In 1868 Frederick Gray started campaigning for a cottage hospital to be built in Newmarket (see image on the right). He was fairly new in town at that time (having arrived in late 1866), and initially all of the other Newmarket medics opposed the idea, led it seems by Dr Mead. Nevertheless, Dr Gray kept trying (see 1869 and 1874 in the references below – and the image from 1874 below) until eventually it seems there was a change of heart.
By July 1878 the Jockey Club had raised £5000 in memory of Admiral Rous. This was called ‘The Rous Memorial Fund’ and the proposal was to ‘erect and endow a Cottage Hospital and Almshouses’ from the fund. Sir Richard Wallace offered a suitable piece of land (now in between Rous Road and Vicarage Road on Old Station Road – see a map from 1885 below). Initially there was some opposition, again it seems led by Dr Mead, and there was a counter proposal to use the money for a reading room and public library instead. A public meeting was called but the hospital idea proved by far the most popular of the two options. Oddly the proposal for a reading room and library was signed by Dr Gray (and numerous others), although he was not present during the meeting. This might have been Frederick Gray’s son Clement though, and say more about this younger Dr Gray’s enthusiasm for a reading room than opposition to the cottage hospital idea, in view of his keen interest in the temperance movement (see the page on Clement Gray for more details – reading rooms were encouraged as an alternative to pubs, for the drinking in of knowledge instead!).
The 1879 Post Office Directory captures the hospital under construction: ‘A memorial is now being erected to the late Hon. Admiral Rous* in the form of an Almshouse and Cottage Hospital… the latter to hold ten beds for patients.’ Only ten beds is surprising, especially since when described in more detail a few years later the central hospital block had ‘four wards, theatre, and dispensary, apartments for the matron, and offices, &c.’ The wards must have been very small, more like large rooms with two or three beds in each. Interestingly there’s also mention of some form of ambulance being kept there in 1887. In 1896 according both Kelly’s Directory and the Medical Directory the hospital still had only 10 beds, but then the Medical Directory records the number increasing to 15 beds in 1899. The 1900 Kelly’s Directory confirms that increase, providing the extra detail that 11 were for men and boys, and four for women. In fact these beds had been added as part of a new wing/ward to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee of 1897, opening in July 1898. Apparently, aside from the women’s ward, ‘two extra beds for ordinary patients’ were added as well (possibly meaning patients not connected with racing / private paying patients – see below). There’s also mention of the hospital being remodelled in 1906, such that by 1913 there were two wards, an eight bedded men’s ward and four bedded women’s ward, and X-ray facilities were being mentioned by that stage as well.
The 1916 Kelly’s Directory mentions 10 beds for men and boys, four for women and two for private patients, i.e. 16 beds by that stage, a number reflected by the Medical Directory at that time as well. It disappears from the Medical Directory in 1933, still with 16 beds, but the 1937 Kelly’s Directory records a further expansion to 21 beds, the extra five being for ‘children’, presumably younger than their definition of ‘boys’ above. It then reappears in the Medical Directory of 1953, which introduced a new section called ‘Independent Hospitals and Organisations’ at that time. From that point the Rous Memorial Hospital is listed as having 22 beds right through to its last entry in the 1966 Medical Directory, which also notes that it was a ‘Private hospital maintained by the stewards of the Jockey Club’.
The Hospital received its first patients in 1880, the various medical practices in town taking it in turns to provide cover (one month at a time, on rotation), although even off rotation they could admit private patients. The charitable side of the hospital was primarily for people connected with horse racing. From the outset apparently it did admit some others on a discretionary basis (as was probably the case for an elderly bricklayer suffering from a hernia admitted in September 1880, alongside two lads from the racing industry with fractures from horse kicks – the first three patients) – see image on the right. However, throughout its life the hospital continued to be primarily for patients with racing connections, which was of course a large proportion of the town anyway. In 1887 even the Jockey Club rules changed, such that ‘All fines shall be paid to either the Bentinck Benevolent or Rous Memorial Fund, at the option of the Stewards of the Jockey Club’. A 1913 report mentions Leopold Rothschild as a significant donor and philanthropist taking an interest in the hospital too. A report in the Newmarket Journal from January 1899, reviewing the women’s ward 6 months from when it had opened, gives some fascinating insights into how the hospital was used at that time (see details in the references below).
It remained the case that all of the generalist medics in town were on the staff, at least until the Medical Directory first stopped mentioning the hospital in the mid 1930s, and the local GPs were involved to some extent right up until it closed. In the early 40s, when it was still normal for GPs to perform tonsillectomies and hernia repairs etc., and even attempt neurosurgery (see the 1940 reference below!), Dr Norman Gray from Alton House Surgery carried out a tonsillectomy there in about 1942 as a day case, and a hernia repair in 1944 (see image on the right) – and no doubt he treated many other such patients there too. He mentioned ‘Surg. Rous Memor. Hosp’ up to and including 1952 in his individual Medical Directory entry, dropping this in 1953 but still working. Then he’s marked as retired with just his home rather than surgery address from 1954. Drs McNeill and Dale-Bussell, also from Alton House Surgery, mention a role at the Rous Memorial Hospital up until 1955 in their entries. However, it looks like Dr McNeill did not update his entry from 1948 until 1956, and Dale-Bussell from 1950 until 1956. Nevertheless, putting all of this together suggests that the local GPs were involved in a significant way up until the early 1950s at least. In the late 50s and early 60s two surgeons from Newmarket General Hospital performed the operations on a private basis (Mr Tagart and Mr Hesketh), but general post-op care was carried out by the patient’s own GP. There’s some local recollection of the hospital being used for stable lads with concussion and fractures etc., and for things like appendicectomies right up until its closure in 1966. Dr Ian Wallace, who arrived to work at Alton House Surgery in November 1965, remembers in his first year going to visit one of the practice’s patients at the Rous Memorial Hospital, who was recovering from surgery not performed by anyone from the practice, so likely by one of the Newmarket Hospital consultants. However, Dick Heasman’s book on Newmarket Hospital comments that the Rous Memorial Hospital was a private hospital with links to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, so perhaps some purely Addenbrooke’s based consultants were involved towards the end? (If anyone knows more details about how the hospital operated towards the end, please make contact using the details via the footer below.)
Surviving reports of cases treated at the Rous Memorial Hospital largely reflect its racing connections. See the references below for a selection from across the decades, mentioning many of the medics involved too, including practices collaborating together with some cases (see 1884 and 1893 especially). However, consistent with the above account, it’s of note that some of the patients do not appear to have had racing connections, as with the bricklayer mentioned already in 1880, and a Tindall’s employee with a hand injury in 1887. Likewise, a Relieving Officer of the Newmarket Union was admitted with a ‘poisoned hand’ in 1909, and the Master of the Workhouse had his appendix removed in 1923. Neither the 1942 tonsillectomy patient mentioned above nor the 1944 hernia repair patient’s family had racing connections either.
Finally the hospital closed in the 1966, when it was acquired by the local council and converted into 22 self-contained flats for the elderly called Rous Memorial Court, with a resident warden. Its official opening was in 1973. I recall many home visits to elderly patients there myself in the early 2000s. Access was via the main entrance to the old central block. It had long corridors running through the middle of the ground and first floors (with a stair case at each end). Doors to the flats were directly off from these corridors in both directions, front and back. In 2010 the building was acquired by the Racing Welfare charity who redeveloped it as modern flats for retired staff, so returning the building to its roots in some respects.
* Admiral Henry John Rous died in 1877. It’s of note from a Newmarket medical history point of view that he lived in Cardigan Lodge before his niece Lady Cardigan (after whom it was named). Obviously Rous Road was named after him as well, from which Rous Villa and so Rous Surgery indirectly acquired his name.
Image 1: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Jul 28 1868: 5 (cropped); image © The British Library Board, all rights reserved, reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. [Note: clicking here leads to the specific page on their website, but requires logging in to it.]
Image 2: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Mar 3 1874: 8 (cropped); image © The British Library Board, all rights reserved, reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. [Note: clicking here leads to the specific page on their website, but requires logging in to it.]
Image 3: Town Plan of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1885 (cropped); image © Crown Copyright 1885, reproduced with kind permission of old-maps.co.uk and the Ordnance Survey. [Note: click here for the specific map on their website.]
Image 4: From Peter Norman’s Collection (cropped); image reproduced with kind permission of Peter Norman. [Note: we have not been able to access the back of this old postcard to ascertain the original publisher, but using the image here seems likely acceptable, especially given the card’s age. Please make contact using the details via the footer below if you know more, for example if further acknowledgements etc. are required.]
Image 5: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Sept 21 1880: 8 (cropped); image © The British Library Board, all rights reserved, reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. [Note: clicking here leads to the specific page on their website, but requires logging in to it.]
Image 6: From private papers (cropped – red masking of name and address mine); image reproduced with kind permission of the patient concerned, 2016.
Image 7: From the Spanton Jarman Collection (cropped), image ©, reproduced with kind permission of the Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society.
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
1868, 28th July: ‘NEWMARKET. ESTABLISHMENT OF A COTTAGE HOSPITAL – We have much pleasure in announcing that Dr. Gray, of New-market, is calling the attention of the public of this town and neighbourhood to the advisability of establishing a Cottage Hospital…’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Jul 28 1868: 5. [Note: see image above.]
1868, 15th September: ‘COTTAGE HOSPITAL.- We are pleased to be able to announce that Dr. Gray, of Newmarket, is still actively engaged in carrying out his scheme for the establish-ment of a Cottage Hospital in this town.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Sept 15 1868: 8.
1869, 12th March: Meeting reported in the press which included discussions regarding ‘the desirability of Cottage Hospitals… first recommended for consideration by Dr. Gray, who maintained, and still contends, that such local institutions are much needed… Believing that the experience and opinion of the medical men of the town and neighbourhood would be of great service in the discussion… they were invited to be present at the meeting, and their decision in the matter… was altogether, with the exception of Dr. Gray, opposed to it.’ Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Mar 20 1869: 7. [Note: Dr Mead appears to have been the main speaker against the idea – see the page on George Borwick Mead for his interesting reasons.]
1874, February/March: ‘NEWMARKET. PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF A COTTAGE HOSPITAL. A few years ago the question of establishing a Cottage Hospital in Newmarket was mooted by Dr. Gray, of this town,… but as the scheme met with some opposition the matter was allowed to slumber for a time. It has now, how-ever, been again introduced by Dr. Gray, who is most anxious to see such an institution established not only for the benefit of the town but of the whole rural district…’ He was unable to attend the public meeting about this due to sickness, so sent a letter, which was published as part of the report. The basic idea was that acute rather than chronic cases be admitted for ‘medical and surgical attendance, good nurs-ing and good diet’. He suggested that a cottage hospital, ‘offers great advantages, as urgent cases of accident or sickness, which constantly occur, might be dealt with without delay; and with the aid of proper appliances it would be a sort of auxiliary or handmaid to the larger hospi-tals to supply the wants of those who are unable to reach the County Hospital – the patient being sometimes too exhausted to bear a long journey, and the relatives reluctant to have the patient removed to a distance, which precludes the possibility of frequent visits… One feature of the scheme is that the patients contribute towards their own maintenance in the Hospital, for it has been found by experience that such per-sons contribute most gladly according to their means, whilst those who are unable are provided for by the Board of Guardians’. Subsequent discussions noted that there was already a hospital like this at Mildenhall, Royston and Epsom, and that it would be to the advantage of the public and the medics ‘for instead of going from village to village, they would have to go from bed to bed.’ Nevertheless, there were objections from Dr Mead again who felt that a smaller scale endeavour would perhaps be appropriate and that other medics and inhabitants of Newmarket were of the same opinion. Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Mar 3 1874: 8. [Note: see image above.]
1878, 19th July: Under the heading ‘The Rous Memorial Fund.– Meeting at Newmarket.’ ‘As some of our readers are doubtless aware, a fund, entitled “The Rous Memorial Fund,” has been raised, under the auspices of the Jockey Club, amongst the racing fraternity, in memory of the deceased Admiral Rous. This fund, amounting to £5000, was entrusted to a Committee, who made an offer to the town of New-market, to the effect that they would erect and endow a Cottage Hospital and Almshouses. When this offer was communicated to the town, a few gentlemen met, and at once agreed to accept the generous proposal of the Committee, and Sir Richard Wallace has since offered a piece of land situated near the All Saints’ Vicarage, to be utilised as a site for the buildings suggested. Some opposition to this scheme has manifested itself…’ A public meeting was called ‘“to consider the propriety of memorialising the Jockey Club and the Committee of the Rous Memorial Fund to establish a Free Reading Room and Public Library for the town of Newmarket.”’ Along with many others, Drs Mead and Gray were amongst the signatories to this counter proposal, although Dr Mead was the main speaker at the meeting in its favour, Dr Gray and others not attending the meeting. This time his arguments were more in favour of the reading room than against the cottage hospital. In the event there was much more support for the cottage hospital idea at the meeting, and at the end ‘the CHAIR-MAN put it to the meeting which they preferred, a hospital or a reading room. The hands held up in favour of the hospital were rather more numerous, and upon the Chairman stating this, the cheering was loud and prolonged.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Jul 23 1878: 7. [Note: see discussion in the main text above regarding which Dr Gray this might have been.]
1879: The introductory section to Newmarket in the 1879 Post Office Directory states ‘A memorial is now being erected to the late Hon. Admiral Rous in the form of an Almshouse and Cottage Hospital, the former to hold twelve persons (four married couples and four single persons), the latter to hold ten beds for patients: it is pleasantly situated on an eminence to the east of the town near the railway station, the site being the gift of Sir Richard Wallace bart.’ Reference: The Post Office Directory of Cambridgeshire. London: Kelly & Co.; 1879, pg 87. [Note: at this time the station was in a different place – in what’s now Old Station Road, then called Upper Station Road.]
1880, 18th May: In the Newmarket section of a local paper: ‘THE ROUS MEMORIAL ALMSHOUSES AND COTTAGE HOSPITAL…. A meeting of the Rous Memorial Committee was held at the Jockey Club-rooms during the Newmarket Second Spring Meeting, when it was decided to appoint a Sub-Committee of five persons residing in the town of Newmarket to act with the Committee in carrying out the objects of the charity… The buildings will shortly be completed… The sum of £800 annually has been voted towards the expenses con-nected with the Institution. The objects of the charity are primarily to benefit persons connected with the racing world, but no doubt discretionary power will be given with reference to other patients.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday May 18 1880: 8.
1880, 21st September: Under the headings ‘NEWMARKET. / THE ROUS MEMORIAL’ ‘This useful institution may be said to have been fairly started there, being now three patients in the Hospital, namely… a lad who has had his leg broken by a horse kicking him… a stablelad, whose jaw was broken by a horse kicking him… and… [a] bricklayer’s labourer, an old man suffering from hernia. The patients are delighted with their quarters and with the attention paid to them, and each is doing as well as can be expected. Messrs. Wright and Hutchinson are house surgeons for this month, Messrs. Fyson and Son follow, and so on, each firm of medical men taking their turn. This will not preclude the attendance of medical men on any of their own private patients who may be admitted to the Hospital. The cottages are not yet occupied.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Sept 21 1880: 8. [Note: this should be Fyson and nephew strictly speaking – see the pages on The Fysons, Robert Fyson, Ernest Last Fyson and The Fyson practice chain for details.], [Note also, see image above.]
1884, 5th January: Under the heading ‘SAD DEATH OF AN AGED MAN’ who was ‘run over by a coal cart’. He was taken by a local fishmonger’s handcart/barrow to the hospital and put in a bed. ‘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: interestingly a man of the same name and right age was in the household of Richard Faircloth on the 1841 census as a male servant – possibly the same man over 40 years earlier!]
1884: ‘Rous Memorial Hospital & Almshouses’ shown on the Ordnance Survey map of Newmarket. Reference: Map of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1886 (surveyed 1884), sheet 42.6. [Note: see an image of the roughly contemporary town plan above also.]
1885: ‘The ROUS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL was erected in 1879 by the Jockey Club, at an outlay of about £5000, and is supported by that club. It is a handsome building, in three blocks, in the Queen Anne style of archi-tecture, built entirely of red brick. The centre block is the hospital containing four wards, theatre, and dispensary, apartments for the matron, and offices, &c. The wards are named respectively after the Prince of Wales, Sir J. D. Astley, Bart., Sir James Lowther, and Lord Hartlington, and are fitted up with every con-venience and improvement. The two side blocks comprise eight capital almshouses for jockeys, trainers, or men connected with the stables, or their widows, each inmate having an allowance of coal, &c., and money (ranging from £10-£20 per annum) from the Bentinck Fund. All the medical men of the town are on the staff, and Miss Ashby is the lady superintendent.’ Reference: White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk. Sheffield: W White; 1885, pg 514.
1887, 6th July: ‘A meeting of the Jockey Club was held at Newmarket on Wed-nesday, July 6… The following alteration of rule was brought up for confirma-tion – Rule 52 of the Rules of Racing to read as follows, viz:- “All fines shall be paid to either the Bentinck Benevolent or Rous Memorial Fund, at the option of the Stewards of the Jockey Club.” And was confirmed unanimously.’ Reference: The Sporting Life. Saturday Jul 9 1887: 6.
1887, 28th September: Someone fell onto an iron spike which went through the floor of his mouth. A policeman ‘called Dr. G. O. Mead, who instantly’ responded. ‘The constable then fetched the ambulance from the Rous Memorial Hospital, and the injured man was conveyed home to his lodgings’. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Jan 15 1887: 5. [Note: he did later end up in the hospital, but this in included primarily to show mention of the ambulance kept there.]
1887, 29th October: ‘a young man… in the employ of Messrs. Tindall and Co. had one of his hands caught in a printing machine, a portion of which had to be removed before he could be released. His injuries were dressed by Dr. Mead, at the Rous Memorial Hospital, of which he became an out-patient’. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Oct 29 1887: 5. [Note: it’s interesting that he’s described as an outpatient of the hospital, when the Meads had a practice in town (this could have been either of the Meads) – perhaps this refers to the Jockey Club funding his ongoing care or perhaps the dressings being changed at the hospital rather than the surgery, where the facilities for that might have been better, or both? – see the 1913 reference below also.]
1893, 17th April: ‘SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A STABLE LAD.– On Monday morning last… the animal he was riding reared and threw him to the ground, the result being that one of his legs was broken. He was conveyed to the Rous Memorial Hospital, and was seen by several medical men, who arrived at the conclusion that there was no alternative but to amputate the injured part of the leg, the fracture being a very serious one. The operation was skilfully performed by Dr. Maunde [sic] (Dr. Wright’s successor), and the lad is now making satisfactory progress towards recovery.’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Apr 22 1893: 5. [Note: this is very useful confirmation that Dr Maund was Dr Wright’s successor.]
1896: The introductory section to Newmarket in the 1896 Kelly’s Directory states ‘A Cottage Hospital and Almshouses were erected in 1879-80 as a memorial to the Hon. Henry John Rous, admiral R.N. who died 19th June 1877… the hospital, which is on the pavilion system, contains ten beds for patients, chiefly reserved for those meeting with accidents in connection with the many racing establishments: the buildings… form a picturesque group of English Renaissance character on three sides of a quadrangle.’ Reference: Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire. London: Kelly & Co. Limited; 1896, pg 138.
1896: In the Cambridgeshire Hospitals section of the Medical Directory: ‘NEWMARKET.– ROUS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL.– Established 1881. 10 beds. Surgs., Messrs. G. B. Mead, E. L. Fyson, G. O. Mead, W. Hutchinson, and J. H. Maund.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1896. [Note: this list of names reflects three of the four practices in town in 1896, i.e. the Meads, Ernest Last Fyson, Walter Hutchinson and John Hansby Maund; oddly the Grays are not mentioned, even though Clement Frederick Gray’s 1896 entry includes ‘Surg. Rous. Memor. Hosp.’ so likely this omission is an error, as appears to be the year of its establishment.]
1897: ‘NEWMARKET.– In connection with the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, the Newmarket Urban Council have decided to celebrate the occasion by contributing towards the building of a new wing to the Rous Memorial Hospital… the new wing will be for the accom-modation of female patients’. Reference: The Scotsman. Friday Apr 23 1897: 7. [Note: see 1899 below also.]
1899, 21st January: ‘THAT hospital accommodation for women is needed in Newmarket has already conclusively been demonstrated, although the Women’s Ward of the Rous Memorial Hos-pital has not been open much longer than six months. Before the Ward was com-pleted applications for admission were made on behalf of several women. The Ward was opened early in July, and since then sixteen in-patients have been received. None of the cases were trivial, and many of them were of a very serious nature. The patients comprised wives of stablemen, labourers and mechanics, and domestic servants; and it is evident that the facilities which are offered for hospital treatment have been already recognised by the classes for whose especial benefit the Ward was designed. A nominal charge is, as a rule, made for the accommodation; but in cases where the patient or her friends are unable to pay even this small amount, this charge is excused. Since the middle of August the Ward has only been vacant once, and then for two or three days only. A repre-sentative of the JOURNAL visited the Hos-pital on Wednesday, and was informed that the Women’s Ward was full, and that every bed had been occupied during the past ten days. It should be mentioned that the Ward contains four beds. Con-sidering the shortness of the time during which the Diamond Jubilee Women’s Ward has been open, it must be admitted that the Ward has more than justified its existence…’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Jan 21 1899: 5.
1899, 23rd November: Under the heading ‘NEWMARKET DIAMOND JUBILEE COMMITTEE’, it was reported that their fund had covered ‘the expense of adding a ward for women to the Rous Memorial Hospital… in addition to the ward for women, two extra beds for ordinary patients, besides bed-rooms, bath-rooms, &c., had been added to the hospital.’ Reference: Cambridge Daily News. Thursday Nov 23 1899: 3. [Note: the amount of money in the fund was the same as that given by the council in the 1897 reference above. In 1897 they had also agreed to fund ongoing running costs, but in 1899 it seems that offer had not been taken up so far by the Jockey Club (perhaps because of implications it might have had regarding council control?).]
1899: In the Cambridgeshire Hospitals section of the Medical Directory: ‘NEWMARKET.– ROUS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL.– Established 1881. 15 beds. Surgs., Messrs. C. F. Gray, E. L. Fyson, G. O. Mead, W. Hutchinson, and J. H. Maund.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1899. [Note: this reflects all of the known practices in town at the time – see 1896 above.]
1900: The introductory section to Newmarket in the 1900 Kelly’s Directory is similar to 1896 above except states ‘the hospital, which is on the pavilion system, contains fifteen beds for patients, including 11 for men and boys (princi-pally those employed in the many racing establishments) and four for women’. Reference: Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Limited; 1900, pg 169.
1907, 14th September: Following a fire at the town hall, it was reported that one victim, the wife of a stud groom, ‘Assisted by her husband… walked up to Dr. Fyson’s house, which stands in close proximity to the Hall. Dr. Fyson had her wrapped up and conveyed to the Rous Memorial Hospital, where he dressed her injuries.’ Another walked to a house in St Mary’s Square where she was a domestic servant and her employer (who was the manager of the Jockey Club Rooms) ‘ran for Dr. Crompton. The doctor responded to the summons at once’ and ‘after he had dressed the burns’ she ‘was taken in a carriage to the Rous Memorial Hospital’. Various others were taken there as well and it was reported that ‘The medical gentlemen practising in the town have done their utmost for the sufferers, and their efforts have been splendidly seconded by the matron and staff, of whom the relatives of the patients are loud in their praise.’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Sept 14 1907: 5. [Note: probably not all of the patients were treated at the hospital, one at least being taken home in a carriage and ‘Dr Woollett was summoned at once’, with no suggestion that they were then taken to the hospital; likewise probably not all of the patients treated in the hospital had racing connections on this occasion, but the article does not specify.]
1909, 26th October: ‘A certificate was received from Dr C. F. Gray that [the named] Relieving Officer was now in the Rous Memorial Hospital suffering from a poisoned hand and that he was unable to carry out his duties.’ Reference: 611/41, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1915, 9th July: ‘We deeply regret to record the very serious ac-cident to Rev. W. Colville Wallis, vicar of St. Agnes, Newmarket, and Rural Dean’. He was knocked off his bike by a ‘Red Cross ambulance’ / ‘The van took the injured clergyman to the Rous Memorial Hospital where he was at once attended to by Dr. Cromp-ton…’ Reference: The Cambridge Independent Press. Friday Jul 9 1915: 5. [Note: W. Colville-Wallis was also the secretary of the hospital – see 1916 and other references below; so although not in Racing, he was connected with the hospital.]
1913, 15th November: A report on the ‘Rous Memorial Hospital, Newmarket’ mentions that it was ‘remodelled in 1906’ and in 1913 had ‘two wards, of which that for men contains eight beds and that for women four beds’, and that it had x-ray facilities. It also mentions that ‘Mr. Leopold de Rothschild takes a great personal interest in this little hospital, as he does in many others, and that he is regarded with gratitude by the staff because he never fails to remember the hospital or to help in every emergency those in misfortune whom the hospital happens to touch in the course of its work.’ Regarding staff is reveals that ‘The present matron is Miss A. Langridge, who was trained at the London Hospital’ with a small staff (see 1936 reference below also). Interestingly the report states that the hospital dealt with ‘about 220 patients a year, of whom one-third are out-patients’ (see comments on the October 1887 reference above). Reference: Hospital 1913;55(1429):172.
1916: In the Cambridgeshire Hospitals section of the Medical Directory: ‘NEWMARKET.– †ROUS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (Pri-vate Hospital for use of those connected with Racing; under control of Jockey Club.) – Established 1880. 16 beds. Surgs., C. F. Gray, E. L. Fyson, J. H. Maund, E. Crompton, W. Woollett [sic]; Sec., W. Colville-Wallis.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1916. [Note: again this reflects all of the known practices in town at the time – see 1896 and 1899 above. Ernest Crompton had succeeded to the Meads’ practice and Sidney Winslow Woollett to Walter Hutchinson’s.], [Note also, the † ‘denotes that paying patients are received.’]
1916: The introductory section to Newmarket in the 1916 Kelly’s Directory is similar to 1896 and 1900 above except states ‘the hospital, which is on the pavilion system, contains 16 beds for patients, including 10 for men and boys (principally those employed in the many racing estab-lishments) and four for women, and two for private patients’. Reference: Kelly’s Directory of the counties of Cambridge, Norfolk & Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1916, pg 189-190.
1923, 26th October: ‘The Chairman reported that the Master of the Institution had been taken seriously ill, and was now in the Rous Memorial Hospital where he had been operated on for appendicitis but he was pleased to state that he was progressing satisfactorily.’ Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the ‘Institution’ referred to here is the workhouse, which had an infirmary (see the pages on The Newmarket Union (and workhouse) and Newmarket Hospital). So it’s interesting that he was admitted here rather than there for the operation, and not connected with racing either. Perhaps he was in one of the private beds and his surgeon was not the then workhouse medical officer Dr. Maund?]
1932: In the Cambridgeshire Hospitals section of the Medical Directory: ‘NEWMARKET.– †ROUS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (Tel.112) (Pri-vate Hospital for use of those connected with Racing; under control of Jockey Club). – 16 beds. Surgs., C. F. Gray, J. H. Maund, G. C. Gray, N. Gray, J. Davis, J. H. Moody, J. L. McNeill, T. R. Smith; Sec., W. Colville-Wallis.].’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1932. [Note: the three Grays, McNeill and Smith were all part of Alton House Surgery, the forerunner of The Rookery Medical Centre, Davis and Moody were the forerunners of Oakfield Surgery (at that time in Kingston House) Dr Davis having succeeded to Dr Woollett’s practice in 1928 (see 1916 above), and Dr Maund the was forerunner of Orchard House Surgery (in fact he had possibly just left Newmarket, in late 1931, the Directory not catching up until the following year, Dr Simpson having succeeded to his practice, which was in Heath Cottage at that time).], [Note also, as in 1916 above, the † ‘denotes that paying patients are received.’]
1935, 23rd February: ‘Mr Jack Jarvis, the Newmarket Trainer, was operated on in the Rous Memorial Hospital last night. He is suffering from quinsy. Mr Jarvis is reported to be improving.’ Reference: The Daily Mail (Hull). Saturday Feb 23 1935: 10.
1936: ‘Rous Memorial Hospital, Newmarket. Telephone 112. Secre-tary, Rev. W. Colville-Wallis; matron, Miss Langridge. Board of Management: Appointed by the Jockey Club.’ Reference: Newmarket & District Annual & Directory. Newmarket: Eastern Counties Supplies Ltd.; 1936-37 edition, pg 71.
1937: The introductory section to Newmarket in the 1937 Kelly’s Directory is similar to 1896, 1900 and 1916 above except states ‘the hospital, which is on the pavilion system, contains 21 beds for patients, including 10 for men and boys (principally those employed in racing establishments), four for women, five for children and two private wards’ (presumably each ‘ward’ had one bed to make the 21, fitting with the two private beds mentioned in 1916, so the five for children are the new feature since then, taking it from 16 to 21). Reference: Kelly’s Directory of Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1937, pg 361.
1940, 20th November: at a coroner’s inquest into the death of a stable lad from a head injury sustained by falling from a horse ‘Dr. John H. Randall (Newmarket) deposed that he was called to the Rous Memorial Hospital… [the patient] was uncon-scious, suffering from concussion and a fracture of the skull, on the right side, which was causing pressure on the brain. An operation was imme-diately performed to relieve the pres-sure, but death occurred about two hours later.’ Reference: Bury Free Press. Saturday Nov 23 1940: 6. [Note: Dr. Randall was a GP at Alton House Surgery – it’s interesting to see a GP at this time performing such a procedure in a local cottage hospital, working it seems much like the 19th century medics still (see 1856 on the page about Richard Faircloth, and an image of a newspaper article from a case just into the 20th century in 1901 on the page about John Hansby Maund, the latter event also taking place at the Rous Memorial Hospital) – there’s no suggestion that any ‘surgeon’ other than Dr Randall was involved on this occasion, or any suggestion that this was not normal practice for a local GP! White Lodge Hospital was very new at this stage – see the page on Newmarket Hospital.]
1944, 30th June: Old receipt from Alton House Surgery. Address of the practice: Alton House, Newmarket. Partners: G. C. Gray, N. Gray, J. L. McNeill and J. H. Randall. The partnership was called ‘Messrs Grays, McNeill & Randall. Surgeons’, and under the heading ‘For professional attendance and medicine’ is written ‘Operation’ (which I’m told was a hernia repair carried out by Norman Gray at the Rous Memorial Hospital). Reference: Old receipt shown to me by a patient. [Note: see image above.]
1950, 28th September: Walter Earl ‘trainer and ex-Jockey… died on Thursday at the Rous Memorial Hospital’. He’d been in there 3 weeks following a collapse. Reference: Newmarket Journal. Wednesday Oct 4 1950: 2.
1950, 13th October: A Jockey who fell during a Newmarket race was treated for injuries to his neck at the Rous Memorial Hospital. Reference: Birmingham Gazette. Friday Oct 13 1950: 2. [Note: no medics were mentioned by name.]
1964, 21st May: The death of former racehorse trainer Joe Lawson at the Rous Memorial Hospital reported in the Daily Mirror. Reference: Daily Mirror. Thursday May 21 1964: 30. [Note: this is the latest reference to the hospital in use that I’ve found so far. No medics were mentioned by name.]
1970, 10th March: The central block (i.e. the original hospital) became a Grade II listed building. Reference: https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101194618-rous-memorial-hospital-centre-block-newmarket#.W7OUAl_QaUk (accessed 2nd October 2018).
1973, 4th July: A booklet from the official opening of Rous Memorial Court has pictures of the original building and the new building, including floor plans of the new building with its 22 flats and warden accommodation etc. Only the central block remained from the original building, and remarks were made that there had been many earlier alterations to the building, and that when the council acquired it they formed an E shape (two wings either side of the centre), not particularly in keeping architecturally with the original. It also mentioned that a stone tablet had been discovered, with the inscription, ‘This tablet was placed by H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES on October 28th 1897 to commemorate a gift made by the inhabitants of Newmarket for the extension of the Hospital by means of which Female patients may be admitted when accommodation can be provided for them in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA’. Reference: Booklet with the front page: Newmarket Urban District Council / Rous Memorial Court Newmarket / OFFICIAL OPENING / by / Commander / The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Stradbroke, R.N. / H.M. Lieutenant for Suffolk / 4th July 1973. [Note: see also the 1897 and 1899 references above corresponding to the information on the tablet.]
Heasman D. 160 years of service to the community. A history of Newmarket General Hospital. Mid Anglia Community Health NHS Trust; 1996. [Note: this book has a couple of paragraphs about the Rous Memorial Hospital on page 21, including the comments that it was extended in 1887 to allow female patients to be admitted as part of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, but in fact, as shown above, this was 1897 to celebrate her diamond jubilee (not her 1887 golden jubilee).]
Newmarket Local History Society. Newmarket’s Personalities from the Past – III / Admiral The Hon. Henry John Rous (1795 – 1877). http://www.newmarketlhs.org.uk/personalities3.htm (accessed October 2018).
Newmarket Local History Society. Rous Court – update 2012 / A New Life as Racing Welfare apartments. http://www.newmarketlhs.org.uk/personalities3A.htm (accessed 2nd October 2018).
Personal correspondence and discussion with a patient of the Rous Memorial Hospital who had his tonsils removed there by the local GP Dr Norman Gray in about 1942, another who had the 1944 hernia repair referenced above (and who also gleaned some further local knowledge for me, from those involved in the racing industry), Gloria Edwards a nursing assistant at the hospital from 1958 to 1962, and Dr Ian Wallace of Alton House Surgery / The Rookery Medical Centre.
Racing Welfare. Rous Memorial Court. https://racingwelfare.co.uk/housing/rous-memorial-court-newmarket/ (accessed 2nd October 2018).
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1886-1967. [Note: the Rous Memorial Hospital is first listed in 1887 (under Cambridgeshire) recording 20 beds, which is likely an error, since it is not supported by other sources; the number is revised down to 10 in 1896, which is consistent with other sources from the outset, then increasing to 15 in 1899, and 16 in 1916; it’s listed in 1932 still with 16 beds, then disappears until 1953, when a new section called ‘Independent Hospitals and Organisations’ lists it as having 22 beds, which remains the case until its last entry in 1966, which also notes that it was a ‘Private hospital maintained by the stewards of the Jockey Club’], [Note also, see references above for full 1896, 1899, 1916 and 1932 entries.]
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.).