Does anyone remember the doctors of old Darlaston?
IN this year of 2018 it is the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I can remember a time before the NHS – just.
Our family doctor in 1948 was Dr Mcfaddon, who had his practice at his home on The Leys, Darlaston. I can remember sitting in the waiting room on one of the many dining room chairs placed around the room against the walls.
No appointment system, just walk in and take your turn. My mother collected the necessary medical records from a small window as we entered, from the dispenser in the small dispensary.
She would then take the next available seat and ask ‘who do I follow?’ There was no method in place to say who this was and no names were called, you just kept an eye on that person and went in as he or she came out of the doctor’s surgery.
Brits have always been a nation of queuers, and woe betide anyone who queue-jumped. In hindsight, people had lived through six years of queues for everything during the war and it had become a way of life. World War Three could have broken out over queue jumping and sometimes very nearly did on occasions. Such was the strength of the arguments at times, even in doctors’ waiting rooms.
Following your time with the doctor, you would cross the waiting room to the small dispensary and your prescription would be dealt with there and then; no taking it to a chemist shop or going back to collect it. There were no pharmacists in chemist’s shops at that time. Prior to 1948, all doctors’ practices were private and independent chemists didn’t have a pharmacist until a number of years later.
The first doctor I remember being taken to was Dr Mcnamee, whose house was a big one on the Walsall Road in Darlaston, set in its own grounds. The building is still there, a little way down towards All Saints Church, on the opposite side of the road. Today it is a group practice. A clear memory of mine is from 1945, when the VE Day bonfire was built in Witton Street, where I lived with my parents at the time. We lived at number 33 and my name then was Pauline Toft. I was clambering over the debris which was in a crater made by the church when it was bombed. I hit my head on a piece of masonry and this resulted in a small but deep cut.
I was taken to Dr Mcnamee’s, and he stitched it and because I didn’t cry while he did that, I was given my first square of Cadbury’s chocolate. Everything was still on ration at this time.
Is there anyone out in Bugle land who has a memory of these doctors, particularly Dr Mcfaddon, or even a photograph of his home and practice, or maybe The Leys?
There was a communal water pump on the pavement outside Dr Mcfaddon’s, as I recall, from the days when there was no piped water for the tiny houses which stood cheek by jowl in the square. But that’s a story for another time, perhaps
Pauline Poole, Harrowby Place, Willenhall Seeing the story in the Bugle recently about the Black Country Museum and their plans to relocate the old Woodside Library got me thinking about how these wonderful old places came to be here in the first place.
It was down to the generosity of the businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie that thousands of libraries were built, all for the good of the general public.
It’s impossible to count, but so many people have learnt such a lot of things from his kindness. He really has left a lasting legacy.
Mr J Greensill, Bewdley