Maggi Blythin, Rhyl History Club secretary, has contributed this interesting piece about Dr. Bob snr.
Many people have fond memories of Doctor Bob. His father, also known as Dr. Bob, appears to have been equally popular. Above is a photograph of the funeral of Dr Bob senior which took place in Rhyl on 26th July 1928. At the time of his death he was living at 75, Wellington Road.
A newspaper report following the funeral states that he had long been one of the town’s most familiar and popular figures and had a central place in the affections of many a household. He had one of the largest medical practices in the area and prior to his death he had been working without a break for sometime. His partner in the practice was his brother Dr Edward Hughes Jones who was 3 years older than Robert.
The family originated in Holywell and at the time of the 1871 census were living at Britannia House, High Street where father, John, was a draper. The family were still living in Holywell High Street in 1881. Edward qualified in 1890 and returned to Flintshire to practice in Rhyl. Robert’s career began as a Bank Clerk and at the time of the 1891 census he was living with his elder brother John and family in Llanasa. This elder brother, John Thomas Jones, was also a GP. Robert then studied in Edinburgh and qualified as a vet. Following this he turned his attentions to medicine and surgery and qualified in 1907, working after this with brother Edward at Medeor House in Elwy Street.
As the NHS didn’t come into being until 1948 the brothers had a private practice. However, Dr Bob did a great deal of work amongst Friendly Society members. He was also a member of the Flintshire Medical Panel under the National Health Insurance Act which is often regarded as one of the foundations of modern social welfare.
He had been Medical Officer for the Rhyl Medical Relief District of the St Asaph Union and also vaccination officer since 1921. All children were supposed to be vaccinated against smallpox unless the parents applied for a certificate of exemption which had to satisfy two magistrates.
He also found time to serve on the medical staff of the Royal Alexandra and War Memorial Hospitals and had much to do with the initiation and carrying out of the War Memorial Hospital scheme.
His obituary states that he ‘was a man of fine and commanding presence, and a most engaging personality. He was big in heart as well as in frame, and his death is a matter that touches the hearts and brings sorrow to the homes of many. He was wonderfully sympathetic and considerate, and ever ready to render service to his patients, he brought comfort and health to many. The amount of work he did without any reward amongst the poorer classes of the community was very considerable, and yet all received the same devoted care as those more fortunately situated. He had a great love for children, and that fact made him at all times most welcome and greatly endeared him to many a home.’
On the day of his funeral practically the whole town was in a state of mourning. From his house to the town cemetery in Dyserth Road, the footpaths were crowded, window blinds were drawn and business was suspended. The flowers covered the hearse and several other vehicles and at the graveside there was a tremendous concourse all testifying to a deep sense of a very great loss. Members of the Rhyl police force acted as bearers.
This was written after the funeral and appeared in the Rhyl Record and Advertiser on Saturday August 4th:
Sadness in the sunshine, tears amid the joy,
Life is ever-changing, gold- and its alloy
Flower-laden taxis, then-a lonely car,
Such the comings hither, such the goings are!
Sad-faced city fathers, dressed in sober hue,
Weeping women follow, walking two and two;
Shuttered shops and silence, slowly tolling bell,
In between the footfall, making double …… (unreadable)
Gone the kindly figure, closed the kindly eyes,
Folded fast the kindly hands, stilled the kindly voice,
Such the seeming tribute to the friend of all,
So has passed the healer at the Healer’s call