Two Doctors In London

London has always been a major draw to people from all over the country, and from all over the world.

In the 19th century, people arrived in the Victorian metropolis for all manner of reasons, some of them being on the nefarious side!

However, some of those visitors would come to rue the day that they had chosen to visit London, as well as rue the encounters that they had experienced with the “locals.”

The Edinburgh Evening News, on Tuesday, 6th September, 1881, carried the following story about an American doctor who took exception to what he perceived to be a total lack of respect that was shown to him by a London reporter:-


“At Bow Street police court, London, on Saturday, Charles Carey, aged 28, an American doctor, staying at the Westminster Palace Hotel, was charged before Sir James Ingham with assaulting John Kelly, a journalist.

The complainant stated that he was at the Promenade Concerts on Friday night and was talking to a friend, when the defendant rushed up to him and asked him who he was speaking to. Witness asked him what he meant, to which he replied: “Who are you speaking to?”

His curiosity was gratified by the witness telling him that it was a friend, whereupon Carey said, “If you speak another word I will wring your nose.”

The witness replied to the effect that he could not understand what was the matter with the defendant. He still made use of threats, and dared the complainant to say but one word, and asked him what he desired him to say.


Defendant replied, “Anything.” Whereupon complainant said, “You must be a fool.”

The defendant then knocked his hat off; whereupon the complainant, who had already asserted that “he could take care himself,” placed himself in an attitude of defence.

The defendant struck at him with his fist, but the blow was avoided, whereupon he struck the complainant a sharp blow on the right cheek, below the eye, with a stick.

The crowd then interposed, and the defendant was taken to the police station, where the present charge was preferred.


The defence was that the complainant had provoked the defendant by mimicking the way in which he spoke, and that he got annoyed, and asked why it was done.

He alleged that the complainant had struck at him first, and that when he was about to return the blow the complainant’s friend seized him by the arm. He was exasperated, and struck the blow with his stick.

The defendant was fined £3, The money was paid.”


The Shields Daily Gazette, on Thursday, 15th March, 1888, carried a story about a doctor from the north of England who met two ladies at the theatre and, unwisely, decided to accompany them back to their “lodgings” in the West End of London:-

“At the Marlborough Street Police Court, London, yesterday, two stylishly dressed women – one being described as a “dressmaker,” and the other as having no occupation – were charged with stealing a purse containing £11; the property of Joseph Wakefield, a north-country surgeon.

According to his evidence, it appeared that the prosecutor went to the Alhambra Theatre on the previous evening where he met the prisoners.


He accompanied them in a cab to Ganton Street, Regent Street, and, after staying there some time, he discovered that his purse, which contained £11, had been taken from his waistcoat pocket.

The prisoners were accused of having stolen the money, and they protested their innocence. On a search being made, however, the purse was found on the floor, but no money was in it.

On the women being told that they had taken all the prosecutor’s money and that he had not the means to return to the north, one of them handed a sovereign to him.

Eventually, they were given into custody, and, on them being searched, £3 was found upon one and only 6d on the other.


Mr Arthur Newton, solicitor, who appeared for the defence, urged that his clients were perfectly innocent, and that no jury would convict in such a case.

Mr Newton, tho magistrate, said he was inclined to take that view of the case, and would accordingly order both the accused to be discharged.”