John Passmore Edwards


Friendly Societies Convalescent Home, Herne Bay



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 were unsuccessful.
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 be found.
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.
Alfred Saxon Snell
Foundation ceremony
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Acknowledgement of contributions and  copyright
© Dean Evans 2004
December 3, 2005
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Passmore Edwards autobiography,,  A few footprints.