Being mainly Granite built, we believe Pentre Cottage was constructed along with Pentre House (circa 1867). Its original history is unknown but it was used as the Doctors' surgery during their tenure.
We know the cottage became the surgery during Dr Elliston's tenure. The original waiting room was what is now the kitchen; the surgery being what is now the lounge/diner. Dr Elliston added a larger waiting room that is now used as the bathroom with the entrance door where the toilet is located.
Benches were placed in what is now the bathroom and continued around through to the what is now the kitchen where the door to the surgery (now lounge) was. Patients would start at one end and shuffle along as each patient was seen and left by the kitchen exit. Not having a bell, or other device, Dr Elliston would stamp his feet in the surgery making sufficient noise to signal that it was time for his next patient.
He was an avid pipe smoker and the surgery was filled with the pungent aroma of a rather unusual tobacco. Mixing his own medicines, in what is now the cottage bedroom, the kindly Dr Elliston would occasionally offer powders that had the placebo effect on those whose visits were deemed unnecessary and too often. He apparently traveled the village on a Pony & Trap and no doubt this is why he acquired the first parcel of land opposite the house. Please see Pentre House - History for further information.
We know little of Dr Reeves who succeeded Dr Elliston in 1945. Except we do know that he was also a kindly and caring man.
We are investigating further!
Please see Dr Elliston - Anecdotes below.
Dr Elliston - Anecdotes!
We have been fortunate to meet local people who knew Dr Elliston and have provided us with particular anecdotes that give some insight into the measure of the man!
Anecdote - 1
Shortly after WW1 a young local farmer (the father of my informant) was often in the field shooting nuisance rabbits and voles. The bull situate in the field was never a problem but on this occasion the animal took exception to the noise and charged at the young farmer picking him up and tossing him to the ground before trampling over him and then summarily throwing him over the fence. The farmer, now in a serious way, managed to crawl to the next farm and raised alarm whereby he was immediately rushed to the local Helston (Cottage) hospital. Dr Elliston was called and attended to the injuries that involved a badly crushed rib cage and broken limbs. The Doctor did what he could using all his skills practiced during his service in Italy. He declared however to bring the man's family as he was unsure as whether the young farmer would last the night. But the lad did and gradually got better. He was left with only one problem and that was his wrist that would not repair properly and stopped this young man from his usual farming duties forever. Dr Elliston saved his life!
Anecdote - 2
Unlike now, in the days when Dr Elliston practiced, GPs carried out surgery and Dr Elliston (who did actually train as a surgeon) was called to carry out an appendectomy on the sister of my informant. Mother was worried not only for her daughter's well-being but also how she could pay as there was no National Health programme nor insurance. After the successful operation she asked the Doctor how much she owed. He replied "there's a box by the door, put what you can into it and if you can put nothing then do that".
Anecdote - 3
Whilst touring the village on his Pony and Trap Dr Elliston was hailed to halt by a man complaining of pain. The doctor examined him there and then but was not taken with the man's declared troubles that were indicative of the patient attempting to skive off work. Dr Elliston treated this particular patient with a kick up the backside and a good ticking off!
Anecdote - 4
At the surgery, Dr Elliston was attending the needs of one William Hosking (whose occupation was a lime burner and thus otherwise known as "Will the Lime Burner"). With him was a trainee army medic and upstairs was the wife of the schoolmaster who often mixed the medicines. "Will the Lime Burner" evidently needed only a placebo. Dr Elliston shouted to the upstairs "ADT!" After Will had left, the army medic looking puzzled asked Dr Elliston "what's an ADT?" to which the reply was "any damn thing!"
Anecdote - 5
Dr Elliston once attended another, at the time young boy, informant who was suffering some ailment. As Dr Elliston leaned over the lad with his stethoscope the boy wriggled and accidentally punched Dr Elliston on the nose. You little b****r said Dr Elliston who continued to treat the boy. The family were poor so Dr Elliston as usual never charged them, although he never forgot the incident.
Please also see Dr Elliston, Porthleven's 'Beloved Doctor' by the late W. F. Ivey (formerly Helston & Lizard Peninsula Publicity Officer for Kerrier District Council); © the late W.F. Ivey & Graham G Matthews.