Dr John Clelland Clarke
Chairman of Farnworth Local Board: 1888-94 (Liberal)
Born: Ireland 7 July 1849
Died: Farnworth 16 February 1898
Educated: Coleraine Academical Institution; Edinburgh University
He was Assistant House Surgeon at the Liverpool South Hospital and House Surgeon at the old Bolton Infirmary, Nelson Square.
He moved to Farnworth in 1873 where he built up a large and lucrative practice.
He was the Medical Officer for Little Hulton for many years.
In 1894 he was the first Chairman of a Joint Hospital Committee for the districts of Farnworth, Little Hulton and Little Lever, which helped to establish an Infectious Diseases Hospital at Carlton Street, Farnworth after a previous smallpox scare in 1888. He was presented with a silver key to the Infectious Diseases Hospital on its opening in 1895.
He campaigned in other ways. It was largely due to his efforts that a law was introduced to fight manufacturers who emitted black smoke from factories.
He subscribed generously to the fund for the erection of the Public Baths in 1893.
He strongly objected to the use of Welsh setts on the highways, remarking that hanging was almost too good for those that recommend them. He felt that they were a source of cruelty to the horses.
Public improvements which he supported, were regular lighting of the thoroughfares on dark nights, expenditure of more money on the park and a change in the system of emptying ash pits.
Clelland Street, Farnworth is probably named after him.
Elected to Lancashire County Council 1895.
Chairman of the Public Health Committee 1896.
He was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Liberal Association and Chairman of Farnworth Reform Club.
He died following an attack of typhoid fever contracted from a patient at the hospital he helped found.
His father, mother, two sisters and a brother had also died from typhoid fever.
Congregationalist - he became a seatholder of Albert Road Congregational Church in 1875. He is buried in Farnworth Cemetery, grave number 11, Nonconformist.
"Dr Clarke was a skillful, generous minded practitioner and one of those men who took pleasure in adding to the happiness of others. Untimely as his death was he left behind him a splendid record of work done for humanity." (Obituary Farnworth Journal)
"Year after year the genial doctor rendered such good service to the ratepayers in his position as Chairman and so pleased the members of the Board with his business like despatch of the work and his urbanity and kindness that he was regularly reappointed to the post." (Farnworth Journal)
The Farnworth poet, William Cryer, wrote a poem in his memory.
A Memorial Fund was established and a marble bust was commissioned in memory of Dr Clarke and executed by Mr W S Frith of the Elgin Studios, Chelsea. This was hoped to be placed in a future Town Hall and was presented to the Chairman of the District Council, William Sumner, with that express purpose.
An oak tablet was also positioned in the waiting room of the Infectious Diseases Hospital where the public could see it and be reminded of the character of the deceased gentleman. The inscription read:
JOHN CLELLAND CLARKE, M.B., C.C
BORN JULY 7 1849 DIED FEBRUARY 16 1898
24 YEARS A RESIDENT OF THIS TOWN.
A MAN WHOSE VARIED GIFTS AND GREAT ABILITIES WERE WHOLLY DEVOTED TO THE GOOD OF ALL.
BRAVE, TRUE, KIND, FAITHFUL, DILIGENT;
WHOSE IDEAL WAS EVER BEYOND HIS PERFORMANCE;
WHO CHEERFULLY LAID DOWN HIS LIFE IN THE PATH OF HIS NOBLE
AND WITH GOD BE THE REST
Unfortunately the present location of these items is not known, although a note on a glass slide of the bust taken in 1900 indicated that it was then in St John's Church, Farnworth. This may have been only temporary.
The remainder of the memorial fund of £642 was invested and used to send recovering typhoid patients to a convalescent home.