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Jenny Pennell & Liz Gilding

Kellys Directory of 1900 lists the surgeon and medical officer as being Dr. William Griffiths-Williams. By 1916 his son Arthur is listed as surgeon. There being no dentist in the village they also extracted teeth.

The Doctor lived and had his surgery at Doctors House in Doctors Lane, South Green (now New Lane). The lane was called Doctors Lane by the locals as in those days many people took that route to visit the surgery.

The surgery had two rooms, a waiting room with partly glass walls and benches round the walls, and Dr. Williams’ consulting room.

In the early days the Docotor was driven in a pony and trap by Mr. Wake, who was also the gardener, and later when he had a car by Mr. Harry Eastell. Mr. Eastell lived in a cottage in Doctors Lane. Medicines to outlying farms would be delivered by Hewitt the butcher whilst he was on his rounds.

There was a medical payment scheme run by the Oddfellows Club where you paid a yearly subscription which entitled you to a free medicine and sickness benefit. People had to pay for treatment until the National Health Service started in 1946. If Dr. Williams put you on ‘the panel’ because you could not work you were paid a meagre sum of money to live on. Home visits were said to cost 5s. in the 1930s.

Many of the villagers said that if you had a cold you were given brown medicine, and if you had stomach ache then it was white. It was a last resort for you to be sent to hospital.

There were very few proprietary medicines and people used to treat themselves. Blackcurrant tea, with camphorated oil rubbed on the chest was a treatment for colds, and children had brown paper smeared with lard or goose fat wound round their chests until their cough or cold had gone. If you suffered from indigestion you took hot water in spoonfuls.

Dr. Williams retired after the second world war in about (1948-49) and the practice was taken over by Dr. Thompson, who bought the Doctors house and grounds. He continued to run the surgery there until a small surgery was built on the site of the present one in 1963. Dr. Thompson retired in 1973.

In the 1920s/1930s there was a Nurse Ford who was the midwife, she lived in a cottage next to the Doctors at South Green. She was followed by Mrs. Parnell who lived in Thynnes Lane, eventually sharing the work with Nurse Grimes who lived next door to the bakers on Church Plain and succeeded Mrs. Parnell when she retired.

In the late 1920s early 1930s a dentist with a van used to come to the school to treat the children.


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