General Practice

History of the village’s General Practice

In the early years of the 1900s, Rowlands Castle, then still a relatively small village, was served by a Medical Practice from Havant. This practice has since become the Bosmere Medical Centre. Some residents still attend the practice. Two early doctors – Dewhurst and Norman – would hold surgeries, around midday on Tuesdays and Fridays in Rowlands Castle – in a room in the former farmhouse (now converted to apartments) on the eastern side of Castle Road junction with Redhill Road.

(Should readers be aware of other General Practices during the early 1900s and their timings, the editor would welcome further information).

In the 1960s Dr Kenneth Southam ran a practice in Rowlands Castle, but subsequently retired to a new house on the corner of Bowes Hill and Wellsworth Lane where the new block of flats now stands. Dr Southam’s wife, Bunty, was a member of the Clarke-Jervoise family.

He was succeeded by a Dr Lawley whose house was ‘Rathmore’, 41, Bowes Hill. His waiting room was known to be a timber annex on the left-hand side of his house and is now a second brick-built garage. The consulting room would have been inside his house together with a small dispensary. Dr Lawley retired and emigrated to Canada.

In 1967, Dr Derek Ashworth took over the practice and soon purchased 63 Bowes Hill – medical services commenced from there. Dr Ashworth held morning and evening surgeries and as the village grew his hall, serving as a waiting area, would fill quickly. Patients arriving late had to sit on the stairs. Passage up Bowes Hill became quite hazardous too, with the increasing number of cars parked on the bend. Dr Ashworth was always regarded as a sympathetic doctor and whether you required five minutes or twenty-five he gave you the time that he felt was necessary.

For many years, he practiced single handedly and it was difficult for him to take a summer holiday due to obtaining a locum. Eventually, around 1978, he took on a partner Dr Stuart Drew. Shortly afterwards they managed to move their surgery into a formerly unused building in the centre of the village, between Londis, the village general store and Winnicott’s. A junior doctor, Dr Simon Capp was taken on soon after this time but did not remain long and was eventually replaced by Dr John Harrison. Dr Ashworth retired in 1987.

Drs Harrison & Drew subsequently bought a property on the opposite side of the Green to their existing surgery. The building together with an adjoining cottage had originally housed a defunct local branch of Barclays Bank.

Drs Drew and Harrison with their team shortly after opening the new surgery.

The new surgery under construction.

The premises were redeveloped into a modern purpose-built surgery along with a modern dispensary. They were opened in 1990 by Dr Ashworth. The pharmacy adjacent to the surgery, was subsequently run independently, as we know it today.

Drs Ashworth and Harrison have also been written up in Notable Residents.

Editorial: Written by Alan Drinkwater who has lived in Rowlands Castles since 1983, with advice from Ken Newley who moved to Bowes Hill in 1966. Photographs courtesy of Dr Harrison. Article updated July 2021.

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