Dr Stretton, I Presume

Front Cover of Dr Stretton I Presume

Samuel Stretton came to Kidderminster in 1856 after serving as a young doctor in the Crimean War. He was part of the revolution regarding nursing which was begun by Florence Nightingale. His son, Lionel, and grandson, John, both inherited this respectful attitude towards the nursing profession.

These three generations of Kidderminster surgeons from the same family were outstanding in medical life in the town, until John died in 1952 in dramatic style on stage seconds after presenting awards to nurses. Over this period of nearly a century one of them had a leading role in just about every improvement in the infirmary/hospital.

Lionel was one of Kidderminter’s great men. He was elected President of the Mill Street hospital for fourteen successive years. Yet his reputation suffered because he frequently upset the leading manufacturers in the town by pointing out that they were not contributing enough funding to the hospital compared with their workers. Lionel pioneered the use of an iodine solution to sterilise the skin prior to an operation, which was a development of national importance.

The Strettons’ story is effectively the history of Kidderminster’s infirmary/hospital between 1856 and 1952.

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