Born in 1840 Herbert Nicholas Chilcote moved from Brixham to live
in a house named ‘Charlwood’ in Babbacombe Road to attend the the
medical needs of the local population. He resided there from 1869 until his death in 1886. The house is now the Woodland Park Nursing Home and alongside is a piece of land owned by the local council known as the Rose Garden.
He was an extremely hardworking physician and much revered by the many poor inhabitants of the parish. He was described as having a “special passion for the poor” many of whom lived in abject poverty. As the Poor Law Medical Officer and Public vaccinator and someone responsible for the health of many members of working men’s clubs he bore a very heavy workload. In addition, as medical practitioner, he attended the needs of the poor either at home or in his surgery whether they could afford to pay for the treatment or not. As a result of his generosity of spirit and devotion to his patients, whatever their station in life, it is hardly surprising that became known locally as “the friend of the poor”.
Doctor Chilcote along with Miss Emma Keyse and Isambard Kingdom Brunel fought against the building of Gasworks on Babbacombe beach. The Gasworks went to Hollicombe near Paignton.
As an official medical officer for the area he was involved in the trial of the notorious John Lee, who subsequently went down in history known as “The man they could not hang”.
In 1886 Dr Chilcote died at the age of 46. Public sentiment was so strong the local population decided to erect a monument to his memory. Blacklers were commissioned to produce and erect the monument, made from what we believe to be East Ogwell and Ashburton Marbles. It was originally proposed that it should be built on Babbacombe Downs but as we well know, the site is sacrosanct; through the objections of one resident it was vetoed and a much more suitable site was found. Today, the Chilcote Memorial standing at the junction of St. Marychurch Road and Fore Street is a very well known local landmark honouring a remarkable man.