Dr. Charles Wortham Brook, CBE
It is with deep regret that we record the death of Charles Brook, a lifelong fighter for the poor, the rich and the disadvantaged. He felt compassion and concern both for the individual and the group and he had a fierce intolerance of injustice and no time for stupidity. He was described as "a gentle insurgent" and the phrase suited him well.
In the twenties of this century socialist doctors in
already organised themselves into groups several hundreds strong and were influencing public opinion through medico-political discussions and publications. Here however it was not until 1930 that a similar body came into being 'as a result of correspondence between Charles and Dr. Ewald Fabian, a
Charles was a busy roan - he was a general practitioner and a
The S.M.A. at once set to work to elaborate a statement of policy on the best way to provide health services free to all at the time of need, and in 1932 the Labour Party Conference passed an S.M.A. resolution calling for a state medical service. The 1934 Conference accepted a document on a National Health Service.
Charles Brook's reluctant initiative had borne rapid fruit. He continued as Hon. Secretary until 1938 when the pressures of his many activities led to his resignation. He remained a Vice-president for the rest of his life and he continued to take a great interest in S.M.A. activities, though of recent years from a distance.
He was a founder member of Spanish Medical Aid in August 1936 which provided invaluable medical help of many kinds to the Spanish Republican Government forces and the International Brigade. Some 20 doctors from Western countries went to
He was at one time a London County Councillor and it was a report of his speech demanding better facilities in Tooting that led to Dr. Fabian's letter.
Later when he was in practice in Eltham he became a Kent County Councillor and leader of the Labour group on it. He had a life-long interest in the theatre and at one time thought of becoming a professional actor.
This account may give some idea of Charles' many interests and activities. Perhaps Ted Willis best summed up his personality when in his appreciation of him in Socialism and Health Jan/Feb 1972 he said "He has based his entire life on the principle that anything that is wrong and anti-human is every-man's business and concern".
SHA newsletter Nov/Dec 1983
The Brooks lived at Mottingdeane, High Road, Mottingham, London, SE9Wife Iris Beynon organiser NUCO/COHSE
Dr Charles Brook - Making Medical History London 1946