Launch of new book “Dr Stretton, I Presume”

Richard Taylor, Nigel Gilbert and Chris Stretton

Dr Richard Taylor, Nigel Gilbert and Chris Stretton at the book launch on 9th October

In October 2012 a good crowd filled the King Charles Room in the Town Hall for the launch of my book on the three generations of surgeons from the Stretton family. They dominated medical life in the town from 1856 to 1952. Their story is, in effect, the history of the infirmary/hospital during that time. The book is entitled ‘Dr Stretton I presume’ and carries the subtitle ‘The Battle for Kidderminster’s Health 1856-1952′. Dr Richard Taylor has written a foreword.

The book, which costs £14.95, is published by RSM Press. For any enquiries concerning purchase, please tel: 01562 829398 or email

Samuel Stretton (1831-1920) came to Kidderminster in 1856, having purchased a private practice in the town. He immediately became involved with the infirmary as an honorary surgeon. He was the main driving force behind the building of a new bigger infirmary at the top of Mill Street, which opened in 1871.

His son Lionel (1860-1943) returned to Kidderminster in 1882 after training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital . He was an extraordinary man, who devoted his life to the hospital in Kidderminster until his retirement in 1938. His energy and drive ensured that many improvements were made despite the opposition of many in the town who did not wish to spend the money.

Lionel’s son, John Stretton (1888-1952), was a fine surgeon and a very popular man in Kidderminster. He led the medical staff of the hospital into the National Health Service in 1948. When he died in 1952, the three surgeons from the family, all trained at St Bartholomew’s, had completed over 95 years of service to the infirmary/hospital.

The 19th century children's hospital behind the main hospital building in Mill Street, as it is today.