This is one of four attractive stone homes clustered around the junction of what used to be Perkins Mills, sometimes known as Kemptville West. For a period between 1840 and 1880, it was a thriving settlement with mills, foundries, taverns and homes; but it could never compete with nearby Kemptville, and these four houses are all that’s left of past glories.
The Simpson house was built by Henry Hurd around the end of the 1840’s. Henry was a “gentleman”, whose family once owned all the land either side of Somerville and Hurd Streets, between County Road 43 and Concession Road. It later came into the possession of Thomas Maley, an influential businessman and landowner in Kemptville, who developed the gardens around the house, which was described in later years as “an aristocratic country home, with spacious lawns and gardens – the scene of many a gala garden party”.
It is remembered primarily these days as the location of the Oxford Private Hospital, which was opened in 1943 by Barbara O’Neill Grigsby as the Oxford Women’s Nursing Home. Barbara, who was born in Kemptville, and was nursing in Toronto, had bought the property after her husband had died, and was encouraged to open the Nursing Home by local Doctor, George Gordon, who realised the need for a proper maternity home in the area. In 1949 she remarried and became Mrs. C.W. Dillane, and in 1952 she was granted a Private Hospital Licence and opened the Oxford Nursing Home.
It later became The Oxford Private Hospital, specialising in minor surgery and obstetrics. Later on, an 18-bed addition was built as a nursing home and the hospital continued in business until 1976. It then changed its function to become Brookview Manor, but continued as a nursing home. In 2003, the house was transformed into a beautiful private residence. A remarkable statistic is that, although there were over one thousand babies born in the Oxford Private Hospital during its time, not a single mother died; a wonderful achievement over those 36 years.
Barbara Dillane was my grand-mother. I have more information on Oxford Private Hospital which all lend themselves to how amazing it was for a female entrepreneur to operate a private hospital for 33+ years… she seldom if ever, took a day off over those 33 years…