Joseph Davis (known as Joe Davis within living memory of some in Newmarket, and shown by a couple of the references below) was born in Northumberland in 1902, apparently to Russian parents, his father being a Russian Jew. Presumably the family had adopted an Anglicised version of a similar Davidic surname? He had at least three sisters and a brother. One sister, Sarah, was the mother of his later nephew and partner in practice, Dr Lionel Walden, who was in practice locally as recently as 1985 (see the pages on Rous Surgery and Oakfield Surgery).
Joe Davis qualified from Durham in 1924, with the modern MB BS degrees in medicine and surgery. Although not the first Newmarket medic with these qualifications, he appears to have been the first to qualify with these alone, not combining them with the older LRCP or MRCS etc. (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for more details). Initially he practised in Newcastle, in partnership with a Dr Jackson, but by 1928 he was the assistant to Dr Sidney Winslow Woollett in Newmarket, succeeding to his practice at Kingston House that same year. He also succeeded Dr Woollett’s role as Medical Offier for District 2 of the Newmarket Union poor law institution, which comprised the villages of Brinkley, Borough Green, Westley Waterless, Dullingham, Stetchworth and Snailwell.
Joe Davis practised from Kingston House for almost a decade before moving to Rous Villa, where any who recall him will likely remember his practice (Rous Surgery later evolved into today’s Oakfield Surgery, but that was after Joe Davis’ retirement, in fact a decade after his death even – see The Oakfield practice chain). Interestingly, like several other buildings in Newmarket (Rous Villa included) Kingston House had been used as a surgery by another practice before, by Ernest Crompton from about 1903-1910 (see the page on Ernest Crompton for more details, and the page on Kingston House). Whilst at Kingston House Joe Davis had at least two partners, Drs William Moody then Frederick Robinson, who sequentially lived at an address in Crockford’s Rd.
Joe Davis is first recorded at Rous Villa in 1937. For the next 10 years practising from there he must have sublet the building, since it wasn’t until 1948 that he acquired the lease (see the references below and the page on Rous Villa for more details). Then, as mentioned above, apparently in 1952 he was joined in partnership by his nephew Lionel Walden. In 1952 Dr Walden took on the lease of Rous Villa and Joe Davis started listing a separate residential address in the Medical Directory. Interestingly, they both referred to themselves as ‘surgeon’ on the lease assignment rather than general medical practitioner or similar, a very late example of GPs referring to themselves as ‘surgeon’, in fact the last known example in Newmarket (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for more discussion on that, and an image below – this convention lives on in GPs buildings being called surgeries today, as in Rous Surgery, now Oakfield Surgery).
In 1961 they acquired a third partner, Dr Sumpton, who lived and worked in Barrow, 7 miles east of Newmarket (see Rous Surgery for more details). This triple partnership ran throughout the 1960s until Dr Davis retired from the partnership in 1969, replaced by a Dr Kiddle. His partnership deed was with Drs Walden and Sumpton, dated 1st October 1969, and some Medical Directory entries from around that time mention this triple partnership (although some seem out of synch.). However, Joe Davis continued to practise for a few years after that, and he continued to list Rous Villa in addition to his residential address in the Medical Directory until 1971. There’s also local recollection of Dr Davis doing some locum work, including at Lincoln Lodge in 1973/4. Moreover, when he died in 1983 the Newmarket Journal reported that he ‘fully retired about 12 years ago’. So although it seems he practised in some capacity a little beyond 1969, it appears he officially passed Rous Surgery on to Drs Walden, Sumpton and Kiddle that year, where the story is continued on the page about Rous Surgery. The Newmarket Journal report on his death 13/14 years later described ‘Dr Joe Davis’ as one of Newmarket’s ‘well known and respected characters’. He also left a widow (apparently named Winifred) and a son John in Birmingham – possibly known as John Ridley-Forster?
Regarding contemporaries, when Joe Davis came to Newmarket there were two other practices in town corresponding to the two other practices of today, namely the Grays & Hendley at Alton House (proto-Rookery), and John Hansby Maund at Heath Cottage (proto-Orchard House). During his time Joe Davis would have seen Alton House Surgery grow to five partners by 1969 (McNeill, Dale-Bussell, Walker, Dossetor and Wallace – see the page on Alton House Surgery for more details; interestingly the late Dr Dossetor on more than one occasion referred to Oakfield Surgery as ‘the Davis practice’ in conversation with myself before he died). Regarding Orchard House’s predecessors, before retiring Joe Davis would have seen John Maund succeeded by Norman Simpson at Heath Cottage, then Dr Simpson move that practice to Lincoln Lodge, before being succeeded in turn by Dr MacKenzie (later in partnership with Dr Hamilton) – see the pages on John Hansby Maund, Norman Charles Simpson and Lincoln Lodge for more details).
Image 1: From private papers (cropped); image reproduced with kind permission of the owners of Rous Villa, 2019 (image taken in 2014, by the author of talkingdust.net).
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
1911, 2nd/3rd April: Joseph Davis, aged 9, in the household of his father George Davis, aged 48, a ‘Travelling Draper’ birthplace Russia, nationality defined as Jewish, with his mother Annie, aged 42, defined as Russian from Russia, three sisters and a brother, living at 26 Villa Place, Newcastle on Tyne. Reference: The National Archives, 1911 census. [Note: see the address Joe Davis gave in his first 1926 Medical Directory entry below. Interestingly, the three sisters were born in Russia, aged 14, 16 and Sarah 17 (see 1939 below), but younger brother Herzl, like Joseph, was born in Northumberland. This would suggest that the family came to Northumberland from Russia about the turn of the century.]
1926: ‘DAVIS, Joseph, 26, Villa Pl., Newcastle-on-Tyne – M.B.. [sic] B.S. Durh. 1924.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1926. [Note: this was his first appearance in the Medical Directory. In 1927 he added the address 190 Westgate Rd and mentioned a partnership with Jackson. This was Joseph Jackson, who gave the same Westgate Rd address (and another one in Newcastle), and mentioned his partnership with Davis. He’d qualified from Durham in 1922 and had been in Partnership with someone called Newton in 1926. Davis and Jackson mentioned their partnership until 1928, then both stopped mentioning it in 1929 (although both still recording 190 Westgate Rd and one other Newcastle address (26 Villa Place in the case of Joe Davis – apparently his parents’ address, see the 1911 census above), so it’s not clear exactly when this partnership dissolved, but clearly Joe Davis was in Newmarket in 1928 (see below), initially as Sidney Winslow Woollett’s assistant, then successor. Joe Davis did not update his Medical Directory entry to Newmarket until 1930, but his Medical Register entry started showing his move to Newmarket in 1929, consistent with him having moved to the town in 1928.]
1927, 1st November: ‘A letter was read from Dr Woollett stating that he was now away from home undergoing treatment for rheum-atism and that Dr L. Roberts would be in charge of his practice during his absence…’ Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there was no local L Roberts, so this must have been a locum from further afield, there being seven in the Medical Register for 1927.], [Note also, this reference is included here to show that Joe Davis was not likely Dr Woollett’s assistant at this stage, consistent with the above.]
1928: ‘WOOLLETT, SIDNEY WINSLOW, O.B.E., Kingston House, Newmarket (Tel.18)– M.R.C.S. Eng. 1879; L.S.A. 1878; (King’s Coll.); Surg. Rous Memor. Hosp.; Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. 2nd Dist. Newmarket Union; Maj. (late R.A.M.C., twice mentioned in Gazette); Hon. Life Mem. St. John Ambl. Assn.; Mem. B.M.A., Surg.-Maj. Retired 1st Norf. V. Artill.; late Asst. Med. Off. Middlx. Co. Asyl. Banstead, Peckham House Asyl., and Sussex and Brandenburgh House, Hammersmith.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1928. [Note: this was the first year that he mentioned Kingston House, his address having been Cardigan Lodge in 1927. See the page on Sidney Winslow Woollett for more details.]
1928, 12th June: ‘The Chairman referred in sympathetic terms to the recent death of Dr S. W. Woollett Medical Officer for the No2 District of the Union and it was unanimously resolved that the clerk be directed to convey to Mrs Woollett and the family an expression of the Board’s sympathy and condolence in the loss they have sustained. / It was further resolved that an advertisement be issued for applications for the appointments of District Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for the No2 District, there being no medical man residing within that District’. Reference: DC1.4.1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the district comprised Brinkley, Borough Green, Westley Waterless, Dullingham, Stetchworth and Snailwell – not Newmarket All Saints’, which is where Kingston House is.], [Note also, these minutes also include his quarterly salary being paid to his executors, so likely he had returned to work since the November entry above, unless the payment was to his business being covered by a locum and/or assistant – see 16th June below. However, the fact that Dr Davis was described as an assistant rather than locum or substitute suggests that Sidney Woollett was perhaps back at work too?]
1928, 16th June: Under the heading ‘Funeral of Dr. S. Winslow Woollett’ the Newmarket Journal reported amongst the ‘principal mourners’, aside from his widow and members of the family, ‘Dr J Davis (assistant)’ and in the floral tributes ‘A last remembrance of one who commanded my sincere respect and friendship – Dr J Davis (King-ston House)’. Also present at the funeral were Drs Clement, Gilbert and Norman Gray, Dr Maund, Miss Langridge, matron of the Rous Memorial Hospital, Mrs E S Heasman, matron of ‘New-market Infirmary’ and ‘The staff of the Newmarket Post Office (for whom Dr Woollett was medical officer for about 22 years)’. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Jun 16 1928: 12. [Note: see the page on Sidney Winslow Woollett for more details.]
1928, 10th July: ‘In response to the Board’s advertisement two applications were received for the appointment of District Medical Officer and Public vaccinator for the No2 District and after considering the same it was resolved that Dr Joseph Davis be and he is hereby appointed…’ Reference: DC1.4.1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the minute does not say who the other applicant was.]
1929: ‘Davis Jsph. M.B., B.S.Durh. Physcn. & medical officer & public vaccinator No. 2 district, Newmarket union, Kingston ho. High st. TN 18’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1929, pgs 184-192 Newmarket section. [Note: the Grays & Hendley in Alton House (proto-Rookery), and John Maund in Heath Cottage (proto-Orchard House) are listed separately]
1929: ‘Davis, Joseph… Kingston house, Newmarket, Suffolk’, registered 13th January 1925. Reference: The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council; 1929. [Note: he’s recorded in Newcastle in the 1928 register.]
1930: ‘DAVIS, Joseph, Kingston House, Newmarket (Tel. Newmarket 18) – M.B., B.S. Durh. 1924; (Durh.); Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. No. 2 Dist. Newmarket R.D.C.; Med. Ref. Colon. Mut. Life Austral.; Mem. B.M.A.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1930. [Note: this was the first year that he mentioned Newmarket, but see the Medical Register above.], [Note also, his address remained as Kingston House until 1938, when it changed to Rous Villa (see 1938 entry below).]
1933: ‘Davis Jsph. M.B., B.S.Durh. physcn. (firm, Davis & Robinson), Kingston ho. TN 18’ and ‘Robinson Fredk. M.R.C.S.Eng., L.R.C.P.Lond. physcn. & surgn. (firm, Davis & Robinson), Kingston ho. TN 18’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the counties of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1933, pgs 205-214 Newmarket section. [Note: see the reference below regarding Dr Robinson.]
1933, 9th January: It was reported that at a meeting of the West Suffolk County Committee, ‘Dr. F. Robinson partner of Dr. J. Davis, Newmarket, had been inserted in the Panel List in the place of Dr. W. J. Moody, withdrawn’. Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Jan 14 1933: 9. [Note: the 1933 and 34 Medical Directories show William Joseph Moody resident at Wendover in Crockfords Rd., Newmarket, in the partnership ‘Davis & Moody’ (he wasn’t in Newmarket in 1932 or 1935). Frederick Robinson was recorded in Yorkshire in 1934, but at the same Crockford’s Road address in 1935 through to 1936 – see also Kelly’s Directory entry above, so obviously the Medical Directory entries are lagging behind.]
1936: In the section divided up by streets, ‘Kingston House, Davis, Dr. Joseph. (Phone 18).’ in the Kingston Passage section, and in the alphabetical list of names, ‘Davis, Dr. Joseph, Kingston house, Kingston passage’. Reference: Newmarket & District Annual & Directory. Newmarket: Eastern Counties Supplies Ltd.; 1936-37 edition, pages 106 & 137. [Note: see the page on Kingston House for more details and discussion.], [Note also, Dr Frederick Robinson (see reference above) is shown at his residential address in Crockford’s Rd.]
1937: ‘Davis Jsph. M.B., B.S.Durh. Physcn. medical officer & public vaccinator to Newmarket Rural District Coun-cil, district No.2, Rous villa, Rous rd. TN 18’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the county of Cambridgeshire. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1937, pgs 215-223 Newmarket section.
1938: ‘DAVIS, Joseph, Rous Villa, Newmarket (Tel. New-market 18) – M.B., B.S. Durh. 1924; (Durh.); Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. No. 2 Dist. Newmarket R.D.C.; Mem. B.M.A.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1938. [Note: this was the first year that he mentioned Rous Villa in the Medical Directory. From 1953 he added Warren Lodge to his address (see the 1952 lease reference below), then from 1965 this changed to Reydon Lodge in Bury Road, then from 1971 he dropped mentioning Rous Villa, signalling his retirement, although apparently he retired from the partnership in 1969, doing locums for a couple of years – see personal correspondence in the general references below.], [Note also, his medical register address change lags behind this by some time.]
1939, 29th September: In Rous Villa, Rous Rd, Newmarket, Joseph Davis, born 6th January 1902, Medical Practitioner, presumably his wife Winifred, born 1905, a 16 year old schoolboy John Ridley-Forster (possibly his son John? – see March 1983 below), a couple of servants and one other. Reference: Online image of the 1939 England and Wales Register held at The National Archives, ancestry.co.uk (accessed 25th May 2018). [Note: on this same register, Lionel Walden (see 1952 below) is recorded at 37 Malvern Street, Newcastle (the address he gave in the 1952 Medical Register), aged 20, a student, in the household of his parents Harold Walden and Sarah born in 1894, consistent with Sarah being Joe Davis’ 17 year old sister on the 1911 census above and later reports that he was Joe Davis’ nephew (see correspondence in the general references below).]
1948: The lease of Rous Villa assigned from Georgina Lonnen to Joseph Davis, described as of Rous Villa (i.e. already living there, presumably as a tenant). Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: see the page on Rous Villa for more details.]
1952: The lease of Rous Villa assigned from Joseph Davis, described as of Rous Villa, to Lionel Walden, also described as of Rous Villa. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: he bought the freehold in 1975; see the page on Rous Villa for more details.], [Note also, Lionel Walden’s Medical Directory entry records him in Rous Villa in partnership with Dr Davis from 1953, consistent with a move to Newmarket in 1952; however, at his death in 1985 it was said that he came to Newmarket in 1948 – see the page on Rous Surgery.], [Note also, from 1953 Joe Davis’ Medical Directory entry records a separate residential address with ‘(surgery)’ next to ‘Rous Villa’ (see comments on the 1938 entry above) consistent with the surgery continuing from Rous Villa, with Lionel Walden now living there, and Joe Davis living elsewhere.], [Note also, interestingly, both Drs Davis and Walden gave their occupation as surgeon on this document (see image above), a very late example of GPs calling themselves surgeons (see The history of medical treatments, training qualifications and Regulation for more details).]
1961: Dr Sumpton moved from Chelmsford to Barrow, which is in between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds, and is recorded in partnership with Drs Walden and Davis. This triple partnership is mentioned in the Medical Directory entries of Drs Sumpton and Walden from 1961, but Joe Davis’ doesn’t mention it until 1965. Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill. [Note: see below and the page on Rous Surgery for more details.]
1983, 28th February: Under Deaths ‘DAVIS (Doctor). On Monday. February 28 1983… JOSEPH (Joe)… Aged 81’. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday Mar 3 1983: 23. [Note: it mentions that he died in a Newmarket Nursing Home that no longer exists, but was of Burwell at this stage, so presumably lived there.]
1983, 10th March: Under the prominent heading ‘RETIRED DOCTOR HAS DIED AGED 81’ a significant report in the Newmarket Journal starts ‘The Newmarket area has lost one of its well known and respected characters in the death of Dr Joe Davis…’ It includes the comment that he ‘started practising in the town in the 1920s and fully retired about 12 years ago.’ It mentions his surgery being in Rous Road for many years and that he was joined by Dr Lionel Walden in the 1950s who continued to practise from there. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday Mar 10 1983: 9. [Note: this report also mentions his widow, a son John in Birmingham, and his other interests and activities.]
Newmarket Union Minutes 1928-1930. Reference: 611/46 & DC1.4.1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the last meeting of the Newmarket Union was on 18th March 1930; see the page on the Newmarket Union for more details.]
Personal correspondence and discussion with those who have living memory of Rous Surgery. In particular this helped to clarify that Dr Kiddle replaced Dr Davis in October 1969, coming into partnership at that time with Drs Sumpton (who worked in Barrow) and Walden (who was Joe Davis’ nephew). Also, there is local recollection of Dr Davis working as a locum in retirement, which probably accounts for the Newmarket Journal comment in 1983 that he ‘fully retired about 12 years ago’, i.e. about 1971, although he’s remembered doing some locum work at Lincoln Lodge in 1973/4. [Note: see the page on Rous Surgery also.]
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.]
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1925ff. [Note: see above references for full 1926, 30 and 38 entries with further comments, (and 1928 for Sidney Winslow Woollett).], [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. [Note: see above references for full 1929 entry.]
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.).