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
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
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.