George Owen Mead was born in early 1857 at Newmarket. He was the son of George Borwick Mead, a fellow generalist medic, who had come to Newmarket shortly beforehand – see the page on George Bor(th)wick Mead for more details. George Owen Mead (known as Owen it seems – his mother’s maiden name) can be seen growing up on the 1861 and 1871 censuses aged 4 and 14 respectively, living at Mentmore House on Newmarket High Street, with his parents and siblings Georgina Bessie Jane Mead (Georgie), Jane Georgette Mead (Janie), and George Percy Mead (Percy)! He was to spend his entire life living at Mentmore House (aside from when he was in training or on military service – see below).
Medical education in the mid 19th century was in flux (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation). Unlike his father, Owen appears perhaps not to have served an apprenticeship, possibly undertaking all of his training in London? In 1873, at the age of 15, he seems to have passed some form of arts entrance examination for the Royal College of Surgeons in London. In 1877 he was awarded some form of scholarship at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and at the end of his training he didn’t take the Society of Apothecaries LSA examination, which had been the standard but was on the wane, rather he qualified in 1879, at the age of 23, with the surgical MRCS qualification from the Royal College of Surgeons in London (which earlier would have been combined with the LSA), but instead he combined it with the medical LRCP qualification, in his case from Edinburgh (he most likely simply took the Scottish examination rather than undertaking any training there). He also gained a standard midwifery (obstetrics) qualification for medics of this period (LM). There is no evidence that George Owen Mead went to a University and certainly he didn’t obtain a university degree. Interestingly however, his younger brother Percy did go to Cambridge University in 1884, followed by St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1885, but he never appears to have qualified as a medic. The three George Meads are therefore a good example of how medical education was changing at this time, from apprenticeship leading to MRCS and LSA, through the emerging London schools leading to MRCS and LRCP, to a more University based education and qualifications as time went on (which obviously the schools became involved with in London). The grandfather Joseph Mead, who was essentially a chemist but also features in some of the early Medical Directories, adds a further perspective (see The Meads for further details on Joseph).
Aside from a house surgeon job (likely in Sussex), Owen Mead was quite active in some military roles in the years immediately before and after qualification. Perhaps he had been inspired as a teenager by his father, who was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1871, apparently for serving as a surgeon with the Ambulance de la Presse in Paris during the Franco-German/Prussian war – see the page on George Bor(th)wick Mead for details. George Owen Mead served with the National Society for the aid of the Sick and Wounded / (British) National Aid Society, and was awarded the order of the Medjidie by the Sultan of Turkey for services in the Russo-Turkish War, which included treating the wounded whilst under fire in Bulgaria! Later he served in South Africa too.
However, by 1881 he was back home working with his father, attending the sick and injured of Newmarket, including a child run over by a Baker’s cart and other similar later incidents reported in the local press (see the references below). This included attending patients at the newly built Rous Memorial Hospital. No doubt his military experience proved useful in such cases. Also, he was the local Medical Officer of Health from 1883 onwards (a public health role), and a Coroner from 1894 onwards. He continued his interest in the military as well, serving as a lieutenant then captain in local regiments. Interesting, he was also a director of the Newmarket Electric Light Company, a business started in 1899 – a new technology at the time!
Owen’s mother, who he appears to have been particularly close to, died in 1885. Not long after this, his father seems to have turned his focus away from Newmarket, spending much of his time in London working for medical defence organisations (also changing his middle name to Borthwick and getting remarried to someone over 40 years his junior! – again see the page on George Bor(th)wick Mead for details). The partnership between father and son at Newmarket was formally dissolved in 1896, shortly after this marriage. Interestingly their business at that time ‘Mead and Son’ was described as ‘Surgeons and Apothecaries’, quite a late use of the apothecary terminology (again see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation). The 1891 census shows George Owen Mead running the practice in Newmarket, with his father in London. Living with Owen were his two sisters, all three of them still single. He never married, but there is a brief reference to a son of his called Owen in a 1900 newspaper account (however, this might be an error, since to date no further evidence of Owen junior’s existence has emerged).
Sadly George Owen Mead died suddenly and unexpectedly of a brain abscess in 1900, when just 43 years of age. The press reported a three day illness, with initial mild headaches, leading to a precipitous decline and death, despite the efforts of ‘his brother practitioners in Newmarket’ and outside experts who were brought in from Cambridge and even London. He was buried, according to his wishes, near to his mother at Mepal, near Chatteris, Cambridgeshire – he’s in a row of five Owen family graves (see image below). His body was taken by road from Mentmore House (obviously it would have been quite a journey by horse driven carriage in those days); the mourners went part way by train to Ely.
The various reports and obituaries on his death in the references below paint the picture of a much respected, strict, thorough and dutiful character, who nevertheless was pragmatic, friendly and popular.
Regarding contemporaries, he grew up when the town was dominated by four practices: his father’s, that of William Henry Day evolving into the Grays, the practice of Robert Fyson & Samuel Gamble, and Richard Faircloth’s practice. Interestingly, Ernest Last Fyson came to Newmarket to join his uncle Robert about the same time that George Owen Mead Joined his father in practice. Richard Faircloth retired about that time as well, his practice being continued by John Rowland Wright. Owen Mead would have seen John Rowland Wright subsequently joined in partnership by Walter Hutchinson, then Wright and Hutchinson diverge to form two separate practices. Towards the end of his short life, he would have seen John Hansby Maund succeed to John Rowland Wright’s practice.
Regarding a successor to the Meads’ practice, it appears that Ernest Crompton continued their practice, to complete the Page-Meads-Crompton practice chain. That a successor was being sought is evidenced by a newspaper report in which a Mr W. R. Etches is shown applying for the vacant Medical Officer of Health role, stating that he was considering ‘taking the practice of the late Medical Officer of Health (the late Mr. G. Owen Mead)’, and settling in Newmarket. In the event the public health role went to Walter Hutchinson and William Etches settled in Surrey, but the 1901 census shows Ernest Crompton practising from Mentmore House as a ‘Physician + Surgeon’, so clearly he ended up ‘taking the practice’ instead.
Image 1: The 1881 census, reference RG11/1677 (cropped); image ©, reproduced with kind permission of The National Archives.
Image 2: The 1891 census, reference RG12/1294 (cropped); image ©, reproduced with kind permission of The National Archives.
Image 3: Photographs taken in 2017 (edited and annotated in 2019), by the author of talkingdust.net.
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
1856, 7th May: George Borwick Mead, bachelor, surgeon of Chatteris, son of Joseph a chemist, married Elizabeth Owen, spinster of this parish, daughter of Thomas a farmer. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Mepal. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2010, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).
1857: ‘MEAD, GEORGE BORWICK, New-market, Cambs. (Page and Mead) – M.R.C.S.Eng.; L.M., and L.S.A. 1854; Surg. Rutland Club; late Asst.-Surg. Spalding Infirm. Author “Chloric Æther, its properties, Chemical Com-position, and Uses,” 1854.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1857.
1857: George Borwick Owen Mead’s birth registered in Newmarket during the 1st quarter of 1857. Reference: Online image of the General Register Office England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes, ancestry.co.uk (accessed 19th December 2017). [Note: the only baptism I’ve been able to find for the Mead children is 1862, 9th March: Georgina Bessie Jane, daughter of physician George Borwick and Elizabeth Mead of St Mary’s parish Newmarket baptised. Reference: J552/10, microfilm of Newmarket St Mary’s parish register, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). I haven’t been able to find the baptisms of the other children, in Newmarket or any other obvious places, such as Mepal or Ramsey, in the Church of England nor non-conformist registers that I could find. Other registrations were for Georgina Bessie Jane Mead 1Q 1861, Jane Georgette Mead 4Q 1864 and Percy G Mead 3Q 1866. There is no record of a Newmarket Georgina Mead in 1870/1 or Georgette in 1874/5 – see 1891 census below, so there probably were no such people, these being 1861 and 64 sisters giving the wrong ages! Reference: Online images of the General Register Office England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes, ancestry.co.uk (accessed 19th December 2017).], [Note also, this use of Borwick as a second name occurs only here, in the Medical Directory as simply the initial B, and likewise on the 1881 census.]
1861, 7/8th April: George O Mead, aged 4, born in Newmarket, Suffolk, living at Mentmore House, High St, Newmarket St Mary’s parish, in the household of his father George B Mead aged 29, with medical qualifications listed, born in Ramsey, Hunts, together with his mother Elizabeth from Cambridgeshire, sister Georgina J Mead aged 3 months (also born in Newmarket, Suffolk) and three servants. Reference: The National Archives, 1861 census.
1871, 2nd/3rd April: Owen Mead, aged 14, scholar, living at Mentmore House, High St, Newmarket St Mary’s parish, in the household of his father George B Mead aged 39, with medical qualifications listed together with his mother Elizabeth, born in Mepal, Cambs, brother Percy Mead aged 4, and sisters ‘Georgie’ and Jane Mead aged 10 and 6 respectively (all born in Newmarket, Suffolk) and two servants. Reference: The National Archives, 1871 census.
1873, 18th January: A local newspaper reported in its Newmarket section, ‘MEDICAL EXAMINATION.- At the examination of arts held at the University of London, for the Royal College of Surgeons, on Dec. 11th, 12th, and 13th, 1872, Mr. George Owen Mead, son of G. B. Mead, Esq., M.D.L.R.C.P., was one of the successful candidates.’ Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Jan 18 1873: 8. [Note: this appears to have been some form of entrance exam? – see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation regarding the rather fluid situation medical education was in during the 19th century.]
1877, 5th September: ‘NEWMARKET. / MR. GEORGE OWEN MEAD, Senior Surgical Scholar (1877), of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, has been appointed one of the Surgeons of the National Society for the aid of the Sick and Wounded, and left England, via Paris and Marseilles, on Wednesday, for the seat of war in Bulgaria.’ Reference: Supplement to the Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Sept 11 1877.
1880: ‘MEAD, GEO. B. OWEN, Mentmore House, New-market, Suffolk – L.R.C.P. Edin. and L.M. 1879; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1879; (St. Barthol.); Brackenbury Schol. 1877; Surg. Nat. Aid. Soc. Russo-Turkish War 1877-78.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1880. [Note: this was his first entry in the Medical Directory.], [Note also, from 1881 onwards he mentions past roles as ‘Surg. Cape R.M. Serv., and Asst. House Surg. W. Sussex Hosp.’ but see comments regarding his 1900 BMJ obituary below.], [Note also, his membership of the ‘Camb. Med. Soc.’ is mentioned from 1883 onwards, Medical Officer of Health role mentioned from 1884 onwards (but see 1883 below), involvement with the Rous Memorial Hospital from 1894 onwards (but see 1884 reference below) and Coroner post from 1895 onwards (but see 1894 below), to arrive at his final 1900 entry referenced in full below.], [Note also, his LRCP is listed as from London (apparently mistakenly), not Edinburgh, from 1881 to 1884, then reverts back to Edinburgh from 1885 onwards. A similar problem occurs in The Medical Register – see below.], [Note also, see 1857 above regarding the ‘B’.]
1880, 17th February: Under ‘NEWMARKET.’ / ‘HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS the Sultan of Turkey has been pleased to grant the order of the Medjidie to Dr. George Owen Mead, of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and Mentmore House, Newmarket, for distin-guished services in the field. Dr. Owen Mead is a surgeon of the National Aid Society, and served with the staff of Suleiman Pasha, Mehemet Ali, and Baker Pasha, in the Russo-Turkish War during the campaign in Bulgaria 1877-8, and was present at several hotly con-tested engagements, being frequently engaged in dressing the wounded under fire. Dr. Owen Mead obtained the Brackenbury Surgical Scholarship in 1877 at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Turkish War Medal, and is now en route from the Cape and Natal with troops from the late seat of war.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Feb 17 1880: 8.
1881, 3rd/4th April: George B. O. Mead aged 24 ‘Physician &c’, in the household of his father George B Mead aged 49, ‘Physician + Surgeon’, together with his mother Elizabeth O Mead, sisters Georgina and Jane, and three servants, living at Mentmore House, High St, Newmarket St Mary’s parish. Reference: The National Archives, 1881 census. [Note: see image above.], [Note also, see 1857 above regarding the ‘B’.]
1881, 19th November: ‘Dr. Owen Mead’ reported attending a child who had been run over by a baker’s cart. Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Nov 22 1881: 8.
1883: ‘Mead George Owen, surgeon & medical officer of health to local board, High street’ listed in the commercial section of Kelly’s Directory for Newmarket, Cambridgeshire. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk… . London: Kelly and Co.; 1883, pg 101. [Note: ‘Mead George Borwick, surgeon, High street’, is listed also; Fyson Robert, Gray Clement Frederick, Gray Frederick Clement, Hutchinson Walter and Wright John Rowland are listed separately.]
1883, 13th January: Regarding a patient who died after a face injury from a horse, his landlady reported, ‘Dr. Wright came to see him on Saturday, between three and four o’clock in the afternoon… I went to the surgery at nine o’clock, and received two pills for the deceased… Deceased brother came to see him, and sent for Mr. Geo. O. Mead, surgeon [this was the Sunday]’. Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Jan 13 1883: 8. [Note: this is included partly to illustrate that patients were not registered with a practice, but could call on whoever they wanted whenever they wanted. No doubt many patients habitually frequented one particular practice though, as illustrated by Woodward Mudd and Robert James Peck’s notices and William Henry Day’s case notes.]
1884, 5th January: Regarding a coroner’s inquest held at the Rous Memorial the following was reported in the press: ‘Mr. Hut-chinson, M.R.C.S., deposed: On Monday afternoon a police-constable came and informed me there was a man at this hospital with a broken leg, and requested me to attend. I came and found deceased with a compound fracture of the left leg. Mr. Owen Mead was here also, and we set the bones. There was a good deal of bleeding, which was eventually stayed. Deceased was perfectly sensible. On Tuesday and Wednesday he seemed to recover from the shock fairly well, but on Thursday Messrs. Fyson, Mead, and I consulted together, and thought it advisable to ampu-tate the leg, which was done with the consent of the deceased and his friends…’ Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Jan 5 1884: 8. [Note: it’s not clear which of the Fysons this was – it could even have been both?]
1885, 11th December: Elizabeth Mead of Newmarket buried at Mepal, aged 52. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Mepal. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2010, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).
1885: Memorial to Elizabeth Mead, in a grave with her mother at Mepal. ‘IMO Elizabeth relict of Thomas OWEN d 21 Nov. 1873 aged 80 Also of Elizabeth their youngest daughter and the beloved wife of George Borwick MEAD MD who died at Newmarket 6 Dec. 1885 aged 52’. Reference: 11, Monumental Inscriptions Saint Mary Mepal. Recorded by Alan and Margaret Bullwinkle for the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, 1992, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: added in pen to this document is ‘Robert and Dorothy Hardick’ as also involved in the transcription?], [Note also, when I saw this grave in December 2017 it was covered with very thick ivy and brambles, such that the stone casket part of the grave was impossible to uncover in any appropriate way. A headstone was very badly weathered, but the transcription seems to have come from that judging from the few parts that were legible. The top was illegible, then came the name Elizabeth, followed by a word with ‘R’ in it, then Thomas Owen.], [Note also, this was part of a row of five graves, numbered 8-12, all of which related to the Owen family one way or another – number 8 was the grave of Owen Mead (see 1900 below and image above).]
1890: ‘MEAD, GEO. BORWICK, Mentmore House, Newmarket, Suffolk, and 13, Royal-avenue, Sloane-sq. Lond. S.W. – Ph.D. and M.A. Gessen (res. and exam.), 1859; L.R.C.P. Lond. 1861; M.R.C.S. Eng. and L.M. 1854; L.S.A. 1854; (St.Bartol.); Prizes and Hon. Certifs. in Anat., Chem., Bot., Phys., Pract. Chem., Mat. Med., and Midw.; Organising Sec. Med. Defence Union; Surg. Rous Memorial Hosp.; late Asst. Surg. Spalding Infirm. Author of “Chloric Æther: its properties, Chem-ical Composition, and Uses,” 1854; “History of Newmarket during the Reign of James I.,” 1864; “The History, Prevention, and Treatment of the Rinderpest, or Russian Cattle Plague, &c.,” 1865; Hygienic Medicine; or, Observations on the use of Baths and Bathing, &c.,” 1866; Contrib. “Cases Illustrative of the use of Baths in the treatment of Disease,” Brit. Med. Journ. 1866; “Physical Hygiene,” Ibid. 1867; “Case of Fragilitas Ossium,” Ibid. 1868.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1890. [Note: he starts listing a London address in 1890, in addition to his Newmarket address. In 1891 it’s 5 Winchester Rd, S. Hampstead. Lond. N.W., in 1892 it’s back to the Sloane Square address as here, until 1895 when it becomes 32 Bedford Place W.C., then 1 Oakley Street S.W. in 1896. In 1897 the address is the address is the same, but strangely his middle name is changed to Borthwick (which spelling remains until his last posthumous entry in 1902 – see the page on George Bor(th)wick Mead). In 1898 he appears to drop both his London and Newmarket address, recording ‘Mentmore, Chester-ton, Cambridge’, which changes to Mentmore, 44 Glisson Rd., Cambridge in 1899, then the number changes to 48 in 1901 (with the house still called Mentmore).]
1891, 5th/6th April: George Owen Mead, aged 34, ‘medical man surg’, Georgina Mead aged 20 and Georgette J Mead aged 16 (oddly, if this is Georgina and Jane, their ages seem 10 years out – but see comments 1857 above), and three servants, shown in Mentmore House, High St, Newmarket St Mary’s parish, and described as ‘Son, Daughter and Daughter’, with no head of household recorded, implying that George Borwick Mead was still regarded as the head of this four ‘Georges’ household. Reference: The National Archives, 1891 census. [Note: see image above], [Note also, his father is listed living in Royal Avenue, Chelsea, London, as George B Mead aged 59, ‘General Medical Practitioner’, widower, born in Ramsay [sic] Hunts.], [Note also, neither George B or George O Mead are listed on the 1901 census, which was taken on 31st March / 1st April, after their deaths. Ernest Crompton, their apparent successor, was in Mentmore House as ‘Physician + Surgeon’ on the 1901 census – see the page on Ernest Crompton for an image.]
1894, 17th March: ‘ELECTION OF CORONER FOR THE NEWMARKET AND HAVERHILL DIVISION… proposed… that Mr. Owen Mead, surgeon of Newmarket, be ap-pointed for the Newmarket and Haverhill district…’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Mar 17 1894: 5. [Note: he was elected 21 votes to 18 against a Haverhill solicitor.]
1896: ‘Mead George Owen L.R.C.P. Edin. surgeon & medical officer of health to the urban district council & coroner for Newmarket division of West Suffolk, Mentmore house, High street’ listed in the commercial section of Kelly’s Directory for Newmarket, Cambridgeshire. Reference: Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire… London: Kelly & Co., Limited; 1896, pgs 137-145 (Newmarket section). [Note: Ernest Last Fyson, Clement Frederick Gray, James Percy Grieves, Walter Hutchinson, John Hansby Maund and George Borthwick Mead are listed separately.]
1896, 3rd June: Marriage licence between George Borthwick Mead, widower, of St Mary’s parish, Newmarket, and Frances Mildred Johnson, spinster aged 19, of St Mary Abbots parish, Kensington, with the consent of her father Frederick Appleyard Johnson. Reference: Online image of the Surrey Marriage Bonds and Allegations records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, ancestry.co.uk (accessed 24th November 2017). [Note: the 1891 and 1881 censuses reveal that his young wife was a gentleman farmer’s daughter from Wicken near Soham (near Newmarket) originally. Reference: The National Archives, 1881 and 1891 censuses. – see 1901 census below also.]
1896, 25th September 1896: ‘NOTICE is hereby given that the Partnership which has for some time past been carried on by George Borwick Mead and George Owen Mead under the firm of Mead and Son at Newmarket in the County of Suffolk in the business of Surgeons and Apothecaries was this day dissolved by mutual consent.– As witness our hands this 25th day of September 1896. / GEORGE BORWICK MEAD. / GEO. OWEN MEAD.’ Reference: The London Gazette. Oct 16 1896; Issue 26786: 5690.
1900: ‘MEAD, GEO. B. OWEN, Mentmore, Newmarket, Suffolk – L.R.C.P. Edin. 1879; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1879; (St Bart.); Brackenbury Schol. 1877; Mem. Camb. Med. Soc.; Surg. Rous Memor. Hosp.; Med. Off. Health Newmarket U. Dist.; Coroner for Co. Suffolk; Surg. Brit. Nat. Aid Soc. Russo-Turkish War 1877-8 (Ord. Medjidieh, 3rd class); late Surg. Cape R.M. Serv., and Asst. House Surg. W. Sussex Hosp.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1900. [Note: this was his last entry in the Medical Directory.], [Note also, his previous role in the West Sussex Hospital is included from 1881 onwards, but his BMJ obituary (see below) cites the West Suffolk Hospital.]
1900, 16th January: Newspaper report regarding a fatal riding accident, although interestingly the cause of death was tetanus: ‘Mr. G. Owen Mead, Coroner for Newmarket All Saints [sic], held an inquest at the Newmarket (Suffolk) Police Station,’. Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Jan 16 1900: 8. [Note: Clement Gray and his apparent assistant James Grieves were the main medics attending the case – see the page on Clement Frederick Gray.]
1900, 13th March: A newspaper reported that George Owen Mead had died from an ‘abscess on the brain, at his residence, Mentmore House, Newmarket, early on Monday morning, after a very brief illness. Prof. Victor Horsley, of London, and Dr. Wherry, of Cam-bridge, visited him on Sunday morning, with a view of performing an operation, but found that it was too late to operate. The deceased gentle-man received every attention from his brother practitioners in Newmarket.’ Reference: East Anglian Daily Times. Tuesday Mar 13 1900: 7. [Note: this was the first such report – the day after he died. There were many more to follow, filling in further details – see a selection below.]
1900, 16th March: George Owen Mead of Newmarket buried at Mepal, aged 43. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Mepal. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2010, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).
1900: Memorial to Owen Mead, in a grave three along from his mother at Mepal, in a row of five Owen family graves. ‘ILMO Owen MEAD d 12 March 1900 aged 43 Coroner for West Suffolk, capt. 3rd Suffolk Regt.’ Reference: 8, Monumental Inscriptions Saint Mary Mepal. Recorded by Alan and Margaret Bullwinkle for the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, 1992, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: added in pen to this document is ‘Robert and Dorothy Hardick’ as also involved in the transcription?], [Note also, when I saw this grave in December 2017 it was covered with very thick ivy, such that it was impossible to uncover completely in any appropriate way. However, it was possible to lift the top left corner of the ivy to reveal a flatstone on which could be read ‘In Loving Memory’ and the name Owen Mead with his qualifications underneath. To lift the ivy back any further would have been inappropriate and destructive, so it was carefully placed back down to continue growing. However, it was clear from this investigation that the transcription was a summary of facts, not an exact transcription, since on the actual grave were the words ‘In loving memory’ in capitals, ‘Owen Mead’ all in capitals, with his qualifications ‘M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P.’ immediately underneath, not mentioned on the transcription.], [Note also, this was part of a row of five graves, numbered 8-12, all of which related to the Owen family one way or another (according to the transcriptions) – number 11 was the grave of Owen’s mother (see 1885 above). The graveyard had been tended such that graves 8-11 formed a mass of thick ivy and some brambles, the cross from grave 9 sticking up in the middle – see image above.]
1900, 17th March: Under the heading ‘Death of Dr. G. Owen Mead’, there was a long report in the Newmarket Journal. It begins, ‘Stricken down in the prime of his life, by a disease which, almost until the last, was unsuspected, Dr. G. Owen Mead, one of the most genial and popular medical men in Newmarket, passed away, at his residence Mentmore House, after a painfully brief illness, at 2 o’clock on Monday morning. He had been complaining for some time of pains in the head, but was able to attend to his practice almost up to the last. The news that he was dangerously ill, and was scarcely expected to recover, circulated throughout the town on Sunday, and caused a general feeling of sorrow. Dr. Mead’s fellow practitioners in Newmarket had done their very utmost for him, and during Sunday, Dr. Wherry, of Cambridge, and Professor Horsley were summoned. When they came however, it was apparent that an operation could not be attempted with any prospect of success.- Dr. Mead remained uncon-scious during the day, and gradually sank… / Dr. George Owen Mead was the elder son of Dr. George Borwick Mead, who for many years practised in Newmarket, but retired a year or two ago and left the town.’ It details his military roles at some length (summarised in other references here), but includes the interesting remarks ‘Though he was one of the strictest disciplinarians he won the regard and respect of the men who served under him as few officers succeed in doing. Having spared no effort in order to make himself proficient in military duties, he laboured unceas-ingly to raise the II Company to a high state of efficiency, and succeeded in making the Company second to none in the battalion as regard smart-ness, soldierly bearing, and proficiency of drill. But though he gave the men plenty of hard work, they did it cheerfully. Captain Mead was an officer of whom they were proud,…’ It mentions his role as coroner for Newmarket All Saints’ and the further interesting comment, ‘While making a full and thorough investigation, whenever it was his duty to hold an inquest, he avoided undue prolixity, and did not waste the time of the jurors by going into unnecessary detail.’ It also mentions his Medical Officer of Health role, especially with regards to the drainage scheme, and that he was a director of the Newmarket Electric Light Company. Some useful details towards the end include, ‘Dr. Mead was Medical Officer for several branches of friendly benefit societies in Newmarket and district, and had in addition an extensive private practice. He was most popular among all classes, and was deservedly held in high respect, and the heartfelt sympathy of the whole com-munity will go out to his relatives in the heavy blow which has fallen so suddenly upon them. / The deceased gentlemen was 43 years of age, and was unmarried…’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Mar 17 1900: 5. [Note: the first AGM of the Newmarket Electric Light Company is reported on page 8 of this paper, with accounts for the year ended 31st December 1889. This was their first set of annual accounts ‘The works were completed and opened on the 9th March, 1899, and current had been supplied contin-uously since that date.’ There appear to have been five other directors and they noted ‘the sad loss… of Mr. G. Owen Mead… it was with very great regret that they learned of the death of a very promising young man so suddenly.’]
1900, 17th March: Another newspaper reported, ‘DEATH OF DR. G. OWEN MEAD.- We regret to record the death of Dr. G. Owen Mead, which occurred at his residence, High Street, early on Monday morn-ing, after an illness of only three days. The cause of death was an abscess on the brain. The deceased was a M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., and had been the Medical Officer of Health for about 14 years [according to his Medical Directory entries it was more like 16 years, the role first being mentioned in 1884 there – see 1880 reference above, and perhaps even 17 years given the 1883 entry elsewhere mentioning this role – see above also], originally under the old Local Board, and for the past few years under the Urban Council. He was also Coroner for the New-market and Haverhill District of West Suffolk, and was at one time Captain of 3rd Battalion Militia (Suffolk), and also one of the Directors of the New-market Electric Light Company.’ Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Mar 17 1900: 7. [Note: after this comes an entry about the electric light company, showing it was doing well, with the added comment ‘the appointment of a Director to the vacancy caused by the death of Dr. Owen Mead was left to the Directors.’]
1900, 17th March: A newspaper reported his funeral, which took place on Friday 16th March at Mepal. It reported that he ‘was interred in the pretty little churchyard at Mepal… in accordance with the deceased’s wish to be buried near his mother. The body was taken by road to Mepal… The hearse was accompanied by two coaches, conveying the friends and relatives of the deceased.’ Those in attendance at the graveside included ‘Mr Percy Mead (brother), Dr Gray, Dr Hutchinson, Dr Maud [sic]…’. There were floral tributes from many, including his father, sisters ‘Georgie and Janie’ and interestingly ‘his son, Owen’. It’s not clear from the report whether these people were all present as well, likely at least some were. Reference: Cambridge Daily News. Saturday Mar 17 1900: 3.
1900, 24th March: ‘Funeral of Dr. G. O. Mead.’ Reported in the Newmarket Journal as having taken place on Friday 16th March at Mepal, buried ‘near the grave of his mother’. It provides the added detail (cf. reference above) that the mourners had travelled from Newmarket to Ely by train, being picked up by the hearse and carriages there, the hearse with coffin having set off earlier by road from Mentmore House. It states that Percy Mead was the principle mourner and as above mentions Drs Gray, Hutchinson and Maund being present. As above it lists floral tributes from many, with it not being clear who was present. Unlike above it does not mention ‘his son, Owen’ but ends, ‘and several others’ so the list was not complete. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Mar 24 1900: 5. [Note: a Newmarket Urban District Council meeting is reported on page 8 of this paper, expressing regret that they had been unable to follow the cortege part of the way at least. They noted that he has displayed ‘tact and firmness… when occasion required’ and ‘energy’. He was also described as ‘a really good, reliable and sound Medical Officer of Health’ and one person present said that he would ‘miss a really good friend, and one whom he held in more respect than any other man he had met during his existence.’]
1900, 7th April: Under the headings ‘Newmarket Urban District Council.’ … / ‘NEW MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH.’ … ‘The applicants were Mr. W. R. Etches, Mr. W. Hutchinson, and Mr. J. H. Maund. / The chairman read a letter from Mr. Etches, who stated that he had come to Newmarket with a view of taking the practice of the late Medical Officer of Health (the late Mr. G. Owen Mead), and settling here permanently…’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Apr 7 1900: 8. [Note: in the event Walter Hutchison was elected. However, this shows that there was to be a formal successor to the Meads’ practice, which was presumably for sale. In the 1901 Medical Directory William Robert Etches can be found in Surrey, having been in Macclesfield earlier. Ernest Crompton, in Mentmore House on the 1901 census (see below), obviously succeeded to the Meads’ practice instead.]
1900, 7th April: Obituary in the BMJ. It mentions that he was born in 1857, was the ‘elder son of Dr. George Borthwick Mead, formerly of Newmarket’ and that he died on 11th March in Newmarket. It mentions that he trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, his 1877 scholarship, and that he gained the ‘diplomas’ M.R.C.S.Eng. and L.R.C.P.Edin. in 1879. It mentions that he became ‘Assistant House-Surgeon to the West Suffolk Hospital’ (but see notes below). Regarding later medical roles it mentions that he ‘settled in practice with his father in Newmarket’, was ‘Coroner for the Newmarket Division’, Medical Officer of Health for the Newmarket Urban District Council, with particular involvement in ‘their main drainage scheme’, and that he was involved with the Rous Memorial Hospital. It emphasizes a number of military roles, including him having been in ‘the Russo-Turkish war as Surgeon to the British National Aid Society, receiving from the Sultan the Order of the Medijeh (Third Class) at the end of the war’. It mentions that later he ‘entered the 2nd V.B. Suffolk Regi-ment as Lieutenant of the Newmarket Company, which he afterwards commanded’, then became ‘Captain in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the regiment’. Regarding his character, it mentions him being ‘keen’, exhibiting ‘a high sense of duty’, and being generally ‘extremely popular’ and ‘deservedly held in high esteem by all classes’. It concludes, ‘Dying as he did in the prime of life and after a painfully brief illness his decease elicited the deep sympathy of the whole community for his relatives. In accordance with his wish to be buried near his mother he was interred at Mepal, near Sutton, in the Isle of Ely.’ Reference: OBITUARY. DR. GEORGE OWEN MEAD, of Newmarket. The British Medical Journal 1900;1(2049):882. [Note: this states that he was Assistant House-Surgeon to the West Suffolk Hospital, yet the medical Directory mentions from 1881 onwards the West Sussex Hospital as a previous role. Given that he periodically edited his Medical Directory entry (see 1880 notes above) it seems likely that Sussex was correct, despite Suffolk being local – perhaps that’s why the error occurred?], [Note also, it states that he died on 11th March, when it fact it was 2am on 12th March according to the Newspaper reference above, which being more precise is likely more accurate.]
1901, 31st March / 1st April: Ernest Crompton born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, aged 39, ‘Physician + Surgeon’, together with his wife Margaret, aged 30, born in Canada, and a housemaid, living at Mentmore House, High St, Newmarket St Mary’s parish. Reference: The National Archives, 1901 census. [Note: see the page on Ernest Crompton for an image.]
Newmarket Union Minutes 1879-1900. Reference: 611/30-37, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: George Owen Mead does not feature in these minutes at all. His father is not mentioned after 1886 and the family appear to have had no further role with the Newmarket Union.]
Shops History Newmarket. http://www.newmarketshops.info/index.html. [Note: newmarketshops.info has been supplied with information regarding the medical history of Newmarket by the author of talkingdust.net since August 2013 (see footnotes on some of the pages). Both websites continue to be developed, and in this sense are mutually symbiotic.]
Suffolk Medical Biographies. Profile for Mead, George B Owen. http://www.suffolkmedicalbiographies.co.uk/Profile.asp?Key=1435 (originally accessed pre October 2013). [Note: at the time of writing (November 2017), this website had only three references to George B Owen Mead.], [Note also, see comments regarding this website on the Francis Greene page.]
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1880-1900. [Note: see above references for full 1880 and 1900 entries, and 1890 entry for George Borwick Mead], [Note also, this publication has been known by various titles over the years. Initially it just covered London, but from 1847 it had a wider remit, being variously known as the London and Provincial Medical Directory, The Medical Directories, The Medical Directory, etc., essentially the same work with minor variations and developments. It is usually referred to as The Medical Directory (as opposed to The Medical Register), so that is how it’s consistently referred to on talkingdust.net.]
The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council; 1879ff. [Note: he is not in the 1879 register, his date of registration being 20th October 1879 with his LRCP qualification. His first appearance is in the 1880 register, with his address as ‘Mentmore house, Newmarket’. Interestingly/oddly he never adds his MRCS qualification, even up to his last entry in the 1900 edition.], [Note also, his LRCP is listed as from London (apparently mistakenly), not Edinburgh, from 1880 to 1883, then reverts to Edinburgh from 1884 onwards. A similar problem occurs in The Medical Directory – see 1880 entry above.]
Venn JA. Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Cambridge: At the University Press; 1951; Part II (from 1752 to 1900), Vol IV (Kahlenberg – Oyler): ‘MEAD, GEORGE PERCY. Adm. Pens. At DOWNING, Oct. 18, 1884. [s. of Dr J. [sic] B., of Newmarket. B. Aug. 23, 1866. School, Kings’, Ely.] Matric. Michs. 1884. At St Bartholo-mew’s Hospital, 1885. Not found in Medical Directs. (Kings’ Sch., Ely, Reg.)’.
Note: For published material referenced on this website see the ‘Acknowledgements for resources of published material’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page. The sources used for original unpublished documents are noted after each individual reference. Any census records are referenced directly to The National Archives, since images of these are so ubiquitous on microfilm and as digital images that they almost function like published works. Census records are covered by the ‘Open Government Licence’ as should be other such public records (see the ‘Copyright and related issues’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page for which references constitute public records, and any other copyright issues more generally such as fair dealing/use etc.).