Dr Eric Gardner

Born in 1877, Eric Gardner attended Merchant Taylors’ School and then Caius College, Cambridge. He trained at the London Hospital Medical School, qualifying as a doctor in 1904.

Gardner worked at the London Hospital and Great Ormond Street before moving to Weybridge, Surrey in 1906 where he became a G.P.

In 1907 he married Dora Constance Smith with whom he had 3 children, all boys. Sadly one of his sons was killed in North Africa while serving as a pilot during WWII.

The Gardners lived in Weybridge for the rest of their lives and are both laid to rest in Weybridge Cemetery.

Dr Eric Gardner’s Crash Helmet

Local entrepreneur Hugh Locke King built and established the Brooklands racecourse in 1907. Eric Gardner became its medical officer, alongside his work as a G.P. He became close to the Locke King family – he was the personal physician to the family, attended Hugh Locke King at his death and subsequent funeral in 1926, and worked with Ethel Locke King through her Red Cross work during the war.

Gardner worked to establish a hospital in Weybridge and through his connection with the Locke Kings, secured its location as a gift from Hugh Locke King. It opened in 1928.

While working at the Brooklands racetrack, Gardner became a specialist in the complexities of injuries caused by high-speed motor accidents. Because of how many concussions and traumatic head injuries he was seeing in his patients at Brooklands, he sought to prevent damage before it happened. He is credited with being the inventor of the modern crash helmet for motorcyclists. He developed a helmet which was reinforced canvas, made strong by a shellac coating. His design for a new style of helmet was first used at the Isle of Man TT races in 1914.

Local history interest

Gardner had a keen interest in history and archaeology. On top of his work as a doctor and helmet pioneer, he was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA).

Such was his enthusiasm for all things historical, he was instrumental in the foundation of a museum in his hometown. He was the Honorary Curator of the Elmbridge Museum from 1909 until his death in 1951.

A Cigarette Case belonging to Dr Eric Gardner

While sorting through the lots in our upcoming Jewellery auction, we came across a stylish but fairly unremarkable cigarette case. The inscription caught our eye and a little research shows it to have belonged to Dr Gardner.

Dr Eric Gardner's Cigarette Case sold at Fellows Auctioneers

The inscription reads Eric Gardner, 1925 Portmore House, Weybridge.

It will be entered into our Jewellery auction on October 25th as Lot 575. It has an estimate of £1,800 – £2,400.

We would love to know the story behind how this cigarette case ended up in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. If you know, please send us an email hello@fellows.co.uk.

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