John Passmore Edwards

 

Victoria Home for Crippled Children

History- page 1

 

Passmore Edwards was approached by John Kirk, the Secretary of the Ragged School Union and Shaftesbury Society for help with funding of a further home for crippled children, which he suggested should be located at Bournemouth, where Capt. and Mrs Harrison had already rented a house as a temporary home. Passmore Edwards agreed and without a formal foundation stone laying Mssrs McWilliam & Sons, of Bournemouth were commenced building the home to the design of the architect, Frederick Warman.
The home was opened on 14 June 1898 by the Marquis of Northampton, President of the Ragged School Union, who expressed his greatest satisfaction in being present to perform such a pleasant duty. He said that the Home could not fail to be of service, as many would by its assistance be strengthened, and others probably completely restored. Cases had occurred in some of the Ragged School Union Homes of children who came as helpless cripples, and returned able to walk; and all, whether their stay in the Homes was long or short, were more or less benefited. Their Bournemouth Home, to accommodate 20 children, was intended to be a home in the best sense of the word; and it would, strictly speaking, be a holiday home. Under the doctor's advice and attention, the little ones would have good air, shelter, care protection and healthy and agreeable recreation.

The Home was built close to Alum Chine and the sea in one of the most picturesque districts of Bournemouth. It originally catered for 23 children, the majority from London but occasionally including local boys or girls, under the control of Miss Scott, the Matron, with only two assistants. The staff undoubtedly worked very hard since some of the children were unable even to feed themselves. The average stay was usually six months but a few stayed much longer. The Victoria Home for Crippled Children, Bournemouth
A reporter writing in the Bournemouth Graphic in February 1903 described the children she saw there. " The youngest, a child of three, suffering from a bad form of rickets and with legs bandaged in splints, and utterly helpless, I found amusing itself with a huge rag doll, a recent gift to the Home. It was a delightfully warm morning and all those unable to walk were lying in invalid carriages out of door, breathing the pure, clean air which is such an essential part of their cure here, though it made one's heart ache to think that many of these little suffers would never be able to walk, for the majority of the cases treated are either spinal curvature or hip disease. This home is intended to complete the cure often commenced in hospital or the operating theatre, and the children are sent to be nursed slowly back to health." "Those that were able to walk were preparing to go down to the beach where they had a pleasant little shelter of their own which makes a splendid playhouse and prevents the children from getting wet in case of showers. Very gentle and kindly they appear to one another; one boy carefully lifting a tiny tot, partially paralysed, into a mailcart and wheeling him away. Indeed the question of locomotion is a difficult one, as it is not easy to ascend and descend Alum Chine and two nurses cannot wheel a dozen heavy boys and girls, or superintend cases continuously in a recumbent position, as many of these are, and so some day they are hoping that some charitably disposed friend will present a pony or donkey and cart to the Institution". Whether as a direct result of this report is not recorded but photograph appeared in the Shaftesbury Society Magazine of 1917 showing the children in a donkey cart outside the Home.
Frederick Warman
There was no foundation stone ceremony
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© Dean Evans 2004
July 16, 2005
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