Sir Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley (1906 – 2001)
Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley was born on 10 July 1906 at Little Lebanon, 70 Leicester Road, Kibworth Beauchamp (formerly known as The Gables). Nicholas was the son of Nicholas Charles Ridley and his wife Margaret, née Parker. As a child he met and sat on the lap of Florence Nightingale, a close friend of his mother.
He was educated at Charterhouse School before studying at Pembroke College, Cambridge from 1924–1927 and completed his medical training in 1930 at St Thomas' Hospital, London. Subsequently he worked as a surgeon at both St Thomas' Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, specialising in ophthalmology. In 1938 Ridley was appointed full surgeon and consultant at Moorfields Hospital and later appointed consultant surgeon in 1946.
Harold Ridley began to formulate an answer to the problem of cateracts during the Second World War (Cataracts are regions of dead cells which occur in late middle age within the eye lens, turning it hard and opaque. If untreated they can result in total blindness.)
The two Kibworth villages developed distinct identities throughout the nineteenth century, based in large part on their different economic character. Kibworth Harcourt remained largely agricultural with a vibrant service sector based on provisioning the A6 traffic. Kibworth Beauchamp always had a more industrial character, from when the weavers predominated and this continued with industrialisation in the nineteenth century as factory production took hold in the village.
The differing economic chracteristics was also subtley reflected in the more "advanced" politics that developed in Beauchamp in contrast to the Tory dominance in Harcourt. This is evident in the choice of street names in the expanding Beauchamp village, with new streets named after the leading Liberal politicians of the late nineteenth century, such as Gladstone. These political rivalries sometimes also found expression in public bitterness, as evidenced in April 1897, when a suggestion that both parish councils co-operate in planning Queen Victoria's jubilee celebrations was decisively rejected at a Harcourt parish council meeting.
What is evident from reports of the meeting is that there was a general feeling in Harcourt that Beauchamp considered themselves more advanced in their civic efforts. The meeting instead agreed that Harcourt would build something permanent to mark the Queen's jubilee, with perhaps a village hall "emphatically asserting that Merton College, the lords of the manor, would have pleasure in giving the necessary ground." Kibworth-Harcourt-Parish-Meeting-1897.pdf