John Passmore Edwards


Railwaymen's Convalescent Home,
Herne Bay

History - page 1

John Edward Nichols, Chief Cashier of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway, and  leading figure in the provision of Convalescent Homes for Railway workers.


The Herne Bay Convalescent Home was the first of ten homes to be opened by the Railway Industry for railway workers; the idea of John Edwards Nichols, cashier of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, who saw the need for a home where railwayworkers could go to rest and recover from sickness and ill-health.
Nichols was already involved with the friendly Societies and had played a part in setting up the Friendly Societies' Home at Herne Bay and, as a member of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, had become acquainted with Passmore Edwards.
The first Convalescent Home for Railway men, at Herne bay, Kent Nichols was aware of an area of land, about 3 acres, adjacent to the Passmore Edwards Friendly Society Home then under construction at Herne Bay and during a meeting with him, in early 1898, asked him his intentions. His reply filled him with dismay. Passmore Edwards said that he had intended to build a Nurses Home on the site but seeing the disappointment this produced Passmore Edwards asked the reason for his interest. Nichols took this opportunity to inform him, with great enthusiasm, of the pressing need to provide convalescent care for men engaged in vital public services, such as railway workers. However, Passmore Edwards remained unmoved.
Later that year Nichols again raised the issue of the need for a Convalescent Home for the railway workers and the vacant land at Herne Bay, Passmore Edwards became rather iritated and after repeating his intention to build a Nurses' Home concluded the conversation by saying "the case, Mr Nichols, is now closed".
Whilst many would have accepted this response as the end to the matter, Nichols was not so easily dissuaded and on the third attempt Passmore Edwards agreed no only to giving the land but an additional £6000 towards the cost of the building.
Central to Passmore Edwards offer was that "nine men of good standing with their respective railway companies and of good repute among theire fellow workers; length of service not less than twenty years, rank not to count, be assembled and informed of the scheme". Passmore was to meet with this group as soon as possible so that a Trust Deed could be drawn up, but he stressed the need for speedy action. It was his intention that, if such a Home was to be built then he intended to lay the foundation stome on the same day as the one chosen to open the Friendly Society Home.
A S Snell
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Acknowledgement of contributions and  copyright
© Dean Evans 2004
September 5, 2005
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Passmore Edwards autobiography,,  A few footprints.