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Article by Phil Mason, transcribed by Margaret Craddock

Memories of Dr A P Kingsley

Photograph of Dr A P Kingsley
Dr A P Kingsley 1956
In the years before and during the Second World War there was no National Health Service and some people couldn’t afford to visit the doctor.Here in Burton if we suffered a minor accident in the home we couldn’t dial 999 or even Keydoc.  We used to fetch the local member of St John ‘s Ambulance Brigade.  Failing that we would send for Nurse Brooks who lived in William Street .I can still remember Dr Kingsley arriving one Sunday morning to take my tonsils out.  The operation was carried out on the kitchen table.  Nurse Brooks was in attendance together with her large black dog named ‘Solo’ who lay contentedly under the table. (Brooks Close, off Higham Road, has been named in memory of Nurse Brooks. To read more about her, click here.)

The family doctor was an important and very much respected member of the community.  ‘Osborne House’ where he lived and held his surgery stood very prominently in the centre of town and was known simply as ‘The Doctors’.  With the exception of Sundays and Bank Holidays, two surgeries were held daily.  Mornings from 9 am to 10 am and evenings from 6 pm to 7 pm.  There were no appointments it was just a matter of turning up and waiting your turn.  The waiting room at the front of the house was a very small room made even smaller by the erection of a wooden partition, which made the passageway between the waiting room and the surgery.  It had a red brick floor and dark wooden panelling.  It was furnished by six wooden round-backed chairs, a small table which held prescriptions – and was heated by a single bar electric fire.  Only the early birds managed to get a seat in the waiting room.  Latecomers queued in the dark passage, the only light coming from under the surgery door.  There were compensations.  During the wait you not only discovered who was suffering from what, you heard all the local gossip and much more besides.In between the surgery door and the waiting room was a third door that led into the family kitchen.  People who arrived early for the morning surgery knew what was on the menu for dinner.  Sometimes the surgery would start late because the doctor had been called out on an urgent house call or an accident but, come what may, everyone who attended was seen.The surgery also had its own particular smell because if you were too late to get to the chemist, the doctor would make the medicine up whilst you waited.  He must have had a very busy life with additional surgeries in two neighbouring villages.  He also visited the local factories to examine new employees and was involved with the local St John’s Ambulance Brigade.  The large garden behind his house was his pride and joy and he always found time to attend church on Sunday with his family.
Click here to read Dr. Kingsley's obituary.

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