived to be the senior physician and senior resident magistrate in the town. He was a noted science lecturer and corresponded with Michael Faraday and Isambard Brunel, contributing significantly to railway technology. He introduced electroplating, telegraphy and photography to Birmingham. He was a lifelong member of the Cherry Street WM chapel. As a popular local preacher for 35 years, he 'preached the gospel longer than any minister, Anglican or Nonconformist'. He was a founding member of theLPMAA and of the Evangelical Alliance.

  • Birmingham Faces and Places (1888) pp.129-32, with portrait
  • W.C. Sheldon, Early Methodism in Birmingham (1903) pp.53-4