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Dedicated to the history and heritage of the town of Brixham in Devon



Dr Brooking of Brixham

Glimpses into Dr. Brooking’s life found in local newspapers.

Devon and Exeter Gazette 8 January 1856

A public meeting was held at the Dartmouth Guildhall to discuss the ‘proposed Dartmouth railway’; the Mayor of Dartmouth presided over a crowded gathering, which included Dr. Brooking. A Committee appointed at a previous meeting had conferred with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and ‘the present proposal was to follow the original line (of 1853), under Higher Greenway to a floating bridge that would be used as a ferry to Dartmouth with a station at the bridge’. Sir Morgan Peto had been appointed contractor; cost was £900.0.0. (Unfortunately, this never transpired).

Devon and Exeter Gazette 11 August 1860

From the ‘London Gazette’ (7 August 1860): Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Devon – 11th Devon Artillery Volunteers, Charles Henry Brooking to be 1st Lieutenant, Christopher Green (another Brixham doctor) to be 2nd Lieutenant.


Western Times 17 September 1860

A meeting was held at Torquay Town Hall of Devon Volunteers (Rifle and Artillery) of the County, Colonel Commandant Sir Warwick Hele Tonkin presiding, to arrange ‘a grand field day and sham fight’ at a forthcoming prize meeting in Newton Abbot. The Defence Committee of the Devon Volunteers met at the Queen’s Hotel, Torquay, to choose a date for the fight (18 October), subject to the approval of the Lord Lieutenant. Members of the Committee included Sir Warwick Hele Tonkin, Lord Churston, Sir Lawrence Palk, Mr. Cary, Mr. Mallock, Captain Courtenay, Mr. Studdy (all South/Mid Devon landowners), Rev. J.R. Hogg (son-in-law of the late Rev. H.F. Lyte, who wrote ‘Abide with Me’) and Dr. Brooking.


Western Times 17 September 1860

Brixham Artillery Volunteers ‘now duly organised’; Government sent a Drill Sergeant to Brixham to ‘put the men through the manual and platoon exercise’. Forty-six men had enrolled with a further fifty waiting to join; each man provided his own kit. ‘Too much praise cannot be given to Lieutenant Brooking for his unwearied attention to his duties, and we are quite certain if good officers make good men the Brixham Corps ought to be one of the first in the County’.


Western Times 7 September 1861

Colonel Maberly, R.A., advised Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Warwick Hele Tonkin that he would inspect the companies of the Voluntary Artillery. 11th Company (Brixham), under Captain Brooking, would be inspected on 17 September 1861 at four o’clock.

Devon and Exeter Gazette 2 January 1863

A Conservative Banquet was held at the Assembly Rooms of Beazley’s Globe Hotel in Newton Abbot. The Earl of Devon and Lord Churston gave speeches to a large and influential attendance comprising ‘between two and three thousand noblemen, MPs, clergy, magistrates and others present’, including Dr. Brooking.

Devon and Exeter Gazette 20 March 1863

An Inspection of the 1st Devon Volunteer Light Horse took place under Colonel Home at ‘a large field near Meadfoot’ in Torquay. Captain Lord Seymour (of the Duke of Somerset’s family) was absent in Italy. ‘At the close of proceedings (was) a sumptuous banquet, at which upwards of 80 sat down at Castle’s Hotel’; Dr. Brooking attended with the Rev. A. Carey of Brixham.

South Devon Gazette 5 June 1863

‘Volunteer Review and Grand Banquet’
‘Members of Torquay Rifles, Artillery and Engineers with a troop of the 1st Devon Light Horse (mounted) marched to the Torquay Railway Station at Livermead’, accompanied by the Rifle Brass Band and the Artillery Drum and Fife Band, to meet the Paignton and Brixham Artillery Volunteers. All two hundred and fifty men paraded through the principal streets of Torquay, marching to Daddy’s Hole (Daddyhole Plain) where Colonel Chichester and Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Warwick Hele Tonkin ‘put them through a variety of manoeuvres in the presence of a large number of spectators. At 5 o’clock ‘the various corps and a large number of townsmen sat down to an elegant cold collation, spread by Mr. Mogridge, of the Union Hotel, in the market’. Evergreens, flags and pictures decorated the walls, the Rifle Brass Band was stationed in the gallery ‘to which was admitted a large number of lady spectators’. Among the eminent attendees was Dr. Brooking.

Devon and Exeter Gazette 31 January 1865

‘Grand Conservative Banquet at Torquay’
The third annual banquet of the Torquay and Newton Abbot Conservative Association took place at the Bath Saloon, Torquay, the Rt. Hon. Lord Churston presiding and Dr. Brooking in attendance. A glee party entertained the members, political speeches and loyal toasts were made, including one to ‘The Health of the Army and Navy, and Volunteers’.

Devon and Exeter Gazette 27 September 1867

Inquest on Samuel Franks, aged 18 years, formerly apprenticed to a Brixham shipbuilder John Barter. He had been attacked by another member of the Barter family some weeks previously and left his employment to work in Churston. He had subsequently been ill with typhoid, but recovered and returned to work; feeling unwell, Dr. Brooking was summoned to visit him. He subsequently died. Samuel Franks’ father maintained that the violent episode had killed him, but Dr. Brooking found no signs of violence and conducted a post mortem, which showed ‘sufficient signs of disease to account for death’. Verdict: Death from natural causes.

Western Times 22 April 1873

First meeting of the newly-elected Totnes Board of Guardians (of the Workhouse, which served a large area of South Devon) with full attendance. ‘Mr. C.H. Brooking, of Brixham, sent in his resignation as Poor Law Medical Officer for the district of Brixham and Churston Ferrers, which was accepted’.

Leamington Spa Courier 5 December 1891

Funeral of Mrs. Elrington, wife of Rev. R.B.F. Elrington, of Clarendon Place (formerly of All Saints’ Church, Brixham). Among several mourners attending from Brixham were ‘the Misses Brooking’.

Western Daily Press 4 April 1922

‘Yesterday, Dr. C.H. Brooking, of Paignton, who was a personal friend of the famous engineer Brunel, and who for the past 20 years has resided at Paignton, completed his one hundredth birthday’ – (this was also announced in the ‘Western Times’ for the same date).

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 12 April 1922

The quarterly meeting of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Sir Anthony Bowlby presiding, sent congratulations to ‘Dr. Charles Henry Brooking of Paignton on attaining the age of 100 years’.

Further reference

Armitage, P. L. 2008 The Devonshire (1st) Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers) No.2 Company (Brixham) 1859 – 1908. Pp. 6 – 15 The Devon Historian Journal of the Devon History Society 76 (Spring 2008).