Dr. Fawcus House
Home of Dr R A Fawcus for 50 years. Beloved physician and friend. FREEMAN OF CHARD
Robert Athony Fawcus born in Germany, he joined the ‘Fore Street Practice’ in Chard 1919 and devoted the rest of his life to serving the town. With his famous round tank motorcycle he got to every emergency whatever the time or weather. Kindly, smiling and tolerant, 1930’s unemployment troubled him greatly and he spent time and money reliving those without work. Chardians were delighted when, in 1961 his story was told in the BBC ‘This is Your Life’ programme. He was a founding member of Toc H.
He was educated at Oxford (first Class Degree) and Guy’s hospital. His first practice was in Northumberland where he grew up. When the first world war broke out, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1919 he settled in Chard and became partners with Dr E N Jupp at Essex House in Fore Street.
After visiting Axminster Toc H branch to hear the guest speaker Baarclay Baron, an old friend of the Doctor’s he was invited to become a founding member of the Chard branch Toc H. He did and became most active member they had ever known.
TocH is an international Christian movement whose founding principles are Friendship, Service, Fairmindedness and Reconciliation. The name is an abbreviation for Talbot House, (Toc signifying the letter T in the signals spelling list used by the British army in WW1.)
In the years of mass unemployment he did his utmost to relieve poverty among the poor by starting a poultry farm which employed some of the workless in the district.
It was at his house at Glebelands that he would store tons of logs ready for sawing into firewood for the winter when they would be delivered to needy old people. The furniture for the second hand sales were stored in his garage while he left his car outside. The annual cake and produce sale was held at their residence, the doctor and his wife organized it every year and made it a great success. The income it provided was the main source of revenue for the Chard branch.
He lived for many years at Glebelands, Forton Road, before moving to Vicarage Close.
On his retirement from the medical sphere, Dr Fawcus received the gift of a new motor car a Morris de-luxe convertible, ‘which had been subscribed for by hundreds of admirers as a token of their esteem, goodwill and real affection’ Reported in the local paper. He was then 74.
In 1960 Dr Fawcus became the 9th person to be made a Freeman of the Borough. ‘This honour was conferred on him ‘in recognition of a lifetime of service rendered by him to the town and district and as an expression of the high esteem in which he is held by the inhabitants of the Borough’
In 1961 his story was told on ‘This is Your Life’, broadcast from Dillington House near Ilminster.
Died at his home in 1974 aged 88.
Nearly £800.00 was donated for the memorial after Dr Fawcus died and it was decided to make a section of the church more suitable for elderly people to worship at St Marys. The dedication of the Memorial Chapel at St Mary’s Church, Fawcus Chapel, dedicated November 1975.
The plaque in memory of Dr Robert Fawcus, the founder of the local Toc-H is situed at his former home, Glebelands in Forton Road. Funding the plaque was the final act of Chard Toc-H before it disbanded.