Doctors Pond - Atlas Obscura

Doctors Pond

This Great Dunmow pond was a breeding ground for medical leeches, as well as the testing ground for the world's first lifeboat. 


Located in the town of Great Dunmow is Doctor’s Pond, named due to the widespread belief that it was a breeding ground for leeches, a creature highly sought after by doctors. Leeches have been highly valued in medicine for millennia, most of all for their use in bloodletting.

Brick House, also known as Doctor’s House, stands beside the Pond, and it is believed that the doctors practicing here made the most of their proximity to the pond to source a steady supply of the significant bloodsuckers.

In addition to its connection to the town’s medical community, Doctor’s Pond has also played a significant role in maritime history. Lionel Lukin, an inventor from Great Dunmow, is credited with creating the world’s first “lifeboat,” a self-righting and ever-buoyant vessel that “will neither overset in violent gales or sudden bursts of wind, nor sink if by any accident filled with water.”

Doctor’s Pond served Lukin as the testing ground for his lifeboat models, which, though unrecognized in his time, went on to revolutionize water rescue operations.

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August 24, 2023

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