ETTINGSHALL HISTORY - DR ISAIAH JAMES BAKER'S MEMORIAL

The memorial to Hurst Hillís devoted family doctor has stood at the junction of Gorge Road and Hall Lane since 1914. Erected by public subscription, the detailed bust tops a column resting on a plinth with the inscription - He endeared himself to all who knew him by the uprightness of his character, his sympathy with the suffering, and especially by his kindness to the poor. To many in affliction he was a spiritual adviser and cheered the dying with his prayers and words of comfort. By his good deeds, "He being dead yet speaketh".

Isaiah trained in Edinburgh and qualified as a 'surgeon' in 1877. During the 1880s he moved from Hurst Hill Street to live in 'Hollywell House', Hollywell Street. The doctor practiced in the district for around thirty five years often giving unpaid treatment to the poor and expert attention to all his patients. He would have been familiar with malnutrition, lung disease, industrial injuries, and infant mortality. Hospital visits could have been made to the Royal in Wolverhampton and the Guest in Dudley.

He was born locally in 1850 and married Elizabeth Wright in 1879. Dr Baker died in August 1912 at the age of sixty one and was buried in the Vicar Street graveyard of All Saints, Sedgley. When the area became an open space the headstone was removed and there is no official record of the inscription.

On August 5th 2001, at 4am, the statue was extensively damaged by a two car accident. Initially the local councils of Wolverhampton and Dudley were unclear about responsibility. However, descendants of Dr Baker and local residents soon petitioned Wolverhampton to remove, restore and return the memorial. Work costing nearly £10,000 gave the stonework a pristine look for its rededication in March 2002. New railings, copied from old photographs, completed the restoration project.


The top photograph, taken in December 2000, shows the memorial after nearly ninety years of Black Country 'weather'. Below a similar shot, taken in August 2001, records the damage caused by one car!! Finally, in the May sunlight of 2002, the memorial makes a fitting tribute to one of the village's well remembered medical men. It is the only one of its kind in the Manor.

Memorial, December 2000
Memorial, August 2001
Memorial, May 2002