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Introducing the Dorset County Hospital Staff Database

Ralph Clarke Bartlett,
house surgeon 1894

Since the beginning of the year a lot of work has been undertaken to identify as many individuals as possible who worked or trained at Dorset County Hospital from 1841 to 1948. This information is stored in the Dorset County Hospital Staff Database, which consists of two parts:

  1. An A-Z of staff, which contains the names of all staff members and trainees known to date. For many individuals, there is but a brief reference (e.g. a note of them being appointed or paid). There are currently over 450 people in the database but it is by no means complete. The printed-out A-Z currently runs to over 80 pages of entries; and
  2. Detailed Profiles of each of the physicians, surgeons, matrons, chaplains, and clerks who worked at the hospital. These profiles contain biographical information as well as their Dorset County Hospital employment history. Currently around 25 profiles have published but, in time, there will be over 100.

Elkin Percy Cumberbatch,
house surgeon 1909-10

Sources used to compile the database include the hospital’s management committee minutes, matrons’ reports, and published annual reports, all deposited at the Dorset History Centre. One important source, also at the History Centre, is a salaries and wages book covering the period 1846-60, listing many of the early nurses and domestic servants. So far, the period up to 1854 has been included in the database and work on transcribing entries continues. External sources have also been used, including census returns, newspaper reports, and entries from medical directories and nursing registers.

Pelham Vansittart Wynn Werninck,
house surgeon 1915-17

In the course of this work, some photographs of previous staff have come to light. In particular we can now put faces to the names of three house surgeons – Ralph Charles Bartlett (1870-1938), who was house surgeon briefly in 1894; Elkin Percy Cumberbatch (1880-1939), house surgeon 1909-10 – he was later a pioneer in medical electricity; and Pelham Vansittart Wynn Werninck (1884-1955), who was house surgeon 1915-17, meaning that he had to deal with the huge increase in patients caused by the First World War. You can read the profiles for the three house surgeons (and other profiles) here. To see all the known pictures of previous paid and honorary staff, see the Staff Images page.

I am particularly grateful to Mark Duffy for letting me have the photograph of Dr. Werninck. Mark’s excellent site ( commemorates the millions of British men and women who served in the First World War, and their families. It contains over 3,400 images. Mark has supplied other images of staff which will be published on this site once research into their identities has been completed.

If you have any photographs of people who worked or trained at Dorset County Hospital up to 1948 please get in touch via the contact page.


Images: Bartlett: reproduced with the kind permission of the State Archives, New South Wales. Cumberbatch: published in Notable Londoners, first edition, 1921-22, page 130. Werninck: © Mark Duffy/