The Brierley family, not least Dr Thomas Booth Brierley, are remembered throughout the village. A medical family of at least three generations, it would appear that he and his father before him had practised in the village. In fact, Dr Thomas Booth Brierley had served the district for not less than 62 years before his death in 1917. He was also one of two doctors in attendance when the Barbour Institute was converted into a Military Hospital during The Great War 1914-1918.
The patients and friends of the late Dr Thomas Booth Brierley sought to remember their beloved local doctor with the erection of the ‘Brierley Gates’ which stand at the top of Church Bank and mark the southern entrance to the Churchyard. In 1923, permission was requested from the Church authorities to replace the old wooden gates with a set of wrought iron gates. This would have seemed fitting, not least because Dr Thomas Booth Brierley had also served as one of Tattenhall’s Churchwardens for a number of years.
At the time of the 1881 Census (taken on the night of 3 April) the Brierley household were living at Laburnum Villa in Tattenhall. The entries in the Census are as follows:
Thomas B. BRIERLEY, Head of Household, Gender-Male, Age-48, Birthplace-Tattenhall, Occupation- Surgeon MRCS
Mary BRIERLEY, Wife of Head of Household, Gender-Female, Age-41, Birthplace-Cheshire.
Thomas B. BRIERLEY, Son, Male, Age-12, Birthplace-Tattenhall, Occupation-Scholar
Lilian Frances BRIERLEY, Daughter, Female, Age-10, Birthplace-Tattenhall, Occupation-Scholar
Roger C. BRIERLEY, Son, Male, Age-8, Birthplace-Tattenhall, Occupation-Scholar
Ann PEERS, Servant U, Female, Age-24, Birthplace- Bunbury Heath, Cheshire, Occupation-General Servant Domestic.
Lewis H. HARVEY, Servant U, Male, Age-17, Birthplace-Chester, Occupation- Groom Domestic
Tragedy struck the Brierley family in 1895 with the death of their eldest son, Dr Thomas Booth Brierley Jnr. A House Surgeon at Wicker Hospital Sheffield, he was set to join his father in the Tattenhall village practice but died of blood poisoning, aged 26.
The death of Dr Thomas Booth Brierley Jnr. was reported in the Cheshire Observer (above) dated 18 May 1895 under the title ‘Sad Death of a Tattenhall Doctor’ – this was particularly poignant since the young Doctor was due to arrive in Tattenhall the following month ‘to assist his father in the medical profession’. At the time of his death, Dr Thomas Booth Brierley Jnr. was a House Surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital which was then known as the ‘Wicker Hospital’.
Dr Thomas Booth Brierley’s youngest son, Lieutenant Roger Christian Brierley, served with the Cheshire Regiment in Flanders Fields where he died in 1917, aged 44 (this was just 4 months after the death of his father). He is remembered on the Tattenhall War Memorial. In the 1911 Census, the last before Lieutenant Roger Christian Brierley’s death, he was listed ‘at home’ on Census night (2 April 1911), ‘single’ and an ‘Estate Agent’ by profession. Should you wish to look at the Webpage relating to Dr Brierley’s youngest son then simply click on ‘Lieutenant Roger Christian Brierley’ to be directed to that section of the Website.
Dr Thomas Booth Brierley is also listed as having lived in Jupiter House (below) on the High Street. This building currently houses ‘Alison’s Kitchen’. In February 2012 whilst the roof was being re-slated, the name ‘R Brierley 1887’ was discovered on one of the coping stones on the very top of the building. It seems likely that Dr Thomas Booth Brierley’s son, therefore, may have clambered onto the roof and gouged his name into the stonework – he would have been 14 years old. As above, Roger Brierley subsequently died near Ypres during The Great War.
In the 1910 Kelly’s Directory, Dr Thomas Booth Brierley is listed as MRCS (Surgeon) and Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for Tattenhall District, Tarvin Union and resident at ‘Laburnum House’ (note this was referred to as Laburnum Villa in the 1881 Census). He is also listed as ‘Surgeon’ by occupation in the 1911 Census, by which time he was also a ‘Widower’. Interestingly, although his domestic arrangements may have changed by 1911, he still required 2 domestic servants to assist him since his dwelling had 11 rooms (excluding the scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom). Miss France Lockery (aged 21) and Miss Nellie Davies (aged 17) were his ‘General Servant Domestic’ and ‘General Servant Cook Domestic’, the former having been born in Tattenhall.
Following his death, the Factory Department at the Home Office subsequently advertised for Dr Thomas Booth Brierley’s replacement as follows:
‘The Chief Inspector of Factories gives notice that in consequence of the death of Dr Thomas Booth Brierley in 1917, an appointment as certifying surgeon under the Factory and Workshop Acts is vacant’.