Plaque plan for Bridlington doctor Humphry Sandwith

A memorial plaque for a doctor who travelled the world to war theatres and served as a colonial governor could be soon coming to Bridlington.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 8:59 am
The unveiling of the refurbished Humphry Sandwith Trough last year. (pa1920-4f)
The unveiling of the refurbished Humphry Sandwith Trough last year. (pa1920-4f)

Plans submitted to East Riding Council stated a plaque for Humphry Sandwith would be put up behind a Grade II listed stone memorial trough on the corner of Westgate and Leys Road.

Bridlington Town Council’s plans stated the new plaque would give details on the life of the doctor and on the trough donated by his family following his death in 1881.

Town Council documents stated: “The placement of a plaque in the immediate locality of the trough would contribute to the understanding of the history and relevance of the man behind the name who lived and worked in the immediate area of the trough’s current location.”

A painting from 1856 of Humphry Sandwith.

Sandwith was born on Westgate on April 12 1822.

He became apprenticed to his uncle who worked in medicine in Beverley before moving to Hull and later qualifying as a surgeon in 1843.

Sandwith’s Dictionary of National Biography entry states that he briefly served as house surgeon at Hull Infirmary before travelling to Constantinople, modern day Istanbul in Turkey.

He then journeyed further afield to what is now Iraq to work on archaeological digs.

When the Crimean War broke out in 1853 Sandwith joined the army as a medic, eventually becoming the British Surgeon General.

He was the only senior doctor in the city of Kars when Russian troops sieged it for six months before capturing it. Sandwith was hailed as the ‘Hero of Kars’ for his efforts to treat trapped civilians and troops from both sides.

He returned to Britain and took part in efforts to provide clean drinking water in London before been appointed Governor of Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean. Sandwith died in Paris aged 59 and was buried in the French capital.

The memorial trough was donated to the town by Sandwith’s family in reference to his work on drinking water.

The trough originally stood on Quay Road outside the former Lloyd Hospital building but by 1962 was lying in pieces on a local farm. It was later moved to its current location but was left untended and was used as bin by passers by.

Town Council documents stated: “Humphry Sandwith trough was placed in its current location and was sadly a litter receptacle and visibly looked very unloved.”

Restoration work began in December 2018 and the trough was unveiled on May 16 2019 on the 138th anniversary of Sandwith’s death.