Tuesday 22 November 2011


Courtesy of Carole Hughes, another piece of  Middlewich ephemera issued to the people of the town to introduce their new surgery at Lex House in Leadsmithy Street, and with it the new patients' appointment system.
It may sound strange today, but, certainly in the surgery at the top end of Wheelock Street, which has more recently been the home of the Cafe Med, no appointment system was ever in operation. Patients would sit around the edges of the waiting room on old bentwood chairs, enveloped in a pall of cigarette smoke, and decide to their own satisfaction whose turn it was next.
When operations moved to Lex House it truly seemed like the start of a new era in medical care, although, with hindsight, Lex House was not really a great improvement over existing arrangements. As explained in the card, though, the appointment system itself did prevent people having to sit around in the waiting room for too long.

Nowadays, of course, the health of the townspeople is looked after at local level from two surgeries once more: the Acorns Surgery in Wheelock Street and Oaklands (the Middlewich Medical Centre) in St Ann's Walk. Further improvements to health provision for the town are in the air.

Update: In May 2014 the finishing touches were being put to a 'new' surgery in a familiar place to replace the Acorns Surgery.
Lex House was being made ready to become 'Waterside', thus moving the wheel full circle. This time, around, though, the facilities are on a much grander scale with the Doctors utilising most, if not all, of the building. -Ed

Facebook feedback (from the Middlewich Community Group Facebook group):

  • Clifford Astles. Dr Brown was known for being very blunt and to the point.  When I was first married in 1962, my new wife, Barbara (same one today, thank God !!)  was very very ill.
    In the first week, after we had been married, she had the doctor at home  (this was  her old home, as we had not moved into our new house at 71 Hayhurst Avenue).
    Dr Brown would not tell anyone what was wrong with her, but, as I was then her official closest relative, told me to call in to see him after work when he would tell me the situation.
    What he actually said was, 'I'm sorry about Barbara. I know you only got married last week, but some you win, some you lose! She has a very bad kidney infection, and she will either get over it, or die.'
    He said no more, and that was the end of the discussion.
    Needless to say, we had a very bad few weeks until she began to improve. We made traditional lemon and barley water using only fresh barley. We strained water through the barley and then mixed it with freshly squeezed lemon juice. That, plus eggs mixed with red wine taken twice a day put her on the road to recovery.
    We moved to our new home at 71 Hayhurst Avenue six weeks after getting married in Middlewich Church. All being well we'll be celebrating 50 years of marriage on the 31st March 2012.
    So, she did get well!


  1. My Mum, Joan WIlkie, was a receptionist at Lex House in the later 60s-early 70s with Sheila Hulme, among others. And I remember the Wheelock St waiting room from my childhood.

  2. My Mum, Joan WIlkie, was a receptionist at Lex House in the later 60s-early 70s with Sheila Hulme, among others. And I remember the waiting room at Wheelock St.


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