Jerome Connolly arrived in England l from Cork in 1932. He worked
in hospitals and doctors' surgeries in Birmingham, Sheffield and
elsewhere, before returning to Liverpool, where he immediately felt
opened his first practice in Juvenal Street in 1936, in Everton,
to help poverty stricken local people who were living hand to mouth.
the 1930s, unemployment had reached new highs; people were desperate
for work. And of course, with no Welfare State, families suffered
severe hardship. During those years, for a doctor to waive his fees
for treating children with diseases and malnutrition took great
courage and compassion. Jerome Connolly had that compassion. He
treated whole families, and there were many times he left money
- which he could rarely afford - hidden on the mantelpieces, so
mothers could provide their children with a square meal, without
losing their dignity and pride.
the second World War broke out, Dr. Connolly enlisted in the British
army, as a medical officer, later becoming a captain in the medical
In 1943, he took part in the Allied Anzio landings in Southern Italy,
where he was captured. After some months he escaped, making his
way to the Apennines and the safety of the Italian partisans. There
he made use of his expertise, learning Italian, attending the wounded,
delivering babies and yet again, treating people for malnutrition.
A hero amongst the partisans and their families, he was referred
to as the "Englishman with red hair". He always corrected
them, politely, reminding them of his Irish birthright.
six months of freedom he was recaptured and again incarcerated with
other "undesirables" who dared defy German authority.
Under appalling conditions, his weight plummeted to seven stone.
the end of hostilities, with no family to greet him, he stepped
off the train at Lime Street station. No bands playing, no crowds
cheering - just his friend and partner Dr. Goldberg, who didn't
recognise the stooped and skeletal figure of his colleague.
former surgery was long gone, bombed during the May Blitz, but Jerome
rebuilt his life and his practice. With the Welfare State in place,
he had over 7,000 patients on his books. He reluctantly advertised
for a partner - "no lady doctor need apply". But Dr. Catherine
Foley did apply. She got the job - and a marriage proposal - within
a week. The Connolly clan grew to seven children, most of whom are
in the medical profession today.
father of the Connolly clan devoted his life to the care of the
people of Everton. He had a special interest in obstetrics, delivering
most of the babies in the district. He was a pioneer in many ways,
bringing in new techniques and equipment - like a ventouse to aid
difficult deliveries - so that local people would have the most
up to date medical facilities.
died in 1963, leaving a fine legacy - a community practice that
is still be run today, by one of his daughters, in Islington Square,