Memorial CXXI: The Convalescent Home at Bognor (1872)

Pages 389-401

Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.

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In this section


1. The Will of Robt. Donken, in 1570, has been already set out (see page 289), and the reader upon turning to it will perceive that the testator directs the residue of his rents to be gathered up into the Company's stock for the repair and rebuilding of the trust premises.

2. Under the recent decisions of the Court of Chancery, a doubt appeared to be raised whether or not there was (as previously had been held to be the case) a resulting trust in favour of the Company, or whether the residue was intended by the testator to be dedicated to charitable purposes.

3. Acting therefore upon the suggestion of the Chancery Commissioners upon the latter view, the Company from October 1863 commenced a separate account, and accumulated all the surplus rents and profits until October 1869, when, as considerable sums stood to the credit of the testator's estate, application was made to the Charity Commissioners for a scheme to appropriate the corpus and future rents and profits so as to benefit the destitute poor (which was the intention of the testator as evidenced by his gifts of clothing) by the establishment of a home for their recovery to health upon their discharge from the metropolitan hospitals.

4. The Scheme and Rules made thereunder are given in extenso:—

"Charity Commission.

"In the Matter of the Charity called 'Robert Donkyn's Gift,' in the Parish of St. Botolph, without Bishopsgate, in the City of London.

"The Board of Charity Commissioners for England and Wales having considered an application in writing made to them on the 18th day of February 1870, in the matter of the above-mentioned Charity, under the Common Seal of the Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of Saint John Baptist, in the City of London, usually called 'The Merchant Taylors Company,' being the Trustees of the said Charity. And it appearing to the said Board that the endowment of the said Charity consists of the particulars mentioned in the first Schedule hereto, and that the gross annual income of the said Charity exceeds Fifty Pounds. And that it is desirable that a Scheme should be established for the future regulation of the said Charity. And that the legal estate in the real property belonging thereto should be vested in trust for the said Charity in manner hereinafter mentioned. And upon notice of the intention of the said Board to make an Order to that effect having been given according to the direction of the said Board by advertizement in the Times' newspaper on the 9th, 16th, and 23rd days of September 1871, being more than one calendar month previously to the date hereof, and no notice of any objection to the said proposed Order or suggestion for the variation thereof having been received by the said Board, do hereby order that the land and other hereditaments mentioned in the said first Schedule hereto, and all other real estate and hereditaments (if any) belonging to or held in trust for the said Charity, and all term and estate therein not being copyhold, together with the appurtenances, do vest in the Official Trustee of Charity Lands and his successors, in trust, for the said Charity.

"And the said Board do further Order that the Scheme set forth in the second Schedule hereto be approved and established as the Scheme for the future regulation of the said Charity.

"The first schedule above referred to.

"Real Estate.

"1. A messuage known as Fitzleet House, situate at Bognor, in the County of Sussex, together with the Gardens, lands, and grounds belonging thereto, containing in the whole 7 a. 2 r. 8 p., or thereabouts, and now used for the purposes of a Convalescent Home.

"2. A piece of ground adjoining the above-described premises, situate in the Parish of South Bursted, adjoining the Town of Bognor, and at the South side of an intended new Road called Crescent Place.

"3. A pew numbered 21, in St. John's Church, Bognor, and 4 other sittings numbered 51, 52, 53, and 54, in the back row in the Gallery of the said Church.

"4. Eight messuages or tenements, situate in Sun Street, and numbered from 76 to 83 both inclusive.

"5. A messuage or tenement known as No. 145, Bishopsgate Street, and now in the occupation of Dr. Robert Fowler.

"Personal Estate.

"The sum of 9,060l. 11s. 4d. Consolidated 3l. per Cent. Annuities, standing in the name of the Accountant-General of the Court of Chancery, to an Account 'The Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John Baptist, in the City of London.'

"23,663l. 8s. 10d. like Stock standing to a like Account.

"2,169l. 2s. 7d. like Stock standing to a like Account.

"7,156l. 4s. 2d. like Stock standing to a like Account. (fn. 1)

"The Second Schedule Above Referred To.


Merchant Taylors' Company to have the administration of the Charity as "The Governors" thereof.

"1. The Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John Baptist, in the City of London, usually called 'The Merchant Taylors' Company,' and their successors (hereinafter called 'The Governors') shall be the Trustees or Governors of the Charity, and shall have the administration and management thereof, subject to and in conformity with the provisions of this Scheme.


"2. The Governors shall be at liberty to employ a Clerk, or other similar Officer, for their assistance in the administration of the Charity, and to pay to him a reasonable annual salary out of the income thereof.

Clear income of Charity after payment of expenses of management applicable to support of the Convalescent Home.

"3. The clear annual income of the Charity which shall remain after the payment thereout of the necessary and proper outgoings and expenses of management, and the several annual sums required for providing the specific gifts of clothing and money directed by the Founder (so far as there shall be duly qualified applicants for the same), shall be applied by the Governors in accordance with the provisions of this Scheme in or towards the maintenance and support of the Convalescent Home or Institution hereinafter mentioned.

To be established at Fitzleet House, Bognor.

"4. The said Convalescent Home shall be established and carried on in the Building known as 'Fitzleet House,' situate at Bognor, in the County of Sussex, which has been recently purchased by the said Company with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners, and which building, with the grounds and appurtenances attached thereto, shall be appropriated and used for the purposes of the said Home.

Design of the Convalescent Home.

"5. The design of the said Home shall be the temporary reception, treatment, and maintenance of deserving poor persons of either sex who shall have partially recovered from but shall be still incapacitated to some extent by the effects of an injury or surgical operation, or of any illness not of a contagious or infectious character, with the object of promoting their complete restoration to health.

Committee of Management.

"6. The Governors may, from time to time, appoint a Committee of 12 persons, consisting of the Master and Wardens for the time being, and seven other Members of the Court of Assistants of the said Company, to whom shall be committed the immediate supervision and control of the said Home, and the Inmates, Officers, and Servants thereof, subject to the superior authority and direction of the Governors, and the Members of the said Committee, shall hold office until others shall be appointed in their respective places.

Qualification and selection of Inmates of Home.

"7. The inmates to be placed in the said Home shall be selected by the said Committee after due inquiry from persons who have been recently discharged as Patients from any Hospital in or near London, or from any other duly qualified Applicants whom the said Committee may consider fit and proper objects for admission according to the provisions of this Scheme.

Inmates to be lodged and boarded &c., in the Home.

"8. The inmates shall be lodged and boarded and supplied with all necessary medical attendance in the Home gratuitously, except that in special cases the said Committee, having regard to the circumstances of any Inmate may, if they think fit, require a moderate weekly or other payment to be made by such Inmate towards the cost of his or her maintenance.

Number of Inmates.

"9. The number of Inmates to be admitted to the Home shall also be fixed, from time to time, by the said Committee, having regard to the extent of the available accommodation and the resources of the Charity.

Period of Continuance of Inmates in the Home.

"10. The Inmates shall be allowed to continue in the Home during such period not exceeding three calendar months as shall be fixed, from time to time, by a resolution of the Committee, provided that, in cases of sickness or other necessity, the Committee shall have power to make any necessary extension of that period, but every such case shall be specially reported by the said Committee to the Governors for their approval.

Inmates may be selected as recipients of Clothing Gifts.

"11. Any Inmate having the qualifications required by the Will of Robert Donkyn may, if the Governors think fit, be selected as a recipient of a gift of clothing thereunder.

Officers of Institution.

"12. For the effective conduct of the Home, the Committee may, from time to time, apppoint—

"1st. A duly qualified Medical Officer resident in London or its vicinity, whose duty it shall be to examine the Applicants for admission to the Home, and to report thereon to the Committee.

"2nd. A duly qualified Medical Officer, resident in Bognor or its immediate vicinity, whose duty it shall be to visit and give all necessary Medical attendance and medicines to the Inmates of the Home.

"3rd. A matron, being a deserving woman of not less than 30, or more than 50 years of age at the time of appointment, who shall either have been trained as a Nurse in some Public Metropolitan Hospital, or shall have furnished such other proof of her qualifications as the Committee may require, and who shall reside in the said Home and have the general charge of its domestic and internal management, and of the Inmates and Servants thereof, subject to the directions and authority of the Committee.

"4th. All such Servants and temporary and other Nurses and Attendants as shall in the judgment of the Committee be required, from time to time, for the purposes of the Institution.

Removal and Salaries of Officers.

"13. Every such Medical Officer, Matron, Servant, Nurse, and attendant, shall be removable at any time at the discretion of the Committee who, subject to the approval of the Governors, may also fix from time to time the amount of the salary or remuneration to be paid to any such person out of the income of the Charity.


"14. The Governors may from time to time make and establish proper Rules and Regulations (not being inconsistent with the provisions of this Scheme) for the conduct of their proceedings and of the proceedings of the Committee in connection with the administration of the Charity, and for the government and management of the said Home and the Inmates thereof, and of the said Medical Officers, Matron, Attendants, and Servants.

Scheme to be Printed.

"15. The Governors may cause this Scheme to be printed at the expense of the Charity, and copies may be given by them to any person interested in the Charity, and may be sold at such reasonable prices as the Governors may put upon them.

Questions to be referred to Commissioners.

"16. If any doubt or question shall arise amongst the Governors or any of them, as to the construction or proper application of any of the provisions of this Scheme or the management of the Charity, application shall be made by them to the Charity Comsioners for England and Wales for their opinion and advice, which when given shall be conclusive.

"Sealed by Order of the Board this Twentysixth day of March, One thousand eight dred and seventy-two.
"Henry M. Vane, "Secretary."


"1. That the establishment shall be called the 'Merchant Taylors' Company's Convalescent Home.'

"2. That the Home shall be under the management of a committee consisting of six members of the Court, with the Master and Wardens for the time being.

"3. That the Home shall be for the reception, and maintenance of patients in indigent circumstances, recently or about to be discharged from any of the Hospitals in or near the metropolis, and for such other cases amongst the poor of the metropolis as the Committee may consider fit and proper objects for admission, but principally for those recovering from injuries and surgical operations. No cases of a contagious character will on any account be admitted.

"4. That the Committee shall meet at the Hall for the transaction of the business of the Home every Tuesday at twelve o'clock, when the patients shall attend for examination, and if approved they will be furnished with an order for admittance to the Home, and a free pass by railway to Bognor and back.

"5. That a Minute book shall be kept, in which shall be entered the names of the members of the Committee attending each meeting, and a record of their proceedings, and the said minute book shall be signed by the Chairman presiding at such meeting, and laid before every Court.

"6. That, at present, the number of patients shall be limited to Forty, who shall be Males, and they shall be allowed to remain at the Home for a period not exceeding one calender month, but they may be removed from the Home before the expiration of the month should the Committee think fit to discharge them. In cases of sickness, or other unavoidable necessity, the Committee will extend the residence of a patient at the Home for a longer time.

"7. That proper Books of account shall be kept in which shall be entered all receipts and payments made on behalf of the Home, which Books shall from time to time be audited by the Committee.

"8. That a Medical Officer, resident in London or its vicinity, shall be appointed, who shall hold the appointment during the pleasure of the Committee, and his duty shall be to give his attendance at the Hall on such days and at such hours as the Committee may appoint for the purpose of examining the applicants for admission to the Home, and to report thereon, care being taken that no patient be selected who is not capable of doing every thing for himself.

"9. That a Medical Officer resident in Bognor shall be appointed, who shall hold the appointment during the pleasure of the Committee, and his duty shall be to attend any of the patients in the Home when summoned. He shall enter the particulars of each visit in the book provided for that purpose at the Home.

"10. That the first selection of patients shall be made from the following Hospitals, and such other cases as the Committee may consider eligible and proper, viz.:—

St. Bartholomew's, St. Thomas's, Guy's, London, Middlesex, King's College, Royal Free, University, Charing Cross, Metropolitan Free.

"11. That the present establishment for the Home shall consist of—

"Matron, Cook, Housemaid, Kitchenmaid, Two Gardeners, they shall hold their situations during the pleasure of the Committee on such terms and subject to the performance of such duties respectively as the Committee shall think proper to assign to them.

"12. That the Hospitals from which patients are to be received shall send the patients to the Hall on Tuesdays at twelve o'clock, and shall furnish each of them with a Certificate, stating the nature of the complaint they have been treated for, —the time they have been in the Hospital,—their character,— and the date of their discharge, without which Certificate no application will be entertained, care being taken by the authorities of the respective Hospitals to select only those patients who are deserving and of good character.

"13. That some member or members of the Committee shall periodically visit the Home, and inspect the building, stores, food, &c., and ascertain that the contracts for food, &c. have been duly carried out.

"14. That all bills and charges relative to household and other expenses, including salaries and wages, shall be examined, compared with vouchers, signed by the Matron, and sent up to the Committee monthly for audit and payment, and that all payments be made by cheque.

"15. That any books or other gifts presented to the Home for the use of the patients shall be received subject to the approval of the Committee.

"16. That the Committee shall make a Half-yearly report to the Court, showing the number of patients admitted to the Home, with various particulars relating to them, and some account of the general working of the Establishment.


"1. That she shall reside in the Home, and give her whole time and attention to the duties of her office. She shall be a member of the Church of England, and between the age of thirty-five and fifty. She shall hold her appointment during the pleasure of the Committee, and quit her situation upon three months' notice on either side.

"2. That no one shall reside at the Home with her, except under special circumstances, with the permission of the Committee.

"3. That she shall have the entire supervision of the Establishment, and be responsible to the Committee for its good management, economy, order and efficiency in every department.

"4. That she shall obey all such rules and regulations, and carry into effect and perform all such duties, as may from time to time be prescribed by the Committee.

"5. That she shall take care that no kitchen stuff or article of any kind is sold or given away; and to the best of her ability, prevent perquisites of any description being received by any servant in the establishment. She shall have full power to discharge any servant, within doors, for disobedience, incompetence, or neglect of duty.

"6. That she shall be responsible for the order, cleanliness and general condition of every part of the building; also for the safe keeping and cleanliness of the whole of the clothing, linen and bedding, and shall make an early and late visit to the dormitories and give the necessary directions as to the change of bedding and linen.

"7. That she shall receive all stores, provisions, &c., examine their quality and weight, and compare the quantity with the invoice; she shall be responsible for their safe custody, and daily select and apportion the provisions as ordered for the use of the Inmates.

"8. That she shall keep an Inventory of all the stores, goods, furniture and implements in the Home, and suggest any addition thereto or alteration therein when necessary or expedient, and also take an inventory of the clothing, &c., belonging to each patient on his admission to the Home.

"9. That she shall read prayers and a chapter in the Bible to the patients morning and evening, attend the patients at their several meals, and see that they are duly served and that the food is properly cooked.

"10. That she shall keep the following records and make the following returns:—

(1) A register of the names of the patients, with the particulars relating to them in the form provided. (2) A Diary. (3) A Letter Book. (4) A weekly return of the names, &c., of the patients in the Home in the form provided, to be forwarded to the Hall every Monday, and any other records and returns which the Committee may order, and the records shall be produced for the inspection of the Committee, or any member of it, when required.

"11. That she shall report to the Committee in the weekly return all cases which may be so far improved as to be fit for discharge.

"12. That she shall have power in cases of serious illness of any of the patients to call in the medical officer at Bognor appointed by the Committee, and to employ a nurse if necessary, reporting the case to the Committee, and in the event of the death of any of the patients, she shall immediately inform the Committee and write to the relatives or friends of the deceased, requesting the removal of the body.

"13. That in all reports or references which she may make respecting any of the patients, she shall state the original number which was given to the patient on his ticket of admission to the Home.

"14. That she shall submit to the Committee from time to time any rules or regulations or alterations in the same which she may consider desirable for the proper management of the Home.


"1. Patients shall be admitted to the Home for such periods as the Committee may decide upon, and shall remain in the Home during the pleasure of the Committee. They shall be liable to be discharged for intoxication, swearing, immoral or offensive behaviour, and for neglect of any rule. They will be required to leave the Home, at the discretion of the Surgeon or Matron, if the air of Bognor is found to be unsuitable for them.

"2. Patients shall come provided with a change of linen and a pair of stout shoes for exercise, and on entering the Home they shall deliver up their clothes and railway ticket to the care of the Matron.

"3. A bell will be rung daily at 7 a.m. throughout the Summer (from the First of April to the Thirtieth of September), and at 7.30 a.m. in the Winter (from the First of October to the Thirty-first of March). Patients shall not rise or dress or talk in their Bed-rooms before it is rung.

"4. Patients shall be at liberty to walk within the grounds of the Home previously to Morning Prayers.

"5. Patients, unless prevented by illness, shall attend daily Morning and Evening Prayers in the Home, assembling at such times as may be appointed, and immediately after Evening Prayers they shall retire to their bed-rooms, and half-an-hour afterwards all lights shall be extinguished and all conversation shall cease.

"6. Patients shall make their beds, remove their slops, and scour the floors of their rooms; a Captain shall be appointed to each room, who shall be responsible for the Patients leaving their beds and clothes in proper order.

"7. Patients shall assemble in the Library Ten minutes before the hours fixed for prayers and meals.

"8. Patients who may be able in the judgment of the Matron to do so shall attend Divine Service twice on Sundays at the Church, or some other place of Public Worship. They shall take care to be in their places before the Service commences, and they shall walk in an orderly manner to and from the place of Worship, without loitering by the way.

"9. Patients shall not leave the grounds of the Home on Sundays, save for the purpose of attending a Place of Worship; but on week-days they shall be allowed to take exercise beyond the walls of the Home, accompanied by a Captain, at such times and in such numbers as the Matron may deem consistent with the general good, but in no case shall they be out later than Five o'clock.

"10. Patients on quitting the Home for recreation or exercise shall leave the sitting room in order, and their books, &c., in their proper places. They shall not occupy any seats on the Parade except those marked 'for the use of the Merchant Taylors' Convalescent Home.'

"11. Patients shall not on any pretence whatever enter a public-house, beer-shop, or refreshment-house of any description, or purchase or receive any liquors outside the Home, upon pain of immediate dismissal.

"12. Patients shall not smoke in the house, except in the room appropriated for that purpose during the Winter months, neither shall they play at cards, nor engage in any diversion which may disturb the peace and quietness of the Home.

"13. Patients shall only introduce into the Home such books, papers, or publications as have been previously approved by the Matron.

"14. Patients shall keep to their own apartments and shall not enter any other room, except by order or permission of the Matron.

"15. Patients under 16 years of age shall not enter the Bagatelle or Smoking-room.

"16. Patients shall not go into their bed-rooms during the day without permission.

"17. Patients shall keep their hats, coats, walking shoes, &c., in the places appointed for them.

"18. Patients shall keep their clothes in the places provided for them, and shall on no account leave them about their rooms or on their beds. They shall not wash any article of clothing in the bed-rooms.

"19. Patients whose health will admit of it shall give such assistance to their fellow Patients as the Matron may think necessary. They shall also render such help in the house and grounds as she may require, but unless required, they shall not enter the Kitchen-garden. They shall gather neither fruit nor flowers, neither shall they bring any friend or acquaintance into the Home.

"20. Patients shall not go the Railway Station to meet their comrades on their arrival, or to see them off on their departure.

"21. Patients shall obey such Rules as the Committee or Matron may from time to time make; and every Patient infringing any Rule shall be subject to instant dismissal."

5. After the Home had been in successful operation, the Prison Funds, which have been referred to in a previous Memorial (CXIII.), were, with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners, made applicable to the enlargement of the Home by the addition of 15 beds (making 50 altogether), and to its future maintenance. Nor is the Institution indebted only to the deceased members of the Fraternity, for the gratuitous management of it rests mainly with one member (fn. 2) of the Court, while another has contributed (fn. 3) a sum of 2,000l. for the erection of a building in which the inmates may be assembled for their improvement and enjoyment. (fn. 4)


  • 1. By Orders of the Court of Chancery, dated 20th and 27th February 1874, portions of these funds were reinvested in freehold estates,—viz., 66 and 67, Cheapside, and 3, Angel Court, in the City of London.
  • 2. Mr. John Costeker.
  • 3. Sir James Tyler, Knight. His original intention was to erect a "Chapel," but it was afterwards thought better by him to erect a Hall for the use of the patients in lectures, readings, &c.
  • 4. A great measure of the success of the institution is attributable to the indefatigable Lady Superintendent, Mrs. Guy, at the Home.