The History Of The Royal Crescent and Preston Road Practice

The Royal Crescent and Preston Road Practice has been in Weymouth for over 100 years. in 2008 we celebrated our 100th anniversary with past and present staff.

1908 to 2010

Dr Lane 1908-1925

Dr Weedon 1925-1929

Dr H P King-Fretts 1925-1938

Dr Gallagher 1929-1956

Dr W R Scott 1935-1968

Dr R Whittaker 1937-9 war 1945-46

Dr McGowan 1945-1961

Dr G E Thomas 1956-1966

Dr M J Orrell 1962-1994

Dr R J Brinton 1966-1997

Dr A R Reece 1968-1972

Dr J F Talbot 1972-1997

Dr D P Southall 1975-1978

Dr D R Slater 1978-2009

Dr A J Temple 1979-2000

Dr R Sloan 1979-1981

Dr N J Stalley 1980-2006

Dr A G W Dickinson 1984-2012

Dr W B Bowditch 1986

Dr M J Keyworth 1987-2008

Dr B M Greenup 1991-2007

Dr J de Kretser 1994

Dr S Chopra 1994

Dr R A Sales 1997

Dr J M Orrell 1997

Dr M J Young 1999

Dr R W Waldron 2001-2008

Dr T J Bradley 2004 - 2009

Dr E Costales 2007

Dr B Chennell 2008

Dr T Walden 2009

· Started in 1908 at 8 Royal Terrace

· 1938 Moved to Royal Crescent Cottage 31 Crescent Street

· 1979 Joined with Drs Sloan and Temple at Preston

· 1986 Moved to Royal Crescent Surgery 25 Crescent Street

· 1986 Preston Road redesigned and rebuilt

The Practice was started in 1908 at Number 8, Royal Terrace. This is between the Gloucester Hotel and the Statue as part of the Esplanade. It is No 8 Royal Terracenow used by a local coach company.

8 Royal Terrace Weymouth with first floor flat of 9 Royal Terrace was the home of the senior partner and practice consulting rooms, until the death of Dr King-Fretts in 1938 and transference of the Practice to Royal Crescent Cottage in the summer of 1938.

At No 8 Royal Terrace the ground floor was used by the Practice while the family lived on the two floors above. In those days before the NHS the Practice was divided between private patients and panel patients. Most private patients were seen at home while the Practice received one pound a year for panel patients.

The average day consisted of a morning surgery from 9-11 without any appointments. All patients came at 9am and waited several hours to be seen in turn. Home visits lasted from 11am until the evening surgery at 6pm to allow time for the more frequent visits.

There was 24 hour cover by individual GP’s with wives being responsible for handling the telephone in the day and nights.

Maternity cases would have been handled more outside hospital with many more home births attended by the doctor. The forceps used by the GP’s and equipment for home anaesthesia are on display.

Dispensing was also done more from the Practice than by high street chemists. The Practice manufactured its own pills and the display in Dr Orrell’s room has the original scales used in preparation of drugs and passed on by Winifred Scott, the widow of Dr Russell Scott.

Adam Gray was an early partner who died in 1919 in the influenza outbreak after the first world war. This pandemic killed more people than the casualties in the preceding conflict.

Dr Lane retired in 1925 and was succeeded by Dr Weedon who died in 1929. Dr H P King-Fretts joined the Practice in 1925 and Dr Gallagher in 1929. they were joined by Dr Russell Scott in 1935.

Royal Crescent Cottage (1938 - 1986)

In 1938 Dr King-Fretts died and the Practice moved to the Royal Crescent Cottage, 31 Crescent Street.

Royal Crescent CottageDr Whittaker joined the Practice in 1937 and in 1939 the second world war began and he left for service in the navy, leaving Dr Scott in charge.


In 1941, Dr Scott’s family lived in a Georgian house on the corner of Buxton and Rodwell Road. One night there was an air raid and Dr Scott was attending a maternity case in Osmington. On returning to the town he learnt that a bomb had fallen in Rodwell and he arrived to find the house in ruins with the Pioneer Corps digging through the rubble for survivors. He was able to direct them to Mary’s cot but it took 2 hours to rescue his wife, who had sustained a broken ankle.

The war ended in 1945 and Dr Whittaker and Dr Scott were joined by Dr McGowan. Dr Whittaker left in 1946 to be a full time consultant in ENT at Weymouth and District Hospital.

Dr G E Thomas joined in 1956 while Dr McGowan died in 1961 having spent the last few years in single handed Practice in King Street, near the station. Dr M Orrell joined in 1962 followed a few years later by Mary Cleverton, who became our first Practice Manager.

In those days drugs were still dispensed from the Practice in fluid ounces to patients more than 1 mile from a chemist.

In 1966 Dr Thomas left to become the medical officer of Health for Weymouth and Dr R J Brinton joined the Practice. Dr Scott retired in 1968 due to ill health and was replaced by Dr Reece, who left in 1972. The sixties was a time of great change and expansion in primary care and 1969 saw the arrival of the first practice nurse into Royal Crescent Surgery which, at that time was quite an innovation.

The Surgery also became the first training Practice in 1971 with the first trainee, Dr J F Talbot, becoming a partner in 1972. Dr D R Slater joined the Practice in 1978 and in 1979 the Practice joined with the established practice of Dr Sloan and Dr Temple at Preston.

Dr D Southall was a partner from 1975 - 1978. He was involved in medical research and organised a study into cot death during his time at the Practice. This involved recording ECGs (heart traces) on all new born babies.

He left to become a Professor of Paediatrics in the Midlands. He has recently been in the media due to his research into child abuse and using video cameras to trap offenders and also promoting third world issues.

Royal Crescent Surgery (1986 - to date)

In 1980 Dr Stalley became the 6th partner, while later in 1984 the Practice grew still further with the addition of Dr Dickinson. Dr Bowditch became the 8th partner in 1986 and the Weymouth end of the Practice moved to new purpose built premises at 25 Crescent  Street.

Royal Crescent Surgery

The Preston Road Surgery was redesigned and rebuilt on 1986 after a long legal dispute with the first building’s architect that was finally settled in the High Court in London. The Preston Road Surgery had been located in Dr Sloan’s house which is the large white building 100 yards nearer the sea than the current Surgery. On the other side of the road, near the Wyke Oliver turning.

In 1987 Dr Madeleine Keyworth became the 9th partner and the first lady to join the Royal Crescent Surgery. Dr B Greenup followed in 1991 with Dr de Kretser and Dr Chopra being added in 1994 on the retirement of Dr M J Orrell.

Dr R Sales replaced Dr R Brinton who died shortly after retirement in 1997. Following the tragic death of Dr J Talbot on that same year, Dr J Orrell arrived in 1998.

The Practice has continued to evolve in the 90’s with a much larger primary care team including counsellors, physiotherapists, an osteopath and chiropodist. Attached staff include District Nurses, Health Visitors and the healthworks team.

Preston Road Practice

The Preston Road Practice evolved on its own. There are stories of an incident around the turn of the century when the GP visited a mentally ill patient and was attacked. The men in Sutton Poyntz village were out in the fields so there was no one about to come to the GP’s assistance. The doctor was killed near the White Horse dairy, with an axe and the patient was later apprehended and taken to the Herrison Hospital.

Dr Pridham was in Practice in the Preston area after WW1. He worked from Hillfield in Broadwey and his interests outside the Practice included the MPC/BMA and World Medical Association. On account of this work he 
was joined by Dr Sloan who arrived in 1946.

Initially Preston was a branch Surgery in Jordan House and in 1964 the building was flooded to the height of the mantelpiece. Dr Sloan was later joined by Dr Temple.

Preston Road Surgery

 The Future?

The Practice continues to adapt to the changes in political direction of the NHS in a proactive manner. Partners from the Surgery have been involved with the various incarnations of the Primary Care Trust in the professional executive committee. Dr Sales continues to be one of the two prescribing leads for Dorset, whilst Dr Bradley is the local medical lead for the Dorset Urgent Care Service, part of the South West Ambulance Trust.

Kate Meacham has been involved with the local community group and in promoting the use of the Park Centre for activities that improve health.

The Future - Mental Health

The rates of mental illness in Weymouth are x2 or x3 higher than the majority of rural Dorset. The Practice has always had an open policy to register patients with mental illness.

Several years ago the new PMS Personal Medical Service contract enabled us to secure the regular input of a Community Psychiatric Nurse to enhance the care available. We also developed a successful pilot to enable easy access to a clinical psychologist for children. This model has since been copied by others.

In the last year the Practice was again leading in Southern England as one of two Practices in Dorset leading the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Project. This has lead to a whole new breed of mental health worker delivering cognitive behavioural therapy individually and in groups, to compliment our established counselling team.

The Future - Information Technology

The Practice has been at the forefront of computer development, not just locally but also nationally. There are six early adopter sites for the new National Care Records Service. This will enable the sharing of medication and allergies and later illnesses in a safe and secure manner with A&E doctors and nurses. This should begin in the early summer of 2009.

We have also led Dorset in pioneering the Choose and Book system and were the first to add cancer referrals.

The Practice has also been influential in encouraging electronic communication with the hospital and has been a pilot site for innovations in discharge letters and x-rays. We have also developed a new system whereby GP’s can view the hospital PAS Patient Administration System.

We plan to develop a website for patients to book appointments, request prescriptions and email doctors.

The Future - Marginalised Groups

Dorset is generally prosperous but behind the Georgian seafront façade there are bedsits and doss houses where the homeless and marginalised congregate. The problems of alcohol abuse, debt and drug use add to the misery.

In order to help with debts the Practice has welcomed the input of the Citizens Advice Bureaux, who hold a weekly clinic. This has recently been improved by the Practice actively cooperating with the Condition Management Programme, a scheme to re engage those who are incapacitated.

An Outreach Nurse Practitioner Clinic for the homeless, that began at the hub in Dorchester, has been supported medically by the Practice.

Also a partner has developed skills in substance misuse to help patients move away from lives dominated by crime and heroin injections to return to stability and gradually re engage in civil society.

Royal Crescent Surgery
Tel: (01305)
25 Crescent Street

New Patients Welcome

For free expert health and advice.
24hrs a day