Rotary Club Of Warwick

Nov11 - A Walk Down Memory Lane

Warwick Rotarians recently enjoyed a presentation by Dr John Clegg, a retired Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon who had worked at Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital between 1976 and 2005.

He told Rotarians about the work of Captain George Thomas Smith-Clark who set up Cape Engineering in Warwick, employing several of his apprentices from the Alvis car factory, to manufacture his designs for the medical profession.

George Clark was a renowned Coventry Citizen who was Managing Director of Alvis Cars based in Coventry in the 1930’s. He was an eminent engineer and had made several breakthroughs in the fields of Transport and Aviation, but it was whilst he was hospitalised in Coventry hospital that he started to talk to doctors and surgeons about the lack of hospital equipment. Setting his brain to the task he designed numerous pieces of equipment including ventilators to aid anaesthetists. But he is probably remembered most of all for his alterations to the iron lung to help polio victims of the Coventry epidemics in the 1950’s. His design was known as the Crocodile as it opened up just like the jaws of a crocodile so patients could be placed in.

The Club was also delighted to welcome Sam and Lyn Nelson to their meeting. Sam had responded to an article by the Club in the local press about their ‘End Polio’ campaign as he had connections with the late Dr John Busby who had told him all about the work of Cape Engineering. Sam is the last surviving member of the George Nelson Dale and Co  company from Emscote Mill in Warwick.

After prompting John Clegg also told us of his visits along with junior doctors from the UK to rural India to perform orthopaedic operations on polio victims and others, which these people would have no chance of receiving if not for the support of Rotary clubs in India and UK.

President David Brain presented John with a cheque to support his next trip to India.

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