MORE than 100 people headed to Malvern Civic Society’s latest talk at its monthly meeting.

Local resident Colin Fenn entertained with The Rise and Fall of Dr Gully at the Eden Centre.

The chance discovery of Charles Bravo’s grave in London’s Kensal Green Cemetery sparked Colin’s interest, leading to years of research and the story about the man’s death in 1876 and his connection to Dr Gully.

The name is well known as one of the two doctors who arrived in Malvern in 1842 to set up a hydropathic establishment with both ill at ease with conventional treatment methods.

Dr Gully was popular and highly respected, described as “the most gifted physician of the age” by George Hamilton-Gordon, one of three British Prime Ministers who consulted him.

He was active in town affairs and witnessed the expansion of Malvern from village to town driven by the success of the water cure.

In 1872, Dr Gully retired to south London where he was a close neighbour of Mr Bravo and his wife Florence.

Bravo’s unexpected death was thought to be suicide by poison but the inquest returned an open verdict.

Many people considered this unsatisfactory and then a key witness crucially changed her statement to include the name of Dr Gully so a second inquest was held.

Dr Gully’s involvement attracted huge interest from the press and crowds of spectators hungry for scandal and salacious gossip, one being his admission in court of a relationship with Florence, a former patient.

After the second verdict of murder by poison by an unknown person, the press had a field day speculating as to ‘Who dunnit?’

Suspects included Florence, various members of her staff and, inevitably, Dr Gully.

The audience was appreciative of an entertaining and informative talk, contrasting Dr Gully’s rise to fame and fortune with his spectacular and public fall from grace.

The next talk will be on Friday, April 12 at 7.30pm on John Whitgift, Bishop of Worcester and Archbishop of Canterbury.