Dr Hubert Carlton Whitlock (1834–1876)

Dr Hubert Carlton Whitlock was born on 8th February 1834 in British Guiana. He was the only son of Hubert and Emily Whitlock.

Whitlock family and the slave trade

His father was a merchant and co-owner of the De Kinderen sugar plantation at Mahaica Creek just outside Demerara. Under the compensation claim (British Guiana 820) on 7 December 1835 the owners were awarded £600 18s 7d for freeing 13 enslaved people.

In his Will, dated 1st December 1838, Whitlock’s father said he felt ‘duty bound’ to leave the estate and the enslaved people on it to ‘the coloured woman Maria Sheppard and her children Maria, Rebecca, and Sarah and Barbara (twins) and to Mary and Jane my children by the black woman Clarissa Styles.’ By 1860 the plantation was abandoned.

Medical career

The 1851 census shows Hubert Whitlock as a medical student aged 17 living at 2 Park Place, St Sidwell in Exeter. His mother (aged 35 and described as a ‘gentlewoman lady’), a visitor and a servant are also at the same address. Later Whitlock graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

He married Henrietta Perchard Oldershaw on 26th June 1856 at St. George’s, Bloomsbury in London. Their only child, Louisa Evelyn, was born on 17th February 1858 in Henley-on-Thames.

Museum curator

Whitlock was Health Officer for the city of Demerara. his is the equivalent of a Sanitary Inspector. Georgetown’s museum was established in 1844 and he became its first curator. A fire destroyed the museum 20 years later. The rebuilt museum is now the Guyana National Museum. Whitlock volunteered his service as curator as no permanent post had been established. He acquired animal specimens for the museum.

Whitlock and RAMM

In March 1868 Whitlock donated two feather headdresses to the museum, both from Guyana. In August of the same year he donated seventeen additional artefacts including a puffbird, black nunbird and a dusky parrot.

Whitlock died on 4 June 1876 at sea. He was on his way back to England on the Royal Mail Steamship (RMSS) Para.

colour photograph of a feather headdress

In Memoriam The late Hubert Whitlock, Exeter, Devonshire, Who died during his voyage to England And was buried at sea 4 June 1876 Aged 42 years’

Memorial plaque in the North Transept of St. George’s Cathedral, Georgetown

His wife, Henrietta, died in St. Leonards-on-Sea on 10 June 1921 at the age of 91.

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