The Convalescent Home at Meltham.
To the Editor of the Huddersfield Chronicle.
I am not a greedy or avaricious man, but certainly like my share of the good things of this world. And at this most excitable season of Municipal and Parliamentary elections, a few days happy release might be enjoyed with advantage on that platform where strife and party feeling could have no receptions or countenance.
My not belonging to the craft of Freemasons at this particular time is somewhat annoying. Whilst reading the advertisement in last Saturday's Chronicle about laying the foundation stone of the Meltham Convalescent Home, that Earl De Grey and Ripon should have that favour I have no objection, a likelier or better man could not, perhaps, be found, independent of his craft ; but I do begrudge the Provincial Grand Lodge the exclusive pleasure of walking in procession on the ever after to be remembered 28th October, 1868.
That a banquet is to be provided is all right, so far as it goes. All who pay for it, and are fortunate enough to be owner of tickets on that auspicious occasion, I trust, will enjoy the "etcetras," mason or non-mason. There seems to be no monopoly in the banquet, but all is fair, square, and level.
But, Sir, the procession will not be plumb with the masons alone ; the D.G.M. of England may pour the oil, the corn, and the wine upon the foundation stone ; the chaplain may ask the blessing of Almighty God upon the undertaking — and may His favours be manifold upon the Home! — and the poor, who may hereafter be recipients of its advantages, and the noble-hearted donor, whose feelings have prompted him to remember, and, in so princely a way, to assist the afflicted of his native place in the time of their need, may be present. But there will be a void, a want, a vacancy in the procession, except it be numerically strengthened by the many Friendly Societies in the neighbourhood, composed chiefly of the working class, for whose benefit the institution is to be erected and carried on.
Since the foundation stone of the Huddersfield Infirmary was laid, more than 30 years ago, there has been no display in that line of friendly societies ; and, as one of those members, who has been and is taking a lively interest in benefit societies, I feel disposed to ask my brethren to turn out on that occasion, and second the efforts of that "craft" which is always foremost and prominent in laying the first stone of benevolent and charitable institutions, of which many now spot our neighbourhood, and produce many blessings in our various localities.
The Friendly Societies of this district may number some 12,000 or 14,000 members, or more. I would not ask all to turn out on the 28th of October, but I would ask that each Order should be present on that day. I would suggest that each of the many Orders should send, say 50 or 60 members each, when 500 or 600 might be added to the procession of Freemasons, to do honour to so benevolent an undertaking.
The members of such societies might arrange to meet at some convenient place in Meltham, near the site of the Convalescent Home, and fall in, according to rule, plumb and square, behind the craft, governed by such arrangements as may be the order of the day.
Brethren of the various orders take up the question. Let us marshal our detachments to do honour to the occasion, as was done when the Infirmary foundation stone was laid. They will be sister institutions — for the same God-like cause — auxiliaries of our own societies rendering help where needed, succouring and assisting those who are unable through sickness to assist themselves.
Depend upon it that Charles Brook, jun., Esq., will be delighted to feel and know that his great gift is appreciated by the benevolent societies, whose aim, by the aggregate contributions of its members, is, like his own, to assist the deserving and distressed.
Lockwood, October 6th, 1868.
[ We think the suggestion ought to be availed. The occasion is a general one, and all who feel disposed ought to have an opportunity of joining in the demonstration. It is for the Friendly Societies to act, and at once. — Ed. H.C. ]