Excerpt from a letter received by the School of Medicine from Mrs Anne Corden of London
Ref. the late Dr. William Russell of Northwood, Middlesex
A number of things recently have caused me to remember someone who was, for many years, our family doctor. Dr. Russell, and his wife Mary, were the kindest of people and he the most dedicated of doctors and of the greatest credit to Trinity College.
In December 1952 there occurred the Great Smog – a dark, dense, stinking fog that filled the lungs and brought traffic to a standstill all over London.
My husband was away on R.A.F. duty and I was alone with my son, James, aged two. Both James and I became very ill indeed, as did a huge number of other people. But I will never forget how wonderfully Dr. Russell cared for his many sick patients in their homes. Too ill to fully realise at the time how much he did for us, I would wake to the sound of him tending to the coke boiler – the only means of warming the house. Soon he came upstairs with thermos flasks of hot soup or milk, to check on our condition and to give us our medicines. He then filled hot water bottles and made sure that we were as comfortable as possible. This care he gave to all his helpless patients, having keys to their houses, and coming at least twice a day.
Only when we were on the road to recovery, did it occur to me to wonder where all the nourishing soups had come from – they must have been prepared in his own kitchen, supervised by his gentle and lovely wife Mary. I also wondered how he had found his way on his rounds in the thick blackness.
Young as he was, James still remembers those dark days and the care we received.