John Passmore Edwards


Friendly Societies Convalescent Home, Herne Bay

Foundation Stone Ceremony


A bust of Passmore Edwards from the Friendly Societies Convalescent Home It was at twelve minutes past three o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday 6 November 1897 that a special train from London pulled into Herne station on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. A deputation from the local Court of Foresters headed the crowd waiting to meet the distinguished visitors that included John Passmore Edwards, arriving to lay the foundation stone of the new Convalescent Home for members of the Friendly Societies. After brief introductions the party left by assembled carriages to the chosen site by way of the sea front. Although the ceremony was timed to commence at three thirty it was nearer four pm when the choir and clergy of St Martin's took up their positions under the canvas awning.
. This, together with the platform and a few rows of red brickwork and a white square stone bearing the engraved particulars of that afternoons forthcoming ceremony, were gaily decorated with flags and bunting.
.The ceremony began with a presentation of a bouquet to Mrs Passmore Edwards by the daughter of Mr J E Nichols, chairman of the Trustees and who was himself leading the afternoon's proceedings. These followed a typical pattern for such events in late Victorian England being a mixture of welcoming and "thanking" speeches together with suitable return of such thanks. The religious service was lead by the Vicar of Herne with the hymn "O God our help in ages past" followed by prayers and blessings. Passmore Edwards formally laid the foundation stone with the words " I find this stone is level, plumb and square, and I therefore declare it to be well and truly laid". In a cavity in the stone was placed the customary tin box containing copies of that day's issue of the Times and of the Echo, of which Passmore Edwards was the proprietor.
Subsequently Passmore Edwards and his party were entertained by the Trustees to a high tea at the Connaught Hotel. Mr Nichols presided and the company numbered about 200. A toast to Mr Passmore Edwards' health was proposed by Mr Nichols and Passmore Edwards responded.
Alfred Saxon Snell
history of the Home
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Acknowledgement of contributions and  copyright
© Dean Evans 2004
December 4, 2005