Casualty's Culpin was a local hero

Millias Culpin

Millias Culpin

First published in News by

New BBC series Casualty 1907's main character Dr Culpin and his wife Ethel originally lived in the Meads, a large, smart detached house in Church Hill, Loughton.

Friendship between doctors and nurses was forbidden back in 1907, but this didn't stop Dr Millias Culpin and nurse Ethel Bennett from falling in love and getting married - even though they had to travel thousands of miles to do so.

Dr Culpin was the house surgeon at the Royal London hospital, Whitechapel, and his work was highlighted in the BBC 1 drama Casualty 1907 Ethel's diary of the period contributed to the script.

Dr Culpin's granddaughter Alice Tomic takes up the story.

"Millias was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in 1874 and attended the Grocers Company's School in Stoke Newington.

He had a group of eight friends at the school who all had a great interest in insects and between them they discovered some new species.

"His father Millice was a doctor and the family moved to Australia to escape the London smog. He was offered a position at a school in the wild Brisbane bush. He kept up his interest in nature and insects and the aborigines and the letters he wrote describing them to his schoolfriends have been published in a book called 'Letters from Laura' edited by his daughter.

"He came back to London to read medicine. and accepted in the British hospital in Shanghai he wrote to Miss Luckes - the matron at the Royal London - asking for her to send his best nurse to come and work in Shanghai. Miss Luckes sent Ethel Bennett and before long they married.

"After they got married Millias wanted to show Ethel his old life in Queensland and he took her for a year long trip. Their daughter Frances was born a year later.

The family eventually settled down in Loughton where young Frances enjoyed life in the beautiful old house.

Alice said: "Millais's daughter had a wonderful life there, it was a lovely house and the garden was full of fruit trees."

There has been a house on the site of Meads since 1270. In 1671 it was owned by Sir John Mennes, comtroller of King Charles 11's Navy, and John Mead took over the tenancy in 1672.

His wife Elizabeth is said to have run an Ale House from the property for a number of years. A number of Georgian and Victorian alterations were made in the following years and in 2005 a Loughton heritage Blue Plaque was installed to commemorate the life of Millias - who has been hailed as the father of British psychoanalysis.

Alice said: "Millias was a most remarkable man he was very compassionate and independent-minded with a particular interest in shell shock and industrial psychology.

In being interested in the effect the unconscious has on parts of the body, he was ahead of his time.

"He loved Epping Forest, Frances went to school in Buckhurst Hill and the family enjoyed walking Peter their terrier dog in the forest."

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