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The People of Cheadle 


Dr Robert Ockleston, Dr Godson & Dr. Lupton


by Ian O'Brien



Dr. Bew Lupton was one of three doctors living in Cheadle in 1865, he lived on Stockport Road a bit further beyond the Red Lion, he was in his eighties in this year so wasn't getting any younger! Also there was a Dr. Alfred Godson who was only 29 years old when he set up his home and surgery at Cheadle House, the building behind Boots Chemist. By all accounts, Dr. Godson was an extremely educated practitioner, who had graduated from Cambridge university, and he was well liked by his patients, and was also a respected upstanding member of the community.

He took a great interest in local affairs and was made a member of the Parish Council – a body which made decisions about extending the graveyard, or whether or not Edgeley people should be allowed burial in Cheadle. He was also appointed Medical Officer of Health (M.O.H) for the district and was responsible for such things as the closure of schools during outbreaks of measles or other epidemics.


  Children were of special interest to him – he had several of his own – and he was instrumental in helping to provide playing-fields and other facilities for them. In later life he became a Justice of the Peace and gradually handed over his medical practice to his two sons, Edward and John. Dr. John Godson also took over the position of M.O.H. and Poor Law Officer. While his father continued to live at Cheadle House, he set up home at Linden House, which was at No.1 The Crescent. The part of the building now used as a police office was probably his original surgery. The third doctor was Dr. Ockleston. He was apprentice to Dr Lupton from  the age of fourteen, and by the year 1865, was in his sixties. although he and Dr. Lupton were considered a very good practioners, they didn't have the same medical experience or qualifications as that of Dr. Godson. 

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However, prior to that in 1825, newly qualified Dr. Ockleston opened his new surgery on Cheadle Hight Street, where Co-op travel and Greenhalghs bakers is (2014), it was also his house. Dr. Ockleston was Known for his sympathy for the poor.  and became a popular and respected doctor known for his kindness and "his innocent-looking little white pills." Years earlier, when Robert was being apprenticed by Dr. Lupton, it was Dr Lupton himself that helped push for help for the paupers. In the Poor Law Report, he and others were trying to get medical and financial help for the needy, and it was most probably Dr. Luptons influence that reflected on Dr. Ocklestons interest in the welfare of people. 

He enjoyed the rural life, being a passionate horseman. At some point later on in his life, Dr. Ockleston's horse once stumbled, and fell with him, the old man was indeed shaken by this, and promptly gave himself two of his little white pills, he wasn't any the worse for the fall or the white pills! someone apparently suggested that he should have given the horse the pills, and the good doctor himself something a little more soothing! He was popular man - one who had come to form, in a memorable phrase, "the keystone of their identity as a village."

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    In 1888, shortly after Ockleston's death at the age of 82, Richard Brown (one of the Doctor's friends) suggested that a memorial be erected in his memory. A committee was established, a circular distributed and the subscription opened. The subscription found support "in all classes and stations of life, spread over a very wide area." At the unveiling, Sir Edward Watkin, who had that morning attended the funeral of John Bright, sought to compare the two men. He told the crowd that if the spirit of Bright had been there, it would have said "that even beyond the services of of the orator and statesman are the quiet services of the village doctor to scores and hundreds of suffering persons." The memorial was unveiled and handed over to the local board by the Lord of the Manor, James Watt of Cheadle Hall. The fountain was a centrepiece of the village and for years it provided water for thirsty animals. By the end of the century additional lamps had ben added to it. As horse drawn traffic declined it was less used and less maintained. When the memorial was moved the water troughs were planted with flowers. It was moved to its present location in 1967 to make way for a road scheme. Doctor Ockleston's house along with others were demolished circa 1910 to make way for the Electra cinema.

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