Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dr Frank Wells-First Medical Superintendent at Craig-y-nos

Chris Willey, from Gloucestershire, grandson of Dr Frank Wells the first medical superintendent at Craig-y-nos, discovered our web-site and contacted me to see if we have any information on his maternal grandfather.

I could only refer him to our book "The Children of Craig-y-nos" and the research carried out by Carole Reeves.

She discovered that Dr Wells was appointed in 1921 but left in 1926 due to illness to be replaced by two young Scottish women doctors, Dr Lizzie Robertson Clark and her assistant Dr Sarah Walker.

He qualified at St Mary's hospital, London, in 1911.

Chris says:" I never knew him as he died before I was born but my mother used to play at the castle as a child (she was born in 1915 so I assume it would have been in the early twenties) especially in the theatre where the opera singer Adelina Patti sung."

Chris added in another email:

"About twenty five - thirty years ago I took my mother (who died in 2001) down to Craig-y-nos. We were very fortunate that when we were there a person who worked there struck up a conversation with my mother, the end result being that he showed us all round the place. Obviously quite a lot had changed but she recognised a lot. Her biggest thrill was to be shown around the theatre where she used to play as a child.

Frank Wells was a medical missionary in Southern India and shortly after he married he and his wife went out to India. My mother was actually born there (in 1915) and at the age of 5 the family returned to England for my mother's education. I believe Craig-y-nos was his first UK appointment on his return.

This visit to the Castle was, I believe the only time she went back there since her childhood but she used to speak about her time there with very fond memories - she adored her father, her relationship with her mother was of a much more "formal" nature."

"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, published by The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, price £9.99p

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