Historical Timeline


The Waterhouse was owned and built by Thomas Oliver for his family to live in so that he could overlook his estate and mill from his home. The Waterhouse Mill land was bought for £6000.

Late 1800s

Dr John and Dr Maurice Coope’s grandfather moved to Carlisle from Cork. He was a GP and had 13 children. 12 of his 13 children (female and male) went to either Oxford or Cambridge and went on to have great careers. One of their children had Rubella and was disabled.


Bollington Medical Centre was set up as a family practice by husband and wife Drs Geoffrey & Eileen Coope. They lived and worked in
Brook House. In 1928 Dr John Coope was born.


In 1937 Dr Maurice Coope was born and in 1939 The Waterhouse building became the village doctor’s home and surgery. It was initially run from the side of the building that is now a residence adjoining the medical centre.



The NHS was formed.  With the formation of the NHS, GPs took on responsibility for covering the entire population and controlling access to specialist care – a major expansion in their role. Within one month, 90 per cent of the population had registered with a GP.  GPs chose to remain outside of the NHS as independent contractors rather than salaried NHS employees.


The NHS had a troubled start as The Collings report – the first major report on quality in general practice found poor standards of care,  bad working conditions and isolation from other professionals. Many GPs worked under considerable pressure, with limited support. Most GPs worked in single-handed practices or with one partner. The NHS Act (1948) had intended that, over time, GPs would be re-housed within health centres but this proved unaffordable.

In 1956 Dr Geoffrey Coope died leaving Dr Eileen Coope with 7 children and Bollington Medical Centre to run. After qualifying in 1952 Dr Jean Coope joined the practice ahead of Dr John Coope, who joined a year later because he had to do National Service in Catterick.


In the late 1950s the cotton mills started to close. Dr John Coope was a good friend of Dr Julian Tudor Hart of South Wales mining community. Dr Tudor Hart had seen how ill health was connected to redundancies. Dr John Coope recognised that something needed to be done to mitigate the negative impact of the closing of the cotton mills in Bollington. It was with this in mind that Dr John Coope started working on the first Bollington Festival.


In 1966 a new contract improved pay and conditions for GPs, instituting a maximum list size of 2,000 patients and providing resources for professional education, improvement of premises and hiring of support staff. The following years saw improvements in terms of recruitment and facilities and an increasing trend for group practice to become the norm.

Dr Maurice Coope joined the practice in 1963 and Margaret Hanley became the first practice nurse during the 1960s. The GPs recognised the importance of nurses and invested in their education. The practice was later one of the first practices in the country to send the
Nurse Chris Loveday to complete GP Nurse Training.


The main part of the Waterhouse building continued to be Dr Eileen Coope’s residence while the smaller part continued at the doctors surgery.  Dr John Coope was one of the first GP Trainers and his first trainee was Dr Kathy Handler, who later became a Partner at the practice.

In 1964 the inaugural Bollington Festival took place under the leadership of Dr John Coope.


The creation of the Royal College of General Practitioners, in 1972, gave GPs an official representative body for the first time.  After years of concern about the adequacy of GP training, from 1976 three-year postgraduate training programmes became mandatory. With the Alma Ata declaration on primary health care in 1978, prevention and health promotion became seen as an increasingly central part of the GP’s professional role.

Dr John Coope was one of the early members of the College of General Practitioners. He was held by the RCGP in high regard, and when he later died in 2005 Dr Gerald Coope wrote to them to inform them of his passing. The letter was read out at the RCGP Council, to which the Council stood on their feet and gave a moments silence in respect of his contribution to General Practice & Medicine.

In 1977 the main part of the Waterhouse building was converted from Dr Eileen Coope’s residence to become the medical centre.


In the 1970s Dr John Coope he headed up the first Hypertension trial in which numerous practices were involved. He later published his findings in the British Medical Journal.  In 1975 Dr Jean Coope published her first paper in the BMJ about the Menopause & a trial on HRT 1980s.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Quality Initiative was launched in response to evidence of large variation in clinical practice, and in line with a wider political trend to subject public services to greater scrutiny. Early attempts to measure quality in primary care and provide incentives for improvement proved controversial, and generated professional resistance.

Drs John and Jean Coope were leading GPs in how they looked at health in a population based way. The Doctors were passionate about training GPs and Dr Maurice Coope would regularly organise away days with his trainees.



On April 1st 1985 Dr Gerald Coope joined the practice on the same day as the new Practice Manager Janie Staley. Janie replaced Joyce Marsh who was the first Practice Manager for Bollington Medical Centre.



In 1988 Dr John Coope retired and Dr Debbie Maxwell joined the practice as a GP partner.  It was around this time that the medical centre got its first computer. 



The trends towards increased scrutiny and evidence-based medicine were consolidated in the 1990 GP contract, which launched an
era of greater external management for general practice and introduced elements of performance-related pay. GP fundholding allowed GPs to take on responsibilities for commissioning services on their patients’ behalf, creating an incentive for GPs to become more involved with the wider health system.

Dr Valerie Ramsden joined the practice as a GP partner in 1993 and Dr Thomas Losel joined in 1997.




The 2004 GP contract represented a new relationship between GPs and the NHS, putting an increased emphasis on performance-related pay, as measured by the Quality and Outcomes Framework.  The Darzi review (Department of Health 2008c) encouraged the use of quality indicators at all levels in the health system, including general practice.

Stronger regulatory and governance mechanisms were introduced for primary care with annual appraisals for GPs from 2002 onwards, a requirement to register with the Care Quality Commission by 2011 and moves towards a mandatory revalidation process.  GPs’ involvement in commissioning continued through practice-based commissioning, introduced in 2006, and GP commissioning, introduced in pilot form in 2010.

Dr Pete Wilson joined the practice as a GP partner in 2000 and Dr Maurice Coope retired in 2001.


Dr John Coope died on Christmas day 2005 and was a great loss to the community of Bollington.  His legacy continues with 2014 marking the 50th year of the Bollington Festival.

2010 onwards

Dr Lawrence Low joined the practice as a GP partner in 2012 and 2014 Dr Gerald Coope retired.  As the last of the Coope family to lead the practice it was truly the end of an era.

IMG 2122Geraldonbench


Dr Jean Coope died in July of 2013, like her husband John she was highly regarded locally and known internationally for her expertise in hormone therapy for treatment of menopause.

In 2013 the practice made a considerable investment in renovating the Coach House building, making it the centre for the majority of clinical activity at the medical centre.  Rowlands Pharmacy plan to relocate to the ground floor of the Waterhouse building in the late summer of 2015.