I joined the practice as an assistant in August 1949 following my discharge from the Army. Prior to this I had been a locum in the Arthur practice in Low Fell. Dr Clifford was a great man in the BMA and Dr Catherine was his stalwart supporter - a real battle-axe, but they were both excellent examples.
I worked with them for three months before joining Harry Wilson in his house on the corner of Osborne Road and North Jesmond Avenue in August 1949. Harry Wilson's half day was Saturday so I had the evening surgery until closing time at 7pm. At this time there were in Jesmond, several old established practices which Harry Wilson had run single-handed during the war. He was always afraid of competition and thought he would lose out to the others which was a complete fallacy as he was a really first-class family doctor. The competition he most feared was that of Richmond and Fraser at 17 Osborne Road and Dr Porteus at no.48. The aforementioned were both T.A. officers and held in very high esteem. Dr Richmond was noted for his late night visiting of his elderly flock and also in his maternity work. John Fraser died in the early 50s and he was replaced by Dr MacKay who had been R.M.O. at the N.G.H. He was a very nice chain-smoking family man.
Norman Leslie was a very cheerful Scotsman who lived opposite St. Georges Church. We used to look after his practice when he went on holiday and his patients gave us no bother. He died in 1975 and our practice inherited a number of his patients along with his association with shipping companies.
Basil Elliot was an alcoholic Irishman who lived at the top of St. Georges Terrace. His patients were a constant nuisance but they all appeared to love him dearly.
Dr Porteus lived on the corner of Osborne Road with Queens Road. Dr Ian Gunn-Russell bought the Practice from Dr Porteous together with his property which he had converted into 5 flats, the bottom left side one being used for the practice and the others rented out to help pay for the cost. Dr Gunn-Russell was in practice there for 11 years during which time he started two satellite surgeries, one at Longbenton and another at Brunton Park. He then took into parnership Dr Donald Gascoigne and Dr Ian Longfield, leaving to return to Scotland to his native land and going into partnership with his brother in law.
Then we had the female practice in Osborne Avenue, led by Mona McNoughton - a real terror and a very gentle Dr Dorothy Dixon. They also recruited Dr Eileen Field whose husband was a lecturer in Anatomy at the Medical School.
I had for a time a Dr John Wright who is now in Longbenton and retired. He left in 1960. Dr John Taylor joined Harry Wilson and myself in 1963 before Harry retired in 1965 but left to work in Blyth after a mix up with the GMC in 1975. Harry Wilson died in 1976. I had a locum for six months called Robin Miller when John Taylor left in Christmas 75. Robin came from a long line of GPs from Hebburn but didn't come from this area and went to a practice in Devonshire. Michael Borthwick joined me in 1976. I retired from full time practice in late 1988
Dr Geoffrey Mellor (1923-2002)
Post script: Dr Gunn-Russell kindly emailed me to add some details to Dr Mellor's account for which I am most grateful. MAB
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