Sue Young Histories

Allan Broman 1861 - 1947

July 03, 2009

Allan Broman 1861 - 1947 was a Swedish Masseur, who was trained at the Stockholm Institute and practiced the Ling Method, and who treated many homeopaths, and also the rich and famous.

Allan Broman founded the National Physical Recreation Society in 1886, which would eventually become the British Olympic Association ‘… *traces its roots back to the National Olympian Association (NOA), which held its inaugural meeting at the Liverpool Gymnasium, Myrtle Street, Liverpool in November 1865. It promoted an annual series of sporting events across Britain, with the aim of encouraging participation in Physical Education through Olympian festivals. The NOA came about mainly through the efforts of John Hulley of Liverpool (Chairman), Dr. William Penny Brookes (of Much Wenlock) and E G Ravenstein (president of the German Gymnastic Society of London). It took the existing Olympian Games of Much Wenlock as its example, thus the NOA Games “were open to all comers” and not just the products of Britain’s public schools. After the NOA closed in 1883 its motto and ethos were inherited by the National Physical Recreation Society (NPRS) which was founded in 1886. From 1902 the President and Treasurer of the NPRS were members of the Olympic “Comité Britannique” and the NPRS was a founding body of the British Olympic Association in 1905*…’ (

Broman was the assistant of Jonas Henrik Kellgren, and he often lectured at the London Homeopathic Hospital, and he was a colleague of David Dyce Brown, George Mann Carfrae, John Henry Clarke, John Roberson Day, Washington Epps, John Moorhead Byres Moir, Edwin Awdas Neatby, Charles Thomas Knox Shaw, Thomas George Stonham,

Broman’s Attendance Book, 1885-1901, and his casebooks, including some correspondence, 1905-1911, of his private practice in London (partly in Swedish) is held at the Wellcome Library, and the list of his patients contained therein is quite remarkable.

They include: James Hamilton 1st Duke of Abercorn, the Hon Rowland Baring (later Lord Cromer) (treated for typhoid), Lady Norah Brassey, Henry Campbell Bannerman (later Prime Minister), Rt Hon (later Viscount) Henry Chaplin M P, Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein (Treated at Buckingham Palace), Lady Spencer Churchill (wife of Randolph), De Bile (the Danish Ambassador), Baron and Baroness Frederick D’erlangen, Baroness G. De Menase, Count Hierschel De Minerbi (the Italian Embassy), Lord Derbu (1908 17th Earl?), Lord De Saumarez, J Duhamel (French master at Harrow School), Lord Dunraven, Washington Epps, Sir Daniel F Goddard M P, Sir Reginald Graham (described as ‘old patient’ - Broman must have treated him before commencement of notebook 1884/5, possibly while assistant to Jonas Henrik Kellgren), the Marquis of Granby, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell, George A Hard M P, Baron de Herckeren, Dr L S Jameson (of ‘Jameson raid’ fame - ‘run down’ after typhoid), Sir Alfred Jephson, Joseph Joachim (violinist and friend of Johannes Brahms?- rheumatism in arms), Henry Wyndham 2nd Baron Leconfield, Duchess of Leeds and family (example of continuing faith in Broman), Sir Frederick Leighton (painter -  treated 1895-6, came to Broman for exercises 3 days before death), Charles Leveson Gower (Cricketer), Sir George Henry Lewis (Solicitor - associated with James Manby Gully/Bravo at earlier date), the Duke of Marlborough, Claude Montefiore and family, Lord Morely (Statesman), Edwin Roscoe Mullins (Sculptor), Lillian Nordica Mme Dome (spelt BOME by Broman - American prima donna), Sir Lionel Phillips (South African millionaire), Dr Austin E Reynolds, John Roberson Day, Lord Rowton, Sir Cecil Spring Rice (diplomat), Dr Starling (the physiologist?), Donald Tovey (musician and composer, then a 24 yr old student of piano, for hand and back trouble - see letter from Sophie Weisse, his mentor and piano teacher), Sir Edward Wingfield (Colonial Office), Lord Wolverton, Count and Countess Wrangel, Robert Leaman Bowles, Stanley Boyd, Dr Julia Maria Brinck, Sir William Broadbent, Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton, Mortimer Granville, Donald William Charles Hood, Thomas Ridge Jones, Kumlien (of Paris), Thomas John Maclagen, William Frederick Hoyle Newbery, Parser, Sydenham Teast Gifford Ransfield, Edward Reynolds Ray, Edward Tait Robinson, Dr Stapfer (or Stopfer - not traced in Medical Directory but evidently in practice in 1900, he sent several patients to Broman and he and his wife treated by Broman), Charles James Symonds, Westbin, Benjamin Mower White, the Staff of London Homeopathic Hospital (with which Broman seems to have had close association), David Dyce Brown, George Mann Carfrae, John Henry Clarke, John Roberson Day, Charles Thomas Knox Shaw (Broman treated his 11 year old son, 1896-98, and the surgeon himself, 1911), John Moorhead Byres Moir (sent many patients to Broman 1895-1901; himself received treatment 1908-10), Edwin Awdas Neatby, Gerald Smith (Surgeon. A letter from Smith shows that Broman conducted gymnastic classes for men at his gymnasium 1898 - presumably refers to the Institute for the Manual Treatment of Diseases, since his Central Institute did not come into existence until 1911), Thomas George Stonham, and many more.

From Allan Broman obtained a Diploma from Central Institute of Gymnastics, Stockholm. In 1883, he was  Assistant [in England?] to Jonas Henrik Kellgren (1837-1916), exponent of Ling system and pioneer of medical gymnastics.

In 1884 (December) he established practice in London (this is the date of the first entry in his notebooks). This may have begun as a partnership since the first treatment [massage and exercises?] was given by Jonas Henrik Kellgren and his brother Arvid, while Broman interviewed and examined the patients.

Subsequently Broman took over the treatment from the Kellgrens whose names disappear [except for references to ‘old patients of Kellgren’s]. Mrs Broman evidently also administered treatment, though she seems to have had her own clientele.

In 1886 Broman founded National Physical Recreation Society. In 1888 he founded his own ‘medical institute’ - not named by sources but Broman used paper headed ‘Institute for the Manual Treatment of Diseases, 10 Southwick Place, Hyde Park, W’…

In 1888-93 he was the Organising Master of Physical Exercises to London School Board. His Swedish system opposed first by Thomas Chesterton (Superintendent of Physical Exercises, who had his own system, more popular with teachers) and later by anti militarist lobby.

In 1891 Broman was President of the Swedish Gymnastics Association. In 1902-1903 he was appointed to conduct first course at new Royal Navy gymnastics school of Portsmouth. In 1905 Broman was the founder member of ‘Svenska Sjukgymnastiksällskapet Ling’ (Swedish Ling School of Medical Gymnastics).

In 1911 (October) he founded the Central Institute for Swedish Gymnastics for men in Paddington Street, London, along the lines of the Stockholm Institute. In 1914, the Central Institute became a hospital, and Broman engaged in recruit training for new armies. In c.1918, the Central Institute was purchased from Broman by London County Council for ?£18,000 and renamed L C C  College of Physical Education.

Broman’s daughter was Anna B Broman MRCP, LRCP (1891-1962) also used the form of Swedish massage which Broman introduced to England, and published on the subject (Recreative Physical Training). Her aunt was Martina Sofia Helena Bergman Osterberg 1849 – 1915, who ran a college at Dartford, Kent, which had a high reputation for its methods of physical training. (Portraits of Allan Broman and Jonas Henrik Kellgren are in A Holmstrom’s Svensk Gymastik 1904-1929, 1930).

Broman’s publications include Physical Education in elementary schools (Paper read at quarterly meeting of Swedish Gymnastics Association) London 1891, Physical Education in elementary schools II (Paper read before International Congress of Hygiene and Demography) London 1891, School Gymnastics on the Swedish System London 1895 (3rd edition, London, 1902), On Physical Education Boston 1913, Physical Education (Reproduced from King Alfred School Magazine) London. 1914, A short Course of Physical Training for the Recruits of the New Armies London, 1915, Rörelselära av Hjalmar Ling [Mechanics of Hjalmar Ling], Stockholm 1949 (posthumous).


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