Josephine Frances Audrey Heywood

Author: Roy Tubb
Date published: 12/12/2014
© Roy Tubb


From Newbury Road by Road, by Roy Tubb page 137


Heyward Gardens is the name for one of those modern developments in the curtilege of a house in Andover Road. This one consists of just two new houses built in the front garden of 137 Andover Road. All three have been numbered as Heyward Gardens. Although not a road, this development by Donnington New Homes is worthy of inclusion here because of the name. Completed in 2007, it was named after one of the wards in the old Newbury District Hospital in Andover Road. However somewhere along the line, a spelling error occurred: the ward in question was spelt “Heywood” (not Heyward). The ward in the hospital was named after Dr. William Benjamin Heywood.

William was born in Kensington (Middlesex) in1871, son of Benjamin Heywood, solicitor. The family was living at Beckenham, Kent in 1881. William was educated (1885-88) at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire, and then at Emanuel College, Cambridge. He qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and as a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians at London Hospital in 1896. Shortly after this he joined the Church Missionary Society and went to India as a medical missionary. While he was there he lost his sight in one eye from an accident with a fives ball. Dr Heywood returned to England and came to Newbury in 1905, setting up as a general practitioner. He first lived in Oxford Street, then in Newtown Road. In 1908 William married Josephine Frances Audrey Gibbs, fourth daughter of Revd. J. G. Gibbs (Vicar of St Mary's Church, Speenhamland 1875-99) at Wallingford, Berkshire. The couple moved into a newly built house, Cornermead (2 St John's Road) where Dr Heywood established a surgery. He was described in Kerry’s Directory of 1911 as “physician and surgeon and medical officer to Newbury District Hospital.” He was also the Newbury Coroner for a short time.

During the World War Dr Heywood left Newbury in April 1915 for service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Writing in the Newbury Weekly News in September 1985, Robert Canham (former dispenser at the hospital) mentioned that Dr Heywood served in St George's Hospital, Malta. Mr. Canham also noted that during the years 1914-19 Newbury Hospital treated 1,040 wounded soldiers. On the night of 9th September 1915 a detachment of forty wounded soldiers from the Dardenelles were admitted to Newbury Hospital. Mr.Canham wrote that “some of them had been under the care of Captain Heywood” in Malta while on their way home. Captain Heywood was evidently the same Dr William Benjamin Heywood, late of Newbury who also served in Italy and France during the war.

After the war, Dr Heywood worked for the Ministry of Pensions at Bristol for ten years until 1929, when he was transferred to London, where he stayed until his retirement. He returned to Newbury in 1931 and was soon involved in voluntary public service. He rejoined the Newbury District Hospital Committee and on the death of the chairman, Mr. Malcolm Aird, William was persuaded to fill the vacancy. He became treasurer of the Newbury and District Nursing Association. He gave invaluable service to the Newbury Dispensary and usually chaired its meetings. Another interest of his was the Society for the Preservation of Rural England: he served as secretary of the local branch at some time. In civic affairs also Dr. Heywood was active on Saturday 21st January 1933 he stood as a candidate in a by-election for the Borough Council. He secured a large majority over the two other candidates, Frederick Bance and William Noakes. Dr William Heywood remained a borough councillor until November 1942, when he resigned due to ill health. From 1931 William and Audrey (by which first name she was known) resided at 12 Greenham Road.

Audrey Heywood, born at Chipping Norton, had trained as a nurse at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. She devoted her life to working for the sick. Whilst in Newbury she spent considerable time raising money for medical work overseas. Her other main interest was Newbury Hospital: she started the hospital library service some years before 1939 and later she organised a book repair service for the Red Cross Library. William and Audrey had one child, a daughter, who worked in the Colonial Nursing Service. William Heywood died on 13th January 1943 in Newbury Hospital at the age of seventy one. Audrey Heywood remained at 12 Greenham Road until about two years before her death on 19th November 1950 (aged seventy-eight) at 21 Catherine Road, Newbury. The house in Greenham Road (almost opposite Greenham House) was subsequently occupied by the Inland Revenue Valuation Department and then by H.M. Inspector of Taxes before being demolished (probably about 1965).

Burial Register Index

William Benjamin Heywood died 4 February 1943 aged 70

Book no. 1917 page 243 Record no. 11543

Josephine Frances Audrey Heywood 23 November 1950 aged 78

Book no. 1917 page 279 Record no 11831


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