Radcliffe on Trent Doctors

LOOKING AFTER THE HEALTH OF THE RESIDENTS

The practice of medicine in Great Britain was, compared with other countries, disorganised and uncontrolled until the middle of the 19th century. Its practitioners were mostly part-time, combining their work with a wide range of other activities. The historian Margaret Pelling said that the membership of the Barber-Surgeons’ Company in London in the 17th century, were actually distillers, innkeepers, hosiers, colourers, pinmakers, hatpressers, musicians, dyers, perfumers, tallow chandlers and tailors. Formal records of medical qualification are very limited and although there were many practitioners, they were used and accepted not because of any paper qualification but because of the service they offered. As late as 1856, of the 10,220 persons listed in the Medical Directory with some sort of qualifications, only four percent had a medical degree from an English University. Earlier in the 16th century there were, in broad terms very few physicians (mostly with a degree from Oxford or Cambridge) who diagnosed internal problems; barbers who conducted minor surgery such as bloodletting and drawing teeth; surgeons who carried out major surgery in the presence of a physician (both barbers and surgeons had generally been apprenticed); and apothecaries (also apprenticed) who sold drugs and sometimes treated patients. (www.familyresearch.org).

For the majority of the poorer members of society they would have relied on herbal remedies dispensed by older members of the family and for midwifery, they were usually women who were mothers themselves and attended births of neighbours or family members.

In Victorian England one of the main concerns was the need to improve the nation’s health.  Epidemics of cholera and typhoid were common, while smallpox and diphtheria, scarlet fever and measles all contributed to a death rate which was high by modern standards. Some health care for the poor was provided by the poor law unions, and medical officers of health were now being appointed (Mr Rowland was the representative for the district in which this village lay from 1836 to 1872).  It was recognised that unpolluted water supplies and effective sewage disposal  were essential.  Here in Radcliffe an outbreak of cholera in 1849 caused many deaths.

In Radcliffe, prior to the formation of the National Health Service in 1948 patients would have paid their local doctor for treatment and medicines or became ‘panel patients’ i.e. who contributed small amounts on a regular basis to help pay for treatment when needed.  Surgeries were often held in the doctors’ own house.

There appear to have been a number of surgeons/physicians recorded in the village, some stayed for a length of time but others were just passing through, probably accumulating experience before moving on. Below are highlighted some of these medical men, tracing their history and what impact they had on the village and its residents.

Dr William Martin 1841-1870

Whilst the vicar sustained the spirit of the parish during the cholera epidemic it was Dr Martin who coped with the practical needs of the victims.  His presence in the village was a sign of progress.

He was born on 14 October 1811 in Buckworth, Huntingdonshire.  He obtained a certificate of fitness and qualified to practice as an apothecary on 27 June 1839 and is described as a licentiate of the Hall, London (otherwise known as Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries-LSA).  In 1841 he is recorded in the census of the village with wife Sophia Key (whom he married in 1839 in London.  She was a widow with five children).  Together they had four children, three sons and a daughter.   His devotion to duty during the cholera epidemic was recognised at a dinner in his honour at The Manvers Arms on December 26th 1849. He was presented with a purse containing nearly £20 collected by the inhabitants of the village ‘for his kind and liberal attention to the poor during the late prevalence of cholera and fever’ (Nottingham Journal).  He appeared to work amongst the poorer members of society not just here in the village but in Nottingham and in 1864 as honorary secretary of Nottingham Provident Medical Aid Institute he was presented with a timepiece for his work amongst the poor of St Peter’s parish, he was even known to help out with soup kitchens in Nottingham.

No doubt these gifts were welcome to a practitioner with a large family to support and perhaps a number of patients who could not afford fees. He was appointed in June 1857 as medical officer for the west district of the Bingham Poor Law Union at a salary of £30 per year, the minutes of the workhouse board stating that  “there being no other man resident within district, Mr Martin of Radcliffe should be appointed to be Medical Officer of West District, he being the nearest resident medical man, having a considerable private practice in the district, although he is not qualified in one of the four modes required by Article 168 of Order of the Poor Law Board”. However due to this lack of the required qualification he was replaced in 1859 with a fully qualified man. Even so he was still paid by Bingham for midwifery and vaccination cases. He obviously struggled financially as in May 1863 the Nottingham Journal reported his appearance before the Nottingham bankruptcy court. In 1867 – 1869 he was reappointed as Medical Officer. But by 1870 his own health was deteriorating, he had caught a cold while out on a long visit to his patients.  Neuralgia followed which gradually affected the spinal chord, causing paralysis.  He died on July 11 1870 aged 58 at Buxton where he had gone hoping the baths would relieve his condition. It was quite obvious the affection he was held in by the village as the attached newspaper report made clear:-

15th July 1870 Nottinghamshire Guardian

His body was returned to the village and he was buried in the new cemetery, the first occupant.

One of Dr Martin’s sons, Charles, also became a surgeon.  He was born in Radcliffe in 1846 and in the 1871 census he is recorded as living with his widowed mother and sister.  He was a medical student and in the 1876 – 1879 directories he is shown as a surgeon in the village. There was a controversy at the Bingham Workhouse which centred around Dr James Eaton, Medical Officer of Health, apparently he had been signing blank certificates in advance for vaccinations carried out in the village by Charles, who was still unqualified.

Charles played cricket for the village team alongside Henry Parr, brother of George.  By 1881 the family had moved to West Derby in Lancashire where he died on 2 May 1882 aged 34 years.

Robert Murdoch M.B. & C.M. Glasgow Uni; LRCP&S Edinburgh 1875-1876

Robert was born 19 April 1848 in Galston, Ayrshire to Robert, a farmer and Ann. He obtained his medical degree from Glasgow University and qualified as a surgeon in 1872 and became a member of the British Medical Association and General Council at the University of Glasgow. Before he came to the village he been a house surgeon at Glasgow Lock Hospital. He is first recorded in Radcliffe in the minutes of the Bingham workhouse in 1874 when he was appointed as Medical Officer for the district and directories show him at Radcliffe during 1875 – 1876 as a surgeon. He was at Netley Hospital (Victoria Military Hospital) in Southampton after leaving the village.   He then joined the Royal Navy, serving as a surgeon on HMS Eurydice (a naval training ship) in February 1877. This ship sank on 24 March 1878 in the English Channel with the loss of 328 lives including Robert.  This was one of Britain’s worst peacetime naval disasters.

Illustrated London News the Sinking of HMS Eurydice

An obituary appeared in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald  30 March 1878

Considerable excitement was manifested in our usual quiet village on Monday morning,  when it became known that our young townsman, Dr Murdoch, son of Mrs Murdoch, was  one of the unfortunate number of officers on board the Eurydice when she capsized in the  English Channel on Sunday afternoon. It was he who was observed swimming about in an exhausted condition by one of the survivors.  He was a young man of considerable promise and well known here. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy, where he greatly  distinguished himself in mathematics. Proceeding afterwards to the University of Glasgow, he took a foremost position in the medical classes. After graduating in 1872, he devoted himself for four years to professional work in the south of England.  In 1876 he entered the Royal Navy, as one of the first five candidates, selected after an examination open to medical graduates of the three kingdoms. The Eurydice was cruising in the West Indies during the last winter, and was only within an hours’ distance from (home) port when a gale of sudden and terrific force capsized the gallant ship, and 328 of the flower of England’s  youth sank beneath the waves.

He obviously made his mark on the village as a plaque in the church is dedicated to Dr Murdoch, erected by friends.

Of the following four doctors three chose to spend the majority of their working lives here in Radcliffe on Trent.  They all held their surgeries in their own homes. It is interesting to note that they took a specific interest in the poor of the district, all of them being involved with the Poor Law Guardians at the Bingham Workhouse, not only looking after the health of the inmates but also their welfare i.e. checking on their diets, standards of cleanliness etc.

Dr John Ellam Member Royal College of Surgeons Eng, Lic Society of Apothecaries, Lic. Royal College of Physicians, London

John Ellam was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 4 June 1818 to John  and Margaret Ellen.  His father was a tobacco manufacturer.  Both parents died when John and his sister Matilda were very young, his mother in 1820 and father in 1828. He obtained his medical qualification in London, becoming a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in  1842.  In 1851 he is recorded as a GP in Sandiacre but later he moved to Sneinton where he is living with his sister, Matilda who is his housekeeper.  In 1860 he was appointed assistant surgeon to the Robin Hood Rifles. He married Clara Rose on 19 December 1867 at St Mary the Virgin in Barnet. In 1871 they are both recorded as living in Nottingham on Middle Pavement where he is now a surgeon and GP. He was appointed  Medical Officer for the workhouse in Nottingham at a salary of £208 on 24 July 1872.   John and Clara had a son Frederic William in 1873 but he died at the age of 16 months on 4 March 1874 at their home, 36 Mansfield Road. The couple came to live in Radcliffe in 1877 (about the same time as Dr Campbell),firstly on Chestnut Grove but by the time of the 1881 census John and Clara had moved to Granville House,  (photograph below) on the corner of Lorne Grove and Bingham Road, where a room in the house was used as a surgery.  John also applied for the office of Medical officer for the Bingham workhouse.

On 10 September 1880 along with Dr Campbell they attended the inaugural dinner of the newly formed  Radcliffe Conservative Association. He played lawn tennis for Radcliffe.

In 1882 he attended the vestry meeting to discuss the scarlet fever epidemic (see reference to this in the section on Dr A Campbell).

He may have rued the day he moved to Granville House as in 1882 two walls of the property were damaged by a flood.  A report in the Nottingham Guardian, dated 23 February 1883, of a court case against Bingham Rural Sanitary Authority brought by John Simpson, the owner of the property, highlighted a problem.  Heavy rain on 24 October caused the Syke Drain to overflow.  This drain/brook passed through a brick culvert  under the garden and emptied itself into the main sewer.  Earlier in the year the Inspector of Nuisances at Bingham had placed at the mouth of the culvert leading under the garden a grate which had over time become blocked with leaves.  The water rose 10-12 feet above ordinary level forcing down the walls and causing damage to the garden, to the amount of £8.17s 3d. Mr Simpson contended that the damage was a consequence of this grate.  Dr Ellam however was unaware of this grate. The enquiry asked the question ‘[was] whether Mr Simpson had not contributed to his own misfortune by building a property over the brook.’ The case was dismissed and Mr Simpson was advised to pursue his claim in the civil court.

Perhaps this issue encouraged Dr Ellam to leave the village and move to Skegness where he died in 1887 at the age of 69. In 1889 Clara is selling the contents of their house together with medical instruments; she was living at Elm House on Lumley Road, Skegness.

Dr Archibald Campbell M.B. C.M.Mast. Surg. Univ Glasgow  1877-1915

He was  born in South Knapdale, Argyll, Scotland on 4 May 1851.  His father Hugh was a surgeon Licentiate of the Faulty of Glasgow and his mother was Isabella McCalman.  He had six sisters and three brothers. The family were living at Glenrollach Farm in South Knapdale, a district of Tarbert.   In 1871 his father is recorded as a GP and a farmer of 2000 acres, but by 1881 his father had died and his mother continued living in the area with her unmarried daughters.  She died in 1893.  Archibald would have left home to study at the university in Glasgow where he graduated in 1874. His first medical role was as house surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

He is first recorded in Radcliffe in 1877 as a surgeon living  at Lamcote Cottage on Holme Road and in 1885 he is listed as surgeon to Bingham Union and District, and an army medical examiner.

In the 1891 Census he has moved to The Manor House with his housekeeper Eliza Wells.   He married Georgina Annie Beaumont from East Bridgford on 23 August 1892 at St Peters Church there. They had a son George Neil born 1893, and two daughters Winifred Norah born 1899 and Isobel Annie born 1900; she died in 1906.   In White’s directory 1894 he is now described as a surgeon and medical officer for the Radcliffe district, also the Bingham Union, and District factory surgeon.

During the Scarlet Fever epidemic of 1881-1882 in Radcliffe, Dr Campbell attended a vestry meeting (forerunner of the parish council) held at The Manvers Arms in March 1882 to consider what means should be adopted to prevent the spread of this disease which had proved fatal to many children. Various plans were discussed including the establishment of a cottage hospital and a village laundry, but neither of these suggestions met with much favour from the working men present at the meeting.  Dr Campbell along with his colleague Dr Ellam agreed that the spread of the epidemic was due to neglect of isolation and want of precautions in washing and disinfecting clothing.  The closure of the school was also recommended and agreed, (the school had actually closed in November 1881 for a month.  It reopened on 5 December and unfortunately this was blamed for the second wave of infection, however it was again closed in February 1882 and reopened in May that year).

The following year in January, Dr Campbell was involved in a tragic case of accidental poisoning. One of his patients William Wright aged 32, a platelayer, was suffering from a cough.  Unfortunately there was another William Wright in the village, who was the village carrier and he had been prescribed aconite liniment for a sprained hand.  The former William Wright had sent his son with a medicine bottle to Dr Campbell’s house asking for a refill. The doctor was not available.  The maid, Fanny Holt, informed the doctor on his return of this request.  Thinking it was for the carrier he filled the bottle with the aconite liniment.  The bottle was subsequently collected by the platelayer’s sister in law.  After complaining that the ‘medicine’ did not taste like the other, and that his teeth felt as if they were dropping out, the bottle was returned to Doctor Campbell.  He realised the mistake but it was too late and the patient died that night.  The doctor handed the bottle into the police station and gave evidence at the inquest.  An enquiry into this case was held at The Red Lion by the District Coroner and a special jury was formed consisting mainly of local men.  After all the evidence and witnesses had spoken, the jury was asked ‘If you say that Dr Campbell is blameworthy, he must go to trial for manslaughter, or if it was a pure mistake due to the sameness of the name and other circumstances, then you will say that the deceased died from aconite poisoning administered by mistake’.  The jury returned a verdict that William Wright died by taking a dose of aconite liniment which was given to him by accident or mistake. The jury also gave a rider to the effect that poisonous drugs should be distinctly marked.  Dr Campbell undertook to provide for the widow and three children.

By the 1900 the family had moved to Dunmore House, (photograph left) a large Victorian double-fronted property, on the Main Road (site of Costa Coffee in 2017).   The family moved in 1911 to Albert House, 21 Cropwell Road; however the owner of Dunmore House, Mrs Mary Daft, the widow of the cricketer and brewer, brought an action against the doctor and a report appeared in the Nottingham Daily Express 20 March 1913 –

In 1898 Dr Campbell took over the lease of premises (Dunmore House) belonging to Mrs Daft and by a covenant in which he then entered it was alleged that he undertook to keep the house “in good condition and complete repair”.  The first lease expired in 1905 and on March 4 a second one was entered into.  In May 1911 Dr Campbell vacated the premises and a Nottingham Architect and surveyor examined the house. 

His report was forwarded to Mrs Daft and the doctor and it was stated that the latter undertook to do the repairs.  An attempt to renovate the house, it was alleged, had been made, but in a “very unworkmanlike manner” and a claim for £33 was preferred against the doctor.  He denied liability for the total sum, declaring that he had done everything required by the terms of the lease and a good deal outside of the agreement in order to avoid the vexation of a law suit.  He also counter-claimed for the damage suffered through a faulty roof, which it was alleged had been repaired on no fewer than 20 occasions.  Judgement of £4 was awarded on Mrs Daft’s claim and the doctor was awarded 30 shillings on his counter claim.

In 1915 he had added public vaccinator to his duties.

He took part in a number of activities within the village, playing for the local cricket team, then becoming chairman of the local club, playing tennis and playing in goal for the lacrosse team.  He was one of a number of Radcliffe players in this sport to represent Nottinghamshire against a Cambridge University team in 1884, winning by 9 goals to 4. He was also a member of the Radcliffe Conservative Association from 1881.

It is not known exactly when Dr Campbell left the village, but in the Nottingham Evening Post August 24 1917, he is advertising for sale his ‘Ford Car 1913 in good running order, well shod, carefully used with all necessary tools etc.  Dr Campbell wishes to dispose of it as soon as possible as he is retiring from practice.’ His name does not appear on the 1918 Electoral Roll so we can assume he and his wife Georgina had moved to Argyll Lodge at Hunters Quay on the banks of the Clyde, late 1917 or early 1918.  He died in January 1932 in Argyllshire. Georgina died 16 May 1950 in Worthing where her daughter had moved to after marrying in 1950 (a biography of their son George Neil who served in the first world war can be found on radcliffeontrentww1.org.uk).

Georgina and Winifred Campbell

George Neil Campbell

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.