Led Up The Garden Path By Laurus Nobilis

‘The Laurels’ – Doctor’s House (now demolished)

This post is an anecdotal aside about the peripheral perils of local history investigation, meandering along roads not adopted, climbing up eucalyptus trees, and finding oneself up creeks without a paddle.

On this occasion, your correspondent was lured into a lengthy, if arcadian, detour by no less an adversary than the doughty Laurus Nobilis, in search of the residence of the village doctor, known from the 1901 census to be residing at ‘The Laurels’. Following, no doubt unconsciously, in the footsteps of Charles Pooter, there were apparently other villagers who also thus named their residences.

At any rate, one such was Dr William Alexander Slater Royds. Misled by the ambiguous steer of his daughter, Kathleen Innes, we had taken her comments to mean that the doctors lived in the same house as did she, after her marriage to George Innes. We thus in turn unfortunately misled our readers

InnesFinally, serendipity took pity on us and led us to browse, once again, our collection of old post cards – Eureka! Realising it might be a mistake to emulate Archimedes in running through the streets of the village naked from our morning bath, we share our rapture with you instead through the written word, deeming it less likely to end in arrest and incarceration.

Doctors house

Ordnance Survey 1875

The doctor’s house is on the right hand side of the map, parallel to the road, to the left of ‘676’. It has since been demolished and replaced with two modern houses. We are told there was a small doctor’s surgery in the grounds – this seems likely to be the pink rectangle next to the winterbourne stream.

 Farewell To Dr Royds and welcome to Dr Cardwell

Dr Thomas Cardwell moved into the house some time in 1914, according to Kathleen Innes, so we shall assume that this was before Christmas. According to the directory of the General Medical Council, he qualified in 1882, and obtained the MRCS and LRCP (Edinburgh 1885).

2 thoughts on “Led Up The Garden Path By Laurus Nobilis

  1. The good thing about finding the error in your ways, is that you found out before your book is published – will save a lot of later amendments or errata etc.

    By the way, that’s a lot of Doctors in a relatively short period of time. My family Doctors father of my Father’s childhod circa 1923, Dr Perkins of Pitfield Street, N1, opened the practice sometime in the early 1900’s. His son, my doctor of my childhood was still in practice there in the mid-1960’s and was still my GP until I joined the Army in 1967.

    It was a one man band. No receptionist, no practice nurse no help whatsoever. You entered the waiting room, and sat unit he called next and hoped that someone wouldn’t try to push in front of you. But he was an excellent doctor who treated all ailments with aspirin and a sticking plaster for effect. No antibiotics or new fangled stuff for him. He might give you advice to eat more greens or carrots, but that’s as far as his dietary advice went.

    I remember when I had an accident and instead of going to A&E went to the GP. He took me in, used some rudimentary surgical strips to hold a wound together and set me home with some cream to put on it. It healed fine.

    Trusted, he and his father had been my father and grandfathers GP’s. Rough working class area in those days, Shoreditch, now going all upmarket and yuppie on us. No room for the poor working class who lived there for generations. All the warehouses and factories around Luke Street (childhood home of three generations) are now yuppie #lofts or whatever they’re described as. It’s like entering a foreign country.

  2. Thanks for this, E. What an evocative recollection of your early memories of your doctor. I think the reason our doctors in St Mary Bourne didn’t have very long innings is probably that they came here as their ‘last posting’, thinking a small country practice would be restful. I doubt that it worked out restful in practice!

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