The Good Doctor of Everton

A biopic of James Baxter, the local doctor who was elected to the Board of Directors in 1895 and later became Everton Chairman.

Tony Onslow 05/11/2013 17comments  |  Jump to last
When William Baxter moved to Liverpool from Clitheroe, he opened his own business, as a Chemist and Druggist, at 259 Great Homer Street in Liverpool. Some years later he married a local girl with whom he began to raise a family. James Clement Baxter, the second child to bless this union, was born in 1857.

He attended his local school, dedicated to St Frances Xavier, where he proved to be a bright pupil. He quickly moved on to the school's college, run by the Jesuit Order, from where he won a place to study medicine at the King and Queens University in Dublin and qualified on 6 February 1879, to practice medicine. James Baxter, having returned to his native town, set up a consulting room, along with his cousin Austin Hughes, at 102 Robson Street in Everton.

Six months later, he married the daughter of an Irish born Merchant who was now established as Liverpool Cotton Dealer. The lady of his choice was Eugenie Connelly who lived at Montpellier House in Everton and the wedding ceremony was conducted on 1 October 1879, at the church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception on St Domingo Road. It was a double celebration that included the wedding of Patrick Connelly, the brother of Eugenie, to Mary Cusker.

James Baxter later moved to larger house at 110 Robson Street because the number of patients, who were now attending his surgery, had increased considerably. The good Doctor soon became an active member of his community, taking on the responsibility for the health of the children at a local orphanage and also a Catholic College. He also looked after health of Everton Players.

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In 1906, he stood for the council and was elected as the Liberal member for St Annes Ward. He was elected to Everton FC Board of Directors and in 1895; following an administrative difference, he reluctantly became Chairman. His hard work and benevolent nature did not go unnoticed by the local newspaper fraternity who delegated one of their men to pen the following article. It may be seen today, at the Liverpool record office, in a publication called Liverpool Worthies.

Indeed doctor. I did not know whether to head this Everton or St Annes. You represent the latter on the City Council, but you have been a member of the directorate of Everton FC for nearly twenty years and as such are known to thousands. But I will introduce you to the public as one of the busiest men in Liverpool. At the North End you have an immense practice, and your work is known and appreciated by many thousands.

For many years you have been one of the most prominent men in that part of Liverpool, and the extent of your beneficence amongst the poor is almost unbounded. It is surprising that one so full of his own affairs should find time to enter the City Council. Yet in 1906 you consented to stand for St Annes Ward. You were duly elected and you have been returned on every occasion since.

Naturally you have proved of value. I think that amongst all our members, those who belong to the medical profession could be less easily dispensed with. They see so much of the inner life of the people that they are well qualified to deal with the questions of most closely affect the individual. You are on the tramways and Electric Power and Lighting, and the housing committees, two of our most important committees, without in any way pushing yourself forward you have contrived to do much useful work.

The City Council has a valuable member in you, and the City a good servant, even if you do not believe in public speaking. You are a Justice of the Peace for Liverpool and conscientiously discharge the duties of a lay magistrate, which have been more onerous of late years than before. The honor was conferred up on you in 1906 the years you were elected to the council. But I have the pleasure of knowing you in other walks of life.

You are keenly interested in football, one of the great sports of the people. Since the inception of the Everton Club in the present form, you have been a director, and you have filled the office of Chairmen. In the struggling years of the club you are a stalwart, and in its years of prosperity you have continued as a bulwark. There is nothing of the iconoclast about you, but you have ever been one, who has made progress, and there is no director who has done more for the club than you have. You are the representative on the League Management Committee, and there your sage advice is always welcome.

Every local organization in connection with football comes to you, and you help them in many ways. There is no more sympathetic man in Liverpool than yourself to all that pertains to football. Other sports meet your cordial support, and you are one that in all things deserves the title of sportsman. You are a charming companion, especially on a journey when you are away from the immediate cares of business. You are a personality and you have many tales to tell which mark you as a raconteur of the first water.

All Everton knows Doctor Baxter and appreciates him. I hope that in days to come you will allow yourself more leisure, and that we may meet once more at the Palace with a Liverpool club yet again in the Final.

James Baxter served both Everton FC and his local community for close on 50 years until his death in January 1928. Perhaps the most faithful description of his last days on earth are best recorded by Thomas Keats in his book History of Everton Football Club 1878-1928:

he had slaved in his consulting room for half a century for his crush of patients to the last, insisting upon being helped to it finally, until he was carried to his resting place.

His funeral, at Our Ladys Immaculate church, was attended by the great mass of people because his dedication to Everton Football Club could not be bettered by any man. A stained glass window was later placed there to honour his life but, sadly, it was lost when the building was demolished. Eugenie Baxter lived at 110 Robson Street until her death on the 6 July 1938.

This article is extracted from a chapter in Tony's new book and anyone who would like to order one may do so by emailing

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Reader Comments (17)

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Keith Young
1 Posted 05/11/2013 at 22:37:51
Another great brush of Everton history. Bye the bye I was born on the 6 July 1938 the very day that James Baxter's wife Eugenie died. I lived in a house just opposite Our Lady Immaculate, also demolished.
Paul Wharton
2 Posted 05/11/2013 at 22:46:30
The stained glass window is in SFX church Everton.
Lloyd Brodrick
4 Posted 05/11/2013 at 22:53:45
Great piece and an important part of Everton's History. Dr Baxter clearly had a great deal of influence in that thriving city of Liverpool. Sad the Window now appear lost and he missed out on Dixie's 60.

Sounds like he'd have sorted our Wigan boys' ailments out pretty sharpish.

Mick Davies
5 Posted 05/11/2013 at 23:21:02
I wonder if there will ever be a stained glass window dedicated to Our Bill? Possibly in St Luke's
Seb Niemand
6 Posted 06/11/2013 at 06:32:35
These history pieces are wonderful!
Eugene Ruane
7 Posted 06/11/2013 at 20:16:40
Another superb piece (and, like myself, the good doctor was 'educated' by Jesuits at SFX).
Paul Wharton
8 Posted 06/11/2013 at 20:25:27
Lloyd, it isn't lost: the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, Tom Williams who is Holy Blue saved it.
Tony Onslow
9 Posted 06/11/2013 at 23:03:56
Great News Paul so the window was saved and put in my old parish church. Mind you, its long time since I have been there.
Lloyd Brodrick
10 Posted 07/11/2013 at 21:51:24
Yep got that Paul, your post wasn't up when I wrote mine but delighted someone was aware. I did say appears lost and hoped it was not as usually stained glass windows are rescued. I was about to say a pray to St Antony... and a donation.

Must say though when I get back north again might drop the wife at Cheshire Oaks and pay SFX a visit, probably fall down on me as I cross the threshold but hay!

Tony Onslow
11 Posted 07/11/2013 at 23:10:52
St Anthony the name of a former school of mind. He was is the patron Saint of something but I just cant, remember what it was. Just give a few days and I am certain it will come back too me.
Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 07/11/2013 at 23:18:48
Tony he is the Patron Saint of lost things - so pretty apt wouldn't you say.
Patrick Murphy
13 Posted 07/11/2013 at 23:21:18
I meant to add

St. Anthony is invoked as the patron saint of lost things. A little jingle goes like this: "St. Anthony, please look around; something is lost and must be found."

Gavin Ramejkis
14 Posted 07/11/2013 at 23:16:59
Tony being a good Roman Candle I know St Anthony is the patron saint of the lost, lost children, lost things and lost causes, also known as Anthony of Padua.

Good to know the stained glass was saved, so much has been lost and destroyed by philistines over the years.

Tony Onslow
15 Posted 07/11/2013 at 23:59:36
Ah that's it just remembered, he is also the Saint of Absent minded people. That probably why my Mum gave me the name, or was it because I was always getting lost. Still can,t remember for sure
Frank Duffy
16 Posted 08/11/2013 at 22:46:02
Great story.
Tom Hughes
17 Posted 09/11/2013 at 09:18:22
Very interesting story. ... Liverpool was a very different place then with sectarianism ingrained in its fabric and society. The good doctor appeared to be able to rise above it all to achieve many great things. .... and presided over many significant periods in our club's and city's history. ... and with little regard for himself it would seem.
Joe Bibb
18 Posted 10/11/2013 at 09:21:45
A lot of our lost history will be on display before every home game upstairs in St Luke's, thanks to the EFC Heritage Society and it's free to get in.

The Society needs your support to carry out the amazing work that they do.

Call in before any home game browse and buy something or leave a donation.

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