Bryan Higgins was born at Collooney in County Sligo, Ireland and died at Walford, Staffordshire. He was the son of a well-to-do physician. Little is known of his education, except that he enrolled at the University of Leyden in October 1765, and took his MD shortly afterwards. In 1770 he married and set himself up in a medical practice in London. His main interest, however, was in chemistry, and in the application of chemical knowledge to manufacturing industry. In 1774 he opened a ‘school of practical chemistry’ in London, offering lectures on ‘philosophical’, ‘pharmaceutical’ and ‘technical’ chemistry, and using students' tuition fees to support his own research work. Higgins' Syllabus of Chemical and Phil-osophical Enquiries (1776) gives a picture of the activities and concerns of the school. Bryan's nephew William Higgins served for a while as his uncle's assistant.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.