Samuel Stretton

Samuel was born in Leicester in 1832, one of ten children. He received his early medical training at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. On the outbreak of the Crimean war he volunteered his services, serving at Scutari hospital and returning in 1856 to purchase Dr Thursfield's long-established medical practice in Kidderminster, based in 27 Church Street.

Soon after arriving in Kidderminster, in 1857 Samuel married Kate Birch, whose father was a surgeon who also trained at St Bartholomew's. They were to have fifteen children, of whom John Lionel was the third son and five of whom emigrated to make new lives in New Zealand.

Established in Kidderminster, Samuel at once interested himself in the work of the old Infirmary where he became Honorary Surgeon. He increasingly worked to press for a new facility, resulting in building works commencing in 1870. Much of this work was unpaid, with the majority of his income received from a private practice which extended into the country areas. He was Medical Officer for the Workhouse for 40 years, and pioneered instruction for local ambulance services.

Not only was Samuel busy providing medical services to the town and rural areas, but he was also active in highlighting and improving the poor quality of drinking water and drainage systems in the town and he was a local magistrate.

In 1882 Samuel was taken seriously ill, resulting in Lionel cutting short his medical career in London and returning to work alongside his father. Samuel recovered and continued to work until 1904.

Samuel died in his 89th year, having celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in 1907 when nearly 500 people attended a function in the Town Hall.

Scenes from Samuel Stretton's Photograph Album