Looking for our past!
Dr George Fowler BODINGTON (1829-1902)
This memento of Dr George Fowler Bodington was published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper, on 22 September 1938.
Memento of Dr Bodington, City Pioneer, Given ArchivesA portrait of the late Dr George Fowler Bodington, one of Vancouver's most distinguished and colorful pioneers, has been received by Major J. S. Matthews for the City Archives. It comes from W. E. Bodington, 75, Winnipeg, a son.
Dr Bodington, who was born in Warwickshire in 1828, had a notable and adventurous career in medicine already behind him when he came to the pioneer town of Vancouver in 1887.
At 19 he had sailed from England as medical officer on an emigrant ship bound for Port Elizabeth, Natal. Small pox broke out just after the English Channel was left behind and the youthful doctor had a bitter initiation into medical life.
Many AdventuresAfter many adventures in South Africa he returned to England in time to see the Great Exposition at Hyde Park in 1851.
For a time he was in General Practice, but in 1867, Dr Bodington took up the care of the mentally affected taking over his father's work at Driffold Hospital, Sutton Coldfield.
Twenty years later he came to Canada, settling in Vancouver where he played a prominent part in the life of the young community. He was, among other things, secretary of the Vancouver Library, when subscribers banded themselves together to carry on library work after Hastings Mill library was shut down. In old newspaper reports of a meeting held Dec 15, 1887, Dr Bodington's name is mentioned in this connection.
Hospital ChiefIn 1893 he was appointed superintendent of the Mental Hospital at Sapperton (New Westminster). He left British Columbia some years later and died in Paris in 1901*.
L. A. Hamilton, the man who "laid out" Vancouver, married Dr Bodington's daughter Constance: Earlier this year on the occasion of their golden wedding in Florida, Mr Hamilton was made a freeman of the City of Vancouver, one of the three men to have had this honor conferred on him.
* He actually died on 8th May 1902.
AcknowledgementsI am most indebted to Stephen Wright, the chess historian for the British Columbia Chess Federation, who has provided me with considerable additional information regarding Dr George Bodington and Dr George Fowler Bodington.
I also acknowledge the Vancouver City Archive and the British Columbia Archive for their invaluable store of information on the Bodington family.