||In 1889 Mrs Charlotte R Rusher
handed over the London and Dover Convalescent Home, a home that she
had established some thirty years previously, to J E Nichols, George
Vaughan and W H Chinn, all members of the South London District of
the Manchester Unity, and also members of the Ancient Order of Foresters.The
gift consisted of two leasehold houses, fully furnished to accommodate
80 patients and a sum of £750 invested in Consols, the whole
to be used for the purposes of a Convalescent Home for members of
the Manchester Unity and other Registered Friendly Societies. The
total value of the gift was estimated at £4000.
|Thus came into being the first Friendly
Societies. It was not long before the accommodation proved insufficient
to meet demand but attempts to locate additional premises in Dover
Although, with nearly 3 million members, the Friendly
Societies had capital of over £23 million pounds, the use
of this was restricted, by Act of parliament, to met the sickness,
funeral and other liabilities and none was available to purchase
a Convalescent Home. Provision could be made, within the 1½or
2d per week ( less than 1p) contributed by members for purposes
other than sickness and funeral benefits, for maintenance of a Home
but without additional outside help the capital needed could never
Passmore Edwards, hearing of the need, offered to build a Home to
accommodate 50 patients, at a cost of not exceeding £6,000,
on a site that the Society had located at Herne Bay.
|The chosen site, 7½ acres on the Beltange estate,
on the cliffs east of the town of Herne Bay was just ¼ mile
form the sea and had a road frontage of 300 feet.
Alfred Saxon Snell was appointed as architect and after his plans
were agreed with Passmore Edwards building commenced, the foundation
stone being laid on Saturday 6 November 1897.
It was soon clear that the total cost of the Home
was going to exceed the amount offered by Passmore Edwards and the
Trustees made an appeal to the Friendly Societies and Branches operating
in London to finance the undertaking and take on the liability for
its future maintenance. This appeal was not entirely successful
and the Trustees applied to the Charity Commissioners for registration
as a charity.