Doctor Spencer: Friends, Colleagues and Crusades

“Regretted… by his friends, for his professional skill, personal urbanity, and unwearied attention”

The Spencers played an active role in Douglas society, frequently attending social events, joining committees and contributing to good causes. Dr Spencer was a member of the Mona Union Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites, a temperance society that was established in the Isle of Man in 1836. He was also involved in organising celebrations for Queen Victoria’s celebrations on island in 1838 and belonged to many other groups and societies.

Doctor Spencer was close friends with the Reverend Doctor William Carpenter, so much so that his youngest son was named William Carpenter Spencer. Doctor Carpenter was the energetic and popular vicar of St Barnabus Church from 1832 to 1848, and campaigned to set up the House of Industry in 1837, as well as St Barnabus’ School and the Medical Dispensary itself. Together, Spencer and Carpenter were at the centre of a zealous reforming circle intent on improving the lives of the poor on island.

At the Dispensary, Doctor Spencer worked alongside Doctor Cookson and Messrs Harrison, Oswald, Scarff and Elliott. Along with these medical men and others on the island, he helped to found the Isle of Man Medical Society in 1843 and became its first Secretary. He was part of a deputation from the Society that invaded the House of Keys and demanded to see the progress of their medical bill in 1844, designed to prevent quackery on the island.

Key members of the group, including Doctor Spencer, also set up an infirmary for diseases of the eyes and ears, and formed a “Sanatory Committee” to demand better hygiene on the streets of Douglas in 1848.

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