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Percy Pott

25th October 2021

Ah Dr Percy Pott! D'you know 'bout him?

The south wall of the church displays the Pott
Memorial to eighteenth century doctor
Percy Pott who lived in Watling Street
and worked at St Bartholomew's
for forty years, the hospital established 
in eleven twenty-three. Physician 
heal thyself, and doctor Pott did that 
in Southewark after coming off his horse 
once in the Old Kent Road. He broke his leg
but knowing the importance of remaining
still, he lay down on the pavement and
told others what to do. And all this in 
cold Janu'ry. He sent to Westminster 
for chairmen who should bring their poles. He had
somebody fetch a door to which the poles
were fixed and he was carried on this makeshift
stretcher home, a distance of two miles. 
The leg was saved: no amputation needed
and the type of injury was called
henceforth Pott's fracture. During convalescence
Dr Pott began to write and never
stopped. He wrote about arthritis of
the spine or Pott's Disease, on rutures, palsy
and he was the first to spot that cancer 
might be caused by the environment,
and proving Chimney Sweep's Carcinoma 
to come from soot. His work changed laws, improved
conditions in the workplace and enhanced
the reputation of the surgeon who
had previously been considered more
a butcher than a thinking doctor. He 
is buried in the chancel of the church. 
His tombstone is outside beneath the tree.