Extraordinary Mansfield Folk - Dr Burgess

Timothy Burgess,  a name not familiar to many of the younger generation, but to we of the older generation, will be better known as Doctor Burgess.

An Irishman from Cork in the Emerald Isle, he chose to settle in Mansfield in 1928 ,where he lived for close on 50 years. Mansfield was not his birthplace, but he lived and died here, and is laid to rest in Mansfield Cemetery. He was later to be joined by his wife, buried in the same resting place for ever. Their marriage produced two sons and one daughter.

His career in Mansfield commenced as assistant to Doctor McNamara, on Westgate. Then shared Partnerships with Doctors’, S Karwatowski,  and Doctor J. Buckley.

Doctor Burgess’s first surgery was in one of the old stone cottages to the front of Wood Court. Later moving to a new surgery, still on Newgate lane, but closer to Saint Lawrence’s Church, where he was later to be joined in the Partnership by Doctor M.M.McSwiney, I believe the second letter M. stood for Morgan.  Strange really, they were both Doctors to my wife, Doctor Sweeney for our first born, and Doctor Burgess for our second. I suppose it was who was on duty at the time. Both were wonderful first class Doctors.

I recall Doctor Burgess retiring. Alas, his retirement only lasted a short time. Later we were to learn his retirement was due to ill health. I also recall on one visit to our home, I ask him if he would like a drink, declining, he said he had a friend outside that would like one, it took a couple of seconds for the penny to drop, of course, he was referring to his car and petrol.

I also understand that he ran a Medical Unit at High Oakham School during World War Two.

Also a keen sportsman, he was an Honorary Life Member of the Mansfield Lawn Tennis Club, and for 30 years, manager  at St. Philip Neri’s First School.

During my lifetime, Mansfield does appear to have been blessed with first class ‘Olden Days Type Doctors.’



Comments about this page

  • My doctor as a child, my mum used to get us there at 7.30am trying to be first, no appointments in those days. Long forms seemed ages sitting there. Came out to me with chicken pox saying I’d got to stay in bed as we did in those days. Remember him well, later Doctor McSweeney. We used to go in surgery and count how many in front of us.

    By Chris Lowe (06/12/2021)
  • As a young lad of about 13 yrs I suffered horrendous headaches. These caused severe pain on one side of my head, loss of vision and vomiting. One occasion it was so bad I collapsed and was taken up to bed. Dr Burgess called and gave me an injection. He told my Mother that I would sleep “for quite a while”. I was told later that I slept for two days but when I awoke the pain had gone. I don’t know what it was but I never had another episode like the one described.
    I also visited his surgery on Newgate Lane. I remember the seat, only one all round the room, had hundreds of small holes in patterns all the way round the surgery. I believe that Dr Burgess was also a qualified surgeon.

    By Kevan Wilkinson (28/03/2021)
  • Dr Burgess was our family doctor all during the war. I was an asthmatic child and he arranged for me to transfer my schooling to Berry Hill Open Air School until I was eleven.
    My Nan said we must always leave the door unlocked when the doctor had been called so that he could walk straight in!
    Josephine (nee) Hare.

    By Josephine Hacking (07/06/2020)
  • My childish memory of the Newgate Lane surgery was the seating. I think it was the length of the room against the wall, made of wood and shaped at the back of the seat dipped for your bottom if you can visualise what I mean. Because of the long wait I used to trace and count with my fingers in the numerous patterned holes in the wood.
    It must have taken two bus journeys to get to the surgery as we lived off Nottingham Road, unless we walked along Baum’s Lane, Great Central Road and then up Newgate Lane. Quite a way for my little legs !!

    By Shirley Blythe (07/02/2020)
  • I remember his surgery very well, top man & top doctor!
    Excellent post Mr Bridges!

    By Steeve Cee (04/02/2020)
  • I was working my way through the website and I was interested to read about Dr Burgess in the (places) section, then into the Mansfield health section. He was our family doctor when we moved to Mansfield in 1947. He was a well respected doctor with a totally different way of serving his patients to how it is now. As the national health service was formed in 1948, doctors and patients were still getting used to a whole new way of the workings in the new health service. I remember my mum saying when he first came to Mansfield he used to go to patients home visits on a bicycle.

    Home visits.
    When my sister and I were children and we were ill, he would make a home visit usually within 2 to 3 hours of mum making the call for a visit. When he arrived we would have to be in bed and after he had examined you and prescribed any medication the most important instruction was to stay in bed, this was usually for two or three days and my mum carried this out to the hour. When I was feeling ill it wasn’t too bad, but when I was feeling better it was torture.
    He called one night in the early fifties, it was just before Christmas and it was a terrible night, very cold and foggy. We heard my mum greet him at the door, ‘Hello Doctor Burgess’, which was strange as we hadn’t called him to visit. She invited him in and made him comfortable with a cup of tea and a mince pie. After a while she discretely asked him why he had called and are you at the wrong address. He replied, ‘I am here to see Mr Bridges, we are carrying out an audit of our patients and as we haven’t seen him for twelve years I wanted to make sure he was still alive’.

    A visit to the surgery.
    Can anyone remember going to the surgery on the corner of Newgate Lane and Sandy Lane? You didn’t need an appointment and there wasn’t any receptionist so you just went and waited your turn. The door was open very early in the morning, I think someone local opened up and in the winter lit the fire, as the doctor didn’t arrive until about 8.30.
    When I arrived, there were always people waiting so you needed to count and try to memorise the people before you as to know when it was your turn. By the time the doctor arrived there could be twenty or thirty people waiting. Another problem was that a few people couldn’t wait any longer and walked out, but a few of these people only went out for a smoke so you had to remember if they were before or after you when they came back.
    On some visits the phone rang and occasionally the doctor left on an emergency call, I suppose the paramedics do this job now, but then you waited for his return. I recall a few heated words if you went out of turn but generally everyone combined to work out your turn in a sociable manner.
    All of the patients record cards were in several wooden boxes in the doctors treatment room. I remember that sometimes when I saw him he was sat there at his desk writing letters and as he recognised me he said ‘Sit down, I will be with you shortly’. This could take some time and when he had finished he asked me ‘Are you on the bus son?’ and as the post box was next to the bus stop, ‘Would you post these for me?’ I was pleased to do this, but as I had now been with him for ages, when I opened the door to the waiting room I could sense an hostile atmosphere, and if looks could kill I would have needed to see the doctor again.

    It was nice to read about Dr Burgess he was a excellent doctor and although he is no longer with us he is not forgotten.

    By Alan Bridges (03/02/2020)

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