Dr Shannon

Laindon's Medical Pioneer Passes

DR. W. J. Shannon
Ann & John Rugg
DR. W. J. Shannon and Daughter
Ann & John Rugg


On Friday, the funeral of Dr. William John Shannon, M.B., B.A., B.S., D.P.H., of “Rosemary Lodge,” High Road, Langdon Hills, at the City of London Crematorium, marked the passing of the pioneer of medicine in Laindon. Dr. Shannon died the previous Tuesday at the age of 76, after a long illness.

The doctor came to the district in 1913, and was the only medical man practicing there for many years. During his years of practice, he presented a refreshing figure of informality and disregard for convention.

If Dr. Shannon received an urgent Call for his services, he did not bother about his appearance; if the call was on a hard road, he would speed along in his old “Trojan,” which car’s ancient lines had become a byword in the Village.

In the days when there were not many hard roads in Laindon, he had been known to trudge miles across muddy fields at dead of night to his cases.

Thus in his years of practice, Dr. Shannon gave a perfect example of the great work of the medical profession in country districts.


For the past four years, he had been an invalid, but he would never miss his daily trip round the town in his bath-Chair, and residents will now miss the common sight of the bent old gentleman in the care of one of his daughters.

Dr. Shannon was born at Newtown, Hamilton, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and took his degree at Queens’ University, Belfast. After practising in Northern England, South Wales, and London he came to Laindon. Most of the doctor’s family have elected to follow their father’s profession. His eldest son and daughter, William and Kathleen, are both qualified doctors. His younger son, Thomas, is about to take his final examination, and another daughter, Norah, is soon to take her dental qualification. The doctor leaves a widow, two sons and four daughters .

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  • Georgina, only now experiencing problems with your teeth? After growing up living in a sweet shop, I think you have done exceptionally well, to have kept them for so long! Believe me, it’s no fun reaching this age and living on liquid foods, even worse sucking solids. I’ve only got a few gaps, but they’re exactly where I used to do my chewing! Lol.

    By Donald Joy (04/11/2015)
  • Like Nina (Humphrey née Burton), I too wore a brace on my teeth from about 9-10 years of age (1953-4).  She was very understanding when I would start to gag when the impressions were taken, so that adjustments could be made to the brace.  I remember her as a very pleasant person.  Now in my seventies, and experiencing some problems with my teeth I wish I could get on my bike and cycle to her dental practice. 

    By Georgina Nottage (née Ellingford) (03/11/2015)
  • Dr Shannon was before my time but his youngest daughter, Norah Shannon was my dentist between 1962 and 1969. I wore braces on my teeth for two years between the age of 8 and 10 and had to attend the clinic, which was accessed by walking down some steps from the railway bridge, every two weeks for those two years to have the brace adjusted. I can’t remember the name of the dentist there, but his dental assistant was Dorothy Hollands. By then I’d had enough of dentists so didn’t go for 6 years. 

    When I was 16, a tooth started to trouble me, so my mum made me an appointment with Miss Shannon. Apparently she had initially practiced from the family home ‘Rosemary’ not far from the station but by the time of my first visit, she had moved her practice to a bungalow called ‘Eden Holme’ a little further up the High Road, close to Samuel Road, Tel No. Laindon 220 (very easy to remember). I was a little nervous, as my mum had told me she’d heard a rumour that Miss Shannon had once broken a patient’s jaw. (Thanks mum!). I remember sitting in the waiting room, (front room of the bungalow) watching the tropical fish swimming around their tank and listening to the blob, blob, blob of the water pump which was almost in tune with my racing heartbeat. However, I found she was a very pleasant woman and an excellent dentist, confident, proficient and very caring. She told me I needed several back fillings. I hated the injection so much on the first occasion, that on my next appointment for the second filling, she offered to try to do the filling without an injection. I accepted and she went ahead, very gently and I found that I preferred that to the pain of the needle. She completed the remainder of the fillings without injections, one of which was very big and took ages. A future dentist told me “I don’t know who your last dentist was, but I have to say they were brilliant to have even attempted to fill that tooth. I wouldn’t have attempted it myself but would simply have removed it”. Praise justly deserved, I thought to myself. 

    Apparently, Norah was well known at the London Hospital where my mum had to go on one occasion. She was asked who her usual dentist was and replied “Miss Shannon of Langdon Hills”. They said “Oh, we know all about her!”. I don’t know whether the ‘broken jaw’ was fact or just an urban myth but I can report that Norah, although firm, was always very gentle with me and it was with reluctance that I changed to a nearer dentist after I got married.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (08/01/2012)

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