Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Some Events of July 1913 and Philip Janvrin Marrett

Today's entry is rather a pot-pourri. I began by looking through the "Jersey Directory and Express Almanac" for the events of 1913, and then was sidetracked into the fascinating history of Philip Janvrin Marett. A medical man, he has two claims to fame. One for his work on the sand fly fever in Malta, and one for his later reorganisation of medical matters in Jersey.
Events in July 1913
One July 2nd 1913, the States were discussing "the proposed Hospital at Overdale" which means that it must be approaching its centenary sometime soon. It has often been seen as a kind of poor relation to the General Hospital, and at various times, plans have been mooted to close it, and yet it remains. Perhaps instead of closing it, with the extra demands on the main hospital, consideration should be given to improving it, as it does seem to have been let to run down rather over the past years.
The States were also passing on that day a law on dogs, and were proposing a tax on beer. Despite a petition from the Brewers, the preamble was adopted.
3rd July 1913 was a busy day for the States. Discussed were the tax on beer, the main roads bill, the Voire law, the Finance Committee Report, Victoria Avenue at Bel Royal, the Paid Police (as they are described in the Almanac).
The 4th July 1913 saw a claim for Seigneurial Rights in the Royal Court., although precisely what this was about the Almanac is annoyingly vague.
It was a busy time for the potato season, and the Weighbridge saw 514 loads at 2/1 (2 shillings and 1d)  per cabot (1 July), 397 loads at 1/8 per cabot (2 July),  231 loads at 2/3 per cabot (3 July), 160 loads at 1/10 per cabot (4 July), 275 loads at 1/10 per cabot (5 July).
A cabot was a unit of capacity defined as equal to 10 Jersey pots by an Act of the Jersey Court on 19 January 1625. In imperial measures it was, 4 gallons, 1 quart, and 3 gills or 19.747 litres if a liquid measure, but the 19
"The Commercial Dictionary of Trade Products, Manufacturing and Technical Terms, Moneys, Weights, and Measures of all Countries"(1892) by Peter Simmonds mentions that mentions that 1 potato cabot was considered to weigh 40 Jersey pounds. A Jersey pound was roughly 490 g, so 40 Jersey pounds would be 19.6 kg.
The 15 July 1913 saw a Parish Assembly at the Town Hall, St Helier. There was "an interesting discussion regarding the proposed lighting of the Town of St Helier by electricity, and the advisability of presenting a Chain of Office to the Constable of St Helier. This be agreed on 18 July, and the sum of £100 spent on a Mayorial Chain for the Constable of St Helier.
The 17th July were the occasion of further excavations at Green Island, which "revealed further traces of that locale having at one time been one great cemetery".
1913 and Captain P.J. Marett
A local man was in the news internationally on 18 July 1913. The almanac reports that the title of "Beit memorial Research Fellow" was conferred on Captain P.J. Marett, R.A.M.C. for his research work as to the nature of the virus of the sand fly fever in Malta.  His full name was Philip Janvrin Marett, and he was born in India in 1879 (where his Jersey born father, James Richard Marrett was employed), and came to study in Jersey at Victoria College, where the register entry shows:
Marett, PJ, 2456,1894
Philip Janvrin. Son of Col. JR Marett, Fonthill. Brother of 2544. Gained French Medal. Left 1897. Gained Entrance Scholarship at Westmister Hospital. Was in S. Africa during the war. MRCS, LRCP. Joined the R.A.M.C. in 1905, becoming Capt. In 1909, and Lt-Col. During the Great War. M.O.H. States of Jersey. Address, 4 Claremont Terrace.
There are some more interesting details on him elsewhere on the website of "British Army Medical Services and  The Malta Garrison 1799 - 1979", and what is also of interest is that he came back and
The illness, though not generally fatal, caused much sickness during the summer throughout the Mediterranean. In 1911, the number of service patients increased. Soldiers falling ill were principally those who had recently arrived on the island. Surgeon Captain P J Marett RAMC had for two years specialized in the natural history of the sand-fly and was therefore well qualified to carry out an investigation into the fever.
In 1912, Marett continued his research into the Phlebotomus sand-flies in the Maltese Islands. He served at Malta up to the outbreak of the Great War as a Beit Memorial Research Fellow on the Papatasii flies (Phlebotomnus) of the Maltese Islands. He was thanked by the Army Council for his further reports on the investigation of Sandfly Fever in Malta.
On 14 September 1914, he returned to England. His research work on sand fly fever was interrupted by the outbreak of war, and in 1914 he went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. He served with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium and France, where he was responsible for the sanitary organization of the Rouen Base. In 1918 he was appointed as Consulting bacteriologist to the British Forces in Italy.
On 10 Oct 1918 he was invested with the French Legion of Honour, and Croix de Guerre. 21 Jan 1921 he was invested with the Belgian Croix Civique, 1st Class, for distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign.
On 25 Feb 1921 he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was appointed medical officer of health for Jersey, which appointment he held until the beginning of 1939, when failing health compelled him to resign. During his tenure of office, the public health department in Jersey was completely reorganized and brought up to date. The success of his efforts was reflected in the remarkable diminution in the incidence of diphtheria, and in the death rate from pulmonary tuberculosis.
In 1935, he is recorded as being  President of the Southern Branch of the British Medical Association.
There is also a publication entitled "Original patent application number 363097 for a method for the use of glass or other transparent substance, in horticulture, agriculture and farming., (Jersey), Philip Janvrin Marrett. It is also referenced as Patent GB363097. According to the patent record it was related to "Glazing structures ; shelters for plants" - "Relates to a means for securing glass, talc, or the like to the wire or wire netting employed for protecting growing crops and for poultry houses and like shelters." The patent dates from 1930.
He died in 23rd July 1939, and was married (in 1904) having three children. Some of his grandchildren still live in Jersey.

1 comment:

James said...

Interesting story.

He wasn't the only Jerseyman of the time to be involved in serious scientific research - Pierre, the younger brother of Paul Perredes (breeder of the Oxford line of Jerseys) was a noted researcher for Wellcome Laboratories in the first decade of the 20th century.