Obituary: Gwen Davies

Gwendolen Davies, physiotherapist, born Denbigh Glyndwr 8 May 1904, died Liverpool 28 July 1992.

IN THE WORLD of physiotherapy Gwen Davies was an exceptionally gifted practitioner and achieved so much as a teacher who inspired young people. Many of these physiotherapists who owed their success to her gifts of communication kept in touch with her after her retirement.

Educated at the Howells School in Denbigh, north Wales, Gwen Davies came to Liverpool to be trained and stayed all her life in the city (except for a short period at King's College, London). In Liverpool she met another exceptional practitioner of the art of physiotherapy, Miss E. Bartlett. She and Bartlett not only became colleagues, but also lifelong friends, and their professional co- operation made the Liverpool School of Physiotherapy an institution of high repute. Students from all over Britain came for training and Davies was also involved for a period with the School of Occupational Physiotherapy in Huyton. Finally she became the principal of the United Liverpool Hospital's School of Physiotherapy.

Hundreds of students idolised her and some of them were with her in the last few weeks of her illness, for to them Gwen Davies had given them standards that had stood them well in the exacting discipline of physiotherapy. While she accepted the need for technology, to her there was no substitute for the healing touch of consecrated hands. Her final years were at the I & Marsh College (now part of the new John Moores University) where she was in charge of the Anatomy Department.

Gwen Davies had a great interest in literature. She was very proud that she was the niece of Thomas Gwynn Jones, the poet of the great-souled hero Arthur and the enchanted land of the imagination, in a number of ways the greatest figure of the literature of Wales in the 20th century. His photograph was always near her table. She immersed herself also in the work of RS Thomas, whose Prytherch poems were a constant source of delight. So were the prose poems and parables of the Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gilbran. Davies took delight in introducing us to poets who had a great reservoir of spiritual life.

An internationalist, she loved travel and especially Canada and Vancouver. But she also believed that one had to be committed to the local community. Generous in every way, she supported organisations which looked after the Third World and such appeals were always well supported. She bridged the gap between individuals of different faiths and she in her own life was an excellent practitioner for the Council of Christians and Jews.

Though in her earlier life she did private work as a physiotherapist, she also voluntarily and without a fee helped the very poor from Liverpool 8, who could not afford physiotherapy in the days before the National Health Service.

As she grew older she became more Welsh in her outlook and interests and her religious upbringing within the Presbyterian Church of Wales was also strengthened through prayer and the sacrament of the Lord's supper.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas