Sunday, 25 August 2013

So who was: Dr Eddowes

... Dr Eddowes

A chance sighting of a photograph (i) posted on facebook of an elderly, contented-looking, Edwardian gentleman, sitting in a deck chair with a large dog, in the garden of what was an evidently large house, set me off on a bit of a quest! According to the facebook post, this gentleman was Dr Eddowes, the last of the family of doctors who had a practice in Market Street. Someone commented on the post suggesting that he was sitting in the garden of his house, The Gables.

The Gables

If you don’t know it, The Gables is a large house on the corner of Forest Road and what is now Epinal Way. I think it was built between 1881 and 1891 in a Tudor/Gothic/Domestic revival style, but has had several twentieth century “improvements”. The part of the building that appeals to me most is the verandah: I can imagine sitting out on a glorious summer evening with a glass of wine! However, I’ve never actually had the good fortune to go into the building: When I initially came to Loughborough it was part of the university halls and I did know of someone who lived there, but that’s not quite the same, really though.

Anyway, my investigations actually took me away from The Gables, as it appears that the last of the Eddowes doctors never lived there, at least, not according to the census returns. I seem to spend quite a lot of time looking at the census returns – though not as much as I would like! One thing I do have to remind myself of is that the census return does not tell me who lived in a particular property, but rather who was in the property the night the census was taken! People were not always where one would have expected to find them!

However, extensive research done across the eight available census records shows that no Dr Eddowes ever lived at The Gables. The story of who did live at The Gables is one for another day, so let’s turn our attention to the Eddowes family.

John Henry Eddowes – well, which one? Father and first-born son both had the same name, which was common practice years ago, and the son of one of John Henry senior’s other sons was also named John Henry. To add to the slight confusion, the head of the previous generation was called Henry Eddowes, and both he, John Henry senior and John Henry junior had the same occupation, all worked in the Loughborough Dispensary, and John Henry senior and John Henry junior lived in the same property and worked in the same premises until the death of John Henry senior in 1858!    

A chance sighting of an LAS Bulletin [The Bulletin of the Loughborough and District Archaeological Society, Vol. 2, No. 4, Winter 1979, pp. 14 [i.e. 22]  informed me that at the time of the Earl of Moira’s great sale in 1808, Henry Eddowes, father to John Henry senior, was renting a couple of properties and some land on Market Place. Here’s the detail:

1)      Property – Messuage and gardens in the Market Place. Tenure – On lease for 30 years from Lady Day [25 March] 1801. Quantity – a.r.p. 0 0 2. Rent - £4. Valuation - £25.
2)       Property – Messuage and surgeon’s shop in the Market Place. Tenure – On lease for 30 years from Lady Day [25 March] 1803. Quantity – a.r.p. 0 1 3. Rent - £10. Valuation - £25.

3)      Property – Land (specific place not specified). Tenure – At will from Lady Day [25 March], no year specified. Quantity – a.r.p. 8 0 36. Rent - £35. Valuation - £35.

John Henry Eddowes, senior, was born in about 1799 and married Harriet Jackson in about 1824. He trained as a surgeon and worked in the Market Place, Loughborough. Between 1826 and 1842 he and Harriet had nine children, all of whom were born in Loughborough:

1826 – John Henry
1829 – Harriet Susanna
1832 – Charles
1833 – Marianne (or Mary Ann)
1834 – Edmund (or Edmond)
1836 – Fanny (or Frances) E.
1838 – Ellen (or Helen)
1840 – Sarah Jane
1842 – Arthur Benjamin Jackson

Part of the memorial for Henry Eddowes

I haven’t been able to find much detail about John Henry senior’s parents: His father was named Henry and was born in 1768. He trained as a surgeon and died on 15th October 1827. He was married to Elizabeth who was born about 1763 and died on 14th August 1810. Both are buried in the churchyard of Loughborough Parish Church.

Part of the memorial for Henry Eddowes

Nor have I been able to establish where and when John Henry trained to be a surgeon, although trade directories and poll books from 1828 onwards have him listed as a surgeon working from a premises in Market Place, so I am sure he was a trained medical practitioner. His death in 1858 was reported in the Leicester Chronicle, and he was cited as being “a respectable surgeon”. His will was proved at Leicester on 20th January 1859, and his effects were under £4000.

But, back to his children! Charles trained as a solicitor and moved to Derby, living on Wilson Road before moving to Kedleston Road, whilst Edmund trained as a priest and moved to Hartford in Cheshire. You may find that one of these children appears in a future blog post, about a different Loughborough family, but for the moment let’s concentrate on John Henry junior.

At the age of about 15, John Henry junior, is listed on the 1841 census return as being a doctor’s apprentice, working with his surgeon father in Market Place. The rest of the family, including Harriet, John Henry junior’s mother, and his siblings are all listed as being in the Market Place premises on the night of the 1841 (and subsequent censuses) so I assume that they lived above the surgery.

In 1846 John Henry junior became a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. As a result of the Apothecaries Act of 1815, the Society of Apothecaries was given the statutory right to hold exams for people in, or who wanted to join the medical profession. The Society was also allowed to grant a person a license to practice Medicine, and one of its duties arising out of this was to regulate such medical practices.  Delving back a bit further into history, some dispute in 1704 between the Society and the Royal College of Physicians was settled in the House of Lords. The ruling was in favour of the Society being allowed to prescribe and dispense medicines. This means that the apothecary was really what we today would call a General Practitioner. The 1800s saw great developments in medicine, for example, the use of anaesthetics like chloroform, discovery of potential causes of infectious diseases, and new, regulated training for doctors and surgeons which led to changes in the way the sick were cared for. Medicine was moving away from folk remedies and herbal cures, and moving towards a more scientific approach. 

So, it appears that in the early days of his career, John Henry junior would have perhaps been supporting the work of his surgeon father by practising more general medicine and prescribing cures. However, in 1846 he also became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) although at this stage I don’t think he would have been a practising surgeon.

Records from Glasgow University show that John Henry junior from Loughborough, graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 1850. By the time we get to the 1851 census, John Henry junior is listed as an MD, a Surgeon, a General Practitioner and an Apothecary, and is still working with his father in Market Place.  He was elected to the Medical Register on 1 January 1859.

Unfortunately, John Henry senior, died in 1858, so in 1861 John Henry junior was working as a sole general practitioner in Market Place, and his mother and some of his siblings were still listed as living there with him. One sibling, Arthur Benjamin Jackson, who doesn’t appear at Market Place on this 1861 census, is about to make a return to the family home.

On the 1871 census, information about the whereabouts of the practice of John Henry junior is more explicit, stating that the property is at number 6 Market Place. His mother is still living with him, as are some of his siblings, who include Arthur Benjamin Jackson, who is listed as a surgeon, Guy’s Hospital. I would imagine that he is currently training at Guy’s Hospital as he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) in 1863, became a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries in 1867, and was elected to the Medical Register on 24 September 1870. Like father, like brother!

What happens between 1871 and 1881 I’m not quite sure, but at the time of the 1881 census, at the age of 57, John Henry junior is listed as being at Burleigh Fields House (ii), rather than the Market Street practice. So perhaps he has retired. I believe he purchased Burleigh Fields house in August 1867, from the previous owner, George William Johnson (formerly Lillingston), JP, who moved to an estate at Ulverscroft. The purchase actually comprised the house itself, with stabling, coach-house, various outbuildings, a vinery, greenhouse, kitchen garden and pleasure grounds, and two fields of “valuable building land … adjoining Burleigh Fields House” (iii). Also for sale at the same time were productive meadowlands near the Great Meadow, but I am uncertain as to whether or not John Henry bought these as well. So, maybe John Henry retired and left the Market Street practice in the hands of his capable brother Arthur Benjamin, as this is where Arthur Benjamin and his family are on the night of the 1881 census.

In 1891 Arthur Benjamin is still running his general medical practice at number 6 Market Place, living with his family, and John Henry is still living in Burleigh Fields House, incidentally, with his two spinster sisters who have always lived with him – Frances (aka Fanny), and Helen. 1901 finds the brothers living as in 1891, although Arthur Benjamin is now listed as a surgeon.

1906 is a sad year for on 11 July, John Henry Eddowes MD, of Burleigh Fields House dies. Probate is granted from Leicester on 10 October to Edmund Eddowes, his brother, Henry Dean and Joseph Balm Pike. He left £13998 16s 6d.

1908 sees a similar story when Arthur Benjamin Jackson Eddowes, living at “Theydon”, Ashby Road, Loughborough, dies on 10 July. Probate is granted from Leicester on 12 November to Arthur Eddowes, a clerk in holy orders and son of Arthur Benjamin. His effects amounted to £8358 14s 6d.

John Henry’s sisters remained in Burleigh Fields House, and were still there at the time of the 1911 census. I believe they lived her until their deaths – Frances on 4 May 1921 and Helen on 18 July 1922. Both sisters left their effects - £328 1s 7d and £640 13s 9d respectively – to George Rose Eddowes, solicitor, son of Charles, and therefore nephew to the two spinsters.

So, the question is, are we any closer to knowing who the Dr Eddowes in the photograph in the garden of the big house was, or which big house is in the photograph? To confuse the issue yet further, there are a couple of interesting photographs in "The story of Loughborough Dispensary and Hospital, 1819-2003" (iv): There is no date mentioned, but one photograph is of John Henry Eddowes, junior, captioned as John Eddowes, and the other is of his brother Arthur Benjamin Jackson Eddowes, captioned as Benjamin Eddowes. Personally, I don't think either of these look like the gentleman in the photograph I mentioned in my opening paragraph.

However, if, as the person who posted the photograph on facebook suggested, this was the last Dr Eddowes, then he would have been Arthur Benjamin, but it is equally possible that, given that another poster suggested the house was The Gables, which wasn’t where either of the Drs Eddowes lived, then this could equally well have been John Henry Eddowes junior. Of course, this may all be completely on the wrong track and the Dr Eddowes in the photograph may have been visiting friends who lived at the Gables, or it may not even be Dr Eddowes at all!

What do you think?

(iv) Keil, Ian and Wix, Donald (eds.) (2006). The story of Loughborough Dispensary and Hospital, 1819-2003. Loughborough: Loughborough Archaeological and historical Society: with Charnwood and North West Leicestershire Primary Care Trust.

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