Dr. Ralph Taylor

Highly Respected Benfleet G.P. for 34 Years

Dr. Ralph Taylor at the surgery
From the collection of Mary Acres
Joint retirement party for Dr Helen Wessels and Dr Ralph Taylor at the Rushbottom Lane surgery. July 1988.
© Echo Newspapers

The letter transcribed below was received by the archive from Mrs Ruth Taylor, wife of the late Dr. Ralph Taylor.  Dr. Taylor was a highly respected G.P. in the Benfleet area for 34 years, having started at a local practice in 1955.

Thank you for your letter 9th March 2012 requesting information about my husband, Dr Ralph Taylor, who died 6th March 2006.

He became a local G.P. in Benfleet in 1955, lived and worked there for 34 years.

At that time most babies were home births. Mothers only went to hospital if there were difficulties.  He worked with midwives Porter and Davison. Nurse Patrick was the District Nurse who rode a bicycle everywhere. She lived down Pound Lane.

The only made up roads were the London Road and Benfleet High Road.  All the others were mud tracks which the doctors frequently got stuck in and the wives were called out to tow them out!  They shared a battered old Land Rover for this reason.

Dr Taylor did his own “on calls” and weekends on duty on a rota system. This took a toll on his health. Sometimes he was called out four times in a night and still worked the next day.

The original surgery was in Pendley House – Dr Acres house as it was then.  I cannot remember what year the purpose built surgery was built but it was enlarged as the population of Benfleet grew in the 1960s & 70s.

The partnership was Dr Wilks, Dr Acres, Dr Tyndall and my husband Dr Taylor.  Dr Sutcliffe joined as a junior doctor, out of training in 1960.  Dr Clark took over Dr Wilks practice when he retired but only stayed a few years and left to go to London to work, Dr Wessels replaced him.

Nurse Groombridge mainly served the Hadleigh area and the doctors there.

I hope this letter fills in some gaps you have in the archive of Benfleet.

The archive is grateful to Mrs Ruth Taylor for sending us this information.

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  • Sorry to learn of Dr Taylor’s departure into the next dimension. He was our family GP from 1962 when I was created, until about 1985 when Dr Sykes took over. I have a newspaper cutting from 1980 when Dr Taylor and his family were caught up in a tube train crash at Holborn.

    By Paul Fretwell (06/04/2012)

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