Death of Dr. Woodfall, F.R.C.P.


A gloom was cast over the town of Maidstone on Friday evening last, by the intelligence of the sudden decease of this estimable gentleman.

Dr. Woodfall had been failing in health for some nine or ten months past, although this fact was known only to his more immediate friends. On Thursday last, he was engaged in his professional duties till evening as usual. He retired to rest about twelve o’clock, but not being able to sleep, he got up thinking to read for a little while.

Almost immediately, however, he became seriously ill, and in the course of about an hour, he expired, still seated in his chair. Mr. Sankey, surgeon, was called, but before he could arrive at the house life was extinct, death having arisen from decease of the heart.

The late Mr. Woodfall was admitted as a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1854, and for some years was assistant physician at the Westminster Hospital. In 1853, he succeeded to the practice of the late Dr. Gilbald at Maidstone, and was at that time elected as one of the physicians to the West Kent General Hospital, which office he continued to hold till his death. The deceased gentleman during his residence in Maidstone, had become endeared to all who knew him, not only from his amiable and genial disposition, but also from his earnest and constant endeavours to help the suffering and distressed. In his capacity to senior physician to the West Kent Hospital, he not only most unsparingly devoted his great skill, to the relief of the patients, but he always had a kind and sympathetic word for each, and by none, beyond the circle of his own immediate connections, will his death be more sincerely regretted, than by those brought under his care. But, it was not alone in connection with this Hospital, that his anxiety for the good of others was manifested. For years he had sacrificed much of his valuable time in giving away gratuitous advice, at his residence, to those not in a position to pay for his professional services, of no appeal for any benevolent or charitable purpose was ever addressed to him in vain. His last public act was to attend the bench on the Tuesday prior to his death, for the express purpose of drawing attention of the justices to the fact that the aged and infirm recipients of parochial relied were now compelled to go to the Committee room in Knightsbridge and were there unprotected from the weather, sometimes having to wait as much as one or two hours in rain, snow or wind, before receiving their weekly allowance of bread. He strongly urged that means should be taken to obviate a practice so prejudicial, not only to the comfort, but to the health of the poor; and we sincerely hope that this, his almost last public wish, may be carried into effect. As a Magistrate, to which position he was appointed in 1862, he ever showed firm and unflinching integrity; as a physician, his talents and worth, gained for him the highest estimation of his fellow medical practitioners; and in all the relations of life he was held in most affectionate regard. We are convinced that Mrs. Woodfall (herself engaged in so many works of usefulness) with other members of the family, will receive the deepest sympathy of all in this bereavement. The late Dr. Woodfall was in his 58th year; and it is a singular circumstance that but a few weeks since his lamented brother, Colonel C. Woodfall died in a similarly sudden manner.



From the South Eastern Gazette, March 26th, 1867