Thomas Cardwell MRCP Eng 1882. LRCP Edin 1885
There is very little information about this particular doctor, he appears to have been practising in the village from 1903 until 1910/11. He was born on 24 October 1857 in Lytham, Lancashire. He began his career as a clinic assistant at Evelina Hospital for poor children in London. This hospital was founded by Baron Rothschild in 1869. In August 1888 he married Mary Elizabeth Phillips in Stroud Green, Middlesex. By 1891 he had moved to Ropsley in Lincolnshire where he is described as the Medical Officer for the Ropsley District Grantham Union and Duty Registrar and GP.
In the 1901 census he has two daughters, Nora (1890), Janet Mary (1892) and a son Cuthbert Henry (1893) and is recorded as a Physician and Surgeon. He first appears in our village in 1903 and is living at Granville House (Dr Ellam had vacated this house circa 1886). There are no newspaper reports or anything else to indicate his involvement in the lives of the village residents. The family had moved to Devon by the time of the 1911 census. Thomas died on 12 August 1942 in Bristol at the age of 84.
Dr Ernest Edward Allaway M.B. Ch.B 1907, Univ Aberdeen
Ernest Edward Allaway was born on 10 September 1877 in Reading, Berkshire. His father was a Master Butcher and he had 5 sisters and 2 brothers. By the time of the 1891 census his father had become an Agricultural livestock agent and hide buyer. By 1901 the family had moved to Aberdeen where Ernest was to attend university. He became a doctor in 1907 and was assistant house surgeon at Nottingham General Hospital, and in 1909 he was appointed resident assistant medical officer at the Nottingham Workhouse, located at Bagthorpe on the site of the now City Hospital. He took up the post of G.P. in Radcliffe around 1912. He married Ethel (Cissie) Redgate, daughter of Herbert Redgate who was a Lace Merchant living on Walnut Grove, on 15 September 1914 at St Mary’s Church in the village. They had 2 sons, John Richard born in 1915, and then Ernest Peter born in 1920. The family are recorded as living at Elm House, 29 Cropwell Road, before moving to 15 Main Road (next to The Grange) in 1924. In this particular house part of the downstairs was a waiting room, surgery and pharmacy.
In 1917 Dr Allaway was appointed Certifying Surgeon under the Factory and Workshops Act in succession to Dr A Campbell, who had resigned this post. In 1920 he is recorded as a Physician, Surgeon and Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for Radcliffe on Trent and District. His private practice covered Cotgrave, Holme Pierrepont and Shelford. He had a surgery in Cotgrave opposite the entrance to the church which was held two or three times a week, however when looking for the doctor, the first place you looked was The Manvers Arms in Cotgrave. The charge for a doctor’s visit was 5s. 9d. Dr Allaway was able to remove tonsils and also act as a dentist, taking teeth out with the aid of a glass of whisky (not sure if the doctor or the patient had the whisky!!!). A local resident remembers him as being very dour and unapproachable, no bedside manner and he seemed to prescribe only cough medicine, throat tincture and sal volatile. He played golf in the village, playing in a number of local tournaments. He was obviously used to mixing with the high society of the village as it is recorded that he and wife attended the marriage of Vera Birkin to James Seely and presented them with a Chinese bowl as a wedding gift. During the Second World War he regularly visited the village school, checking their and the evacuees health together with vaccinating the children against Diphtheria.
Dr Allaway died on 31 July 1950 aged 72 in The General Hospital in Nottingham.
In 2021 the following doctors are all in the living memory of a number of the village residents. They lived within the community and became respected members of the village. It is easy to forget that prior to the National Health Service patients paid their local doctors for treatment or became ‘panel patients’* who contributed small amounts on a regular basis to help pay for treatment when needed.
*Panel Patients -Payment for medical treatment depended on occupational status, class, gender, and age. Many working men possessed health coverage under the 1911 National Insurance Act, which provided access to a ‘panel’ doctor for a contribution from their weekly wages. ‘Dependents’ (wives and children), however, were not covered by the 1911 Act and had to pay out of their own pockets to see a doctor (typically 3 shillings and sixpence in the 1930s). As a result, women and children faced some of the harshest barriers to medical care in the interwar period. As national insurance depended on job status, the long term unemployed also often struggled to access affordable healthcare. Surprisingly, so could many members of the middle class. Many found paying private fees difficult and were disqualified for coverage under the 1911 Act if they earned above the wage limit.(Andrew Seaton, History of Government blog)
Invoice pre NHS regarding birth of Richard Caunt
On 5 July 1948 the National Health Service (NHS) was launched by Aneurin Bevan, the Labour Minister of Health. In June of that year every household in England had received a letter explaining that:
It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use it or any part of it. There are no charges except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a ‘charity’, you are all paying for it, mainly as tax payers, and it will relieve our money worries in time of illness – Central Office of Information for the Ministry of Health
Dr Frank Towers BA MB ChB
Born September 22 1893 to John, a saddler and harness maker, and Ann Twamlow Kinsey. He was the youngest of 8 children from Favenham, Cheshire. He studied first at Durham University before moving to Edinburgh where he obtained his medical qualification. He married Edith Sherriff Watson on 6 June 1924 in Portobello, Scotland. Edith was a qualified medical dispenser and in 1922 she was working at the Gogarburn Hospital on Glasgow Road so it is quite possible they had met through work. This hospital housed ‘convalescent and delicate children’. They had a daughter Margaret born on July 23 1929. They are recorded as living in the village in 1927 in Dunmore House on Main Road but by 1929 they had moved to Northcote House, 45 Bingham Road (photograph right).
By 1933 they had left Radcliffe and moved to Bedworth,Warwickshire where he continued his work as a medical practitioner.
Frank had served in the First World War, obtaining a commission and serving as a Lieutenant for the 1st City Battalion, Manchester regiment. On his attestation papers he is described as having a fresh complexion, brown eyes, black hair, standing 5ft 9ins tall and weighing 128 lbs.
Frank died in April 1971 in Sandbach; Edith had predeceased him on March 1, 1971.
Dr James Douglas Sanby Thomas M.B BS
He was born 10 September 1900 in Merthyr Tydfil. His father J S Thomas was a bank manager, his mother was Annie and he had one sister Kathleen and four brothers, David, John, Trevor and Herbert. His father died in 1915. He enlisted in the RAF as a cadet on 10 September 1918, Service No 182923. He studied at London University and then commenced his medical studies on January 7 1921 at Guy’s Hospital where he became a house surgeon and clinical assistant. His widowed mother and brother moved to Epsom in Surrey where Dr Thomas lived with them. In 1928 he obtained a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene which he took with him when he went to Kenya to serve as a medical officer from 1928 – 1931.
He married Olive Langdon Griffiths, whose father was a chemist on July 6 1932 at St Martin in the Fields, London. He took up residence from Dr Towers in Northcote House in 1933 and like the doctors before him he practised independently from his own home, preparing all his medicines at the house. They had one child. Michael who was born in 1934. (Photograph above of Dr and Mrs Thomas and Michael). Dr Thomas did all his visits on his bicycle and was known as the ‘poor man’s doctor’.
Every Friday he would call on his panel patients (see note above) who had paid him 6d (2.5p) a week regardless of how many family members there were. He was also known to sort out a troublesome tooth whilst in the surgery. He eventually bought a car, an open top Morris 8. He always had a stethoscope lying on the back seat. In 1939 his widowed mother was living with them on Bingham Road.
About 1943 Dr Thomas opened a surgery at 17 Bingham Road. Villagers recall the system that was followed at the surgery:- (photograph right)
Patients were seen without an appointment each weekday, morning and evening surgery, however not on a Wednesday as this was half day closing when almost everything shut down. You would enter by the central front door of the house, turn left into the waiting room at the front of the house. On the immediate right was a hatchway into the room behind. This was the receptionist’s domain where all the patients’ files were kept. An assortment of chairs lined the walls and bay window. Usually there was a notepad at the hatch where you put your name down in order of arrival. The other front room on the left was the doctors’ consulting room.
(He helped to create the new telephone exchange located on New Road and when it was opened in 1963 he was in hospital at Harlow Wood so the opening ceremony was done from his hospital bed.)
A few weeks after retiring he was killed in a car accident whilst on holiday in St Allen, Cornwall on 17 July 1967; his car was hit by a runaway lorry. He was remembered very favourably by the village and its residents; he was a churchwarden for five years and he had led a campaign for permanent and increased funding for St Mary’s Church. His funeral took place in Truro and tributes were led by Rev Tom Richardson, a former vicar of Radcliffe, then vicar of St Austell in Cornwall.
A memorial service was held at the church in Radcliffe on 9 August 1967 and the following report appeared in the Newark Advertiser on 15 August –
A lifetime of service to Radcliffe by Dr Douglas Thomas, killed recently in a road accident near Truro in Cornwall, was remembered by hundreds of people who attended his memorial service at Radcliffe Parish Church on Wednesday. In a tribute the Bishop of Portsmouth the right Rev John Phillips, a former Vicar of Radcliffe, spoke of Dr Thomas as a highly respected person who worked for the well-being of all his patients. During his service to the village Dr Thomas was perhaps one of the last of a devoted band of practitioners who knew the patients from an early age and had done many unforgettable kindnesses and had been an inspiration to the community in general. Many people here have cause to be deeply grateful to him and for his work, said the Bishop. We here today have our own special memories of this great man and I know you will agree when I say that words are completely inadequate to express our feelings. Mentioning Mrs Thomas still seriously ill in hospital, the Bishop urged for prayer. Amongst those present at the service, which was conducted by the vicar the Reverend George Halsey, were Dr Thomas’s son and daughter-in-law the Reverend and Mrs Michael Thomas and two couples who were on holiday with them in Cornwall, Mr and Mrs T K Parr of Cropwell Butler and Mr and Mrs G S Chatterton of Shelford.
In 1970 residents of the village decided that a memorial fund should be started to provide a lasting tribute to Dr Thomas, who was a highly respected and popular doctor. A total of £300 was raised by a village collection and together with a sum promised by the Parish Council it was agreed that an adventure playground would be a suitable memorial. It was to be located on land on the cliff walk near Valley Road. Many people, including two local architects, gave their services free to create this playground. Equipment included a slide, climbing bars, swings, a climbing tower and a creative area. Seats were provided and it was hoped that the area would become a meeting place for mothers to sit and talk while their children made use of the facilities.
(In April 2021 the author had a telephone conversation with his son, Michael, who was the vicar of St Mary’s in Portchester in Hampshire, when he spoke at length about his time with his parents in the village. He remembered his father’s prowess at boxing taking up the sport whilst at University and he never lost a fight! Michael also took up the sport along with some friends, he even won a cup whilst studying at Sherborne School. He also recalled the times spent travelling with his father when visiting patients in the open top car, sometimes with 7 or 8 of his friends along for the ride. His father volunteered to join up at the start of the Second World War, but owing to the fact that many of the doctors in the local area has already been accepted, Dr Thomas was asked to stay in the village and take on the four other practices. This unfortunately took its toll and shortly after the doctors returned from the war, Dr Thomas collapsed and was forced to rest until he was able to carry on with the looking after the village.)
He is also remembered on a plaque in the church.
Dr William Leslie Gordon MB ChB Aberdeen(1938)
He was born on 27 April1916 in Aberdeen, his father William Johnstone was a teacher. He attended Aberdeen University and commenced work as a physician at Mansfield General Hospital (closed in 1992) in 1939. He then entered medical practice here in Radcliffe after the Second World War. He had married Jean Dorothy Bannister in 1946 in Hull district. She was a qualified veterinary surgeon having graduated from Glasgow University during the Second World War. They had 2 children, Janet born in 1948 and Alasdair in 1949. They lived at 27 Cropwell Road before moving further up the road to 74 Cropwell Road known as Millfield where Mrs Gordon also ran her veterinary practice. Dr Gordon died 15 September 1966 aged 50 from pneumonia after a heart attack; he had been in practice for 23 years. The family moved to 34 Shelford Road where Dr Gordon’s father had previously lived after he retired from teaching; Mrs Gordon continued her veterinary practice from there before retiring in 1980 when she moved to East Bridgford. She died in 2007.
A report from The Newark Advertiser on 1st October 1966 said-
At a memorial service, held a week after his death in St Marys Church, tributes to his life and work were paid by his partner Dr J D S Thomas. The parish church where a simple 30-minute service was conducted by the vicar the Reverend George Halsey, was packed with more than 400 people and Dr Thomas said in his address that everyone there was present to mourn the loss of a great friend. Dr Gordon would be sadly missed in the village because he was a charming and vivid personality.
Drs Dick, Myles and Jamieson
After the retirement of Dr Thomas, Angus M Dick and David M G Myles ran the practice along with George M Jamieson who joined in 1969, all three being Scottish graduates of St Andrews University.
In February 1972 work on the Health Centre began and was officially opened in September of that year. A report in the local paper said-
When the health centre is fully operational it will be one of the few centres in the country which will contain four elements of the NHS- general medical and dental services, the local authority health clinic and ancillary services and a pharmaceutical service. There will be three surgeries, a treatment room and related accommodation. There will be a dental suite and a dispensary run by a pharmacist in conjunction with his existing practice in the village. The centre has cost more than £50,000 to build and equip.
There were also new facilities for midwifery, relaxation classes for expectant mothers, health visiting and home nursing staff. Previous clinics had been held in the Methodist chapel school rooms.
Radcliffe Health Centre opened 1972
Dy Myles wrote the following description of his early years in Radcliffe:-
The Story of Radcliffe on Trent Medical Practice 1962 – 1977
Before it was moved to the new build premises in which it is still situated, the Radcliffe on Trent practice was situated in Bingham Road just next door to the chemist shop, then run by Fred and Marion Godson, which was itself situated at the junction of Lorne Grove and Bingham Road. The house in which the practice operated was a converted old Edwardian house. The front door opened onto a central passage and on the left, there was a waiting room, which had a tiny office opening off it, and from which an even tinier surgery was located. This surgery was the home of the junior partner and had barely room for a doctor’s desk and an examination couch. If the patient had to undress for a full examination, the junior partner had to send himself into the tiny office and wait till the patients had removed whatever garments were necessary. The far end of the surgery was a narrow chipboard or plasterboard wall, which was all that separated them from the kitchen which was used by the practice cleaner, Mrs Lamb, who lived in the back rooms of the house and I think some of the upstairs rooms with her husband and family. The plasterboard wall certainly did not keep the smells of cooking out of the small surgery and was not, I think, very sound proof at all.
The other two partners surgeries, which were both about the same size as the waiting room, opened off the entrance hall opposite the waiting room door, and there was another room on the upper floor, of decent size which was eventually converted into a surgery for the very cramped junior partner.
I, David Myles, joined the Radcliffe practice in or about March 1962. Prior to that, the three partners in the practice had been, in order of seniority, Dr Douglas Thomas, Dr Leslie Gordon and Dr John McInnes. Dr Thomas retired early 1962, and I became aware of the vacancy in the practice through the good offices of Mr John Anderson, who was the secretary of the Board that ran general practice in Nottinghamshire, which was then known as the Nottinghamshire Executive Council for the NHS. I applied for the vacancy was interviewed by the two remaining partners Doctors Gordon and McInnes, and was appointed as an assistant with a view, which was the normal practice at that time. After a probationary period of six months, I was appointed as junior partner in the practice.
Dr John McInnes resigned from general practice about a year later, and took up a post in public health, near Sheffield, so I fairly rapidly moved up a step and became the second partner. Leslie Gordon and I then advertised the vacancy once more for the junior partner and Dr Angus Dick, a fellow St Andrews graduate, was appointed.
I cannot remember clearly, but, about 18 months later Leslie Gordon flew to the Orkneys on a fishing holiday, and fell ill on the flight back to Aberdeen. I presume. To the best of my recollection, he died before he got to hospital, presumably also in Aberdeen. It transpired later that he had suffered from rheumatic heart disease in his youth and had apparently never made this known to any of his partners, certainly not to Angus Dick and myself. We were left then just under three years since I joined the practice with the task of finding a new partner again. George Jamieson, also a St Andrews graduate, who had served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and had worked in his family practice in Glasgow, was then appointed, and I became, in what was a very short time for those days, the senior partner.