Ivan Ledvinka was a doctor to many Blantyre people during the 1970’s – 1990’s though was perhaps more well known in Hamilton .
A Graduate of Prague University, he and his wife moved to Scotland in the late 1960’s and he entered the medical profession as a doctor. In 1975, he corrected another doctor’s misdiagnosis of tummy ache, noticing it was severe appendicitis, which had burst. His diligence saved my life when i was just aged 4. My family were so grateful they named my brother after him in 1977.
He was well liked and respected in Blantyre perhaps due to his attentive ways. He just had a settling manner about him, which people liked. He would carefully listen to your problems and even stop you in the street to ask how you were getting on. Practicing from Burnbank, his care and attention brought him patients from all around, including Blantyre. He was a sporty type liking squash being fit and healthy throughout his life. He was a long-time member of Strathaven Tennis Club. Living initially at Hillhouse with a wife and 2 children, the Czech born doctor then moved to Strathaven. He was father to 4 children from 2 marriages. He surprised many when he passed away at the young age of just 51 on 11th February 1998. He did smoke however, and this may have contributed to his sudden death when visiting relatives in the Czech Republic. His funeral took place in Strathaven and he now has a street in Hamilton named after him.
Pictured are 2 of our family photos. Ivan is photographed in the Czech Republic whilst on holiday. The other is from winter 1974/75 and is of my sister Joanne and I on Ivan’s wicker chair in his former house in Hillhouse.
Erick Flack shared some words, ‘ Hi Paul, I played tennis against Dr Ledvinka a few times. He had a son “Jan”. The car in the photo is a Tatra 603. One of those weird Soviet bloc cars not sold in the UK due it not meeting UK car design requirements. It was death trap or a “mobile bomb” for two reasons (1) It was the largest rear 4 door air cooled V8 ever built. The rear end/ back axle swung about due to the weight and was unstable,. (2) Under the front seat was a heater which ran on petrol. It had its own petrol tank for the heater,. Bizarrely ever 7 years the factory requested owners sent the cars back for “upgrading” to the latest specification. In the 1930s a Hans Ledwinka was heavily involved in the design and manufacture. Wonder if he was any relation? It is firstly a lorry building company. Cars were more upmarket than Skodas. Regards, Eric Flack”