Thursday, August 13, 2015

Was there an early Harley Street connection with Gadebridge House, Hemel Hempstead ???

Can you help?
Gadebridge House was occupied by Sir Astley Paston Cooper, surgeon at Guy's Hospital, London, in the early 19th century, and he may well have had it (re)built in the form shown in this photograph. The book The History of Hemel Hempstead states that William Wigg, physician, lived there in the early 18th century.

Mark has just contacted me about the death of an ancestor, Robert Neale, who is reported to have died at Gadebridge House, Hemel Hempstead, on 18th September  1790, aged 39. A quick look online (Discovery) shows that in 1790 insurance on the house was paid by Thomas Latter, who also had an address of 22 Harley Street, London. 

Gadebridge House, Hemel Hempstead, circa 1900
There are many possible reasons why Robert might have been visiting Gadebridge House - but one is of wider interest. Later Harley Street had become famous as being the area in London where the top doctors practiced - supposedly because it was not too far from a number of railway stations. There were 20 there by 1860 and almost 200 by 1914. However there must have been some doctors there before 1860 and the area around Cavendish Square was the abode of the rich and wealthy by the end of the 18th century - and the occupants would have wanted the best doctors to live nearby. This raises an interesting possibility. Could Thomas Latter have been some kind of doctor and could Robert have been a patient who at gone to Gadebridge House to avoid the noise and stench of London?

I am currently rushed off my feet and don't have time to follow up this story - especially as it could mean looking at London Records. So if anyone out there can throw some light on the issue both Mark and I would love to here from you.

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