Descendents of surgeon visit ward named after him

Staff from Frank Shaw ward with great-great-granddaughter Poppy Denoon Duncan, granddaughter Caroline Todhunter (holding photo), and great-granddaughter Nicola Denoon Duncan
Staff from Frank Shaw ward with great-great-granddaughter Poppy Denoon Duncan, granddaughter Caroline Todhunter (holding photo), and great-granddaughter Nicola Denoon Duncan

The generations of descendants of Frank Shaw came to the Conquest Hospital to visit the post-natal maternity ward named after him.

His granddaughter Caroline Todhunter, great-granddaughter Nicola Denoon Duncan and great-great-granddaughter Poppy Denoon Duncan recently visited the ward to talk to staff and view photos of the old Buchanan Hospital where Frank Shaw worked.

Caroline Todhunter, granddaughter, said: “It was a real privilege to visit the ward named after my grandfather, Frank Shaw, with my daughter and granddaughter. I had no idea his name and legacy still lives on, until recently. It was particularly interesting to see the photos of the Buchanan Hospital, and to experience the beauty of the stain glass windows, as it brought us closer to the place to which he was so clearly devoted and thus to him.”

Jenny Crowe, head of midwifery, said: “It was really interesting to hear from the family more about Frank Shaw in whose name a ward is named after.

“I know they enjoyed viewing the photos of the Buchanan Hospital and seeing for themselves the stain glass windows from the old hospital which Frank Shaw would have seen every working day of this life.”

Frank Herbert Shaw was born in 1858, the son of a homeopathic physician. His family moved to Hastings in 1871 where they lived at 33 Marina. Frank trained at Kings College and Guy’s Hospital in London and also in Germany, and became a surgeon.

By 1891 he lived with his wife, four sons and daughter in a large house at The Gables in Pevensey Road, St Leonards which Frank had designed and built, to house his growing family, three servants and his surgery, from where he ran an extensive private practice. It is known that if patients were unable to pay for his services he was happy to take payment in the form of vegetables, fish and poultry.

In 1895 Frank was appointed advisory medical officer to the Buchanan Hospital and was generally thought of as the ‘father of the hospital’. In 1905 the hospital hosted the International Homeopathic Congress and Frank became president of that body.

His wife Fanny was a founder member of Hastings Women’s Liberal Association and was described as a great friend of the Buchanan Hospital but she sadly died in 1902. Frank remarried on April 14, 1904 to Katherine Alice Waller and continued to live and practice at The Gables. The couple had two more children, Sydney Richard (Dick) and Francesca Elizabeth Waller (Betty).

Frank died in November 1929, by which time he was living at 60 London Road, St Leonards, leaving £3850 13s 4d to his widow.