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Mike's digging reveals Wellington doctor's dynasty

By Toby Neal | Wellington | Features | Published:

Researcher Mike Grainger has been delving into the records to learn more of the family background behind this photo which we carried in our Pictures From The Archive slot the other day.

Dr Hawthorn in his chauffeur-driven car outside his Wellington home

It is an old postcard which was loaned by Bridgnorth collector Ray Farlow, and printed on the front is "Dr W.T. Hawthorn, Holly Lodge, Wellington, Salop."

It is undated, but looks to be from the Edwardian period, and in any event can't be later than 1919 as we now know that Dr Hawthorn, who is no doubt the gentleman in the chauffeur-driven car, died that year.

The handwritten message on the back is "Wishing you a Merry Xmas & Happy New Year, From Mr W.T . Hawthorn." Also written on the back of the postcard, perhaps by a collector, is "Holly Lodge, Queen Street," and "extremely rare, only one known."

The property is on the corner of Queen Street and Charlton Street in Wellington, and is largely unchanged today, although the low wall, hedge, and greenery have all gone, and there is now a parking area in front of the property.

It turns out from Mike's researches that Dr William Thomas Hawthorn died in Wellington almost exactly 100 years ago, on November 7, 1919.

Mike has established that Dr Hawthorn, whose profession is given as surgeon, was living in Vineyard Road, Wellington, in 1881, and is then listed as living at Holly Lodge in Queen Street in 1891, 1901, and 1911.

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He had married Sarah Elizabeth Bromwich in 1871 in Lambeth. She died in Wellington on October 3, 1915.

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They had a son and four daughters, all of whom were born in Wellington in the 1870s and 1880s.

Armed with Mike's information we've turned up his obituary in the contemporary Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, which said he was a well-known figure and much-respected personality. After he died at his Holly Lodge home aged 70 the flag on Wellington's parish church tower was hoisted at half mast, and on the following Sunday the bells were muffled.

Dr Hawthorn had been churchwarden at Wellington's parish church for 14 years or so.

"As a medical practitioner the late Dr Hawthorn's services and advice were greatly sought, and as a family doctor he was very popular.

"Appointed medical officer under the Wellington Board of Guardians in 1874, he retired only last year on superannuation after 44 years' faithful service," the obituary said.

Dr Hawthorn was the son of a doctor in Uttoxeter, and his own son was a doctor too – Dr Henry William Hawthorn.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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