Monday, 13 March 2017

No 200/198 Upper Chorlton Road ...... part 2 Dr Johnston

Now I like the way that a house begins to reveal a little bit of its history.

198 Upper Chorlton Road, 1960
In the case of 198 Upper Chorlton Road the bonus has been a slice of how we used to live which today looks as remote from us as the Penny Farthing and the telegram.

But that is to jump ahead of the story.

198 Upper Chorlton Road is the other half of two grand houses built sometime after 1871.

I know that both were family homes and belonged to comfortably well off people who employed servants, owned businesses or were rich enough to style themselves as “living on private means.”

But until recently the documentary evidence stopped at 1911 leaving a gap of a century to fill.

In time that gap will be partly filled by a trawl of the directories in Central Ref which will supply the names of the householders from 1911 till 1969.

That said I do know that for a while no 198 was home to a Doctor and for this I have Margaret Holmes to than k who remembers that “we went to Doctor Johnston’s surgery in the right hand of the pair. 

The Directory entry, 1969
The practice later moved nearer to the Seymour before buying the Ashville surgery across the road where it is now. 

I think it was his family house and he was our doctor when I was born in 1938. 

I believe we saw another doctor during the war as I think he was called up and back to him after and stayed with them ever since.

There were no appointments you just went and sat until it was your turn.”

And according to the Directory for 1969 a “Sydney Johnson M.B., B.Ch. physcn & surgn” is listed at 198 which could be our doctor or possibly his son.

The chronology will become clear with more research but for now it is that last comment of Margaret’s that there was a time when “there were no appointments [and ] you just went and sat until it was your turn.”

Nor was that all because more often not the waiting room was just a room which might still double as part of the home outside of surgery hours.

Entrance to 198, 1960
Back in the 1950s our doctor’s waiting area had been the snooker room of the house.

We sat on chairs that surrounded the room on all four sides facing the snooker table, and still on one of the walls was the scoreboard, made of polished wood with gilt lettering and two sliding buttons which could be pushed along to record the scores.

The place had a musty damp smell, and I doubt the heavy curtains were cleaned and certainly were never drawn.

In one corner was an old gas fire set in a fireplace.

The ornate marble mantelpiece and surround gave the gas fire an air of elegance which was not matched by its condition.

One of its clay upright burners was broken and the flame hissed and flickered offering only a poor amount of heat.

I can’t remember that any one spoke and the only sound was the occasional cough or sniff.

You knew it was your turn to go in when everyone else around you had arrived after you.

There was no intercom, no flashing display board and the indication that your turn had arrived was marked by the sound of the last patient leaving by the front door.

The protocol determined that you wait a few minutes before leaving the room and walking across the corridor to the doctor’s room.

Dr Mcloughlin always recognised you and after a few minutes of shuffling through the wooden draws got out your notes in their brown envelope.

Of course it might have been a bit different at 198 Upper Chorlton Road, but I rather think not.

Location Manchester

Picture; 198 Upper Chorlton Road,  198, m40864, Downes, 1960, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,,  

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