A Spoonful of Sugar (Helps the Medicine Go Down)

Sheila and Marion remember when their doctor and dentist made home visits in their childhood.

In this audio you can hear Marion and Sheila.

This audio is 2 minutes and 20 seconds long.



Marion: The doctor would come to the house and sit on the bed and go, “Now what is it?”, and give you a sweet, if you were good. And the dentist would do the same thing. Oh, yes. We weren’t frightened of the dentist in those days, because they treated you. You got little sweeties and things. “Open your mouth, let’s have a look, oh jolly good, here’s a sweet, make sure you brush your teeth tonight”. It goes against the grain, doesn’t it? Giving them a sweet. But then that was then. They wouldn’t do it now.

Sheila: The other side of Balfour Road, there was quite a big house there which was used as a doctor’s surgery. There was two doctors that used to operate, one of them lived in a big house in South Norwood, but practically opposite the last of the shops in Selhurst Road before the big houses started. He lived in one of those there, but he used to come down to this big house on the corner of Balfour Road every day to take a surgery. But you never, you couldn’t make an appointment or anything. He and another doctor worked there and he operated from, well I suppose 6 o clock in the evening. But if you wanted to go and see the doctor, you went in the back door of this house, through the garden gate, through and into a room, and you just sat and you queued up. And you might be there for two hours before you saw the doctor because you couldn’t make an appointment or anything. But in those days, if you were taken ill any time of the day or night, a doctor would come to the house to see you. I mean, now you have a job to get an appointment, to speak to anybody on the phone or even get through to the doctors, don’t you?  But in those days, that’s what happened.

South Norwood High Street Stories is funded by Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme delivered by Croydon Council. For more information visit www.croydon.gov.uk/southnorwood

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