Rous Surgery (in Rous Villa on Rous Road – see image on the right) will be remembered by many in Newmarket. It became Oakfield Surgery in 1993 when that practice moved to newly built premises in Vicarage Road. The practice had been in Rous Villa since 1937, so for over half a century. Interestingly, from about 1890, for possibly just over a decade, Rous Villa had been used by the predecessors of Orchard House Surgery as their premises as well (see the pages on Rous Villa, John Rowland Wright, John Hansby Maund and The Orchard House practice chain for more details). There are a number of other buildings in Newmarket that have been used by more than one practice at different points in history as well (Cardigan Lodge, Kingston House, Mentmore House, and possibly Brackley House and Cheveley House).
Regarding the Oakfield practice chain, it was Dr Joseph (Joe) Davis who moved the practice to Rous Villa. He came to Newmarket in 1928, as an assistant to then successor of Dr Sidney Winslow Woollett, initially practising from Kingston House for nearly a decade before moving to Rous Villa. It seems that he worked as a single-handed GP from Rous Villa until his nephew Dr Lionel Walden joined him in partnership, it appears in 1952 (see the page on Joe Davis for details – Lionel was the son of his sister Sarah). In 1961 they were joined in partnership by a Dr Sumpton, who lived and worked in Barrow. It seems this was a form of branch surgery. There had been no village doctor in Barrow for several years preceding this, although there had been one earlier, so perhaps the vacancy was seen as an opportunity to establish a significant branch surgery – i.e. with someone resident there. Village surgeries held by Newmarket practices on certain days of the week with no doctor actually resident in the village were common at this time (see below and the page on Alton House Surgery as well).
This triple partnership of Davis, Walden and Sumpton continued throughout the 1960s, before Dr Davis retired. A Dr Kiddle (who later became a community paediatrician in Northamptonshire) briefly replaced Dr Davis at the turn of the 1960s/70s, in the partnership Walden, Sumpton and Kiddle. At that time, aside from their Barrow branch, the practice held weekly surgeries at Burwell and monthly surgeries at Six Mile Bottom, Dullingham and other villages, from rented private properties.
By 1972 the new configuration of Walden and White had emerged in Newmarket (Dr Sumpton continuing as a separate single-handed practice in Barrow). This duo ran for about 15 years until Dr Arthur replaced Dr Walden in 1985. Dr Silverston joined the practice in 1991, making a triple partnership again, with all three based in Newmarket this time.
It was this trio, Drs White, Arthur and Silverston, who moved to the new purpose built surgery in Vicarage Road in May 1993 (see the page on Oakfield Surgery for details). From that point Rous Villa became a private residence again (see the page on Rous Villa).
During the time of Rous Surgery, Alton House Surgery moved to The Rookery Medical Centre in 1974, and Lincoln Lodge Surgery moved to Exning Road Surgery, also in 1974, then to Orchard House Surgery in 1984 (see the pages on Alton House Surgery, The Rookery Medical Centre, Lincoln Lodge, Exning Road Surgery and Orchard House Surgery for more details). It’s also of note that Dr Simpson moved his practice to Lincoln Lodge the same time that Dr Davis moved his to Rous Villa.
1971-1993: White (one of the three who moved to Oakfield Surgery in 1993; retired from there in 1994)
1985-1993: Arthur (one of the three who moved to Oakfield Surgery in 1993; retired from there in 2018)
1991-1993: Silverston (one of the three who moved to Oakfield Surgery in 1993; retired from there in 2012)
* At his death in 1985 the newspaper reported that Dr Walden had come to Newmarket in 1948. However, he acquired the lease of Rous Villa from Dr Davis in 1952, and his Medical Directory entry does not mention Newmarket until 1953, which would be more consistent with a move to Newmarket in 1952 (and The Medical Directory shows a change in Newcastle between 1949 and 50, suggesting he was there then – likewise, the Medical Register does not show any earlier move to Newmarket). Also, at the death of Joe Davis in 1983 it was reported that Dr Walden joined him in the 1950s.
** Dr Sumpton was in partnership with Walden and Davis, then Walden and Kiddle, but lived and worked in Barrow; he continued single handed in Barrow from 1972. Interestingly, he was succeeded there by Dr Cooledge who merged with the Guildhall practice of Bury St Edmunds in 2009, so The Guildhall and Barrow Surgery in Bury has a tributary chain of partnership that can be traced back to Dr Davis and his predecessors, so going all the way back to Richard Faircloth in 1830s Newmarket! (see The Oakfield practice chain).
*** Dr Kiddle came into partnership with Drs Walden and Sumpton in October 1969 replacing Dr Davis. Dr Kiddle left in September 1970, at which point Dr White started, initially as a locum before becoming a partner.
Image 1: From Peter Norman’s Collection; image reproduced with kind permission of Peter Norman.
Image 2: From Peter Norman’s Collection (cropped); image reproduced with kind permission of Peter Norman.
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
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 pages on Kingston House and Joseph (Joe) Davis for more details).]
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. [Note: interestingly, the telephone number is the same as at Kingston House the year before.]
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, and the page on Joe Davis.], [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 the page on Joe Davis), a couple of servants, and one other. Reference: 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 (see the page on Joe Davis) and later reports (see correspondence in the general references below) that he was Joe Davis’ nephew).]
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: Dr Walden 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 (see further comments in the footnotes of the main text above also *); however, at his death in 1985 it was said he came to Newmarket in 1948 – see below.], [Note also, from 1953 Joe Davis’ Medical Directory entry records a separate residential address with ‘(surgery)’ next to ‘Rous Villa’ (see comments on 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 on the page about Joe Davis), 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 for more details.]
1972: Dr Sumpton stopped mentioning the Newmarket partnership in his medical Directory entry, and Drs Walden and White both start mentioning their partnership with each other. Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill.
1975: Lionel Walden bought the freehold of Rous Villa. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: on this document Dr Walden’s address is given as elsewhere in Newmarket; likely by this stage Rous Villa was used purely as a surgery, not a residence], [Note also, see the page on Rous Villa for more details.]
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 the 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: see the page on Joe Davis for more detail.]
1985, 11th April: The death of Dr Walden, reported in ‘The Journal’ exactly a week later. He was taken ill before going out on his afternoon visits and died that evening, so was still working when he died (the article reflects in passing the typical pattern of a GP’s day at that time, consisting of morning surgery, afternoon visits and evening surgery). It’s mentioned that he’d been in practice in the town nearly 40 years, having come to Newmarket in 1948. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday Apr 18 1985: 2. [Note: an obituary published the following week repeats that he had practised as a GP in Newmarket since 1948, when he began as a partner to Dr Joe Davis, but note the 1983 reference above cites the 1950s, which is more consistent with the other records too – see 1952 above. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday Apr 25 1985: 41.]
1988: Lionel Walden’s widow sold Rous Villa to the partners in the practice at that time. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
1993: The sale of Rous Villa, which subsequently reverted to a private residence. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
1993, 1st May: Report in ‘The Journal’ regarding a tree planting ceremony that took place on Saturday 1st May to mark the official opening of Oakfield Surgery, including the comment, ‘the town’s Rous Road surgery – which has now moved to the purpose-built premises in Vicarage Road’. The article includes a picture of the tree planting with the surgery’s GPs, who were Drs Arthur, Silverston, White and Griffiths. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday May 6 1993: 1. [Note: Dr Griffiths had not actually started work for the surgery at this point; she started on 12th May, but obviously was included in the ceremony – see the page on Oakfield Surgery also], [Note also, oddly the title of this article is ‘Hospital campaigner has VIP role as surgery opens’ emphasising the VIP hospital campaigner more than the surgery opening. The future of Newmarket Hospital was a hot topic at the time, hence this emphasis – see the page on Newmarket Hospital for more details.]
Personal correspondence and discussion with those who have living memory of Rous Surgery, including doctors, staff and patients. In particular this helped to clarify that Dr Kiddle replaced Dr Davis in October 1969, coming into partnership at that time with Dr Sumpton (who worked in Barrow) and Walden (who was Joe Davis’ nephew).
The History of Guildhall & Barrow Surgery. http://www.theguildhallsurgery.co.uk/information/the-history-of-guildhall-barrow/ (accessed 4th June 2018, and earlier). [Note: I spoke Dr Cooledge at the Jockey Club Rooms on 2nd June 2018 when we both attended an event to mark the retirement of Dr Bailey from Orchard House Surgery. He confirmed that he did indeed take over the practice of Dr Sumpton.]
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill. [Note: 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.
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