Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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There are several Congregational Charities in this town, for relieving the distressed poor belonging to their own body; and also some Public Associations, chiefly for giving pecuniary assistance to persons who cannot be benefited by the poor-laws of England. The following deserve particular notice.
THE FRIENDLESS POOR SOCIETY.
This society was formed in 1797, under the especial patronage of the Presbyterian ministers of the town. It has been supported by small voluntary contributions, and by a quarterly sermon, preached at different meeting-houses. The plan pursued is to combine religious instruction with pecuniary aid; and certainly many of the distressed and friendless, particularly strangers, have been relieved by this laudable institution. But the sums raised for its support are now of very trifling amount; and its dissolution seems to be rapidly approaching. Mr. J. Annandale is the treasurer.
THE NEWCASTLE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY.
This society was established in October, 1807, "for visiting and relieving the sick and distressed poor." Its chief object is, while alleviating by pecuniary aid the horrors of penury and disease, "to serve as a vehicle of religious instruction. The funds are under the direction of a committee, who meet weekly to hear the cases of distress, and determine what relief can be afforded. This pecuniary relief they commit to other officers, denominated Visitors, whose duty it is to carry it to the persons in distress, and to converse and pray with them, if convenient. A part of the committee are appointed to the additional duty of Inspecting Visitors, and are required to accompany the Visitors from time to time, and see that the persons relieved are proper objects of the charity. No distinction is made as to religious profession, and any one may recommend a person to the society; but no relief will be afforded until such person has been visited by the regular officers. Recommendations will be received by any of the Visitors or members of the committee. Since the society was instituted in 1807, there have been distributed above £2115, in the relief of upwards of 2538 distressed families and individuals; and in the course of the last year there has been expended the sum of £89, 17s. in the relief of 99 cases of distress." The following statement of accounts for the last year will give a pretty correct idea of the usual collections and expenditure:—
The Treasurer of the Newcastle Benevolent Society.
The President for the present year is C. N. Wawn, Esq. Mr. John Fenwick is Treasurer, and Mr. W. A. Hailes, Secretary.
THE STRANGER'S FRIEND SOCIETY.
This society was established in 1821, at the Zion Chapel, Westgate Street, Newcastle, "for the relief of the sick and distressed poor of every denomination." It is supported by a subscription of a penny per week, or upwards. Subscribers only can recommend an object. The period for granting relief is limited to one month. "The principal design of this society is the spiritual improvement of the persons enjoying its patronage." The collections last year amounted to £20, 16s. 7½d. of which sum £14, 9s. 6d. was expended in relieving 104 persons, at the average rate of 2s. 9¼d. each. The Rev. Richard Gibbs is president this year, Mr. Edward Hammond, treasurer, and Mr. Joseph Jefcoate secretary. (fn. 1)
There is an useful and unostentatious charity, for the benefit of the poor belonging to Hanover Square Chapel. It is supported by four annual collections, viz. one on buted, with the reservation of a small sum for occasional emergencies during the intervals, immediately after the service. These are of great use in enabling poor persons to clear off their little arrears of rent, and other quarterly expenses. There is also a bequest of £10 annually, distributed every Christmas to poor individuals belonging to this society. At the same time are distributed the proceeds of two collections, one made on Christmas, the other on New-year's day; which distribution is not confined to the poor connected with the society, but to such others as can obtain recommendations from members.
THE INDIGENT AND SICK SOCIETY FOR NEWCASTLE.
This society was formed at a meeting of the inhabitants of Newcastle, held at the Guildhall on Thursday, January 22, 1827, at which the Right Worshipful the Mayor presided. This society has in view to afford immediate relief to those in any part of Newcastle or its precincts, who are under sickness or distress; that this relief be given in clothing, food, money, or other necessaries, as the urgency of the case may require; but no relief is allowed but where the objects of it have been visited, and their circumstances closely inquired into. The following gentlemen were chosen, at the first meeting, officers for conducting the business of the society, viz.—President, The Right Worshipful the Mayor for the time being. Vice-presidents, Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. M. P.; Cuthbert Ellison, Esq. M. P.; and the Rev. the Vicar of Newcastle. Treasurer, William Chapman, Esq. Secretaries, The Rev. R. H. Scott, the Rev. H. A. Dodd, and Mr. Matthew Forster. Committee, J. Edgecome, Esq.; W. S. Batson, Esq.; Mr. D. Akenhead, Mr. John Fenwick, Mr. Jos. Grey, Mr. G. Richardson, Mr. John Richardson, Mr. S. M. Frost, Mr. Daniel Oliver, Mr. J. Marshall, Mr. John Bruce, and Mr. William Beaumont. On March 2, 1827, the donations amounted to £192, 6s. and the annual subscriptions to £124, 6s. 6d.
This establishment was first opened on October 1, 1825, at No. 4, Mountain's Court, Pilgrim Street, and is managed by Mrs. Pearson. It is under the patronage of Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland; and its formation was zealously promoted by Mrs. Linskill, of Tynemouth Lodge. The object is to afford industrious females an opportunity, which they did not previously possess, of disposing of their work; and the establishment is conducted on the following plan:—There are 20 ladies, called Directresses, who interest themselves in procuring subscriptions and overlooking the books. There are also 12 Visiting Ladies, who attend every Saturday morning, from 10 to 12 o'clock, to receive the work, to approve of the prices, and to see the things marked into the books, according to the name and number the worker gives, which is returned to the person on a card, in order that she may shew it when she comes for payment, during the hours the Visiting Ladies attend. Any name may be taken (and no questions are asked), and the card with the work may be sent by a servant, or a friend; but no person must change the name once assumed. Mrs. Pearson makes up the books every Saturday night, and delivers to the treasurer a per centage of one penny on each shilling that has been received during the week. The institution is kept up by this per centage, and by voluntary subscriptions of £1, 10s., 5s., or 2s. 6d. yearly, and by donations. The works received are all kinds of wearing apparel, knitting and netting of every description, and all sorts of fancywork. The Repository is open for sale every day (Sundays excepted), from 12 o'clock till 6 in the evening. Orders for work are also received at the Repository.
THE, SOCIETY FOR CLOTHING DISTRESSED FEMALES.
This society was first commenced in 1815 by Methodist females, but was soon extended so as to include all religious sects. Every subscriber of 5s. is entitled to one ticket of recommendation, of 10s. to two tickets, and so on in proportion. The articles are chiefly wrought up by the members. Every poor person pays 2s. on receiving a ticket, which is sometimes taken at two instalments: but in cases of extreme indigence, this payment is dispensed with altogether. During the first five years of this institution, 1869 articles were distributed amongst 578 families and individuals,
THE FRIENDLY SOCIETY.
This is a clothing society, which was established on the 13th February, 1811, by a few members of the Society of Friends. The original design was to provide "clothing for the infant offspring of the poor;" but, in a few years, the society extended its attention to providing warm and comfortable clothing for the aged also; and though these latter did then, and still do, claim its principal attention, yet it is not confined to any particular age, provided the object be a proper one. This society is supported by annual subscriptions and donations, the amount of which varies considerably, though the average of late years may be taken at about £15: it has, in some years, amounted to £23. The number of subscribers is about 40, all of whom may recommend to the weekly meetings of the society those whom they consider as proper objects of relief. The articles of clothing are all made by the female members, about 20 or 30 of whom usually meet at each other's houses alternately once a week for that purpose, from 6 to 9 o'clock in the evening. They generally commence their labours about the latter end of October, and conclude about the latter end of March, This society has distributed, since its commencement, about 965 articles of clothing.
The subscribers to "the Union Day-school for Girls" support a small fund for clothing the indigent. There is a similar society of young ladies, who distribute clothing during the severity of winter. They have not assumed any peculiar designation, The Dorcas Society, a kindred institution, is now dissolved.
During the late fluctuations in the price of provisions and the demand for labour, a Soup-kitchen has been occasionally opened for the relief of the poor. The east end of the old poultry-market, in the High Bridge, was converted into a kitchen, in which are four boilers that hold 475 gallons. The ingredients used in making 110 gallons of soup are, 110 lbs. beef, 75 lbs. barley, 60 lbs. pease, 11 lbs. onions, 8 lbs. salt, and 8 oz, pepper. From January 17, to April 27, 1820, there were made and delivered 19,558½ gallons, which, being sold at 1d. per quart, produced £293, 4s. 9d. making allowance for loss in measuring out the soup, &c. On closing the kitchen in 1823, a balance of above £270 of the subscription-money remained, and was deposited at interest in the Town's Chamber. With this money, leaving £100 as a fund for any future occasion, the Soup-kitchen was again opened on February 19, 1827. At present, about 380 gallons of soup are delivered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
"The Craft of Keelmen" first occur as a fraternity in Newcastle in 1539. They are mentioned in 1556 as an independent society; but in 1649 they occur as dependant upon the Hoastman, and petitioning that fraternity to provide them with a chapel and minister. They had a charitable fund in 1697: two years after, each of them paid 4d. a tide to it. In 1700, they petitioned the common council for a piece of ground to erect an hospital upon, the lease for which was executed on October 4, that year, in the name of the governor, wardens, and fraternity of Hoastmen, for the use and benefit of the Keelmen, during 99 years. The Keelmen, in 1706, petitioned the House of Commons for a bill confirmatory of the voluntary agreement to support the hospital. This occasioned a dispute between them and the Hoastman; and the latter, in 1710, rejected the Keelmen's solicitation to apply on their behalf to obtain an act of parliament for their better regulation, being of opinion that an act of parliament for their incorporation, or the establishing of the charity formerly paid by their consent, for the relief of such of them as were past their labour, unless it were under "due regulation, or the government thereof in proper hands, with sufficient power rightly to manage and apply the same, would be an entire ruin, not only to them, the Hoastmen, but also to the corporation of Newcastle, and to the coal trade in general."
The Hoastmen, in 1712, repealed their former order for collecting 4d, a tide, because the money "had lately been spent in encouraging mutinies and disorders among the keelmen;" and, in 1723, the Hoastmen ordered that "the Keelmen's charity should be solely under their management and direction." In 1728, the Keelmen, it appears, paid 1d. per tide towards the support of their own poor; which charity was, in 1729, by common consent, laid aside. In 1758, the alarming increase of the poorrate in All Saints' parish, induced the Hoastmen to recommend to the Keelmen to pay one halfpenny per chaldron each tide, for the better support of their own poor; but nothing was finally agreed upon. This matter was revived at different times afterwards: but the narrow policy of the Hoastmen, and the irritated feelings of the Keelmen, defeated every attempt to establish a consistent and effectual plan for relieving the parishes in which the Keelmen resided from an increasing burden. At last, in 1788, an act of parliament was obtained, "for establishing a permanent fund for the relief and support of Skippers and Keelmen employed on the river Tyne, who, by sickness or other accidental misfortunes, or by old age, shall not be able to main, tain themselves and their families; and also for the relief of the widows and children of such Skippers and Keelmen."
This act recognizes "the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne," and directs that a steward shall be chosen once a year by the Keelmen belonging to each respective fitter, and that all the stewards shall meet annually in the Guildhall, to elect 21 persons to be guardians of the society, and which shall consist of the members in parliament for Newcastle for the time being, the mayor, recorder, the four senior aldermen, and sheriff of the town, and the governor, stewards, and nine other brethren of the Hoastmen's Company, who shall be a body politic and corporate, under the name of the "Guardians of the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne." The guardians are empowered to make by-laws, control the expenditure of the funds, and levy upon each keel-crew a sum not exceeding one penny on every chaldron of coals, &c. that may be carried in their respective keels. It was also enacted that no person should receive any benefit from the fund if he ceased to be a Skipper or Keelman, unless he paid a sum not exceeding 6d. per week, except where the cessation of employment was occasioned by his being impressed into his majesty's service, or by old age, sickness, or other infirmity. By the bye-laws subjoined to this act, the weekly allowances to sick and superannuated members are as follow:—To the disabled, by lameness or sickness, 5s.; to the superannuated, 3s.; to widows with one child, or without children, 1s. 6d.; to widows having two children, 2s.; to widows having more than two children, 2s. 6d. Members unable to work in the keels, to follow any other employment; but if they earn 4s. or upwards a week, their allowance to be reduced according to the following scale:—
The penny levied on each chaldron having become inadequate to meet payments to which the several persons were entitled, the owners and lessees of collieries and coal-mines, upon or near the river Tyne, agreed to support the funds by a grant of one farthing per chaldron on all coals exported from the river Tyne. This grant was confirmed by act of parliament, which received the royal assent on July 8, 1820.
When the usual payment of 1d. per tide was abandoned in 1729, in consequence of the shameful waste and profligacy of the sixteen collectors, this useful body of men were left without any fund for mutual support. But in the following year, about 200 industrious and prudent Keelmen formed themselves into a Benefit Society, which body undertook the regulating of the hospital, and the keeping it in repair. This society not being duly encouraged, it became necessary, for the support of the hospital, to admit as members persons who were not Keelmen. However, it still exists, and exercises the right of admission into the hospital; as neither the corporation nor the Guardians of the General Fund have advanced any claim to the right of controlling the stewards of the society, in the government of the hospital. Its anniversary meeting is held on the 27th of December.
The following is the account of moneys collected and expended last year, under the superintendence of the "Guardians of the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne:—
The Hospital is situated on a rising ground, on the north side of the Shields turnpike road, and at a short distance east from the Carpenter's Tower. The scite, which is inclosed by a wall, contains 2500 square yards. The building is a square, two stories high, "done in the form of colleges and monastries, having its low walk around in imitation of cloysters. The area in the middle of it is about 83 feet broad, and about 97½ feet long. There are galleries above the piazza quite round the house, with windows towards the court. The house contains 60 dwelling-rooms, with a convenient office and club-room. In the front turret is a good clock, and a bell, which is rung at 6 o'clock in the morning and 8 o'clock at night. It was put up, by subscription, in 1772. There is a dial below, and the following inscription:—
"The Keelmen's Hospital, built at their own Charge, Anno. Dom. 1701. Matthew White, Esq. Goverper; Mr. Edward Grey, Mr. Edward Carr, Stewards, of the Hostmen's Company (for the time being) and Trustees for this Hospital."
Between the club-room windows, a stone was erected in 1786, on which is inscribed,—
"In the Year 1786, the Interest of £100, at 5 per Cent. for ever, to be annually distributed, on the Twenty-third Day of December, among the ten oldest Keelmen resident in the Hospital, was left by John Simpson, Esq. of Bradley, Alderman of this Town, and forty Years Governor of the Hostmen's Company. The grateful objects of his Remembrance have caused this Stone to be erected, that Posterity may know the Donor's Worth, and be stimulated to follow an Example so benevolent."
This hospital is approached by a flight of broad steps, at the top of which is fixed a lofty flag-staff. There is a commodious walk, within the outer wall, quite round the house. This building, which was finished in 1701, cost above £2000. Dr. Moor, bishop of Ely, remarked of this hospital, "that he had heard of and seen many hospitals, the works of rich men; but that it was the first he ever saw or heard of which had been built by the poor."
THE SOCIETY OF THE SONS OF THE CLERGY, IN THE DIOCESE OF DURHAM AND HEXHAMSHIRE.
This society originated in an agreement which was entered into by a number of gentlemen at Newcastle, on April 7, 1709, to subscribe not less than 5s. each annually, to relieve the distresses frequently suffered by the descendants of clergymen. They styled themselves the Society of Clergymen's Sons. Mr. Nathaniel Clayton, merchant, and Mr. Deodatus Therkeld, were appointed the first stewards. At the first anniversary, which was fixed to be held on the first Monday of September in every year, the subscription amounted to £5. Their first solemn meeting, when a sermon was preached by Dr. John Smith, prebendary of Durham, was on September 10, 1711. In 1725, this society united with a similar one which had been formed for the benefit of the two deaneries of Alnwick and Bambrough. After this, the society, by donations, legacies, and increasing annual subscriptions, advanced rapidly in prosperity, and has been the instrument of relieving much and complicated distress. In the annual report of the society, for the year ending January 1, 1826, the accounts stood thus:—
Since the year 1774, the anniversary meetings of this society (fn. 2) have been held alternately at Durham and Newcastle. The bishop of Durham, for the time being, is President. Ten Stewards are annually appointed, viz. one layman and one clergyman for each of the five districts of the society. These officers, with all subscribers of three guineas a year and upwards, are Vice-presidents. The lay steward for Newcastle, for the time being, is Treasurer. The Rev. Robert Green, M. A. of Newcastle, is at present the permanent Secretary of the society. (fn. 3)
THE FUND FOR THE WIDOWS OF PROTESTANT DISSENTING MINISTERS.
This fund was first established by 22 ministers, who assembled at Alnwick on May 2, 1764; on which occasion, the Rev. Samuel Lowthian, (fn. 4); minister of Hanover Square chapel, preached. The late Dr. Henry, of Berwick, afterwards of Edinburgh, drew up and digested the statutes which continue to govern this establishment. The number of members was limited to 40; and one of the first resolutions was, "to admit no man into the association, as a Protestant Dissenting minister, unless regularly licensed or ordained by the established Church of Scotland, or by some regular class of their Dissenting brethren; and not even then, unless he were an acknowledged member of some class within the bounds of the association," and which included Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, and the towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick upon Tweed. This rule was relaxed, in 1771, in favour of Seceding ministers, when Messrs. Baillie, Marshall, and Waugh, were admitted. There are three classes of members: in the first, the yearly payment is, for the minister, £2, and his congregation, £2; in the second, £3; and in the third, £2. They have nine widows, who receive payments according to the rate of the class to which their husbands had belonged. The rates and collections at the first meeting amounted to £131, 2s.; and, in 1770, the capital of the association was £1080, 10s. 10d. They received from the Regium Donum, for many years, £40 annually, (fn. 5) which, on being withheld, caused material alterations in their statutes. Their meetings are held at Newcastle, Morpeth, and Alnwick, alternately. The following abstract of the accounts for 1825 will shew the present state of this fund:—
THE ASSOCIATION OF PROTESTANT SCHOOLMASTERS, IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND.
Whoever reflects seriously "on the great importance of schoolmasters to society, the frequent smallness of their salaries, and the many infirmities to which the studious are more subject than those who follow manual employments, must be sensible that a plan calculated to relieve the necessities of that useful body of men, their widows and orphans, cannot fail of being highly beneficial to individuals, and advantageous to society." Under this impression, a number of respectable schoolmasters in Newcastle and its vicinity assembled, on the 15th of July, 1774, to consider how far it might be practicable to make some permanent provision for their indigent brethren and their families, residing within the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick upon Tweed. A plan was adopted and acted upon with great diligence. The Rev. Robert Green, and Messrs. Alexander Murray and James Wood, prepared the rules, and drew up an address, soliciting subscriptions or donations from those ladies and gentlemen who were persuaded of the necessity and utility of the institution. A deputation waited on his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, who agreed to take the Association under his patronage. A secretary, treasurer, five trustees, and a committee, were also chosen to conduct the business of the society, which was formally instituted on November 19, 1774. The calculations were made on rather a liberal scale, in hope that the assistance of the more opulent, who had turned the advantages of education to a good account, would enable them to realize the benefits first proposed. In this, however, the original projectors appear to have been mistaken: for the patron and trustees conceived of it only as a common benefit-club, which it was only necessary for them to compliment, ex-officio, by a small donation; and the rest of the public paid very little attention to it. It therefore became necessary, when the fund was opened for the granting of benefits (which was at the end of four years from its commencement), to restrict these to one-half of the allowance originally proposed. Thus the affairs of the Association continued, its members fluctuating from thirty to above forty, and its funds producing some, though but a partial benefit; till, in the year 1792, the Rev. John Farrer, (fn. 6) the president, undertook to advertise extensively, at his own expense, the original objects of the scheme, and the necessity of a more efficient public assistance; and also to solicit personally, on its behalf, the contributions of his numerous opulent acquaintances. From this time, the society flourished, the number of members advanced, the fund was greatly increased, and the benefits rose to seven-eighths of the original calculation. The venerable Farrer was succeeded in the presidency by the Rev. William Turner, through whose exertions the number of its benefactors, though somewhat changed, did not, on the whole, diminish, until last year, that the death of three of the earliest benefactors caused a loss of £12, 1s. 6d. annually. The Association is under peculiar obligations to the late Dr. Hutton, (fn. 7) who sunk £100 with the corporation, for a perpetual annual subscription of £5. The corporation itself subscribes five guineas annually; and the present Duke of Northumberland, when he accepted the office of patron, gave a donation of £25.
During the first year of the Association, all schoolmasters capable of gaining a competent maintenance were admitted, without regard to age. Twenty-four availed themselves of this indulgence; seven between 40 and 45, eight between 45 and 50, three between 50 and 55, three between 55 and 60, and three upwards of 60. From the commencement to 1823, there have been admitted 151 members, viz. the above 24 above 40 years of age, 115 average 302/3 years nearly, and 12 whose ages are not mentioned. Subscribing members consist of four classes:—
The above contributions are paid annually, and the benefits received are also annual. An anniversary is held on Tuesday in Whitsun-week. At the annual meeting in 1823, some doubts were suggested whether the present scale of contributions and benefits be such as to secure the stability and permanence of the institution; on which, a sub-committee, consisting of the Revds. William Turner and John Tyson, and of Messrs. Bruce, Dees, Clarke, Atkinson, Charlton, and Gourly, were appointed to examine the general state of the fund. This sub-committee, after a laborious and minute examination of receipts and disbursements from the commencement of the Association, presented their report to the quarterly meeting held February 21, 1824. The following results are taken from this valuable document:—
|Paid by Members.||Members received.||Widows received.|
This statement shews the ratio which the benefits of members of the different classes bear to their respective contributions. It is clear that, without the assistance of its benefactors, the Association could not have paid the usual benefits. Since the commencement, 161 members have been upon the books. The Association, at present, consists of 54 members; and there are 18 superannuated members and widows upon stationary benefit. (fn. 8) The following was the state of the fund on the 20th of May, 1826:—
THE CLERKS' SOCIETY.
This benefit-society was established in Newcastle upon Tyne, on January 1, 1807, by 54 members, 11 of whom were between the ages of 41 and 57 years, and who were admitted on the same terms as young men of 20 years of age and upwards. A member who paid in advance 15 guineas was to be exonerated from all future payments; and other members, who paid five guineas, were to pay one guinea annually. These payments being found by calculation inadequate to meet the demands against the society, it was agreed, at the end of the first year, that members who had paid in advance 15 guineas pay one guinea annually, and those who had paid five guineas to pay two guineas annually. At the end of three years, the following scale for admitting members was adopted, viz.—From 21 years of age to 25 inclusive, to pay six guineas; from 25 to 30, to pay eight guineas; from 30 to 35, to pay 10 guineas; and from 35 to 40, to pay 15 guineas.
The annual subscriptions are paid quarterly. The committee has also a discretionary power to demand 5s. upon a legacy of £100 being paid, and 1s. for each annuitant chargeable to the society; but only such portions of these sums are required as are judged to be necessary. The society is restricted to 150 members. In 1821, it was deemed proper to revise the rules, which, in their amended form, were, after some delay and difficulty, enrolled according to law. At the annual meeting of the society, held on January 2, 1826, the new committee was requested to take into their serious consideration the state of the society's funds, and to report thereon. The report was presented at a general meeting held on the 3d July, 1826. A clear statement of the condition of the society had been submitted to Mr. Joshua Milne, Actuary to the Sun Life Office, who remarked, "that if a member of this society, entitled to bequeath £100 in money, or £20 a year to his widow, during her widowhood, were to be seized with an illness which he thought likely to prove fatal to him, his wife being then 30 years of age, and in good health; if he knew the respective values of the two reversions, would be sure to bequeath to his widow the annuity, as if he died then, it would, immediately after his decease, be worth about £340, supposing her not to marry again." With respect to another part of the enquiry, he is of opinion, that it would be of great advantage to any society, to increase its number of members to several hundreds, instead of restricting it to one hundred and fifty, using great caution in admitting lives. Mr. Finlayson, Actuary at the National Debt Office, refused to give an opinion on the points requested, unless that part of the plan relating to widows and children were dropped. On the other hand, the committee viewed this as the grand object to be attended to. Considering, therefore, that the present number of claimants on the fund, exclusive of sick-money (fn. 9) and incidental expenses, would absorb the whole income derived from the subscriptions of the members, and looking to the fate of other societies, the committee recommended an immediate reduction of the allowances to superannuated members from £30 to £24 per annum, and the annuities of widows from £20 to £16 per annum.
The committee further stated, that, even at this reduced sum, it would require £2960 to pay off the claims at present on the fund, according to Mr. Milne's calculations of the value of life annuities. The meeting adopted the proposed alterations, hoping "that by such timely reductions, the period may yet arrive, when it will be deemed quite safe and proper to submit an increase of the benefits to the several claimants."
The following are the receipts and disbursements of this society since its commencement:—
|Donations (fn. 10)||89||5||0||Widows||1501||10||3|
|Profits on investment||165||13||6||Sickness||605||1||0|
|L.10,621||13||4||Members' wives deaths||190||0||0|
|Balance due the Treasurer, 31st December, 1826||67||0||1||Members out of situation||134||10||0|
|Lost in investments||3||18||10|
|Vested in the Savings Bank||6914||8||6|
Agreeably to the provisions of the act, this society constituted itself into a Savings Bank, under the appellation of The Tyneside Savings Bank, whereby they realize the entire interest of £4, 11s. 3d. per £100 upon their stock, which, at the last anniversary meeting, amounted to £6914, 8s. 6d.
THE LIBERAL SOCIETY OF TRADESMEN.
This society was instituted in 1791. The age of admission during the first year was under 50 years; afterwards under 40, which, in 1806, was reduced to under 36 years. The entrance-money, in 1806, was raised from two guineas to eight guineas; the subscriptions were fixed at 10s. each quarterly meeting; sick and blind members to receive 10s. per week for one year, and afterwards the sick 7s. and the blind 8s. a week whilst such sickness or blindness continued. The funeral-money was £10. In 1818, the graduated scale of legacies and annuities to the widows of free members was abolished, and a legacy of £100, or an annuity of £20, substituted. The receipts always exceeded the disbursements until 1817, when the bad calculations made in proportioning the payments to the benefits began to become manifest. From that year to the anniversary meeting held on the first Wednesday after December 25, 1825, the excess of expenditure above the receipts amounted to upwards of £2000, which has reduced the capital from £5000 to about £3000. In order to avoid absolute ruin, the contributions have been slightly increased, and the payments reduced 75 per cent. Last year, the receipts exceeded the expenditure nearly £300. The number of members, however, has declined from 120 to between 70 and 80.
CATHOLIC FRIENDLY SOCIETY.
As persons professing the Roman Catholic religion are ineligible as members of most friendly societies, the Catholics residing in Newcastle very properly established a benefit-fund on September 11, 1823, under the patronage of the Rev. James Worswick. The trustees are, Robert Leadbitter, Esq. Mr. John Fletcher, and Mr. Charles Larkin. The society consists of about 130 members. At the last anniversary, held on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, 1826, there remained, after paying all benefits, a balance of £180, 11s. 6d. Their rules were enrolled, according to act of parliament, on December 8, 1823. The appended religious rules provide that a mass be said on the death of members or their wives, and also an anniversary mass. Those members that neglect to attend these masses are fined sixpence each. Members irregular in their attendance at divine service to be reprimanded by the president; and those who neglect their Easter duties for two successive years are to be excluded.
OTHER BENEFIT SOCIETIES.
The following is as correct a list as could be procured of the friendly societies in
Newcastle and Gateshead:—
Viewers' Benefit Society
Ancient Masonic Benefit Society
Hanover Square Chapel Society
Pitmen's General Benefit Society
Pitmen's Benefit Society
Loyal Orange Lodge Society, No. 69
Select Friendly Society of Orangemen
Second Select Free and Easy Johns
Third do. do.
Odd Fellows' Lodge
Select Friendly Soc. of Odd Fellows
Joiners' Benefit Society
Shoemakers' Union Society
United Friends' Society
New United Friends' Society
Unanimous Benefit Society
Independent Friendly Society
Union Benefit Society
General Scotch Society
Benevolent Benefit Society
Phœnix Benefit Society
Industrious Benefit Society
Old Waggon Society
United Odd Fellows' Society
Waterloo Benefit Society
Shipwrights' Benefit Society
Friendly Benefit Society
United Tradesmen's Society
Tyne Street Benefit Society
All Trades Benefit Society
Unanimous Society of Men
Glasshouse Bridge Benefit Society
Brown Jug Benefit Society
Young Man's Benefit Society
United Brotherly Society
Good Design Society
Union Society of Shipwrights
Universal Friendly Society
Royal Jubilee Benefit Society
Masons' Benefit Society
Good Intent Benefit Society (fn. 11)
Hope Life Box
First Friendly Society
Second Friendly Society
Brotherly Benefit Society
Love and Unity Society
Harmonious Benefit Society
St. John's Benefit Society
Independent Benefit Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Good Intent do.
Unanimous Benefit Society
Crown Glass-makers' Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Moulders' Benefit Society
Friends' Benefit Society
Old Friends' Benefit Society
Liberal Society of Tradesmen
United Society of Cabinet-makers
Low Glasshouse Florist Society
Friends of Humanity Society
Corvers' Benefit Society
Smiths' Benevolent Society
Miners' Benefit Society
Joiners' Benefit Society
Tradesmen's Friendly Society
Rising Sun Men's Society
North Briton Union Society
Old Friendly Society
United Brotherly Society
St. Michael Pine Apple Society
Loyal Independent Society
Brunswick Benefit Society
Royal Veteran Benefit Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Good Intent do.
Men's Friendly Society
Journeymen Tailors' Benefit Society
Maltsters' Benefit Society
Men Shoemakers' Benefit Society
Potters' Benefit Society
Union Benefit Society
Newcastle Union Benefit Society
Journeymen Cordwainers' Society
4th Friendly Society of Orangemen
Coach-makers' Friendly Society
Society of Printers
Flax-dressers' Benefit Society
Benwell Benefit Society
Scotch wood do.
Women's Benefit Societies.
Love and Unity Society of Women
Female Independent Society
Female Friendly Society
Waterloo Society of Women
Peace and Unity Society of Women
Queen Caroline Society of Women
Women's Monthly Fund
Concord Female Benefit Society
Tyne Society of Women
Flourishing Society of Women
Female Mothers' Benefit Society
Queen Caroline Female Benefit Soc.
Friendly Sisters' Society
Jubilee Box of Women
Rising Sun Female Society
Queen Caroline Benefit Society
Westgate Female Benefit Society
Queen Caroline Soc. High Bridge
Female Benefit Society
Good Hope Female Society
Friends' Civil Society of Women
Female Benefit Society
St. Ann's Female Benefit Society
Female Friends' Society
Friendly Society of Women
Friendly Benefit Society of Women
North Shore Friendly Society
Hope Society of Women
Benevolent Society of Women
Dent's Hole Female Society
Honourable Friendly Soc. of Women
Female Friends' Society
Byker Hill Female Union Society
Women's Monthly Society
Benefit Societies in Galeshead.
Amicable Tradesmen's Society
Friendly Benefit Society
Hawks' Tradesmen's Society
St. Oswald Melon Lodge of Free
Crown Glassmakers' Society
Female Little Box
Half Moon Female Society
Female Benefit Society
Female Friendly Society
George IV. Female Society
Queen Caroline Benefit Society
Female Big Box
Thus it appears there are at least 165 benefit societies in Newcastle and Gateshead, which certainly evinces a desire amongst the industrious classes to make provision for themselves against the attacks of old age and its consequent infirmities, and to relieve the necessities of their widows and orphans. Of those associations existing in Newcastle, only about sixty-three have been registered in pursuance of the several acts of parliament made and passed for the relief of benefit societies. In societies under the control of those acts, the authority of justices of the peace has, in some instances, been usefully applied in preventing the unjust expulsion of members; but as such societies, as well as others of loftier pretensions, are liable to miscalculate the capabilities of their finances, it, in such cases, becomes necessary for the members to exercise their discretion in lessening the amount of benefits to be paid. (fn. 12) But this being generally opposed by the magistrates, some societies have, in consequence, been dissolved; and others, warned by their fate, are deterred from accepting the protection of the law.
The benefit societies in this town usually allow, to sick or disabled members, from six to eight shillings a week for a stated period: half that sum for another limited period: and, in some instances, when they become pensioners for life through infirmity or old age. they are allowed 2s. or 2s. 6d. a week. Four or five pounds are allowed for the funeral expenses of a member or a member's wife; and widows have a legacy varying from £5 to £10. Few women's societies allow sick-money; but then the funeral expenses of children, husbands, &c. is greater, in proportion to the payments, than in societies composed of the other sex. Taking the average number of members in each of the 165 existing benefit societies in Newcastle and Gateshead at 70, the whole will comprise 11,550 individuals; and, if the average annual payments be taken at 18s. then upwards of £10,000 must be raised every year by these societies, (fn. 13) which is a pleasing proof of the eminent utility of these associations of good fellowship and mutual assurance.
Annual Benefit Societies are also very numerous in Newcastle. There are, at the present time, at least fifty of these associations. Each member usually pays one shilling a week, the amount of which for a year is paid back to a certain number of the members every month, and who draw lots for an early chance; and three-pence a week is paid for the support of sick members. Such part of the latter payment as remains in the hands of the stewards at the termination of the year, is divided amongst the members. In some of these yearly clubs, each member subscribes one shilling to pay the funeral expenses of every member that dies during the year. These societies, which combine the properties of a money menage with those of a benefit society, are computed to comprise at least 5000 members, and to pay in benefits £1600 in one year. (fn. 14);
This establishment commenced on January 10, 1818; and, on the 6th of October following, the sum of £15,100 had been paid in. It was formerly held in the Mayor's Chamber, but was lately removed to the premises formerly occupied by the Tyne Bank, at the end of the Tyne Bridge. The last report of its accounts was as follows:
The Trustees of the Savings Bank established at Newcastle upon Tyne.
The balance due on the 20th November, 1826, was composed as follows:—
Before closing this division of the work, it may be proper to observe that the Alms-house, which formerly stood at the west end of the Low Bridge (see page 154), consisted of one large room. It being pulled down on forming Dean Street, the corporation rented two rooms for the poor inmates of the hospital in the George's Stairs; but, about five years ago, they built a New Hospital, containing two good rooms, in the Manors, and on the north side of All Saints' poor-house. The family of Simpsons of Bradley have two widows in it, and allow each 1s. a week.
The Association for Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was instituted at the Trinity-house in 1825. President, William Clark, Esq.; Treasurer, William Chapman, Esq.; Secretary, Mr. R. Plummer.