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Dr James Graham. Part 1: Bicycle accidents, personal and village events.

In December 1905 Dr Winchester resigned his positions as Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for the Eythorne District and Dr James Graham MRCP was duly appointed in his place by January 1906. Like his predecessor, Dr Graham lived in West End House, the last house in the village on the road to Coldred. The time Dr Graham was the Eythorne doctor he saw a number of notable changes in the day-to-day life of the village and its surrounds but there was also a significant amount of continuity. He was the first Eythorne Doctor to own a car.

In 1888 the bicycle was declared to be a “carriage” and therefore had a legal right to use the roads (which wasn’t the case previously). Since then, its popularity among all classes of the population had been growing (see advert for Humber Bicycles featuring the then Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII at the front of the procession of cycles) as it gave a new freedom of movement, especially for women, that was not possible before. Possibly due to unfamiliarity with the machines and the speeds that they could attain, plus the unsuitability of the roads for cycles at speed Dr Graham saw a number of serious cycling accidents occurring during his tenure that his predecessors did not.
On Monday 19th August 1907, the Canterbury City Coroner, Dr T.S. Johnson and a jury sat to enquire into the death of Richard Alfred Garlinge, who died at the County Hospital on the previous Thursday evening (15th August) from injuries received colliding with a trap while cycling in Nonington on the previous Sunday evening of the 11th of August. The driver of the pony trap was a young man called Harold Dixon, an architectural student living in Coldred and the son of the manager of the outdoor staff of the Dover Gas Company who was driving with his mother in a Canterbury Cart through Nonington. At the inquest, the widow Edith Jane Garlinge, said: My husband was 29 years of age and was an insurance agent. He lived at Stourmouth, Preston and I now live in Nonington. We had been there 16 months. His health was very good and he was steady, sober and regular in his habits. He started out to see his mother on Sunday at 3.00, but there was an accident before he got there. My husband said that when he got near Mr Woodruffe’s shop he saw a trap coming along the road and it ran into him and though he tried to get out of the way, the shaft struck him in the stomach and knocked him off his bicycle and dragged him along the road. The inquest established that neither party was “driving furiously” but there was conflicting evidence on whether there was enough room for both to pass safely. Dr Graham was called at the time of the accident and on Wednesday 14th of that week Garlinge was taken worse and Dr Graham advised his removal to the Canterbury Hospital. He was admitted 1.15 on Thursday August 15th and operated on at once (2.15) as he was in a bad way. The operation revealed his intestines had ruptured and that he had severe peritonitis. He died at 10.15 the same day. Dr Huxtable, the house surgeon, did not believe that running into the shaft was the cause of the intestine rupturing and that it had probably occurred on the Wednesday when the deceased was taken worse and that this injury event was secondary to the peritonitis as the cause of death. The jury retired to their verdict and after deliberating in camera for about 20 minutes returned a verdict of accidental death. The coroner said that the widow did not attach blame to anyone and it was the only verdict they could retort. He tendered his sympathy and that of the jury to the widow in her bereavement.
On the 7th November 1907 at about 7.30 pm, whilst cycling down Barfrestone Hill on his way way home to Shepherdswell from the ploughing match at Eastry, Mr Isaac Clayson, a retired licensed victualler was thrown heavily to the ground and rendered unconscious. Two others who were with him quickly dismounted to come to his aid and in a few minutes he regained consciousness and they assisted him to his home. Dr Graham of Eythorne was sent for and on his arrival found him suffering from severe bruises on the body and several contusions. Mr Clayson was confined to his bed for over a week afterwards.
A serious accident befell Harry Petitt a stoker employed at Tilmanstone colliery whilst cycling from Dover to his home at Eythorne on Saturday night, 20th February 1909 at about half past 11. He was cycling with a young man named Vassie and was endeavouring to turn the sharp corner at the bottom of White Peaks Hill (on Sandwich Road near Waldershare Rectory) when, owing to darkness, he ran with great violence into the bank at the side of the road. He was thrown off his machine and his companion cornering up a few seconds later found him unconscious and bleeding profusely from wounds in the head. He immediately went for assistance to the Royal George Inn (now the Cider Works), a little further on, and a trolley having been got out, Petitt was conveyed to his home where he was attended by Dr Graham. The injured man did not regain consciousness until Sunday evening but progressed favourably after that.
Eight months later, Mr Wyborn, farmer, parish councillor and registrar for Eythorne met with a serious accident at almost exactly the same spot as Harry Petitt, on Friday afternoon (22/10/1909) about 4.30. A doctor who was passing in his motor car picked him up in an insensible condition and with all speed conveyed him to Eythorne where he was attended to by Dr Graham. Mr Wyborn was badly cut about the face and was found to have broken his nose and fractured his right arm in two places. He recovered favourably. The stretch of road these two accidents occurred on is now considerably wider and straighter than when these accidents (and others after) happened.
On Monday afternoon 7th June 1909, Miss Jacobs, of Elysian Cottage, Upper Eythorne, met with a serious accident while riding down Haines Farm Hill, Coldred. She had called to see Miss Berry of the Lodge Cottage and had just left and not gone many yards when her friend heard a fall and going a little way down the hill found Miss Jacobs lying in the road. Berry called Mr H Amos, a baker, who happened to be near and after he had rendered first aid, Miss Jacobs was taken into Lodge Cottage and afterwards to her home where she was seen by Dr Graham and Dr Rubel (a Dover doctor, died 1916). It was found she had sustained concussion of the brain. It was reported that “it is thought that Miss Jacobs who has suffered lately from biliousness suddenly became giddy and fell on her head. She was unconscious for hours but we are glad to learn that she is now recovering”.
A serious accident befell George Lee, fitters mate of Lower Eythorne whilst returning home from work on Saturday evening 21st May 1910 from Guilford Colliery. Lee left the colliery at 6 o’clock and was cycling along Coldred Top when the mudguard of his machine broke and caught up in the wheel with the result that he was thrown to the ground. His face was badly lacerated and several stitches had to be put in, Dr Graham attending him.
On Saturday the 8th of February 1908, Julia Jane Hicks, 23, servant working for Dr Graham was charged with feloniously stealing a pair of gaiters, a box, a blouse, a photograph, one handkerchief, one lace front top, four vests, one travelling rug, two gold bracelets, a bracelet case and two stock collars and also various sums of money, the goods and monies of Dr James Graham, between 9th May 1907 and 4th January 1908, at Eythorne. The girl was in the employ of Dr Graham from December 1905 to January 1908. Detective Sergeant Burniston (Folkestone Borough Police) said that on Saturday morning (8th February) he received a search warrant to search the premises of No 40 Dover Road, Folkestone. At 10.50, accompanied by PC Simpson and Mrs Graham (prosecutrix), he went to the top floor of the house. On searching it, he found a tourist bag, a travelling rug and a small wood box, all of which Mrs Graham said belonged to her. On being then taken to the police station and searched, a watch and gold bracelets belonging to Mrs Graham and post office bank book in the name of Julia Jane Hicks, No 6994, issued on the 20th June 1903 at the post office Tontine Street Folkestone and showing a balance of £29 7s 7d were also found. During the last month Dr Graham found that he was £50 short in his money which he kept in a metal cash box in his bedroom. Dr Graham had examined a bunch of keys found on the accused since her arrest and there was one which had a piece of worsted tied around that fitted his cash box perfectly. It was also discovered that the accused had insured her life for £100 and that she bought a mandolin and took lessons, the mandolin costing £4, a high price considering her wages. Her wages were 30s monthly at the time of her arrest, she received £16 in her first year and £18 in the last. The bench retired to consider their decision and on return the Chairman said they would convict prisoner to six weeks hard labour, the sentence to take immediate effect (21/2/1908)
On 19th March 1909 it was reported that Dr Graham had broken his arm whilst starting the engine of his motor car.
An alleged burglary took place at West End House, the residence of Dr Graham, on the night of Tuesday 28th June 1910. “The curious part of the matter is that whoever broke into the house only took away a microscope and that apparently the intruder was disturbed in some way. The servant states she closed the windows at 10.00 o’clock Tuesday evening and, when the people in the house arose the next morning, they found the microscope was missing. Dr Graham is at present away but it is stated that during the night his locum tenens heard a sound as if the gate was being opened or shut. At the time he thought it might be someone coming for him but as he received no call he now puts it down to the intruder”.
On Friday 15th December 1911, George Arthur Gaunt, a groom in the employ of Dr Graham died from the effects of a fall. He had only been in the doctor’s service four days. Evidence of identification was given by the widow (Emma Gaunt, of Harold Road, Sittingbourne), who stated that her husband was 44 years of age. He came from Sittingbourne to Eythorne last Monday week to enter the service of Dr Graham. He was then quite well. Gaunt was found lying against a wall of the stable unconscious on Thursday 14th December and it is supposed that he fell from the loft. He was removed in Dr Graham’s motor car to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover on Thursday shortly before 1 o’clock suffering from a fractured skull. He died on Friday 15th.
Like his immediate predecessors, Dr Graham was an active member of the community he served and was a member of the parish council. He was also very active in training of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. For example, commencing Wednesday 15th January 1908, Dr Graham gave a course of lectures on First Aid in conjunction with the Eythorne Section of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. These were for “for both sexes” and delivered in the evening at the school. The cost of the whole course, which included instruction was 4s (4 shillings or 20p in today’s money). By the end of the month the class numbered 20.
About 6 months earlier, on Monday May 20th 1907 a combined drill of the Dover, Folkestone and Eythorne Divisions of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade was held at Waldershare Park (by kind permission of Lord Guilford) about 42 men paraded. The Division marched from Shepherdswell headed by the drum and fife band of the Folkestone Division. The following work was undertaken: Inspection by the Superintendent (Mr Dawes), squad and company drill, bandaging, artificial respiration, test accidents, the practical work being examined by Dr James Graham. The Dowager Countess of Guilford, on behalf of Lady Guilford then presented service badges to some members of the Dover Division. Supt. Dawes on behalf of the three divisions thanked the Countess for coming and said that the interest she had shown would help the work forward in the district. Dr Graham called for cheers for her Ladyship which were heartily given and also for Lord Guilford.
On Friday 22nd January 1909 Mr A E Blackwood died at the age of 22 years. He was the son of Mr and Mrs J. Blackwood, Eythorne, Mr Blackwood being butler to the Earl of Guilford at Waldershare Park. The deceased up until three years ago, served in the army, when was forced to leave on account of consumption. Since that time he has been living with his parents in Eythorne, keeping as much as possible in the open air. During the week prior to his death he had a relapse and was confined to his bed, passing away suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly on Friday morning. The young fellow was extremely well known in the village and great sympathy will go out to Mr and Mrs Blackwood at the loss of their son at such an early age. The funeral took on Monday afternoon, there being a large gathering of villagers at the church and at the graveside. The members of the Eythorne Brass Band, in uniform, with whom the late Mr Blackwood was very popular were amongst those present. Mr & Mrs Blackwood wish to thank all kind friends for their sympathy and kindness to their late son and especially to Dr Graham for his great kindness.
On October 19th 1910 at The Kennels, Waldershare, Muriel, only daughter of Mr & Mrs Prior, aged 11 years died. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. T J Holt and attended by several relatives and friends and a large number of the deceased child’s school friends from Waldershare and district. The rector gave a very impressive address after which the coffin was borne to the grave. Chief mourners where Mr & Mrs Prior, and close friends and family. “Mr and Mrs Prior and family desire to express their heartfelt thanks to the Earl and Countess of Guilford, the Rev T J Holt, Dr Graham and all kind friends for the great sympathy shown to them in their sad bereavement also for the beautiful wreaths and flowers sent. Will all kind friends please accept this intimation as tokens of sympathy have been too numerous to answer personally”. The next day the following letter was sent by the Rector to the Schoolmaster. “I feel I must ask you to accept (and to convey to the teachers) my thanks for the excellent way in which the arrangements for the funeral for our dear little Muriel Prior were carried out. Especially may I mention how thankful I was to notice the sweet reverence of the children under your care in the House of God and at the graveside of their little friend and playmate. Would you kindly oblige me by reading this letter to those attendance school today” 28/10/1910

Vince Croud

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