James Fraser West

Kudos to , who for the first few months of this year was publishing as a blog the daily entries of the diary of her ancestor, mid-nineteenth century Birmingham surgeon James Fraser West, on LJ as . It did not run for very long – his medical work was interrupted by a long trip to Italy for the sake of his health; this did not have the desired effect, and the blog has now ended with his obituary.

I found it fascinating to get to know this long-departed doctor, and his death came as a real shock – we knew he was ill, but he wasn’t letting on how bad it was in his diary. (Though I think he was too good a doctor not to have known.) ‘s mother, Geraldine Goodman, has published it as part of a longer biography (A Victorian Surgeon, from Brewin Books): I shall look out for it, not least because my mother-in-law’s maiden name happened to be West and she too was a doctor based in the Birmingham area before she retired. Thanks again, and your mother; it’s been an interesting journey.

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