Francis John Lidderdale was born on 21st August 1868 and died on 8th January 1935. He was admitted to Trinity College at Cambridge on October 8, 1886, where he received his M.D. in 1905. He also studied at Guy's Hospital (1898) and after that he practised at Folkstone.
He married Florence Elizabeth (1880 - 1963), daughter of Walter Henry Sendall, of Bath, Somerset, and their children were Eric Francis (1907 - 1978), Enid Joyce (1911 - 1985), and Aubrey Douglas (1914 - ).
Frank qualified as M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. at Guy's Hospital in 1898. Florence Elizabeth (Betty), later to be his wife, also trained at Guy's, but at a later date and qualified as a Nurse. Both, in the course of their duties served in the "Fever Hulks," ex-Naval wooden walls moored in the Thames down-river from Guy's. Stripped of masts, rigging and guns, their lower decks stripped bare provided somewhere for the fever patients to go, segregated from the public. At that time, the London Docks were filled with ships and crews from all over the world bringing diptheria, typhoid, cholera, smallpox and many other lethal diseases. The Fever Hulks provided a space on the lower decks, where a fever patient could lie on a paillasse and receive medical and nursing care until he died. He and his paillasse would then be handed over to the undertakers for cremation. Very few ever returned ashore alive.
If those arrangements appear primitive to us later comers, they must be considered in the context of the busy streets surrounding Guy's Hospital at that time, jampacked with horse drawn traffic making it's own massive contribution to fouling the road with the occupants of overcrowded dwelling houses making their own contribution by tipping into the streets the latrine buckets, which they themselves and their neighbours had filled. Pedestrians wishing to cross the road had to seek the nearest crossing swept free of the worst by the worthy "Crossing Sweeper", a full time occupation.
Imagine Frank's joy in being able to take his bride to his newly bought practice in Folkestone with a house designed and built by his predecessor as a Doctor's house, overlooking the harbour and with Surgery and Dispensary attached. Betty's contribution was considerable in running a happy household and dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently. She was one at those who turned out in hundreds to receive and accommodate Belgian women and children refugees from the German invasion of their country in 1914. All were fed, cared for and bedded down and moved on next day to make room for the next ship load. Her services were recognized by the presentation of a medal by the Belgian Consul on behalf of his King. She and the ladies at Folkestone organized a canteen on the harbour to ensure that the troops boarding every outgoing troopship and those returning in Hospital ships had "Tea and Wads" available to them and a kind soul willing to write a Postcard and post it to their homes. The Red Cross and the YMCA officially recognized their efforts.
Many years later, Frank turned out of bed for an emergency call from a patient, a farmer, who lived and farmed at Gibraltar, just North of the North Downs and some way off the Canterbury Road. He set off in the Bean arriving on the top of the Downs and some way down the far side, but the fog was too thick for him to go on. So he returned home, got Betty out of bed and returned to the Point, where visibility was zero. They both then walked the rest of the way to the farmhouse and Frank attended to his patient, who had suffered a heart attack and Betty called out the ambulance with advice on how to deal with the fog. The patient survived and was up and about again before too long, thanks to uncomplaining and willing teamwork. Both were indefatigable supporters of the local Charity raising funds for the Hospital.
Another example of teamwork was when Enid, in her late teens, woke up one morning with a very rough throat. Frank had already set off to his surgery, so Betty was shown the throat. She immediately recognized early symptoms of diptheria, telephoned the Surgery and left a most urgent message for Frank, who had not yet arrived. In the meantime, Betty alerted the Fever Hospital and the Ambulance Service of a suspected case of Diptheria. Frank went straight from his surgery to the Fever Hospital in time for Enid's arrival and was able to confirm and start treatment of the dreaded disease. Medical science had progressed sufficiently since the days of the 'Fever Hulks' for the new medicines to be available to Enid, which cleared up the infection, but the most important contribution to her survival was Betty's instant, positive and unhesitating recognition of the disease. Enid made an early and complete recovery.
It was in character for both Frank and Betty, when faced with the news that Frank had terminal cancer of the liver, that they ensured that the children were the first to know, after which, close friends were invited to a cocktail party and given the news. Frank and Betty encouraged the children and those at the party to regard every day from then on as a bonus. Oh fortunate pair to have each other!
• Lidderdale, Robert Halliday, An Account of the Lowland Scots Family of Lidderdale, 1950.
• Lidderdale, Halliday Adair, The Descendants of John Lidderdale 1783-1845, 1988, unpublished manuscript.
Cambridge University: Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900:
Adm. pens. at TRINITY, Oct. 8, 1886. [Eldest] s. of Francis Frederick, of 59, Porchester Terrace, London. B. [Aug. 21], 1868, at Bombay. School, Charterhouse. Matric. Michs. 1886; M.B. and B.Chir. 1899; M.D. 1905. At Guy's Hospital. M.R.C.S.; L.R.C.P., 1898. Senior assistant medical officer, Grove Hospital, Tooting. Practised at Folkestone. Died there Jan. 8, 1935. Buried at Hawkinge. (Charterhouse Sch. Reg.; Medical Directories; The Times, Jan. 10, 1935; Univ. War List, which confuses him with Francis James, M.B., who was not at Cambridge.)
Printed in the Charterhouse Register Vol. 1 1872-1910. Oration Quarter 1882, page 260:
Lidderdale, Francis John, b. 27 Nov. 1868: 1 s. of Francis Frederick Lidderdale; (Robinites-Gownboys); Left C.Q. 1886. Trin Coll., Camb.; M.D.; B.C. (Camb); M.R.C.S. (Eng.); L.R.C.P. (Lond.)
m. 1906 Florence Elizabeth, 1 d. of Walter Sendall, of Bath.
F.J. Lidderdale, Esq., M.D., 4, London Street, Folkestone.