W G Grace Timesign
Walking down Stapleton Road, not an everyday need for myself, always provides new and varied interests.
Dotted like any other highway, with sites of social and historic significance, it shows a typical development of a centuries-old community, strung out along an important east-west trade route, adjacent to the River Frome.
One of these sites, now covered by an ordinary-looking concrete car park belonging to Easton Leisure Centre, is when closely looked at, a former address of "the most famous Englishman of his day". No 57 Stapleton Road, formally "Thrissell House and cottage adjacent", and home and workplace of William Gilbert Grace, MRCS. LTC., England cricketer, Bowls enthusiast and Easton doctor, Surgeon and Public Vaccinator, following his appointment as Medical Officer to Barton Regis Union, Gloucestershire in 1879.
Although his sporting life is well documented, W. G. Grace's professional career as a doctor is less so. Legends and myths are abundant, and stories about his personal behaviour, on and off the cricket pitch are riddled with anecdotes which are often told at after-dinner speeches etc. and no doubt increased following the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of his birth, in 1998.
However his career as an Easton doctor really began in earnest when, aged 33, he leased Thrissell House and cottage, otherwise 57 Stapleton Road on 11th May 1881, from Mr Joseph. This became his Surgery until March 1895, he and his family lived nearby at 61 Stapleton Road.
He was a widely-known and highly respected doctor who cared greatly for the predominantly working-class people of Easton and District.
In 1885 he left his home in Easton and moved to a Georgian mansion in Victoria Square in Clifton. However he walked to Easton each working day and continued his practice in our neighbourhood until he resigned his practice in 1899.
Numbers 57 and 61 Stapleton Road were demolished after 1972 as part of the redevelopment of this part of Easton. WG's time in Easton was commemorated by the erection of an Easton Time-Sign in September 2000.