History of Marine Medical Group
The Marine Medical Group can trace its existence back to 1834 when Dr Gilbert Ward started in practice in Blyth. He is commemorated by a statue at the entrance to Ward 1 in the Blyth Community Hospital. From 1864 – 1891 he was joined by his son Henry, who sadly died in 1891 at which time Gilbert Ward relinquished his practice.
In 1891 Dr George Newstead succeeded to the practice, using the same premises on Bridge Street, until he died in 1924.
The practice was bought from Mrs Newstead by Dr Urquhart (senior) in 1925, who ran the practice single handed until he was joined by his brother-in-law Norman Freebairn in 1946. Drs Urquhart and Freebairn practiced as a partnership until 1956 when Dr Urquhart’s son joined the practice.
The partnership continued until 1971 when they joined with Drs Dodds & Madgwick to form the Ridley Medical Group. Dr Dodds and Madgwick had previously practiced together from 1954 before joining with Drs Freebairn & Urquhart. Both practices were based in Waterloo Road; Dodds & Madgwick at No. 68 while Freebairn and Urquhart were at Rubislaw, No. 109 Waterloo Road. However both practices had inadequate premises for modern medicine so they commissioned and moved into a new building on the site of the former Congregational Church in Stanley Street. The Ridley Medical Group remained at Stanley Street until 1988 at which time it moved to its current premises in the health centre. It is noteworthy that Dr Urquhart was instrumental in the development of the new hospital and health centre for Blyth.
The practice became a training practice in 1972 and continues to be a recognised training practice for post graduate doctors wishing to train for a career in general practice. In 1973 Dr Geoff Rawes joined the practice. Norman Freebairn retired in 1974 and was replaced by Trevor Lunn who left in 1983. He was replaced by Dr John Allen. Upon retirement Dr Harry Madgwick and Dr Ronnie Dodds were replaced by Dr Julian Turner and Dr David Morgan respectively. In 1993 Dr Zahid Hussain replaced Dr Urquhart upon his retirement.
1997 saw the dissolution of Ridley Medical Group with Drs Allen, Turner, Morgan and Hussain continuing in partnership as the Marine Medical Group and Dr Rawes going single-handed. Since that time the practice has continued to thrive and has appointed Dr Emma Norfolk 2001, Dr Sri Kasaraneni 2002 and Dr Kathryn Johnston 2004 as salaried GPs.
Dr John Allen retired in 2014 and was replaced by Dr Emma Norfolk. Dr Jo Lee joined the practice as a salaried GP.
Dr Julian Turner retired in 2016 and was replaced by Dr Kathryn Johnston. Dr Sri Kasaraneni also retired and 4 new salaried GPs were appointed; Dr Hannah Shillitoe, Dr Rosamund Clarke-Sturman, Dr Anna French and Dr Brett Main.