Dr. Atkinson speaks

Many thanks to Alan for forwarding this brief tape-recording of Waltham GP, Dr Miles Atkinson, taken in 1986. In it, he tells how he was often asked to carry out abortions when village girls found themselves ‘in the family way’. Adding that it was generally the men that asked him. Dr Atkinson also describes his falling out with a ‘sanctimonious’ Branston parson over the issue.

Born in 1902, Dr Atkinson covered all the villages around Waltham from 1934 to his retirement in 1971. His surgery was next to his house on Waltham’s High Street. Patients knew not to call him on Wednesdays in the hunting season as he’d be out following the hounds. We’re hoping to add some more information about him, as well as photos, soon.

This is a transcript of the recording:

When I came in ’34, they came, several came round, it was generally the man came, and he’d probably been carrying on with some girl and got her in the family way and then he was wondering whether I could do an abortion. And I very politely said, however sorry I am for you I would never do anything like that because I’m struck off the register. So that’s that, your case might be a very worthy one, you may well have been carried away, but that’s that, as far as I’m concerned it’s out, and I never of course ever did one. I was sympathetic for the poor wretches, sometimes.

I remember a parson stopped me in Branston, I didn’t like him very much in any case – he’s been gone a long time at any rate, he was rather a sanctimonious old so-and-so – and he said, what are we going to do about this, all these pregnant girls in this district, you see? And I said, there’s nothing I can do about it except deliver them, but I said it’s your job, it’s your job, I said you’d better go and preach to them, but he didn’t like it, he took offence and he shuffled off.

Source: http://www.leicestershirevillages.com/walthamonthewolds/doctor.html

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