RBS bank, High Street


Benjamin Pugh was born in 1715 in Shropshire and was one of 10 children. Little is known of his early life, but in 1738 her married a widowed daughter of an apothecary, Amy Evans.

By 1747, Pugh had moved to Chelmsford where he was a trustee of a charity school and was known for his services to midwifery. He invented large curved forceps, used to assist with delivery, and an early form of ventilator to help babies who had difficulty breathing.

In 1754, Pugh published a book of new ideas to revolutionise childbirth, including the idea of using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in new-borns. By this point, he has delivered around 2,000 babies and helped change the perception that midwifery was female-only occupation.

Pugh qualified as a doctor at Edinburgh University in 1758. He strongly supported the benefits of vaccinating against smallpox and took ownership for protecting the people of Chelmsford against this disease.

During his career, Dr Pugh was involved in the relocation of the gaol (now known as Her Majesty’s Prison Chelmsford) and also redirected the town’s water supply to benefit people’s health.

In 1755, Dr Pugh built a house on 26 High Street, known as the Mansion House, where he lived. He moved out in 1773, but stayed in the area and moved to Great Baddow in 1786.

Dr Benjamin Pugh passed away in 1798.

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