Luke Dowell Smyth

In the 1841 census Smyth was listed as a surgeon (aged 29 and unmarried) living in Union Street. In the same household were Arthur Smyth (Luke’s brother perhaps), aged 15 and of independent means together with a manservant John McHugh. The Smyths had been born in Ireland.

In the 1851 census Luke was living in Church Street, and was married with a three year old daughter, Emma Elizabeth, named for her mother, and a two year old son, Arthur Weatherly (Arthur for his brother perhaps and Weatherly for a relative of his wife). Luke and Emma had married about six years before, so one might assume that perhaps they had moved in to the house about that time, say around 1844/5. He had been the doctor to the Rector of East Bridgford, Emma’s uncle with whose family she lived. In 1851 Emma was aged 26 and was to lose her sight the following year. The 1851 census also shows the family to have had two female servants and a groom. Clearly the doctor was a man of some standing.

By the time of the 1861 census the Smyth family had grown to include two more sons and three more daughters aged from 2 months to 7 years, Arthur being now 12. There was also a governess (Lucy Allen, aged 34), a cook, two female servants and a man servant (presumably a groom but not recorded as such). Emma being now blind probably needed the extra help!

By the time of the 1871 census the Smyth family had grown by another two – Randolph (8) and Beatrice Alice (4). Emma Smyth’s sister, Clara Cobbett and her son and daughter are included as members of the household as residents not visitors. With two sick nurses, a cook and a housemaid the house must have been full to overflowing! Smyth still had a groom but he lived with his own family. Towards the end of 1871 Smyth, his eyesight failing, sold his practice and moved the family to London. He retained ownership of the house in Bingham. By this time the eldest son Arthur Weatherly was a legacy clerk at Somerset House but at the time of the census was at Bingham – possibly to help with the preparations for moving.

A taste of life in the Smyth household is recorded in two memoirs written late in life by Luke and Emma Smyth’s fourth child, Frances Adelaide and their youngest, Beatrice Alice.

Smyth is not mentioned in the directory for 1871 so presumably had ceased to practise.

The parish magazine of 1870 presented the report of the Bingham Coal Club, of which Smyth was secretary.

Luke Smyth died on 21st December 1885 and Emma on 4 November 1912.

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