Dr Hills and Vaccination

August 1890

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 22 August 1890

Dr Hills  and Vaccination

The dreadful tragedy near the Star Inn, Conisborough, has not been the only matter that has exercised the minds of the inhabitants of the district this week. Dr. Rowland Hills, the popular Conisborough doctor, has, in a sense, been on his trial before the Doncaster Board of Guardians as to the performance of his duties as public vaccination officer at Denaby Main.

It appears that when Dr. Hills accepted the post, over thirty years ago, he contracted to personally operate on each child requiring vaccination, and no doubt until the place assumed such large dimensions he was well able to cope with the work. Latterly, however, he has found it impossible to induce the Denaby mothers to meet him at the place and time specified, and as he was of opinion that through this there was great danger that the good effects of the vaccination law might be lost, he took what to an outsider would appear to be a sensible proceeding—he employed a Mr. Smith, a gentleman well able to perform the work, to vaccinate the Denaby children for him. This would have been all very well if Mr. Smith had been a properly qualified medical man, but he was not, and this appears to be the head and front of Dr Hills’ offending, for it is contrary to the law.

No one supposes for a moment that the work was less efficiently done by Mr. Smith than by Dr. Hills, but there is the law, and the law must be of eyed implicitly, even in such a small matter as this, notwithstanding that medical men all over the country day after day commit irregularities in the shape of signing certificates attesting facts of which they are entirely ignorant, but which are laid before them by their assistants.

How the irregularity came to be transmitted to *Mr. Labouchere before it was brought before the notice of the Doncaster Board of Guardians it is not for us to inquire ; all we will say is that the strange procedure adopted gives colour to the suggestion that “an enemy hath done this thing.” Nor will we enter into the question of the alleged double charge made to the parents—this, we think, is satisfactorily explained in Dr. Hill’s statement which we give in another part of the paper.

We consider, however, that Dr. Hills ought to be well content with the satisfactory termination to the enquiry which came under the consideration of the Board of Guardians on Saturday. It is not often that a Board can be found so unanimous  in its opinion and so decided in its action as was the case at their meeting.

The Guardians were perfectly satisfied with the clear, straight-forward explanation which was given to them by Dr. Hills—for that explanation was speedily followed by a unanimous vote of confidence in him, and that again, by a unanimous resolution that he should be reinstated in his appointment a’ public vaccinator.

We wish to congratulate Dr. Hills upon the happy ending of an anxious time.


Mr Labouchere – M.P. who brought the matter up in the House of Commons, before it was considered locally