New chapter for Macclesfield’s past

The latest book authored by respected Macclesfield historian, Dorothy Bentley Smith, is now available for purchase.

‘No Ordinary Surgeon: The Life and Times of William Binley Dickinson’ focuses on the life of the eponymous 19th century Macclesfield surgeon, who led the way in establishing Macclesfield infirmary and was a founding member of the Numismatic Society of London. It is the first biography of Dickinson to be written.

As well as his medical achievements, Dickinson pursued a career in politics. He was the Mayor of Macclesfield between 1829-30, and, although a staunch Tory, voted Whig in the furore for the Reform Parliament. The book contains a vivid account of the resultant election campaigns.

Dickinson is also notable for discovering and championing the sculptor Thomas Thornycroft (1815-1885) who produced, among other statues, the Queen Boudicca Group located on the Embankment, London, and the Victoria and Albert statues outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool. He remained a lifelong friend of Dickinson, and a friend of Prince Albert.

At a recent meeting with Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, Dorothy gave David a copy of her new book, which he will present to the Library of the House of Commons, as the book contains images of statues in the House of Lords and many others in Cheshire and elsewhere.

‘No Ordinary Surgeon: The Life and Times of William Binley Dickinson’ is available from most local bookshops and can also be ordered directly from the publisher at:

Speaking after his meeting, David said, “Dorothy’s skill and energy has once again uncovered a fascinating aspect of Macclesfield’s past and the story of a man who made an important mark on the town. I am pleased to present this impressive work to the House of Commons Library, and look forward to seeing further works about our rich heritage from Dorothy in the future.”

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