Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Aug/1871) - Huddersfield Town Council: Opening of the Convalescent Home at Meltham Mills

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.



The Mayor said — I had intended, before the ordinary proceedings were commenced, to make a few remarks about the Convalescent Home at Meltham Mills. It was thought proper that we should take some little notice of the affair, seeing that we had been invited, or rather that we had invited ourselves, to attend the ceremony, but, inasmuch as we had a slender attendance in the early part of our sitting, I thought I had better postpone it. I may say I think we ought not to allow this occasion to pass without some little comment being made upon the subject, seeing that it is a very magnificent presentation to the town. (Hear, hear.) Very likely you will deem it proper, on an occasion like this, that some record should be made of the circumstances in connection with it. You will remember, gentlemen, it is not merely the gift of the land upon which the Home rests, — which is very handsome indeed — but the building is a very beautiful one; it is very well adapted for the purpose ; it has cost a great deal more money than was expected at first; and all the appliances, furniture, all the fittings, and everything that is necessary to make a complete establishment, as well inside as out, have been attended to with the utmost possible regard to elegance, propriety, and neatness, to meet the necessity of the occasion. (Hear, hear.) When we further add that it has cost something like £40,000, that it is a gift to the town, and that, in addition to what I have named, with respect to the building, the furniture, the land, and so forth, there is an endowment upon it, embraced in that £40,000, of £25,000 — that money, too, I believe, is invested in our own waterworks, at a moderate rate of interest, and for a long period of time — everything manifests a spirit of liberality beyond what might have been expected, and especially from a gentleman who has not been quite so closely connected with the interests of Huddersfield as some to whom I might refer at the present time. (Hear, hear.) I am glad, as I said on that occasion, that Mr. Brook has made this gift during his lifetime ; and I hope others will follow the same example, and that, if it is not given in a lump sum like that, it will be done in some form or other. (Hear, hear.) I felt that we ought not to allow this opportunity to escape without, as I said before, making some reference to the matter; and I hope some gentleman will be prepared to submit a resolution which shall be recorded on our minutes, denoting our gratitude to Mr. Brook for the gift. (Hear, hear.)

Alderman Mellor said — I concur with you, sir, in the observations you have made. I have just been drafting what I will propose as a resolution ; and, any amendment that any gentleman may think proper to propose to it, can be submitted. It is this :—

"That the thanks of this Council are hereby given to Charles Brook, Esq., for his munificent gift of a Convalescent Home, as an adjunct to the Huddersfield Infirmary, and for the large sum he has devoted to the endowment of the same ; and the members of this Council further desire to express their heartfelt hope that Mr. and Mrs. Brook's life may be long spared to witness the beneficent results of their noble gift."

I really think we should have been very much wanting, not only in gratitude, but, I think, in a proper sense of feeling, if we could have permitted what has been seldom seen in this neighbourhood to have taken place without expressing our sense of the greatness of the gift which has been made by Mr. Brook. The object is one, I am sure, which will carry with it the heartfelt sympathy of every gentleman in this Council. (Hear, hear.) Any one who was present on the occasion of the opening of the Convalescent Home must have felt a thrill of delight to think we had in our neighbourhood a gentleman so large hearted as Mr. Brook, who, having made a large fortune, was not only prepared, but willing, and I believe, delighted, to appropriate a large portion of that large fortune to so laudable an object as the one which he has carried out. (Hear, hear.) The gathering was one of great rejoicing on all sides ; and I believe there was in that vast throng but one sentiment — and that sentiment was one of joy and gratitude to Mr. Brook for what he has accomplished. It is an example, as the Mayor has said, well worthy of imitation by those who may be equally wealthy, or even not so wealthy, as Mr. Brook. We have been long behind other towns in gifts of this kind. As you are aware we have in the neighbouring town of Halifax some princely examples of liberality — liberality not confined to one class, nor to one section. We have the Crossley's and the Akroyd's ; and we have likewise, in the neighbouring town of Bradford, the Salts and others, who have contributed very largely of their large fortunes to charitable causes. I am very glad to find that in Huddersfield we have at length met with one gentleman equally large hearted, and who is equally willing to devote a portion of his property to a noble purpose. For may own part I congratulate Mr. Brook upon what he has accomplished; and, in the language of the resolution, I sincerely hope his life may be long spared to witness the good results of what he has done. I have very great pleasure in proposing the resolution.

Alderman Clough said — I feel that I should scarcely be doing my duty to sit down and be silent on this occasion. I was present at the opening of the Convalescent Home, and I saw the thrill of delight and good feeling which seemed to run through every breast in that large assembly — indeed, something more, too, than has been given expression to by Mr. Mellor — that Mr. Brook appeared to do this with a thoroughly good feeling, and his wife had it as much at heart as himself. I think it is right, therefore, we should honour Mr. Brook and honour Mrs. Brook as well, through him. (Hear, hear.) We all know perfectly well it would have been impossible for Mr. Brook to have contributed so largely of his private fortune, if he had not had the good will of his wife — the partner of his life. (Hear, hear.) It is impossible he could have done it without her full and entire concurrence; and. when we find a man and his wife thus united for one good purpose, we ought to honour them and respect them in every sense of the word. But, in addition to that, Mr. Brook is so large-hearted as to say "Notwithstanding all I have done, I still wish this to be entirely my own work. I do not wish anyone else to join in it; I will do what I can, and, if I have the means, I am prepared to go to whatever extent is necessary to make this a complete Home for the protection and preservation of as many people as it will shelter." (Hear, hear.) I think the spirit is thoroughly good. It is the first gift of the kind we have had in Huddersfield ; and we ought to make much of it. I therefore cordially second the resolution which has been moved by Mr. Alderman Mellor, and I only regret that we have not had some preliminary meeting of the Council to present this resolution, for the joint acceptance of Mr. and Mrs. Brook, on the day of opening. However, it is never too late to mend, and, if we did not think of it before, we think of it now ; and it gives us all the more pleasure that have not forgotten it altogether.

The Mayor — It might have been better, as Mr. Alderman Clough remarks, if we had held a preliminary meeting, and drawn up a suitable memorial to Mr. Brook ; but we did not know we should be put in the fore rank of the proceedings as we have been, and, therefore, we were hardly prepared for such an event. However, it is not too late to mend, and you can do it in any way you like.

The Town Clerk — You will also add to the resolution that a copy of the resolution be stamped with the seal of the Corporation, and transmitted to Mr. Brook ?

Alderman Mellor — I will add that to my resolution.

The Mayor — Is it your pleasure to pass that resolution ? If so, you will please to signify it, but not silently.

The resolution was then carried amid loud applause.