Newspaper article from May 1916
OPENING OF NEW PREMISES
BY LORD MAYOR OF MANCHESTER
The new premises of the Chaseside Convalescent Hospital, at the corner of Beach
Road and St. George's Square, were formally opened on Saturday afternoon by the Lord Mayor of
Manchester (Ald. Thomas Smethurst, J.P.). The new premises are in every respect admirably adapted
for the purpose, and the house has been placed at the disposal of the committee by Mr. Porritt.
Large lofty rooms have been excellently equipped and divided into wards. The hospital overlooks the
Ashton Gardens, and the bright, sunny aspect and cheerful outlook will add to the value of the
institution. There is accommodation for 30 soldiers, and arrangements can be made to extend the
accommodation to 35. There is an excellent staff of nurses under the control of an experienced
matron. The hospital is managed by a large committee representative of the town, and is joined up
with the East Lancashire branch of the Red Cross Society. The Vicar (Rev. H. E. Butler) is chairman
of the committee, with Mr. J. Thomas as hon. secretary, and Mr. J. E. King as hon. treasurer. The
committee have already received substantial support, and the very mention of the Hospital will
commend it to St. Annes residents and ensure for it the support which St. Annes has always given to
a good cause. Many beds have been endowed, and the Old Links Golf Club have undertaken the support
There was a large attendance at the opening ceremony. The Vicar presided, and in
addition to the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Manchester there were also present Coun. R. Leigh
(Chairman of St. Annes Council), Coun. C. F. Critchley, C.C., J.P., Coun. J. H. Taylor, Rev. A. E.
Howe, Dr. Elliott, Messrs. J. Thomas, J. E. Ting, S. L. Stott, J.P., G. W. Parkes, R. S.
Boddington, C. Craston, H. Mather, C. A. Stead, J. A. Brown, Dr. Hart (county director of the Red
Cross Society), and a large number of ladies.
Chaseside Convalescent Hospital, overlooking Ashton Gardens, at the
corner of Beach Road and St. George's Square, St.Annes.
The Vicar said that he had just come from another meeting in connection with the
University Extension Lectures, where it was decided that as they were keeping the tercentenary of
Shakespeare, they should endeavour to secure a lecturer who could bring prominently forward the
subject of patriotism. Patriotism was a very beautiful word, and they had heard a great deal about
it, but it was not a very easy word to define. It seemed to him that it might be defined after this
fashion: that it behoved everyone to look about and see what the needs of his country were, and
when he had discovered those needs, in whatever direction they lay, to endeavour to supply them. It
seemed to him that it was in the spirit of patriotism that the Chaseside Hospital was first brought
They had to carry their minds back to what he might almost call the dark days of
1914, when the Belgian population were pouring into this country in great numbers and it was quite
evident that the country looked for the inhabitants to supply shelter and hospitality. They in St.
Annes took up that question in many ways and offered hospitality and shelter to the Belgian
refugees. Chaseside Hospital was organised for that purpose, but before they got Belgian refugees
into the house, the order came that no more refugees had to be admitted into this district.
Consequently they looked in another direction and had Belgian soldiers to occupy the house, which
was situated in Headroomgate Road.
When their time came to an end they admitted into the Hospital English wounded
and convalescent soldiers. They were in Headroomgate Road for eighteen months, and provided
accommodation for twenty-two men. He thought that if they were to ask any of those men if they were
happy and comfortable in that Hospital they would say such was the case. They had always heard
excellent reports from the men and of the manner in which the hospital had been conducted. When the
regulations became more stringent it was found necessary for the committee to consider their
position, with the result that they had to look about for another house. Mr. Porritt at that
moment, in a very noble manner, very kindly placed at the committee's disposal the house round
which they were gathered that afternoon, and it was only fair to Mr. Porritt, in thanking him for
his great generosity, to let it be thoroughly well-known that he had put that house at their
FREE OF RENT.
(Applause.) That was an excellent lead for those who wished to support the
hospital. The committee had been considerably enlarged and was something like 20 in number. Their
idea was that they should not only enlarge the usefulness of the hospital, but that they should
enlist the sympathy of all creeds and people in the town, and that they should have on the
committee various shades of thought. From what he knew of the committee they were all likely to
work very harmoniously together and have one object in view--the welfare of the soldiers who came
under their care and protection. The hospital had six wards, and each ward provided accommodation
for five soldiers, so that at the present moment they were able to accommodate something like 30
Soldier in 'hospital blue' uniform, probably from Chaseside Hospital,
in Ashton Gardens, 1916.
It was estimated that those soldiers would cost 3s. per man, per day, but 2s. of
that was provided by the Government, and therefore, as a committee, they were responsible for
finding another 1s. per day or 7s. per week for each soldier. It had been suggested to the
committee—who very highly approved of the scheme—that they should endeavour to have their beds
endowed, and in the appeal which was put forward in the "Express," it was announced that one of the
best ways in which the hospital could be supported was by endowing beds at, a cost of 7s. per week.
He was glad to hear from their treasurer that up to that moment 21 beds had been endowed already.
(Applause.) In addition to that the appeal resulted in subscriptions to the amount of £169 9s. 6d.
That was very encouraging for those who were responsible for that hospital. But still they wanted
more—and the sum which had been named as what they ought to look for was £500. He felt sure they
RELY ON THE PATRIOTISM
and the good-feeling of the people of St. Annes to come forward and give that
support which would make their hospital the very best in the country. They wanted it to be so and
they relied upon the people of St. Annes doing what they could to make that effort crowned with
success. On behalf of the committee he extended a very cordial welcome to the Lord Mayor of
Manchester. He did not think they could have any one more suitable to do that little act of
service. (Hear, hear.) He was well-known in St. Annes, having resided here for several years. St.
Annes was sometimes called Manchester-by-the-Sea in consequence of the great number of residents of
St. Annes who had their work in Manchester. He had also heard St. Annes called the dormitory or
sleeping-house of Manchester. (Laughter.) Whether it was the sleeping-house of Manchester he did
not know, but he was certain that the gentlemen who went to Manchester when they returned to St.
Annes did not pass all their time in sleeping. They were very active and were always ready to do
their share in supporting anything which was worthy of their help.
St. Annes was one of the most enterprising little places they could find in the
country at the present time. They had only to think of the beautiful way in which the Gardens
opposite had been laid out, and of the magnificent open-air swimming bath which had lately been
formed to see that St. Annes had in mind in making them an effort to be second to none as a
watering place. If that was their intention with regard to the town itself he was quite certain
that they would not wish to be behind in doing all they could to support and make prosperous that
hospital. They welcomed 21 soldiers who had already gallantly done their duty, and wished to show
them how much their efforts were appreciated by giving them a real comfortable time here with such
entertainment and hospitality that they might be completely returned to health again.
The Lord Mayor said he was afraid that his wife and himself had been a little
too prominent in St. Annes lately. (No, no!) When the Vicar asked him a few weeks ago if he would
take part in opening that hospital he felt some hesitation about it because he thought it would be
more proper that Mr. Leigh, chairman of the Council, should do it. He was assured, however that Mr.
Leigh wished him to do it, and he felt he could not further refuse, as be certainly did not wish to
appear in the least degree discourteous to his friends in St. Annes.
That hospital was directly in connection with 'Manchester. He had an opportunity
of inspecting the hospital and the arrangements, and, as anticipated, he found they were admirable.
The Lady Mayoress and himself had occasion to visit a number of military and Red-Cross hospitals in
Manchester and district, and his wife happened to be chairman of the committee of the Red Cross
hospital at Worsley Old Hall, which had 132 beds.
He was bound to say that what appeared to them the most suitable building for
hospitals were the elementary schools. One thing which struck him about the Chaseside hospital was
that it seemed so comfortable and homely. He was sure their convalescent soldiers who had responded
to the country’s call deserved all the attention which could be given to them—(hear, hear)—and he
trusted those men would soon be restored to health, and they would have a good chance of that in
this invigorating climate. He had no doubt the soldiers themselves would appreciate what was
provided for them, but he asked them to remember, both inside and outside the hospital, the old
saying that each would conduct himself "As a soldier and a gentleman." During the war many
complaints had been made of the various Government departments, and probably rightly so, but there
was a one department which had deservingly received nothing but praise, and that was the medical
service and the nursing staff. On the various fronts the sacrifice and noble work of our doctors,
nurses and ambulance was beyond all praise. (Applause.) He was glad that the committee of the
Hospital was representative of
ALL RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS
in the town, and there should not be the slightest difficulty in providing
necessary funds and of obtaining a reputation for that convalescent hospital of being second to
none in the country. Personally, he was anxious for the reputation of St. Annes. He lived here and
he wanted St. Annes to keep its end up in every way. St. Annes was the only sea-side convalescent
hospital identified with the East Lancashire branch of the Red Cross Society. The number of beds in
the East Lancashire hospitals numbered 3,000. In addition to the military hospitals, which made,
their own arrangements for convalescent soldiers, up to March 3rd, 1916, these hospitals had
received no fewer than 37,000 wounded soldiers, all of whom were removed from the stations to the
base hospitals by the voluntary transport section of the Red Cross Society. The number of ambulance
trains which arrived in Manchester to that date was 223, and he was glad to say that the number of
voluntary aid detachments in East Lancashire exceeded those of any other county.
He ought, perhaps, to remind them how the term "Red Cross" originated; as a
matter of fact it was adopted by the Geneva Convention, in 1864, when representatives of the
various European countries met together, and the Red Cross was voted as the international symbol of
medical service in war. He would like to say a word of encouragement and appreciation of the
services which had been rendered and which would be rendered by those young ladies in St. Annes who
were acting as nurses and devoting themselves to that work, which could not he called child's play.
It meant self-sacrifice and hard work, but he was a young lady he should consider it a very great
honour to be a Red Cross nurse. He ventured to say that in the years to come they would look back
with very much pride and pleasure to what they were now doing, and be thankful they took part in
that noble work. He hoped the war would soon be ended, and that the doctors and nurses might be
relieved of their labour of love. He had much pleasure in declaring the Hospital open.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress then led the way inside, three hearty cheers
being given .at the call of the Vicar.
Coun. R. Leigh, proposing a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor, said they were
very fortunate in St. Annes in having a Lord Mayor resident amongst them, especially a real live
Lord Mayor. (Hear, hear.) Last Saturday the Lord Mayor was introducing the poor children of
Manchester to a camp, and again that day he was doing useful work in connection with that hospital.
He was very glad the Lord Mayor had brought his chain; it inspired reverence for the office he
held. (Hear, hear.) He (Coun Leigh), was in the presence of the Lord Mayor at lunch when he did not
wear his chain, and a gentleman beside him called him Tom. (Laughter.) Besides the Lord Mayor of
Manchester St. Annes could boast many lesser lights in the way of mayors of Lancashire towns. They
evidently knew when they
FOUND A GOOD THING,
and came from their own towns to enjoy it. St. Annes had room for more of them.
They were all of a good sort and brought a good sort with them. Men who came back from the war were
some of the grandest men England sent out; they were the men who said, "Hear am I, send me," and
they had done what they could. Unfortunately there were thousands who would not come back, but 'he
would not allow himself to speak of those. The war had been an education, to the men who had gone
out, and all others who would go. It was a rough school, but they bad learnt something they would
never learn at home—they had learnt the joy of the comradeship of a good Englishman. If they had
read the letters he had read, and knew what had taken place, they would know it was up to them to
do all they could for those men. It was almost surprising how willing people were to do what they
could. They had had subscriptions, beds had been endowed, and right in front of the men they had
the goodwill of Lord Ashton in the shape of the Gardens, for the men to enjoy. (Applause.)
Dr. Hart, County director of the Lancashire Red Cross section, seconded, and
included the Lady Mayoress, whom he described as the Lord Mayor's managing director. "Those of you
who are married know it is true," he added, amid laughter. When Sir Daniel McCabe's term of office
expired he was exceedingly apprehensive as to whom his successor would be and the treatment the Red
Cross-Society would receive. The work that the East Lancashire branch was carrying out was a very
great work and required the help and assistance of the chief magistrate of the city. He could
honestly say they had received, not only the help and encouragement from the present Lord Mayor
which they received from his predecessor, but if anything more, and he was glad to 'have the
opportunity of publicly stating how extremely grateful the East Lancashire branch was for the help
and counsel the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress had given, and for the way in which they had attended
Red Cross functions and ceremonies and
HEARTENED THEIR WORKERS.
Up to date no fewer than 15,409 eases had passed through their Red Cross
hospitals in East Lancashire since the outbreak of the war. In addition to the Red Cross transport
section was the official transport for the Lord Derby war, hospital at Winwick, and the Second
General Hospital, Manchester. That work was carried on by voluntary workers and had not cost the
country a half-penny and he hoped never would. They had transported 113,428 cases and in addition
they dealt with all the stores and supplies to those hospitals. They had, besides a very active
comfort section which, in addition to supplying hospitals in East Lancashire, had sent out over
500,000 articles to the fighting areas. They had also a department for enquiries after wounded,
missing, and so on. They would therefore understand how important it was that the chief magistrate
should give his support and cordial co-operation. With regard to Red Cross work there was one point
he wished to bring home—the Red Cross Society was a band of laymen opposed to militarism, banded
together to do all they could in this national crisis to help the military parties in the
tremendous task that lay before them. If he had his way he would take one line of Shakespeare.'For
he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother," and alter one word to make it read,
"For he to-day that sheds his blood for me shall be my brother." There was no excuse for anyone who
said they could not help.
Societies such as the Red Cross gave everyone an opportunity of rendering
sensible and useful help. Through the comforts section they could send the right thing to the right
place at the right time, not sending a pair of socks to a man who wanted an overcoat and that kind
of thing. There was no excuse for anyone standing aside and saying it did not concern them. There
was no excuse for the man who stood aside and said, "While the country is at war I am going to make
money." There was no excuse for anyone grumbling.
The only man who had a right to grumble was the man in the trenches. When they
thought of what those men had gone through, and would go through, they would agree with him that it
was up to everyone who stayed at home to do what they could. No thinking of personal advancement or
financial gain; the men who had gone to the front had given their all. No banking account was of
any value to a dead man, therefore they ought to do everything they possibly could.
The vote was heartily accorded.
The hospital was afterwards inspected by most of those present.