Leeds Mercury (04/Aug/1871) - 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 Meltham Mills Convalescent Home — an institution which has most generously been built and endowed by Mr. Charles Brook, of Enderby Hall, Leicestershire, as an adjunct more particularly to the Huddersfield Infirmary — was formally opened yesterday. On Thursday week a description of the undertaking appeared in these columns, and some indication was given of the objects in view by the founder, and the position the Home will hold, in enabling the poor who may be resident within its walls to resume their avocations with restored health and freshened vigour, Mr. Brook’s noble gift is oven greater than was then stated, for it now appears that in the acquiring of the site and the erection and furnishing of the budding about £15,000 has been spent, and that the endowment has been increased from £20,000, the original sum contributed, to £25,000. The total amount involved in the erection of the Home is therefore £40,000, and from what was intimated yesterday it seems that, should circumstances render it expedient, the liberality of the donor will not stop at this point, he having expressed his intention of voting whatever is necessary to make the institution fully subserve the purposes of its foundation. To stamp the proceedings at the opening with an appropriate public recognition, a procession representative in its character took place from Meltham to the Home. Special trains were run by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company from Huddersfield, and many hundreds of passengers took out tickets. Processional order was formed at the Meltham Railway Station about one o’clock, and with the Meltham Mills band playing and banners flaunting gaily, the march was commenced out of the village to the institution. Mr. Superintendent Heaton and a detachment of county police were in front, and following the Meltham Rifle Volunteers, various orders of friendly societies, several lodges of Freemasons, and the band, came members of the Board of Guardians, the Chamber of Commerce, the Corporation of Huddersfield, a number of the county and borough magistrates, representatives of the board of management of the Huddersfield Infirmary, and the founder, trustees, invited guests, the architects, and the clergy of different denominations. The weather was not unsuitable, although blowy and dusty, and the spectacle proved interesting to the numerous concourse of people who gained admission to the grounds or who studded commanding knolls in the vicinity. Outside the building a small platform had been erected for the speakers, and amongst those who accompanied Mr. Brook thereto were Archdeacon Musgrave, Dr. Ryan, vicar of Bradford; the Mayor of Huddersfield, Mr. J.C. Laycock, president of the Huddersfield Infirmary; Mr. E. Brook, Mr. J. Freeman, of Huddersfield; and Mr. Geo. Armitage, chairman of the county magistrates’ bench at Huddersfield. The attendance of clergy and of lay gentlemen from Huddersfield and district was very large. Prayer having been offered up by Archdeacon Musgrave, the deed of conveyance was read by Mr. J. Freeman. From this it appeared that the trustees are eight in number — Mr. Chas. Brook, the Mayor of Huddersfield (Mr. C.H. Jones); the Rev. W.B. Calvert, vicar of Huddersfield ; the Rev. Mr. Jago, vicar of Meltham Mills; Mr. Geo. Armitage, Mr. J.C. Laycock, Mr. Jas. Wrigley, chairman of the Board of Guardians; and Mr. E. Brook. The institution, it stated, is established primarily for poor persons, who may be for the time being or may have recently been indoor or outdoor patients of the Huddersfield and Upper Agbrigg Infirmary; and secondly, such other poor persons as may by the managing committee, and after examination, and under certificate of the senior medical officer of the institution be deemed deserving of the advantages afforded, it being distinctly understood that such persons may be received into and enjoy the benefits of the Home for such periods of time and under such regulations and provisions as may be fixed by the committee of management, and under medical examination and certificate, and having regard to the fact that the institution is designed with a view to the restoration to health of such poor persons, by means of purer air, better living, and greater care and attention than they may be able to obtain in their own dwellings. The Vicar of Meltham Mills Church is appointed chaplain, and Dissenting ministers are to be admitted to the institution at reasonable times to visit inmates. The announcement that the endowment had been increased from £20,000 to £25,000 was received with loud applause.

Mr. Brook was warmly cheered on rising to declare the Home open. He said it was totally impossible for him to address the vast concourse around, and express the feelings that animated him, in endeavouring to realise the sympathy and kindness that had been shown him by their attendance. It was his desire that in the Home there should be nothing but good feeling to all classes of whatever political party or religious denomination — (hear, hear) — and it was his most anxious desire that it should not only benefit the health of those who were admitted, but should tend to civilise, to promote morality, and to Christianise the people of the district. (Hear, hear, and applause.) For a long time past he had cherished the wish to achieve something for the of his poorer fellow-creatures. He had been for a long period associated with Huddersfield, and his grandfather, father, and uncles had all been known to its inhabitants, and he, as coming after them, was proud to think that it had been permitted him to do something in return for the respect that had always been shown to his family. (Cheers.) Those who entered the institution as inmates, he could give the assurance, would be most welcome; and trusting that the benefits would be taken advantage of fully, he intimated that if the funds he had given for the endowment were found inadequate, more would be forthcoming. (Cheers.) He intended the institution to be entirely his own free gift; he did not want one single sixpence from anybody; and if God spared him a few years longer, and he came to the institution and ascertained that more support was requisite, no one would be more delighted than he to perform that which was needed, if it lay in his power. (Applause.) From the outset, his wife had taken great interest in the undertaking. She had assisted and encouraged him in its progress, and in all that could be done to advance the welfare of the people of the district they would most gladly lend their aid. (Hear.) He had now to pronounce the building formally open, and in a few days be hoped to see inmates in the place. (Applause.)

Cheers having been raised repeatedly for Mr. and Mrs. Brook, Mr. Laycock acknowledged the gift on behalf of the Huddersfield Infirmary. He joyfully, thankfully, and prayerfully accepted the gift in the name of the institution, and assured Mr. Brook that so long as he was in the position he filled he would endeavour that none but worthy and proper objects entered the Home. It would not be a refuge for the idle and the dissolute, but should be a refuge, to far as he and the excellent men of business on the Infirmary Board could make it, for deserving persons. (Hear, hear.) The nobleness of the gift, the splendour of the site, the beauty of the scenery around, all tended to arouse their best and warmest feelings, and their deepest thankfulness to the donor. (Applause.)

The Mayor of Huddersfield, in acknowledging the gift on behalf of the borough, said the event of that day was one to be proud of from every possible point of view. (Applause.) He believed Mr. Brook had been actuated by the very purest and most high-minded motives in establishing the institution — (hear, hear) — and there was one thing connected with the undertaking that was a source of gratification. Many had left money to be devoted to charitable purposes after their death, and others had to carry out their behests. But Mr. Brook still lived. He had had the fortitude and the benevolence to have his intention carried out whilst he was alive, and he trusted that he would long survive to witness the good it would accomplish. The Mayor concluded by proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Brook for the gift.

Mr. Armitage seconded the resolution, which was warmly responded to by the audience.

Mr. Brook returned thanks, and the Hundredth Psalm having been sung, the benediction was pronounced by Dr. Ryan, and the proceedings terminated.