'I think it's actually the abbreviation of 'Debtor to J Murphy' - the old-style way of sending bills (not that I remember them of course!). I'm pretty certain his name was James.'
This well known Middlewich practitioner was described by Geraldine in our earlier posting as 'the formidable Dr Murphy'
The recipient of the bill for 'Professional Attendance' and/or 'Medicine &c' was Mr J H Sant of 40 St Annes Avenue, who paid £12. 12s. 0d (or 12 guineas) - a lot of money in 1932.
It's not clear quite what Mr Sant was paying for (and it's none of our business anyway) but it does show us once again how expensive medical treatment was in the days before the NHS.
Stamp Duty of 2d was payable on the transaction and two stamps have been affixed to make up the total - a 'halfpenny' and a 'three halfpence' (pronounced three a'pence).
The ins and outs of stamp duty are too complicated to go into here. It was largely abolished on small transactions many years ago, but still applies in certain circumstances to financial dealings. Notoriously, a form of it is still applicable when buying property worth more than £125,000.
But it's no longer necessary to 'sign over the stamp' as I used to do all those years ago in the Rates Office when I was selling dustbins to the good people of Middlewich.
You'll note that Dr Murphy's address is given, in the best autocratic manner, simply as 'The Beeches, Middlewich', implying that no further information was required.
At first we thought we had another 'where was this house?' mystery on our hands but, thankfully, the answer in this case is quite simple.
|Photo: UK Real Estate listings|
People wanting to see Dr. Murphy would have to walk (or 'go traipsing' as they would no doubt have put it) all the way up to Chester Road to do so.
At the time of writing the house is on the market. And this is one property where Stamp Duty is definitely applicable.