A doctor’s new book will explore the 100 years of history of his family surgery in the Airedale community

Dr Richard Sloan was brought up in his family home, Tieve Tara - a semi-detached house and General Practice in Airedale, just off Weldon Road, on the way to Fryston Village.

By Olivia Hale
Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:30 pm
Dr Richard Sloan was brought up in his family home, Tieve Tara - a semi-detached house and General Practice in Airedale - his new book illustrates the history of the practice
Dr Richard Sloan was brought up in his family home, Tieve Tara - a semi-detached house and General Practice in Airedale - his new book illustrates the history of the practice

For the past two years he has been working on his latest book ‘Tieve Tara’.

In it, he explores the history of his family home and practice.

The book discusses themes of class, loyalty and friendship within the community and it is illustrated with pictures of those who worked and lived in the area at the time.

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Richards parents, Gerda and George Sloan

Both of his parents were doctors.

George Sloan, who was a doctor of Irish descent and Gerda Sloan, a doctor and refugee from Berlin, who was forced to flee Nazi Germany.

His father set up as a GP in Airedale in 1923, soon after, he and Gerda took Tieve Tara into their hands, where they worked for many years.

And in 1978, when Richard and his wife, Kathleen Sloan, bought the house and surgery from Gerda, who had by then retired.

For the past two years, Dr Richard Sloan has been working on his latest book ‘Tieve Tara’.

Richard said: “This new book, ‘Tieve Tara’, is essentially a history book about a building in Airedale, and we’re near approaching 100 years of it being a medical facility in the community.

“I did a lot of research into trying to get as many photographs of people who worked there, I think there might be 150 photographs of the people and buildings of the past.

“The house I lived in as a boy with my parents is semi detached from the surgery, the front of the book shows a photograph taken of the surgery house in around 1924, and on the back of the book is a photograph of the modern surgery on Park Dale.

“I’ve written this book for all the people who’ve worked there over the years there, and their relationship to the surgery. I've had a fantastic response so far.

The new surgery was opened in 2004 by Maureen Wood and Yvette Cooper

“The book’s index is unique in my experience, in that it’s only people, and there are about 250 people mentioned in this book.”

The royalties made from book sales will go to two charities close to Richard's heart, the first is ‘Children Of Peace’ - a non-partisan children’s charity organisation dedicated to building trust, friendship and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children and their communities.

And the other is ‘Catholic Agency for Overseas Development’ - an international development which reaches out to people living in poverty.

In ‘Tieve Tara’, Richard spins stories and anecdotes about employees and those who worked behind the scenes to keep the practice running.

The modern practice on Park Dale

Richard said: “I’ve interviewed a few people, one particular favourite being a 90-year-old woman who used to live near Tieve Tara as a child.

“If car headlights shone through her sitting room window, she knew it must have been my dad, because at the time, there were only two cars in Airedale.

“My favourite chapter is called Cleaners and Housekeepers, it’s about all the characters that were working there behind the scenes.

“My parents had a housekeeper, Ms McGrath - and her daughter Maureen Wood, was my housekeeper.

“Maureen had a reserved occupation in World War II, meaning she couldn't be called up to the land army; her reserved occupation was lighting coal fires in the waiting room for my Father.

“The new surgery was opened in 2004 by Maureen Wood and Yvette Cooper.

'Tieve Tara' front cover

“That meant a lot to me, my wife thanked Maureen for being a fantastic house keeper and friend - the relationship between our two families was fantastic.”

Richard tells of how he and his parents worked with their team, friends and the local residents to improve health in a disadvantaged area.

George and Gerda Sloan made friends with a lot of their patients in their years at Tieve Tara.

He said many GP’s of the time said they couldn't work in Airedale, but teamwork and fun is what made 100 years of general practice in the area a success.

On the day of Richard’s father’s funeral in the late 1960s, the Airedale coal miners came out and removed their caps in respect as the cortege went by.

Richard said: “I’m a storyteller rather than academic, this book is by no means technical - it is really the story of a building through time and everything that went on in there.

“It’s self published with the help of Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd ,who have been fantastic throughout the whole process - this way I was free as a bird to write what I like.

“I enjoyed writing the book and when I’d finished it and sent it in, I felt rather lost.

“I worked with a woman called Ann Knight, who is from the NHS, when I wrote a celebration piece for the NHS’s birthday some time ago for the National Association of Primary Care - she motivated me after reading my blog piece. She thought it would be a good idea to put the history of the practice into a book.

“The acknowledgements are very important to me - a friend of mine, a retired professor, also helped me tremendously through the process.

“I find writing so therapeutic, it gets it all out of me and I will certainly carry on.”

To purchase a copy of Richard's book visit www.bookdepository.com