“From Cholera to Covid” in Eastry

The past few years have, if nothing else, prompted more interest in medical matters than previous years.


Local GPs, Dr Alistair Carnegie and Dr Jean Johnstone, have written a book – “From Cholera to Covid: The Medical Story of the Kentish Village of Eastry 1820-2020” – following the village and its medical history through the decades.


CommunityAd spoke with Dr Carnegie to find out more.


Can you tell us more about the book?

It includes a very simple history of medical advances and a short review of pandemics over the last few hundred years. Cholera first appeared about 200 years ago, so I cover Cholera, Spanish Flu, AIDS/HIV, and now COVID. Again, this is not really in detail and is certainly not set out as an academic document. The description of medical care in Eastry covers the majority of the book and describes the people involved including GPs, Nurses, and Chemists. There are details of previous hospitals, chemist shops, and GP surgeries in Eastry.

There is a certain amount of personal reflection by myself and my co-author Jean on both our experiences and our views about changes. There is plenty of humour involved and the book is of interest to anyone interested in this aspect of life and in non-academic historical study. Of particular interest to locals, of course, I think this is a readable book for anybody interested in the history of medicine.


Would you have written this book if the COVID pandemic hadn’t happened?

The original idea came out of the sale of the Eastry Surgery and the end of 200 years of a medical presence in Eastry. I had planned to write a booklet about this to mark the end of an era but while discussing the idea with Jean it became clear that it would need a wider brief. The lockdown imposed by COVID gave me spare time and provided the additional material to expand the idea. So the answer is that a much smaller and less useful booklet would have been written, but the pandemic really gave birth to the book as it has turned out.


“From Cholera To Covid” is currently on sale at John Van der Dohl’s card shop beside Locks Cycle shop in King Street, Sandwich, at Eastry Post Office, and at John Roper in Deal.

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