VIDEO: Blue plaque honours ‘founding father’ of Worthing

A blue plaque has been unveiled on the house built by the father of healthcare in Worthing.

Dozens of people watched the mayor of Worthing Alex Harman pull the cord and reveal the plaque outside Elm Lawn House in Union Place on Thursday, June 22.

(Left to right) Julie Ward, regional sales and marketing director at McCarthy and Stone, mayor of Worthing Alex Harman and Susan Belton, chairman of the Worthing Society. Inset: Dr Frederick Dixon. Picture: Andrew Williams

(Left to right) Julie Ward, regional sales and marketing director at McCarthy and Stone, mayor of Worthing Alex Harman and Susan Belton, chairman of the Worthing Society. Inset: Dr Frederick Dixon. Picture: Andrew Williams

The plaque commemorates Dr Frederick Dixon, who founded the predecessor to Worthing Hospital.

Susan Belton, the chairman of the Worthing Society, which was responsible for the plaque, said they had ‘honoured one of Worthing’s founding fathers’: “He was a really gifted man ahead of his time.”

Frederick Dixon was born on March 6, 1799 in Sullington, a small hamlet outside Storrington, West Sussex, and was the son of a reverend. He became a surgeon in 1821 before moving into the newly-built 3 Union Place in Worthing in 1827.

In 1829, Dr Dixon opened the Worthing Dispensary in Ann Street, which gave medical treatment to both the working class and social elite on his insistence.

He was a really gifted man ahead of his time

Susan Belton

Dr John Bull, a former medical director of Worthing Hospital, said it had a wing named after him in his honour: “He founded the predecessor of the hospital; Worthing might not have a hospital if not for him.”

He was also a gifted archaeologist and geologist, amassing a large collection of fossils. East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, who is himself a long-standing member of the Sussex Archaeological Society, attended the unveiling. He said: “The Worthing Society does such a good job of putting Worthing on the map for the many important characters that have made this town what it is over the last few centuries.”

The grade II-listed building will be added to the blue plaque trail around the town that includes the Jane Austen plaque outside the Pizza Express in Warwick Street.

In recent decades, the house was a further education college before being taken over by retirement home builders McCarthy and Stone seven years ago.

The unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating Dr Frederick Dixon at Elm Lawn House in Union Place, Worthing

The unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating Dr Frederick Dixon at Elm Lawn House in Union Place, Worthing

The unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating Dr Frederick Dixon at Elm Lawn House in Union Place, Worthing

The unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating Dr Frederick Dixon at Elm Lawn House in Union Place, Worthing

(Left to right): John Head, Natalie Cropper, Barry Richards, Sandra Malone, Tony Malone, Julie Ward from McCarthy and Stone, Worthing mayor Alex Harman, Mascha Richards and Worthing Society chairman Susan Belton. Picture: Andrew Williams

(Left to right): John Head, Natalie Cropper, Barry Richards, Sandra Malone, Tony Malone, Julie Ward from McCarthy and Stone, Worthing mayor Alex Harman, Mascha Richards and Worthing Society chairman Susan Belton. Picture: Andrew Williams