A Short History of Ivy Court

Memory of medical provision in Tenterden prior to the 1920s is hazy but what is well remembered is that Tom Taylor-Jones arrived in 1929 (joining Dr Arnold Cole) and stayed for 50 years. Initially he had only three tablets available, a blue one, a pink one and a purple one. It is stunning to consider how many different preparations have become available to us over the last 90 years.

The practice, in early years of the 1900s, operated out of West Cross House in the High St. Intriguingly the partners rented rooms in Harley St. (to manage their London based patients) and one afternoon each week one of the partners (Tom Taylor-Jones or Colin Turner) travelled up to town to provide this service. In 1959 the practice was offered the chance to build a surgery in the grounds of Ivy Court House at the east end of the High St and Ivy Court became one of the very first purpose built surgeries in the country.

Brendan Wylie had joined the practice as a partner at the end of World War 2 after Dr. Brentall was sadly lost on a troop ship in the Mediterranean. Colin Turner and Hugh Gompertz joined the practice soon after the war and remarkably each served the practice, through all the years of the development of the NHS and through many years of on-call duties, for 37 years. Raymond Crawfurd was recruited, after a spell with the practice as a medical student, in the early 1970s and is still living locally (now retired). For many years the practice led the medical team at Kench Hill nursing and maternity unit on the Appledore Rd. (sadly a service discontinued in the early 1970s with the advent of modern midwifery). The practice continues to provide a full range of medical services to the new West View Hospital having seen this unit through the years of transition from Victorian workhouse to modern facility caring for the older person.

The surgery premises have been developed on at least five separate occasions with additions for more consulting space, for minor surgery and for training junior doctors (the next generation of General Practitioners). The practice is very centrally placed in Tenterden with convenient access to the High St and other amenities. The present partnership is striving to develop new and more modern premises and to be able to take the practice towards a state of the art provision for the patients of the practice in the 2000s.