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| www.donnan-family.org.uk
the website for the Donnan family currently in Southampton UK
with links to this part of the Donnan family & their antecedents

Stuart's great-grandfather John Stroyan Donnan was born in Baslow, Derbyshire, UK, in 1837 and migrated to Sydney before his marriage there in about 1870 (details here). Stuart reversed the journey (with various comings-and-goings) about 100 years later.

The village of Baslow in the Peak District of Derbyshire

So how did this part of the Donnan family end up back in the UK about 100 years after Stuart's great-grandfather emigrated from England to Australia?

The short answer is that the National Health Service in general and 'public health' in particular attracted Stuart and drew him (back) to England. This was combined with the attractions and advantages for all the family in what one might call "cultural" aspects of living in various parts of England and near Europe.
Stuart Donnan was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1940. After primary school in Earlwood (where his best friend in 6th class was John Howard, now Prime Minister of Australia) he went to Shore School and then the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University, graduating at the end of 1962.  After a year as Junior Resident Medical Officer (i.e. house jobs) at Sydney Hospital he married Beryl in Sydney.
Beryl Sims was born in Sydney in 1937.  After secondary school at Fort Street she took an Arts degree at Sydney University, graduating at the end of 1956.  After several years of secondary school teaching, including Queenwood and MLC Burwood, and an international trip with her mother in 1958 (including London) she worked for Scripture Union in Western Australia during 1962 and 1963, returning to Sydney to marry Stuart in early 1964. (They had met at a CSSM in Toowoon Bay, north of Sydney.)
After an SRMO/SHO year and a surgical registrar year at Sydney Hospital, Stuart took Beryl to London where he took the specialist surgical exams (FRCS). After nearly 3 years (during which time Mike was born, at the Hammersmith Hospital) they returned to Australia where Stuart took the Australian surgical exams (FRACS). It was not an easy year, with Beryl unwell and losing a baby, and when at the end of the year Stuart was offered a job at Bart's Hospital they took off back to London at the start of 1970. Alison was born, also at the Hammersmith Hospital, a year later.
Sydney Hospital After some moderately productive research as a Lecturer in Surgery at Bart's and then Guy's, Stuart became involved in the provision of 'casualty' services (i.e. A&E or ER) and spent a lot of time outside the hospital with social workers. From this arose the opportunity of a bursary to take a 2 year MSc in 'Social Medicine' at the London School of Hygiene. This led to Stuart's first full-time academic appointment, at the new Southampton Medical School, in what was called Clinical Epidemiology and Community Medicine (i.e. Public Health) and he also worked part-time in A&E at the hospital.

We bought our first house in Southampton in 1975, and all the family made many lasting friendships. Stuart was then appointed Foundation Professor and Chair of Community Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1981. Beryl taught at DGS and Mike and Ali both took "O" level school exams, returning to Southampton (Mike after 2 years, Ali after 6) for the final 2 years of high school. Mike then went to Southampton Medical School, and Beryl and Stuart returned to the UK in 1990 when Ali was beginning at Nottingham Medical School.  All this time the family had a house in Southampton and visited Mike, the house and friends regularly. (So both work and the family were the magnets back to the UK then.)

Stuart was Professor and Head of Epidemiology and Public Health at Manchester Medical School until 1997 when he became Emeritus, and he and Beryl returned to London for Stuart to work with the NHS.  After two-and-a-half years Beryl suffered an embolic stroke (from atrial flutter/fibrillation) and Stuart eventually had to give up work at the end of 2000. They moved from their London apartment to live permanently in what had been their country escape on the sea (the English Channel) in West Sussex. After 4 years there, Beryl though it was time to move back to Southampton, which felt and feels like 'home'.

In April 2005 Beryl and Stuart moved to a town house in Southampton UK, overlooking Southampton Water and the West Gate of mediaeval Southampton from outside which the Pilgrim Fathers (and Mothers) set sail in the Mayflower in 1613 (Plymouth was their last landfall, not their port of embarkation). Some photographs are here.