A High Street Surgeon

The location of Dr Salter's house

In the mid 19th century, one well-known High street resident was Dr. Thomas Salter. He had married Eliza Bell in St. James Church on 21st January 1812 with the Rev Jolliffe officiating. In the 1841 census he was listed as a surgeon aged 55, living with his wife Eliza, daughter Annie (19), twins Henry and Samuel (15) and 9 year old son John. Their house was a couple of doors from the old Globe Hotel (no. 131) probably in the premises now occupied by Bon Marché. By 1851, he was a J.P. and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and the household had three servants, a cook, house maid and groom, suggesting that the doctor kept a carriage to carry out his home visits. Both Henry and John still lived at home and seemed to have done well academically, Henry being listed as BA Lond. M.R.C.S. and 19 year old John as BA Lond.

Three years later, John found himself on the way out to the Crimea on board HMS Prince, a store ship hired by the Royal Navy to deliver supplies to the troops. They arrived off Balaclava in November and had to anchor in the bay awaiting their turn to offload their cargo. Five days later, the coast was struck by a massive storm. It must have been weeks before the news reached England. Four ships had been sunk, including the Prince, and John Salter was among the 500 men who had perished.

John Salter's obelisk

His grieving parents erected an obelisk in his memory in the Poole Cemetery, perhaps the most prominent monument there. The inscription reads: In memory of John Morgan Salter Esq  Batchelor of Arts of the University of London. Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Surgeon to Her Majesty’s Troop Ship Prince from the wreck of which he perished in Balaclava Bay in the great storm of November 14 1854 aged 22 years. The youngest son of Thomas Salter Esq of Poole Dorsetshire. There is something very poignant about the listing of the acheivements of this promising young man who never had a chance to fulfill his promise.

Thomas Salter, who must have been about 68 when his son died, did not  survive him very long. He died in 1856, a much respected citizen of the town.



About Poole High Street Project

Contact: Jenny Oliver - j.oliver48@btinternet.com
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