A huge heritage project at Lostock Hall Medical Centre has seen the team delving inside the doctors bag of yesteryear to uncover memories and stories of patients from the last 70 years.
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Coinciding with the anniversary to mark 70 years of the NHS, the “Doctor Doctor” project has been given a cash injection of £40,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help research and discover more local history from the former doctor’s house at Dardsley in Brownedge Road.
The site is to be the new home for the medical centre, which will move from it’s current location in Leyland Road at the end of the year. A plan which has been well received by patients.
It has also given Lead GP Dr Ewa Craven and his staff an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and dig out hidden stories and sentimental treasures at Dardsley, which from the 1890s until 1950 was a well established family practice run by Dr Thomas Sharples and his son Dr Sydney Sharples assisted by Dr Sydney Cohen.
Practice manager David Pearson says the project, in partnership with Lancashire County Council museums, has struck a chord within the local community, uncovering some fascinating artefacts and stories from patients and former staff.
“From the 1950s to 2008 Dardsley was the NHS Prescription Pricing Authority for the region.
“Its history provides a comparison from before and after the introduction of the NHS in 1948
“The project will allow us to collect and celebrate local people’s memories of changes in health care in Lostock Hall as part of the NHS 70, the 2018 celebration of the NHS 70th anniversary"
All the research collected will be put together for display and a series of memory boxes to be used used by community volunteers for outreach workshops with older people, especially in local care homes, when the new centre opens its doors.
Last month “DoctorDoctor”, being led by project co-ordinator Belinda Scarlett, was launched with a special open event held at the centre, welcoming more than 300 people from patients to health and well-being professionals, Lostock Hall Memorial Brass Band, Abhi Dance Academy, the Soul Shaking Dance and Movement and Lancashire Museums representatives and local historians.
David said the launch was a great success and added the team were now appealing to more people, who have a personal story or interest to get in touch.
He says: “As a child did you ever go there as a patient? We would love to hear your memories so we can share them with other patients. Does anyone know of any photographs of the building from that time or of Dr Sharples and Dr Cohen who worked there? Write to us or leave your details at reception so we can get in touch.”
Patients have already been reminiscing on some of their earliest memories of the practice, Mr Terry McNulty from Lostock Hall recalls Dr Sydney Sharples who owned and ran Dardsley from the 1920s to the 1940s attending his home visits in a chauffeur driven car – a black Ford Prefect.
Dr Sharples until his death in 1948, kept the collar tag of his favourite pet dog, said to be buried in the garden at Dardsley.
David adds: “The name of the tag was simply Dr Sharples because everyone knew where their local doctor lived.
“Faye Cohen, widow of Dr Sydney Cohen, who worked at Dardsley just before and after the Second World Ward, has given us this tag.
“Faye also gave us a copy of Dr Cohen’s retirement party photo from about 1986 (pictured). Posting it on Facebook has resulted in a number of memories being shared.”
Among other items, patient Graham Hayes is donating to the project a doctor’s bill for £1-10s-6d for medical services provided to his great-grandfather at Dardsley in 1905 by Dr Thomas Sharples. It is thought the bill was for treating his great-grandmother who died young of TB at this time.
For more visit www.lostockhallmedicalcentre.co.uk