Category Archives: Bellord

Downside’s War Memorial – The Nave Of The Abbey Church. August 1925

Downside Abbey

This contains a brace of great, great uncles and aunts, a recently widowed great, great uncle, and a first cousin twice removed.

DOWNSIDE’S WAR MEMORIAL – THE NAVE OF THE ABBEY CHURCH.

The dignity, the magnificence and the friendliness which mark great functions at Downside were present in more than their usual abundance last Saturday on the occasion of the solemn opening of Downside’s war memorial—the nave of the abbey church. The weather was perfect; the capacity of the place was tested to its utmost by a representative gathering of interested well-wishers; the hospitality of the monks was worthy of their best traditions; and the ceremonies had all the stateliness and symmetry peculiar to Downside. Even in its curtailed stages the abbey church lent itself well to great ceremonies; but on Saturday, and now nearly complete, the spectacle of the crowded building during High Mass was truly magnificent. The fine sanctuary with the two Cardinals and their assistants; the choir filled with the clergy of the diocese, specially invited; the monks and the choir; the body of the building filled with the school and the friends of Downside, made a vivid, wonderful picture. High Mass was sung by His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Gasquet being present in the sanctuary. The separate processions of these dignitaries as they entered and left the abbey church, composed of Bishops and Abbots, the secular and regular clergy of the diocese and the monks of the community, winding their way through the aisles of the old and new building, were most impressive in their mixture of humility and medieval splendour. Cardinal Gasquet’s pro-cession, as a son of the house, was singularly picturesque and touching. The Mass was Christopher Tye’s Euge Bone; the proper of the Mass was plainchant. The deacon of the Mass was Dom Aidan Trafford; the sub-deacon Dom David Knowles; assistant priest, Dom Hugh Connolly. The two assistants at the throne, Dom Ethelbert Horne and Dom Lucius Graham; assistants to Cardinal Gasquet, Dom Odo Langdale, Dom Stephen Rawlinson. The master of ceremonies, Dom Charles Pontifex, assisted by Dom Paul Brookfield.

THE SERMON.

The Bishop of Clifton preached the sermon, his whole chapter being present capitulariter. A close friend of Downside, he knew many of the boys whose memories were that day being perpetuated; and his words, scholarly, sympathetic and paternal, met with the demands of the moment, for they stimulated as well as they soothed. In illustrating the fight of centuries between ” barbarism and the Creed of Christ “ he showed how Europe in the sixth century, through the savagery of Totila who loved war, and the saintliness of St. Benedict who loved peace, became divided into two main camps, and how ” after years of slumbering hostility the last culminating conflict between the modern representatives of those two camps came in our own day.” The Great War was, he said, ” the crowning struggle between the brood of Totila and, whether they knew it or not, the heirs of the centuries that had been moulded by Rome and St. Benedict . . . And so among the youth and manhood of England the sons of Downside, both as soldiers and chaplains, were well to the front when in Belgium our first small but gallant force bore the brunt of the enemy’s onslaught; and, when recruited and augmented, they entered upon that long weary and wasting war in the trenches. . . . And so they went down, cheerfully and gallantly, one hundred and nine of them, some of them mere boys. . . . In that day Deborah sung and said ‘ 0 ye of Israel that willingly offered your lives todanger, bless the Lord’; but this day (to-day) the cry of the Prophetess is taken up by the Foster-Mother of our own warriors, nor Mother of the fallen only but of them, too, who came out of the fiery ordeal unscathed. . . . She seems to say I sent you forth with mourning and weeping, but the Lord has brought you back to me with joy and gladness for ever. This soaring nave, these graceful aisles . . . will stand unto all time as a memorial to you, not an empty memorial . . . but a living home where Heaven and earth ever meet. Where soul can draw nigh to soul. . . . Your spirits will for ever haunt this holy place; the memory of your deeds, of your simplicity and gallantry, of your long-sustained patience, of your cheery comradeship, of your fidelity to God and country, will be for ever graven on the hearts of children yet to be mine, who will worship where you worshipped, nourishing the same holy thoughts and high inspirations and drinking large draughts out of the heart of Him over whom death bath no longer power.’ ‘ . . . Ending his eloquent and touching discourse with the hope that with religion in a more flourishing state, wars might entirely cease, he said, ” Thoughts and hopes and visions such as these must assuredly rise in the hearts and gather to the eyes of all of us whose lot it is to take some part in the solemn festivities of this memorable and happy day.”

Turning to the two Cardinals, the Bishop concluded his stirring and beautiful sermon with the words : ” My Lord Cardinal of Westminster, none but yourself could have lent so proper and becoming a lustre to this monastic celebration; for on your shoulders lies the Roman pallium, the emblem of jurisdiction worn by Augustine of Canterbury, and Dunstan of Glaston, and Elphege of Bath, and Lanfranc and Anselm of Bec, all of them monks of St. Benedict, whose example in upholding the faith of our forefathers you emulate so nobly. And without your presence, my Lord Cardinal of Santa Maria in Campitelli, Downside’s cup of joy would have been far from full to-day. Just twenty years ago, at the opening of this choir of your beloved Abbey, you told in touching words the story of the makers of Downside. Downside proclaims to-day with gratitude and with love that among the names of her makers, all great men and holy, last but by no means least, your own will be ever included.”

THE NEW NAVE.

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott

” This holy place “ is the new building—seven bays of a spacious nave, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott; and they form a noble building which, bridging the ornate handsome transept, carries on and completes in harmonious fashion the chaste severity of the choir. The total length of the nave is, at present without the future three bays, 112 feet, the portion just added is too feet, and the total length of the church when finished will be 362 feet. The width of the nave, with aisles, fifty-six feet. From floor to groin the height of the nave is seventy feet. The new nave is not only a noble and gracious structure from the artist’s point of view but it is a church inspiringly devotional. One of its many beauties is the fact that its acoustic properties are perfect. Small, light voices in the sanctuary can be heard at the great west door. This surely is the test of good building.

The music, arranged and conducted by Dom Thomas Symons (choirmaster), was admirable. The choir, its sweet precision augmented by the fervour of the whole school, gave a rendering of O felix Roma, which was a stirring addition to the programme. The organ was played with skill by Dom Gregory Murray, the voluntaries being chosen with taste and executed in felicitous style.

SPEECHES AT THE LUNCHEON.

Mass over, the Abbot of Downside, Dom Leander Ramsay, the monks and the school, who together with the guests, clerical and lay, numbered about seven hundred (guest-master Dom Christopher Batley), sat down to luncheon in a marquee erected on the cricket field. A Royal Artillery Band played during the meal and in the afternoon. There were five short speeches : by the Cardinal Archbishop, Cardinal Gasquet, the Bishop of Clifton, the Abbot of Downside, and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott..

ABBOT RAMSAY.

Proposing the health of the guests, with which he coupled the names of Their Eminences Cardinals Bourne and Gasquet, the Abbot of Downside spoke of the completion of the nave of the church as not only an addition to that edifice itself but a multi-plication, as the beauties of the earlier parts of the building had now been greatly enhanced. Years ago, said the Abbot, during the agonies of war, that form of a memorial to the old boys of Downside School had been discussed by the school authorities, and the idea met with ready acceptance. Thus their new nave would stand as a memorial of the Old Boys of Downside, and also as an external memorial of the Christian ideals for which they gave their lives, besides being a further work accomplished for the glory of God. He trusted that the boys who in the future came to worship in that portion of the church which was built under such conditions would receive influences which would have an effect upon their whole lives.

Welcoming the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Abbot said : ” We thank him for his presence to-day ; and also for singing solemn Mass. We thank him also for the personal friendship he has always shown to Downside, and also because he comes to us as the representative of the hierarchy of England. By his presence Cardinal Bourne has shown his continued interest in the work which this community is endeavouring to do in the far west and has for some time been trying to accomplish to further the work of the Church of God in this country.” Abbot Ramsay spoke also of the pleasure given them that day by , the presence of Cardinal Gasquet, who really looked on Downside, the speaker believed, as his home. It was to the Cardinal that Downside owed the origin, fifty years ago, of the scheme for building its abbey church ; the inception of that difficult task was due to His Eminence’s initiative and courage. At that time their financial resources were more slender than they had since become ; but Cardinal Gasquet faced the enterprise, and their great abbey church might virtually be looked upon as his memorial. Continuing, the Abbot thanked the Bishop of Clifton for his sermon. He believed, he said, that his lordship looked upon Downside as his second home. Members of that community were always glad when the Bishop came amongst them, and he really was, in a true sense, ” one of the family.” The Bishop of Clifton had identified himself in a wonderful way with the fortunes of their monastic house. Next the Abbot welcomed at that celebration many Old Boys, some of whom he knew had submitted to the same hazards and dangers of war as had the fallen whom they commemorated that day. They had done their duty in like manner ; and had earned the gratitude of their fellow-countrymen. The Abbot next welcomed, the parents of the Old Boys whose memory they commemorated ; and finally extended a welcome to Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of the new nave. He congratulated Sir Gilbert on the manner in which he had accomplished his task. He had added to the work of two previous schemes of construction which already existed, and had succeeded in expressing his own individuality, without destroying the character of the earlier work.

CARDINAL BOURNE.

Cardinal Bourne

Replying to the toast, Cardinal Bourne spoke of that day as an occasion for devout thankfulness for what had been accomplished. His Eminence complimented Cardinal Gasquet upon the unhesitating boldness with which he had embarked on the scheme for building the abbey church fifty years ago. For the Catholics of this country, he said, no dreams could be too great, no schemes too large, no enterprise too far-reaching, it they were to do the work which God had committed to their hands. They owed a debt of gratitude to all who had been associated with this work. The Cardinal recalled that one of his previous visits to Downside was some thirteen years ago, when the new school buildings were opened. He paid another visit some four years ago, when the relics of their Irish Catholic martyr, Blessed Oliver Plunket, whose sufferings formed a bond of association between the Irish and the English Catholics, were placed in their present shrine. Through the prayers of that martyr, no doubt great spiritual blessings had already rested upon that foundation. Many of their countrymen who did not yet accept the authority of the Holy See must be impressed by the evidence all over the country of what their communion could accomplish in England.

CARDINAL GASQUET.

Cardinal Gasquet

Cardinal Gasquet, who followed, told a story of his Downside days to illustrate his point, subsequently made, that for years it has been a mistake on the part of many Catholics to embark upon building schemes which turned out ultimately to be far too small. When, said His Eminence, he first urged, he desirability of building the church at Downside the President-General was appealed to to stop ” this lunacy.” The Cardinal, in his speech, traced the successive steps in the building of Downside Abbey. First came the transepts and the choir, then the lady chapel and the other beautiful chapels, and finally their nave. All that now remained was to complete two or three bays and the tower. Cardinal Gasquet announced that a holiday would be granted to the boys next term in commemoration of this celebration, and concluded by proposing the health of the architect.

Sir Gilbert Scott briefly replied.

The Bishop of Clifton, in a short and happy speech, expressed his thanks for the many kindly references made to himself by various speakers that day. The Catholics of England, said his lordship, had a very good leader in Cardinal Bourne, who knew the mind of the Church and always let the public have it. They were greatly indebted to the presence of His Eminence.

THE CLOSING CEREMONIES.

On Sunday the Mass, sung by the Bishop of Clifton, was for the Old Gregorians who returned from the war. The great requiem for the fallen, on Monday, a most impressive Mass, was sung by Bishop Keatinge, Army Bishop; all the ministers on the altar on this occasion being ex-chaplains; Cardinal Gasquet present on the throne; the O.T.C. in the body of the church in full uniform. This stately ceremony rivalled the function of Saturday, some thinking the austere beauty of the latter outshone the magnificence of the former; but each in its lofty fashion suited the occasion.

After the Mass Sir Hugh Clifford, G.C.M.G., in the presence of the O.T.C., the monks and friends, unveiled the memorial tablets at the west door, on which are recorded the names of the dead : and with that solemnity the ceremonies at Downside ended.

THE GUESTS.

The prelates and clergy present included : His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Cardinal Gasquet, the Bishop of Clifton, the Archbishop of Cardiff the Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Butt, Bishop Vaughan, Bishop Keatinge, the Abbot of Buckfast, the Abbot of Belmont, the titular Abbot of Glastonbury, Mgr. Provost Russell ; Canons Lee, Chard, Davey, Lyons, Sugden, Murphy, O’Riordan ; Mgr Barnes, Mgr. Watson, Mgr. Pyke, Mgr. Coote ; Father Bede Jarrett, Provincial O.P. ; Father Prior of Wincanton, O.D.C. Father Daniel, O.M.C. ; Father Guardian, O.F.M., of Clevedon Father Meyer, S. J. ; Dora Philip Langdon, ; Fathers Bilsborrow, Carroll, Byrne, Jackson, Long, Groomes, Hackett, Grorod, Hudson, Morvin, O’Sullivan, Valluet, Iles, Hayes, Ellis, Cashman, and O’Connell.

The laity present were : Mr. and Mrs. Allan, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Armour, Mrs. Awdry, Mr. and Mrs. Baker, Mr. E. J. Bellord, Mrs. Bethell, Count and Countess Blucher, Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Dyne, Mrs. Byrne, Mr. and Mrs. Bisgood, Mrs. Callender, Mrs. FitzGerald, Mrs. Cawston, Mrs. Cocquerel, Mr. and Mrs. Coke, Mrs. Collingridge, Mrs. and Miss Coppinger, Capt. and Mrs. Crichton-Stuart, Mrs. Cryan, Mrs. and Miss Chichester, Mrs. Maidlow-Davis, Mr. and Mrs. de Cosson, Mr. and Mrs. Devas, Major and Mrs. Dorehill, Mr. Julian Duggan, Col. and Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. W. A. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Finnigan, Mr. Justice and Mrs. Foster, Mrs. and Miss Gleadell, Sir Charles and Lady Gordon-Watson, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Green-Armytage, Mrs. Greenwood, Mrs. Hayward, Mr. and Mrs. Hernu, Mrs. Leary, Mrs. Heydon, Mrs. Sherborne, Mrs. and Miss Inns, Mrs. Keenan, Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs. Kestell, Mrs. Lattey, Mr. and Mrs. A. Le Sueur, Mrs. Lethbridge, Mrs. Lewton-Brain, Mrs. Mackenzie, Mr. and Mrs. McCormack, Mrs. and Miss MacDermot, Col. and Mrs. Macmillan, Mrs. Marshall, Lady Ware, Mr. T. Mathew, Professor and Mrs. Maxwell-Lefroy, Mrs. May, Sir Thomas Molony, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. and Miss Morrison, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. O’Connor, Mr. and Mrs. Oldham, Major and Mrs. Pettit, Mr. and Mrs. Pettit, Mr. and Mrs. Pierson, Mrs. and Miss Poett, Mr. Powys-Lybbe, Mrs. Purdon, Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Radcliffe, Mr. Everard Radcliffe, Sir James and Lady Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, Lady Rose, Sir Mark and Miss Sheldon, Sir Dodington and Lady Sherston-Baker, Col. and Mrs. Sleeman, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Squire, Mr. and Mrs. Steel, Mr. Wolseley, The Misses Stonor, Mr. and Mrs. Stowell, Mr. E. Sumner, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Thompson, Miss E. Eckersley, Mr. and Mrs. Thornely, The Baroness Van der Straten-Waillet, Mrs. Walford, Capt. and Mrs. Wegg-Prosser, Mr. Francis Weld, Dr. Ware, Capt. Joseph Warrington, Lt.-Col. Alfred V. Agius, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Arathoon, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Baker, Mr. G. Bellord, Mr. C. F. Blount, Mr. C. F. Bull, Mr. H. J. Bunbury, Mr. C. F. Bates, Mr. and Mrs. Gerard E. H. Butterfield, Mr. C. J. Byrne, Mr. D. N. Byrne, Mr. F. L. Byrne, Viscount and Viscountess Campden, Mr. H. C. Callaghan, The Hon. Charles Clifford, Mr. A. Cryan, Mr. J. Cuming, Capt. D. W. Daly, Mr. R. D. S. Daly, Mr. Francis W. Denman, Capt. Hubert de Trafford, Mr. Rudolph de Trafford, Mr. P. H. de Bromhead, Mr. A. Divan, Mr. G. D. Dillon, Mr. A. J. Ellison, Mr. R. C. S. Ellison, Mr. H. O. Evennett, Mr. J. Ferrers, Mr. Roger Ford, Mr. T. E. Fox-Hawes, Mr. C. H. French, Mr. B. F. Giles, Mr. F. W. Grey, Capt. Hubert Hanley, Mr. G. E. Hecht, The Hon. Martyn Hemphill, Mr. Matthew Houghton, Capt. Noel Huth, Mr. B. Rawdon Jackson, The Rev. F. R. James, Mr. N. D. Jennings, Lord Killeen, Mr. M. B. Koe, Mr. Francis Langdale, Mr. R. Lamb, Mr. R. F. Lethbridge, Mr. T. M. Ling, Mr. James MacLachlan, Mr. R. Maidlow-Davis, Lt.-Col. and Mrs. Maskell, Mr. M. W. B. May, The Hon. Michael Morris, Mr. J. J. Mostyn, Mr. and Mrs. John Mulhall, Mr. James Mathew, Mr. Robert Mathew, Mr. C. Nichol-son, Mr. L. V. Parker, Mr. J. A. Pearson, Mr. George Rendel, Mr. T. St. A. Ronald, Mr. R. N. Roskell, Mr. Leslie Rowell, Mr. W. B. Rumann, Mr. G. L. Russell, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Ryan, Major T. W. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Stokes, Mr. Martin Saunders, Mr. George Sumner, Mr. R. R. Stokes, The Hon. John Stourton, Mr. Anthony Stokes, Mrs. P. S. Stokes, Sir Richard Throckmorton, Mr. Harold Turnbull, Mr. K. Turnbull, Mr. H. P. Turnbull, Mr. B. R. Turnbull, Mr. T. F. Turner, Mr. S. N. Turner, Baron Guy Van der Straten-Waillet, Mr. William Vowles, Mr. R. R. A. Walker, Mr. M. C. Walter, Mr. R. J. Woodroffe, Mr. A. B. Woods, Mr. and Mrs. Bulfin, Miss Symes, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Baker, Mr. Thomas F. Batt, Mr. and Mrs. Cary-Elwes, Mrs. Chute, Sir Hugh and Lady Clifford, Mr. and Mrs. Kidston, Mr. and Mrs. Segrave Daly, Mr. and Mrs. Ellison, Mr. and Mrs. Eyre, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fisher, Mrs. Fogarty, The Countess of Gainsborough, Mr. George N. Gresley, Mr. Herrenberger, Mrs. Hyatt, Lt.-Col. and Mrs. Mainwaring, Dr. and Mrs. Langran, Mrs. Monk, Mrs. P. M. Payne, Mr. and Mrs. Pontifex, Mr. J. F. Radcliffe, Dr. Ryan, Mr. John Thatcher, Col. and Mrs. Trevor-Cory, Miss Agnes Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Alban Woodroffe, Mr. A. R. T. Woods, Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Sumner, The Rev. Mr. Mostyn and Miss Mostyn, The Rev. Mr. Freeman, Mr. Dean, Sir John O’Connell, M. and Madame Unzue, Commander and Mrs. Hippisley, The Hon. Mrs. Strachey, Mr. and Mrs. J. Sumner Dury, Mr. and Mrs. Barlow, Lady Hoare, Miss Freame, Miss Christmas, Mr., Madame and Miss de Navarro, Col. Huntley G. Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher, Mr. and Mrs. Pike, Major and Mrs. Leadbitter, Mrs. Brookfield, Mr. Parnell, Mr. Glyde, Mrs. Scrope, Lady Hylton, Mr. and Mrs. White, Mr. A. K. W. Peacock, Major and Mrs. Stapleton-Bretherton, Mr. and Mrs. King, The Rev. and Mrs. Sparrow, Dr. John Taylor, Miss Denham, Mr. Ward, Dr. Wigmore, Mr. George H. Wheeler, Mr. Alec Waley, Sir George Oatley, Mr. George Gregory, Dr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Alfred Jones, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Le Sueur, Mr. Wylie, Mr. and Mrs. Lush, Mr. and Mrs. Watts, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Cunningham, Monsieur and Madame Cartel, Mr. and Mrs. Woollen, Mr. and Mrs. Moorat, Mr. and Mrs. Davies, Mr. Leeming, Mrs. Emery, Mr. and Mrs. Brameld, Mr. Goosens, Major Fryer, Mr. and Mrs. Harriss, Dr. and Mrs. Pollard, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, Miss Hickie, Miss Holden, Miss O’Neill, Dr. Scales, Mr. Chambers, and Dr. and Mrs. Mitchell.

The above text was found on p.12,1st August 1925, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

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The Annual Dinner Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor 1883

Albion Tavern, 172 & 173 Aldersgate Street, Aldersgate EC1

I wasn’t going to do any more of these for a while. There are relatively few members of the family there. Uncle Edmund (Bellord), and cousin John, as well as Frank Harwood Lescher, who is a first cousin by marriage (to Mary Grehan – Paddy Grehan III’s daughter), he’s also the nephew of Harriet Grehan (neé Lescher) who is also Mary Grehan’s step-grandmother. herman Lescher is his brother.

The main reason for posting this one is the absolutely extraordinary speech by the chairman. I can’t quite work out if he’s scolding them, teasing them, speaking more bluntly than he intended it to sound, or whether the “highly felicitous terms” and “equally happy manner” are just euphemisms for a bit pissed.

The annual dinner of the Benevolent Society took place on Monday at the Albion, Aldersgate-street, and was presided over by the Hon. Mr. Justice Day, supported by the Bishop of Emmaus. Among those present were Mgr. Goddard, Canons Gilbert, D.D., V.G., Wenham, Moore, O’Halloran, McGrath, and Murnane; Very Revv. P. Fenton, President of St. Edmund’s College, Stephen Chaurain, S.M.,Vincent Grogan, Michael Kelly, D.D., and Michael Watts Russell ; Revv. W. E. Addis, J. J. Brenan, D. Canty, G. Carter, C. Conway, D.D., C. A. Cox, J. E. Crook, G. S. Delaney, E. English, M. Fanning, W. Fleming, J. Hussey, C. Harington Moore, E. F. Murnane, T. F. Norris, P. O’Callaghan, M. O’Connell, D. O’Sullivan, E. Pennington, Leo Thomas, D. Toomey-Vincent, C.P., T. Walsh, and J. Wright ; the Abbé Toursel, and the Abbé Richard ; Sir James Marshall and Judge Stonor ; Drs. Carré, Hewitt, and McDonell ; Messrs. J. Bans, W. Barrett, C. J. Standon Batt, E. J. Bellord, J. G. Bellord, A. J. Blount, George Blount, James Brand, Arthur Butler, George Butler, George Butler, junior, John Christie, H. A de Colyar, E de V. Corcoran, J. Conway, E. Curties;, Samuel H. Day, W. H. Dunn, V. J. Eldred, A. Guy Ellis, R. M. Flood, E. J. Fooks, J. Fox, Garret French, J. B. Gallini, W. O. Garstin, Dickson Gray, E. Hackney, W. B. Hallett, J. S. Hansom, A. Hargrave, W. D. Harrod, A. Hawkins, A. Hernu, H. Hildreth, Thomas Hussey, Thomas Hussey, junior, J. J. Keily, K.S.G., Stuart Knill, K.S.G., G. P. Kynaston, Denis Lane, F. D. Lane, C. Temple Layton, F. Harwood Lescher, Herman Lescher, Sidney Lickorish, W. H. Lyall, G. S. Lynch, J. P. McAdam, Francis McCarthy, M. McSheehan, James Mann, J. J. Merritt, Wilfrid Oates, T. O’Neil, Bernard Parker, F. R. Wegg-Prosser, L. J. Ratton, Eugene Rimmel, E. W. Roberts, G. St. Aubyn, M. A. Santley, Joseph Scoles, A. W. C. Shean, Charles Spurgeon, C.C., Philip Thornton, M. E. Toomey, G. A. Trapp, E. F. Devenish Walshe, John Wareing, Thomas Welch, and Stephen White.

After the concluding grace had been said by the Bishop of Emmaus, Mr. Justice Day in giving the health of the Pope, said he really did not know how to deal with his Holiness without incurring ecclesiastical censure. If he wished him a long life, he might be accused of desiring to keep him out of heaven, if a short one he would be denounced as a traitor. But of this thing he was sure he could leave the toast of the Pope to the good wishes of such an assembly as he had the honour to preside over.

“The Queen, “The Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family,” were the next toasts.

Mr. Justice Day then rose to propose ” Success to the Benevolent Society.” He found it was usual to make an appeal for the charity, and if he did not make one it would be no fault of their excellent secretary (Mr. A. Butler, whose name was received with loud cheers), who had filled his (the chairman’s) pockets with details and statistics of the society. But the more he respected their secretary the more he resisted him. He was not going to make an appeal, He was afraid he could not make use of the stock excuse of want of custom of public speaking, nor could he say he was a man that knew nothing about charity, for he was a most charitable man (and he could lay his hand on his heart when he said so). He had been engaged all his life in getting for others what they could not get for themselves. He had had to appeal to juries for justice which judges denied. What would be the good of any appeal from him ? He saw before him a number of well-known charitable gentlemen who came there full of interest in the Benevolent Society and determined to support it to the best of their means. What more could they desire? He had no faith in after dinner speeches. If he attempted to rise into the higher regions of oratory, he would be sure to break down and fall into weariness and dulness. He saw on the title page of their report that this was stated to be ” the oldest Catholic charity in the metropolis,” he presumed that meant the oldest charity in the hands of Catholics, for it was a very long way off from being the oldest, Catholic charity in London was well known by its ancient charitable endowments. This charity was established at a time of hardship, penalty, and trials of our ancestors, and they naturally sought a way of supplying the wants of the old and infirm of their community and founded this charity, and he called on them to support it by their generous contributions this day. He was glad to see the merchants and bankers of the City of London contributed to this excellent work, which was entirely carried out by unpaid officials. He saw they gave gave 150 pensioners what ?—three and four shillings a week !  Not enough for the comforts, barely enough for the necessaries of life !  Let them think of that and of the many applicants who were eagerly waiting to get even this small pittance to eke out their subsistence for the few remaining years of their life.

[According to “The Art of Dining; or, gastronomy and gastronomers”  by Abraham Hayward. pub. John Murray, London 1852,  the ordinary price for the best dinner at this house [The Albion] (including wine) is three guineas. If the prices were still about the same in 1883, the dinner cost the equivalent of one month’s pension for each of the 150 pensioners.]

The collection was then made, which amounted to £1,040.

The Chairman afterwards proposed, in highly flattering terms, the health of his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, for whom the Bishop of Emmaus replied, in eulogistic expressions, of the great charity of his Eminence to all men.

Sir James Murshall proposed, and the Very Rev. Canon Murnare replied for, the ” Bishop of Southwark.”

The Bishop of Emmaus, in highly felicitous terms, proposed the health of the Hon. Justice Day, who replied in an equally happy manner.

Then followed the healths of the “Bishop of Emmaus,”  “The Clergy of Westminster and Southwark,”  “The Stewards,” given by the hon. chairman, and replied to by Judge Stonor, after which the proceedings terminated.

1st December 1883, Page 34

The Annual Dinner Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor 1901

The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. was the oldest Catholic charity in London  founded in 1761 It’s a nice worthy Catholic, and City cause, and it’s good to see members of the family there. This year there weren’t that many, but at least Great Grandpa was there, even if he was the only O’Bryen that year. Also present were Uncle Wilfrid (Parker) his brother-in-law, his cousin Frank Harwood Lescher, and Frank’s cousin Joseph S. Lescher [by then a papal Count]. The only surprise is that John Roper Parkington wasn’t there, but maybe he had a cold.

 

The annual dinner of the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor was held at the Albion, Aldersgate-street, on Monday evening. The Hon. Mr. Justice Walton presided, and there were also present the Bishop of Emmaus, the Bishop of Southwark, Sir Westby Perceval, K.C.M.G., Colonel Maguire, Major J. H. White, V.D. ; the Very Revv. Provost Moore, Canon Johnston, D.D., V.G., Canon Keatinge, Canon McGrath, Canon Murnane, Canon Pycke, Canon White ; Commendatore Hicks, K.C.S.G. ; Captain Shean ; the Revv. W. V. Allanson, D.3., Thomas Carey, Alexander Charnley, S.J., George Cologan, W. J. Condon, C. A. Cox, G. B. Cox, J. Crowley, George Curtis, E. du Plerny, J. Egan, Edmund English, E. Escarguel, M. Fanning, Dean Fleming, Roderick Grant, James Hayes, W. J. Hogan, D. Holland, S. E. Jarvis, 1.C., William L. Keatinge, Hugh Kelly, Michael Kelly, O.S.A., D.D., P. McKenna, E. B. Mostyn, E. F. Murnane, Edward Murphy, J. M. Musgrave, Francis J. Sheehan, Edward Smith, Francis Stanfield, J. S. Tasker, G. B. Tatum, Lea Thomas, S.M., Louis Toursel, Felix J. Watters, S.M., D.D., A. E. Whereat, D.D. ; and Messrs. Frank Beer, J. Nugent Burke, John Carnegie, John Christie, A. K. Connolly, James Connolly, John J. Connolly, J. A. Connolly, S, Frederick Connolly, John Conway, James Donovan, P. F. Dorte, LL.B., Cecil Dwyer, Reginald B. Fellows, M.A., H. M. Fisher, R. M. Flood, P. J. Foley, Francis T. Giles, Anthony Hasslacher, Charles Hasslacher, J. E. Hill, James D. Hodgson, S. Taprell Holland (hon. treasurer), Thomas Holland, Henry J. Hudson, John Hussey, William Hussey, J. Virtue Kelly, Joseph F. Lescher, J.P., D.L., F. Harwood Lescher, Austin Lickorish, Bernard McAdam, James P. McAdam (hon. secretary), J. M. McGrath, Ernest A. O’Bryen, Wilfrid W. Parker, R. J. Phillips, Herbert Plater, B. Rooney, L.L. Schiller, E. Simone, Joseph Sperati, Paul Strickland, Francis P. Towsey, Joseph S. R. Towsey, William Towsey, John M. Tucker, George Walton, J. Arthur Walton, George Wesley, A. E. White, Basil J. White, C. B. Wildsmith, M. J. Wildsmith, &c.

The Chairman, in proposing the first toast of the evening, ” His Holiness the Pope and his Majesty the King,” said : Through the world his Holiness is looked upon as the principal authority in spiritual matters, as his Majesty the King personifies the principal authority in temporal matters. Not many days since I had the honour of dining with the Goldsmiths’ Company, and the first toast, according to the ancient custom of the Company, was the Church and King. We translate that toast in the same spirit of loyalty. (Hear, hear.) I ask you to drink to the health of our Holy Father Leo XIII., to his health and his well-being. May that venerable life, which has been so fruitful of blessing to the Church and mankind, be still further prolonged to be a guidance to his children throughout the world. (Loud cheers.) One cannot forget that this is the first time for more than sixty years that the toast of the King has been proposed at the annual dinner of the Benevolent Society. The occasion carries our minds back to the number of years which that great Sovereign—the late Queen Victoria—ruled over this great realm with such magnificent results, and at the same time carries our minds forward with great expectations and great hopes. (Cheers.)

The toast was acknowledged with musical honours.

The next toast was that of ” Queen Alexandra, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the other members of the Royal Family,” a toast which the Chairman remarked would arouse the same feelings of personal devotion as the previous toast.

The toast was received with enthusiasm.

THE SOCIETY.,
The Chairman rose and said : Gentlemen, I have now to ask you to drink to the success of the Benevolent Society. The Society has appealed to me very warmly and sincerely ever since I first knew it. In the first place it is a benevolent society in a very special sense. 1 think it is a most useful thing, a most excellent thing, that it should bring us together in pursuit of a charitable object, and I think it is also a good thing that it should bring us together in a friendly and social gathering. (Hear, hear.)

I am sure it is very true, as I have often heard it said by one whom we have lost, and for whom I shall always have the greatest possible reverence and affection—the late Lord Russell of Killowen—(cheers)—that if we are to succeed as we ought to do in this city one thing is wanted amongst Catholics, and that is greater unity. (Cheers.) The more we can see of each other, the more the laity can see of the clergy at gatherings like this the better it is for us and the stronger will be our position in this city, and the greater will be the success which we shall attain in every undertaking we have in hand. (Hear, hear.) The history of the Benevolent Society, although, as far as I can see, its records are not very voluminous, is very interesting. It was founded in 1761, and this takes our minds back to the time when to be a Catholic was to be a criminal, for a priest to say Mass was a capital offence, and for a Catholic to send a child to a Catholic school was an offence which might entail forfeiture of all he possessed. The Society couples us up and links us with the Catholics of old days, those who before the time of the establishment of the hierarchy and before Catholic Emancipation struggled and fought priests and laity for the faith. We are proud to know that we are now carrying on a work which was begun in the old days by the ” heroes “ who kept alive the faith. From the year 1761 we go to 1788 and ten years later, during which the Penal Laws had been repealed, at least to a very large extent. At the first annual gathering the amount subscribed was £ 53 Later on the Society met at ” The Five Bells,” Moorfields, and the annual gathering took place in “The Three Mariners,” Fore-street. Later on the meeting took place in Moorfields Chapel. In 1849 the amount subscribed at the annual dinner was £ 349. In 1857 the name of Canon Gilbert—(cheers)—who was so much revered not only by the Society, but by Catholics in all parts of the country, joined the Committee, and the name of the Rev. James Laid Patterson, now the Right Rev. Bishop of Emmaus, was included in the list. (Cheers.) Passing to 1861 we find the amount subscribed was £ 574.

ITS WORK.

And now I turn to more recent days, and I find that the amount spent and distributed during the last year was £1,484 13s. 61, besides some money for coals distributed at Christmas. I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves upon the success of this venerable and most useful Society. (Hear, hear.) It seems to me that there are two forms of benevolence to which objection cannot possibly be taken. One is the good work of assisting children in their education, and especially the poor children of the Catholic poor. (Hear, hear.) It is necessary that all Catholic children should have an efficient education in order to prepare them for the battle of life. (Hear, hear.) That is one form of good work which has been done in the past and in the way of building our poor schools. I am glad to see a spirit arising—it is a resurrection, it is a revival—of realising the importance of doing something for the education of our boys in our higher schools in the way of establishing exhibitions and scholarships which may assist a boy whose parents may not be in position to afford it, so that these Catholic boys may take their proper place in life. The other kind of work to which I allude is rendering assistance to those who have fought the battle and have failed. (Hear, hear.) That is a work which the Society undertakes. One of the saddest features of modern life is the necessity for something in the nature of old age pensions. Amongst Catholics in London this Society endeavours to give that assistance, and to do that most excellent work, of coming to the rescue of those who in their old age, by sickness, by misfortune, need the assistance of some charity. I know I shall not appeal to you in vain for subscriptions. We have 190 pensioners, we want to increase that number to 200. (Cheers.) I ask you to-night to support, as indeed you always do, but even more so this most deserving charity, and speaking personally it is a great pleasure to me to preside at the gathering. (Cheers.)

BISHOPS AND CLERGY.

Sir Westby Perceval proposed the health of “The Cardinal Archbishop, the Bishops, and the Clergy of the two Metropolitan Dioceses.” The speaker said : A note has been struck by our chairman as to the value of these gatherings from a social point of view, which appeals to us very forcibly. It is a sad want in Catholic London that so few opportunities are afforded Catholics to meet each other and to meet their clergy, and it is their health I submit to you this evening in the toast which I propose. (Cheers.) It is a very comprehensive toast, and when I was asked to propose it the first thought that entered my mind was the excellent opportunity for retaliation. (Laughter.) Most of us have sat at the feet of the clergy and had our little weaknesses exposed, but I have not been very successful in discovering the weaknesses of the clergy. (Laughter). There was a certain prophet of old who was told to curse and ended by blessing, and that is the position in which I find myself this evening. (Laughter.) We as ” Britons “ take a deep and practical pleasure in our bishops and our clergy, and we cannot show our love in a better way than by fostering and maintaining that spirit of loyalty. (Loud cheers.)

SPEECH BY THE BISHOP OF EMMAUS.

The Bishop of Emmaus in a humorous speech responded. He had long, he said, been a member of the Benevolent Society. In addition to carrying on the very praiseworthy work of assisting the poor, the Society had promoted a cordial feeling between clergy and laity which was, he thought, a distinguishing mark of English Catholicity. (Cheers.)

REPLY BY THE BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK, The Bishop of Southwark also responded. He said : The thought I am sure that must be uppermost in the minds of all present must surely be an expression of love for his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop and of a desire that he may be long spared. (Hear, hear.) I certainly know of no life more precious to the Catholic Church in England at the present day than that of his Eminence Cardinal Vaughan. (Hear, hear.) He has given to us, as I often tell him, a marvellous example of courage in works he has undertaken, and particularly in the undertaking of the building of his magnificent cathedral. (Hear, hear.) He had not much encouragement at the beginning, but he has faced that burden and he has carried it on nobly, and the wish of everyone to-night is that he may be spared to see the cathedral opened. (Cheers.) Speaking for the diocese of Southwark, I think it is not badly represented this evening. (Hear, hear.) As I look round the room I think I can say that we of Southwark are trying to do our duty to the Society. (Hear, hear.) I hope the opportunity we get year by year to meet together—the clergy and the laity—may always be maintained to the very full, and may always promote those cordial relations which do exist between the clergy and the laity of this country. (Cheers.) As we look around upon this city—as I look myself upon the rapidly developing suburbs of South London, in which there has been an increase during the past year of 230,000 souls—we are able to realise what a great mission we Catholics, clergy and laity, have before us, if the work is to be well done and if we are to produce upon this city, and to carry it into action, the influence which we ought to have. (Loud cheers.) One great element in our work will be the clergy and laity more closely united together. (Hear, hear.) I do not know what the future is to bring forth, whether the laity are to be called upon to take a more active part in the temporal administration of our missions—(laughter)—but I am sure whatever call is made upon them they will respond generously. (Hear, hear.) Of this I am certain, that as we live we must inevitably see an enormous increase in the influence of the Catholic Church throughout the cities of London and Westminster, and throughout the Borough of Southwark. (Cheers.)

THE CHAIRMAN.

Mr. Joseph Francis Lescher proposed the health of the Chairman. He said : When the elevation of Mr. Walton was announced the Catholic world was exceedingly gratified. (Cheers.) The men of Stonyhurst rejoiced exceedingly, and the commercial community of this great city were immensely pleased—(hear, hear.)—because they knew it was a recognition of a most honourable and straightforward career. I speak as only one of the commercial community of this city, and I say it was a distinct gain to us that Mr. Justice Walton should have this dignity and honour conferred upon him. (Hear, hear.) I say that the high esteem of the Bench will lose nothing of that grand record which has been handed down for generations. Looking abroad and at home, we may be sure that that high standard of excellence, which has been the one great feature of the courts of England, will continue to remain so long as such appointments are made. (Cheers.)

The Chairman thanked the last speaker for the kind—the too flattering—words which he used in proposing the toast. I am glad, indeed, to see here to-night not only my old friend, Mr. Lescher, but also my old master, Father Charnley. (Cheers.) It carries me back to my old days at Stonyhurst, and I shall always, and indeed we all should, remember the debt we owe to Stonyhurst, and certainly if I can ever do anything to assist and promote the high standard of education not only in my own school but in all our higher grade schools, I shall be most happy to do so. (Cheers.) Mr. Lescher has said a number of kind things about me, but I would remind him of the old proverb, ” It only takes six months to turn a good barrister into a bad judge “—(laughter)—and I am often inclined to say ” wait.” I cannot feel ashamed of the work I did at the Bar —(loud cheers)—and I sincerely and honestly felt a great deal of regret in saying good-bye to my old life, and I still hope I may be of some use to my old friends and to Catholics. (Cheers.) have now the pleasure of announcing the result of the collection which amounts to £1,031. (Cheers.)

Mr. Paul Strickland proposed the toast of “The Stewards.:” He said : Some years ago I had the privilege of being a pupil of Mr. Justice Walton, and I am glad to be able to give expression to the profound joy and rejoicing of Catholics that be should have been promoted to the Bench. If I may be allowed I should like to make an addition to the proverb quoted by the hon. chairman, and it is that after a few years a judge has been in the past promoted to be Lord Chief Justice. (Cheers.)

Mr. W. Towsey briefly responded for the stewards. He remarked that the stewards would always endeavour in the future as they had in the past to make these gatherings attractive to the general body of Catholics and the more there were of them the better. (Hear, hear.)

The above text was found on p.20, 30th November 1901 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The Annual Dinner of the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. 1904

The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. was the oldest Catholic charity in London  founded in 1761 by Richard Challoner, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District [ the forerunner of the Archbishop of Westminster] between 1758 and 1781. It’s a nice worthy Catholic, and City cause, and it’s nice seeing eight members of the family all there. Having said that, only five were related at the time, another two came from a marriage twenty years later, and the final connection from a marriage fifty two years later.

At least at this one, Lieut.-General Sir William Butler’s speech is rather better than John Roper Parkington’s the following year.

ANNUAL DINNER.

The Annual Dinner in aid of the funds of this excellent charity was held on Monday last, and brought together a large number of the friends and supporters of the society.

Lieut.-General Sir William Butler, K.C.B., presided, and among the company present were the Hon. Charles Russell, Colonel Sir Roper Parkington, Colonel Maguire, Major J. H. White, V.D., Commendatore Hicks, C.C.S.G. ; the Very Revv. Canon Fleming, Canon Keatinge, Canon Murnane, Canon Pycke ; the Very Revv. J. P. Bannin, P.S.M., M. Kelly, O.S.A., D.D., P. J. Murphy, S.M. ; the Revv. Manuel J.Bidwell, D.D., Robert Bracey, 0.P., T. Carey, H. W. Casserly, Alexander Charnley, S.J., W. J. Condon, D. Corkery, G. B. Cox, J. Crowley, E. du Plerny, J. Egan, W. J. Hogan, S. E. Jarvis, I.C., W. Lewis Keatinge, Hugh Kelly, Mark A. Kelly, A. Muller, D.D., J. Musgrave T. F. Norris, J. O’Doherty, M. O’Sullivan, T. J. Ring, P. Riordan, C. A. Shepherd, E. Smith, C. J. Moncrieff Smyth, Francis Stanfield, J. G. Storey, W. 0. Sutcliffe, M.A., J. S. Tasker, E. A. P. Theed, Leo Thomas, S.M., A. E. Whereat, D.D. ; and Messrs. P. M. Albrecht, Frank Beer, Edmund J. Bellord, John G. Bellord, Harry Booth, James Carroll, J. H. Caudell, John Christie, A. K. Connolly, James W. Connolly, John A. Connolly, S. F. Connolly, P. F. Dorte, LL.B., Victor I. Feeny, H. Malins Fisher, A. C. Fowler, W. B. Hallett, Anthony Hasslacher,Charles Hasslacher, Jerome S. Hegarty, J. D. Hodgson, . Skelton Hodgson, S. Taprell Holland (Hon. Treasurer), J. M. Hopewell, John Hurst, John Hussey, R. H. N. Johnson, J. Virtue Kelly, C. Temple Layton, C.C., Charles E. Lewis, Bernard J. McAdam, James P. McAdam (Hon. Secretary), J. M. McGrath, C. A. Mackenzie, Herbert J. T. Measures, E. H. Meyer, A. C. O’Bryen, M.I.E.E., Ernest A. O’Bryen, Wilfrid W. Parker, Louis Perry, Joseph J. Perry, R. J. Phillips, Henry Schiller, J. H. Sherwin, Robert Shield, Eugene Simona, Joseph Simona, Joseph Sperati, James Stone, J. S. R. Towsey, William Towsey, C. H. Walker, Augustine E. White, Basil J. White, C. B. Wildsmith, P. G. Winter, H. Witte, C. J. Woollett, M.D., &c., &c.

THE LOYAL TOASTS.

The Chairman, in proposing the toast “The Pope and the King,” said : Catholics need no explanation of the toast I have now the high honour of proposing. By coupling together the name of Pope and King we reaffirm and maintain and continue that old tradition of Church and State which has existed in all civilised Christian communities for so many hundreds of years. I give you the healths of his Holiness the Pope and of his Majesty the King, and when we drink this toast with all loyalty and all honour, it would be well to remember the words of the old cavalier. Speaking to his son in the days of the Civil War, he said : “Son, if the crown should come so low that thou seest it hanging upon a bush, still stick to it.” (Loud cheers.)

The Chairman : The next toast I have to propose is that of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family. This toast meets with an enthusiastic greeting wherever it is proposed, but I venture to think there is no place where it can strike a deeper and truer note of harmony and devotion than when it is proposed at the gathering of a Society which has for its object the relief of the poor and the suffering. (Cheers.) The prerogatives of the Crown and the privileges of Parliament have oftentimes been the cause of civil disturbances in this country, but to-day the prerogative of Royalty is to lessen in every possible way the sufferings of the poor and of those who toil and labour for a livelihood. (Hear, hear.) Into the privileges of Parliament I will not enter, but it is our special privilege to-night to recognise in a special manner all that we owe to the Queen, to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family.

SIR W. BUTLER AND THE SOCIETY.

After these two toasts had been acknowledged with musical honours, the Chairman proposed the toast of the evening, ” The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor.” He said : I have now to propose to you a toast which brings very vividly before my mind the fact of my own un-worthiness in being the medium through which this toast is to be offered to the gathering tonight. (No, no.) And when I look back to the names of those who in former years fulfilled this duty, my feelings approach those of absolute dismay, because I find the toast has been submitted by some of the most revered, the most honoured amongst the Catholic body of this country, both clerical and lay. I can only plead for myself and ask you to accept the fact of my unworthiness as an excuse for being unable to do adequate justice to my task. (No, no.) This charity goes back a long way. It suggests many thoughts to even the most superficial amongst us. It has had, I believe, now well-nigh I50 years of existence. (Hear, hear.) The people who founded it were very different to what we are to-day. They had a great deal more of the world’s kicks and a great deal less of the world’s happiness. One hundred and fifty years ago the clouds of the penal laws hung darkly over the country. I will not refer to them further beyond saying that the remembrance of that period should deepen and intensify our desire to do good to the poor, to those whom the abrogation or even the existence of penal laws matters little, and whose social life is set so far below those of happier circumstances. We take a great interest in politics, but how little we would care for the most sensational paragraph in The Daily Mail if we had no breakfast-table to spread it upon, and more, if we had no breakfast to enable us to digest its amazing contents. (Loud laughter.) I see in the newspapers a great deal about free food, the big loaf and the little loaf. I wonder what our poorer brethren think of all these things—the big loaf, the little loaf, and the three acres and a cow. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I can fancy some of these poor people, who have waited many years for the fulfilment of some of these marvellous promises, exclaiming ” If you cannot give us three acres, give us at least the cow.” (Cheers.) If we cannot give them the cow we can at least put some milk into their tea. (Loud and continued cheers.) They have claims upon us,.these old veterans of the poor. We may ask ourselves who are they ? I think I am right in saying they are the survivors, the few survivors, of a great army. (Hear, hear.) They are the scattered survivors of tens of thousands of a great army of workpeople out of whose sweat we are living. (Hear, hear.) These old veterans become eligible as candidates for this Society only when they have reached the ripe old age of 60 years. Think for a moment how many of their comrades must have fallen on that long road which they have travelled for half a century, or even longer. I look at the list of pensioners and I see their ages reach from 60 to 90. Two facts come home to me when I read the report of the Society. The first is the liberal gifts and benefactions of many of the large merchant princes of this city. (Cheers.) The second fact is that so many who respond to the appeal of the Society are from my own country—Ireland. (Loud cheers.) You remember the story of the boat’s-crew cast adrift on the ocean. Believing their last hour had come they thought they should do something appropriate to the occasion. Unfortunately there was no one amongst them who remembered the prayers of their youth, so they decided upon making a collection. (Loud laughter.) I do not for a moment suppose that any of my brethren who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar position would have to resort to making a contribution to the seals and the seagulls, but I do venture to say that the most prayerful man amongst us could not offer any truer praise to his Creator, or do a more charitable act to his fellow creature than to contribute generously and unstintingly to a Society such as that which we have met to honour this evening. (Cheers.) There are few names come down from the remote past more identified with this great city of London than the name of Martin the apostle, the Roman soldier before he was Roman Bishop. The speaker, after relating the story of Martin dividing his coat to protect a poor beggar from the ravages of the weather, and the vision which he afterwards saw, said London was still, outwardly at least, largely Martin. Perhaps some portion of his mantle, said the speaker in conclusion, has descended upon this great city, still keeping alive his name and the spirit of charity to the poor. (Cheers.)  3rd December 1904, Page 23

Purssell marriages in the 1890’s

It has always been a slight curiosity that whilst Uncle Frank’s (Purssell) wedding was well written up, none of the Purssell sisters seemed to have had as grand a wedding. Of the seven children, Laura had married Max Winstanley in 1884, Lucy had married Henry Grant Edwardes in 1892, and Frank had married Lily Kuypers in 1896, and Alfred J. never married. But at least almost all of them got a brief mention in the Tablet.

Parker-Purssell marriage notice July 1898

PARKER—PURSSELL.–On June 30, at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, by the Very Rev. F. A. Gasquet, D.D., Wilfrid Watson, second surviving son of the late Sir Henry Watson Parker, of Hampstead, and Lady Watson Parker, of 22, Upper Park-road, N.W., to Frances Charlotte, third daughter of the late Alfred Purssell, C.C., of Hampstead.9th July 1898, Page 13

Wilfrid Parker was the groomsman at  Frank and Lily’s wedding, and he, Frank, and their Kuypers brothers-in-law all went to Downside, which is where they met Father (later Cardinal) Gasquet.


O’BRYEN—PURSSELL.—On the11th inst., at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haver-stock Hill, by the Rev. P. A. O’Bryen, B.A., brother of the bridegroom, assisted by the Rev. George Cox, Ernest A. O’Bryen, of the Indian Forest Service, son of the late John Roche O’Bryen, M.D., to Gertrude Mary, youngest daughter of the late Alfred Purssell, C.C., of 9, Belsize Grove, Hampstead. (Burma papers please copy.) 15th October 1898, Page 13

 

BELLORD—PURSSELL.—On the 11th inst., at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haver-stock Hill, N.W., by the Rev. James Bellord, Chaplain to the Forces, Edmund Joseph Bellord to Agnes Mary, fourth daughter of the late Alfred Purssell, of Belsize Grove, N.W. 14th January 1899, Page 11

It was Edmund Bellord’s second marriage.James Bellord was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar and Titular Bishop of Milevum on 16 February 1899, and his consecration took place on 1 May 1899.

Diamond Jubilee Dinner at Providence Row 1897

Providence Row

On Thursday, June 24, in connection with the Princess of Wales’ Jubilee Fund, a dinner to three hundred very poor inhabitants of Whitechapel was held in the Refuge, Crispin-street, E., which was founded by the late Mgr. Gilbert in 1860. The large refectory was gaily decorated for the occasion with flags, banners, and flowers, a portrait of the Queen being placed at one end of the room, and one of the Princess of Wales at the other. Mr. F. W. Purssell, who had been courteously invited by the Lord Mayor to join the Mansion House Committee, presided, and was supported by many friends including Messrs. W. Towsy, and E. J. Bellord, Misses Irving, Towsy, Latham, Russell, and Mr. J. W. Gilbert (Secretary), who represented the institution on the Whitechapel Committee of the Fund.

Queen Victoria

The dinner, which was served by the Sisters of Mercy, the visitors, and the inmates of the Boarders’ and Servants’ Homes, consisted of cold roast beef, new potatoes, bread, pickles, lettuce, fruit-tarts, oranges, and ginger-beer by way of refreshment. This was followed by an entertainment, to which Miss Lynch, Messrs. P. Donovan, J. Schrappel and others, contributed. Afterwards hot tea and buns were distributed, and, on leaving, each was presented with a packet of tea or a pouch of tobacco.

The Princess of Wales

During the course of the afternoon, Mr. F. W. Purssell explained in a few words the object of the dinner, and called for three cheers for the Queen and the Princess of Wales, which were given most heartily. The poor people also showed their appreciation of the efforts of the voluntary ” waiters,” by giving three more cheers for the Sisters and other helpers. It must be a great gratification to all concerned in the management to know that the guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and went away loudly expressing the hope that another jubilee might soon occur.

The remains of the dinner were afterwards distributed among the poor of the neighbourhood. Thanks to an additional generous gift of bread, pastry, &c., from Messrs. W. Hill and Son of Bishopsgate-street, some hundreds of poor families have been helped in-this manner, and on Friday, the 25th, the Sisters entertained over two hundred poor school-children at tea. The Whitechapel Committee of the Fund have also made a grant of food to the Refuge Committee for destitution amongst the sick and needy of the district, who are unable to be present at the dinner.

The above text was found on p.36, 3rd July 1897 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

The Purssells and the Providence Row Night Shelter.

The Providence (Row) Night Refuge was founded in 1860 by Mgr Daniel Gilbert, and heavily supported by Alfred Purssell [GG grandpa] almost from its foundation.  There is a slight element of “Noblesse oblige” in the family’s behaviour, but also a great deal of old-fashioned philanthropy.

In the winter of 1857, Fr Gilbert, was walking through the East End and came across a woman sheltering in a doorway. He struck up a conversation with her and discovered that she had no money and nowhere to go. He was so moved by her situation that he decided to create a refuge for people like her. Fr Gilbert called on the help of the Sisters of Mercy in Wexford, Ireland, and in September 1858 five of the Sisters arrived in London. Initially they moved to a house on Broad Street but found it too small for their purposes. Fr Gilbert then found a large stable block at the back of 14 Finsbury Square. The property opened on to a narrow street called Providence Row.

After less than a month of hard work and fundraising by a small group of Fr Gilbert’s friends, Providence Row Night Refuge opened on 7th October 1860. It was the first non sectarian shelter in London, open to anyone regardless of their race or religion. The alternative was the workhouse.

Originally it had only 14 beds but quickly expanded to 45 by February 1861. This still didn’t prove big enough to meet the growing demand and the refuge soon moved to a larger site on Crispin Street, near Spitalfields Market. By1862 it had provided 14,785 meals to homeless and destitute people in London. By the time of his death in 1895, Fr Gilbert had become Monsignor Gilbert and had raised over £100,000 (£74,000,000 at present day values) for the refuge, building work, and improving and expanding the services on offer.

It was later supported  by his children, sons-in-law, and other members of the family.  Both Uncle Edmund (Bellord), and Uncle Wilfred (Parker), were chairmen of the committee,  George Bellord [Uncle Edmund and Aunt Agnes’s son] was on the committee in the 1930’s. Uncle Frank (Purssell)  had also been on the committee, and deputised for his father at times, notably shortly before Alfred’s death in 1897.

The following are a series of extracts from “The Tablet” spanning just over forty years with various members of the family taking part.

(1.)  1896 – FUND-RAISING FOR PROVIDENCE ROW.

AP begging letter

Alfred Purssell’s letter, probably from 1896,

 

 

Jamaica Buildings,
St Michael’s Alley,
Cornhill, London
EC

The Honorary Manager of the Providence (Row) Night-Refuge & Home, Mr Alfred Purssell, C.C., presents his respectful compliments to Her Grace The Duchess of Newcastle, and begs once more to plead for this most deserving charity.

During the Winter Months, the Refuge provides every night nearly three hundred night’s lodgings, suppers & breakfasts to homeless wanderers free of cost. From the foundation of the Refuge thirty six years ago by the late Rev. Dr. Gilbert, nearly one million two hundred and fifty thousand night’s lodgings suppers and breakfasts have been provided.

The work of the charity does not end at “feeding the hungry” and “harbouring the harbourless”. It is also the means of enabling many of those, who find shelter within the walls of the Refuge, to begin life afresh, and to obtain again a position for themselves in the world. Those, for example, who through dire necessity, to save their families from starvation or worse, have parted with their tools, are enabled to recover them: sellers of fusees (large matches), flowers, newspapers, bootlaces, and the like, without hope or money, are supplied with a little stock: rent is paid and a small allowance granted to mothers and children, when the breadwinner through sickness is unable to work: the ragged are also clothed and situations obtained for them.

It is specially desired to call the attention of the charitable to some distinguishing marks of the Charity. In the first place it is absolutely non-sectarian. There are no questions as to nationality or creed. Whilst there is accommodation in the Refuge, no bona-fide applicant is refused, the sole passport necessary being genuine poverty and want. Secondly no effort is spared to secure the benefits of the Charity for the really deserving. The imposter, the professional beggar is soon detected. All the inmates are called upon to make a statement as to their last employment, and the cause of their misfortune, which is afterwards inquired into. By this means the benefits are secured for the bona-fide poor. It must be distinctly understood however that the poor applicant is not kept waiting for relief, but is lodged and fed, whilst the investigation is proceeding. Nor are the fallen debarred from participating in them, truth being considered a guarantee of desire to amend.

This winter special help is needed. There are no signs of any diminution in the poverty and distress around us. If the weather is severe, the sufferings of the poor will be materially increased. At times so great do their misery and wretchedness become, that those who are attempting to alleviate the distress are well nigh discouraged. The thought that hundreds of men, women and even children have in the depths of winter no home but the streets is simply appalling. There is a worse aspect to the question than this. How many of our poorer brothers and sisters in this vast metropolis are driven to crime. As degradation, by the want of food and shelter. Men and children become thieves; women and girls, alas! Barter their most valuable possession, their priceless innocence for food and shelter. These unfortunate ones find in the Refuge the means of reforming their lives, and of turning their backs for ever on the sinful past.

Will you kindly help the Committee of the Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home in their great work amongst the poor? If you could pay a visit to it, one night during the winter months, and see for yourself the good that is being done by it, you would willingly do so.

Hear the opinions of some who have visited it:- Mr James Greenwood, the “Amateur Casual”, writing in the “Ludgate Monthly” has said “Outcasts of all kinds and from all parts find shelter there, and all are sure of something for supper and a bed, and a big roll, and a mug of cocoa ‘as a comforter’, “before they start on their way next morning…. The Managers of the Home have been thus unostentatiously engaged for many years, and the good they have effected is incalculable.”

The late Mr Montague Williams Q.C., in “Later Leaves” says of this Refuge: “There is no more Excellent institution…. The place is beautifully clean…. This institution, which is not nearly so well known as it deserves to be, is in the heart of Spitalfields.”

The “Daily Chronicle” has said: “Christianity is certainly not played out at the corner of Crispin St., and Raven Row, although it may be doubled, whether it ever found more depressing material to work upon.”

As an example of the distress, which exists in our midst may be mentioned that in the Refuge last year, amongst those assisted were an Architect, an Optician, clerks, waiters, valets, woodcarvers, ivory-turners, weavers, painters, a professor of music, a linguist, certificated teachers, dressmakers, domestic servants, etc., etc.

In addition to the Refuge, there are two homes, one for Servants, who partially support themselves by work, the other where women out of engagements can board and lodge at a small cost per week, whilst searching for situations.

An especial appeal for help is made this year, in order that funds may be raised to extend the work, which has now been carried on so effectively for thirty-six years. The Refuge was founded by the late Rev. Dr. Gilbert in 1860 with fourteen beds. It has now accommodation for nearly three hundred. Will you assist in extending the good work?

The smallest donation will be gratefully acknowledged, and the heartfelt prayers of the hungry you help to feed, of the houseless you help to lodge, the naked you help to clothe, the fallen you help to brighter and happier lives will be bound to.

(2.)  1897 – EASTER SUNDAY AT THE PROVIDENCE ROW NIGHT REFUGE AND HOME. – This is seventeen days before Alfred’s death on the 5th May 1897, and about six weeks before Frank Purssell’s wedding  on the 6th June 1897.

On Easter Sunday at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home, Crispin Street, Spitalfields, E., in accordance with the custom of the late Mgr. Gilbert, a special dinner, consisting of hot soup, meat, potatoes, and bread, was provided for the inmates, who numbered over 300. In the absence of the Hon. Manager, Mr. Alfred Purssell, [Great, great-Grandpa]  through illness, his son, Mr. F. W. Purssell [Uncle Frank – technically GG Uncle] , presided, and was supported by the Rev. M. Fitzpatrick, the Misses Purssell, [ probably just Aunt Agnes (Bellord),Great granny, and Aunt Charlotte (Parker) because Laura had married Max Winstanley in 1883 and Lucy had married Henry Grant Edwardes in 1892 ] Miss B. G. Munk, Mr. and Mrs. Secrett, Mr. J. W. Gilbert (Secretary) &c.

In the men’s refectory, Mr. F. W. Purssell gave a short address. He said that they came there on behalf of the Hon. Manager and the committee to bid the inmates welcome to the refuge. Whilst deeply regretting the misfortune which had forced them to accept its hospitality, he trusted that it might be the means of reinstating them in life. Although it was very hard to be poor, poverty was not necessarily a disgrace. The refuge had been established by the late Mgr. Gilbert to help the deserving poor, and his work was still being continued. There was every prospect this year of a revival in trade owing to the many public celebrations which were to take place, and he (Mr. Purssell) hoped that when Easter came round next year, all the inmates present would have homes of their own. In conclusion, he announced that the Rev. Mother would give each inmate sixpence as an Easter gift on leaving the refuge next morning. Three ringing cheers for the Rev. Mother and the Sisters of Mercy, and for Mr. Purssell were followed by dinner, which was served by the Sisters. The visitors then proceeded to the women’s room and to the servants’ homes, in each of which Mr. Purssell addressed a few kindly words to those present. During the course of the afternoon oranges were distributed, and additional fare was given at the tea in the evening. Altogether the poor people had a very enjoyable day, and the Sisters and visitors must have been gratified at the joy and happiness to which they by their help contributed.

(3.)  1907-THE PROVIDENCE (ROW) NIGHT REFUGE.— Some four hundred poor people, men, women, and children, irrespective of creed, were entertained to a Christmas dinner at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge, Crispin-street, E., which was founded by the late Mgr. Gilbert in 1860. The large refectories were tastefully decorated for the occasion. Mr. E. J. Bellord (Chairman of the Committee) [ Uncle Edmund – well technically GG Uncle ] presided, and was supported by Mr. W. H. Foreman, Mr. J. G. Bellord, [ John Bellord, who is Edmund’s brother]  Mr. J. W. Gilbert (Secretary) [John Gilbert – later Sir John Gilbert was the nephew of Mgr Gilbert who founded the Refuge] , Mr. N. S. B. Kidson, Mr. G. Dutton, Mrs. Bellord [presumably John’s wife] , Mrs. E. J. Bellord,[Aunt Agnes] Mr. E. M. Barry, Mrs. Rolph, Miss Gilbert, Mr. G. R. Dutton, Miss Raynes, Mr. R. O’Bryen [Uncle Rex], Mrs. R. O’Bryen [Aunt Florence], Miss Barry, Mr. A. Bellord [John Bellord’s son], Mr. C. Bellord [ Cuthbert,  Edmund’s son from his first marriage], Miss F. B. Goold, the Misses Bellord [ probably Mildred and Margery, Edmund’s daughters from his first marriage], and others.

In the men’s refectory before dinner, Mr. E. J. Bellord, on behalf of the Committee, wished all the inmates a very happy Christmas. It was a matter of deep regret, he said, to all concerned in the management of the Refuge that they had, night after night during the present severe weather, to send a numbers of applicants for relief through lack of room. He hoped, however, that the severe distress would soon pass away. He asked them all that day to think very gratefully of the founder of the charity, the late Dr. Gilbert, whose work the Committee were carrying on, and he also trusted that they would remember how much they owed to the Sisters of Charity, who devoted their lives to the service of the poor. The dinner, which consisted of soup, beef, potatoes, bread, and plum-pudding, with oranges by way of dessert, was served by the Sisters and visitors. Afterwards each child received a toy, each man a small packet of tobacco and each woman a small packet of tea, all the gifts generous friends of the charity. Later on in the day there was tea with cake, and entertainments were provided both in the men’s and women’s sections by the girls in the boarders’ and servants’ homes and others.

(4.)  1907 – A NEW KNIGHT OF ST. SYLVESTER . MR. J. W. GILBERT’S  INVESTITURE. —On Friday last [4th January] , at the Convent of Mercy, 50, Crispin street, E., the Archbishop of Westminster invested Mr. J. W. Gilbert with the insignia of the knighthood of St. Sylvester, which has recently been conferred upon him by the Holy Father. A large gathering of friends witnessed the ceremony in the guild room of the Convent. The visitors included the Archbishop of Westminster, the Bishop of Southwark, Mgr. Brown, Canon St. John, Canon Murnane, Canon Moncrieff Symth, the Very Rev. Prior Kelly, D.D., 0.S.A., the Revv. T. Ring, D. McCarthy, W. Cooksey, 0. Fitzgerald, A. Walsh, D.D., 0.S.A., P. W. O’Connor, C. Donovan, G. H. Palmer, W. Donovan, H. E. Daly, and B. McFadden, the Rev. Mother and Sisters of the Convent of Mercy, Lady Parker, Messrs. E. J. Bellord [Uncle Edmund] and W. H Foreman, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Bellord [John Bellord, Edmund’s brother], Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Parker [Uncle Wilfred and Aunt Charlotte], Mr. and Mrs. W. Towsey, Messrs. J. Arthur Walton [ both Ernest and Rex O’Bryen were at his wedding in 1900] , E. A. O’Bryen [Great-grandpa], R. O’Bryen [Uncle Rex], S. P. Jacques, Wm. J. Price, Mr. T. G. King, K.S.G., and Mrs. King, Messrs. V. M. Dunford, K.S.G., C. J. Munich, K.S.G., J. P. McAdam, W. Keane, Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Ryan, Messrs. J. Fox, J. Fentiman, G. E. Anstruther, P. Johnston, Misses Munk, Gilbert, Pattman, Upton, W. Campbell, H. Barton, Fox, Dunn, Feeney, Goss, Keeffe, Ryan, M. Head, M. S. Weale, K. McCathy, V. Edwards, Lenihan, K. Leithan, M. Dwane, P. McCrudden, and others. The Archbishop of Westminster [ Archbishop, later Cardinal Bourne]  who presided, said that he did not think it would be necessary to say many words as to the object of their meeting that afternoon. Mr. Gilbert’s work for the Catholic cause was known not only in London, but throughout the country. It was most fitting that the presentation of the insignia should be made at Crispin-street, where the chief work of Mr. Gilbert’s life—his work amongst the poor in connexion with the Night Refuge—was carried on. They had all had opportunities of witnessing how the charity, since the death of his uncle, Mgr. Gilbert, had under his care not only maintained its position, but had gradually developed. Mr. Gilbert had also done much for the cause of Catholic education. They would remember that upon him had fallen the greater share of the work in connexion with the organisation of the Albert Hall demonstration in 1906 against Mr. Birrell’s Bill, [ The Education Act 1906, which was intended to end state funding of Anglican and Catholic Church schools. It was defeated in the House of Lords. ] the results of which meeting had been so striking. Mr. Gilbert had also rendered particularly valuable service in London in connexion with their efforts to obtain equal treatment for their schools from the local authority, and in their struggle against the other Education Bills of the Government. He made no reference to work in connexion with the Eucharistic Congress, except in passing. They had felt—and he knew that Mr. Gilbert agreed with him—that the unique success of that gathering, and the public thanks of the Holy Father, were sufficient reward for all those who had taken part in its organisation. The knighthood of St. Sylvester was a distinction which was not easily given. It had been granted to only a few in this country, and the Holy See had had this in consideration in conferring this honour on Mr. Gilbert for his exceptional work. He would like to conclude by expressing his own personal gratitude to Mr. Gilbert for the valuable service he had rendered him both whilst Bishop of Southwark and since he had been Archbishop. He thought he could not put it more strongly than by saying that whenever he had called upon Mr. Gilbert for his help, he had never failed him.

The Bishop of Southwark cordially supported everything that the Archbishop had said. He pointed out that although much of Mr. Gilbert’s work lay within the archdiocese of Westminster, he lived in the diocese of Southwark, and therefore was a subject of his diocese. Catholics in Southwark had a good reason to be grateful to Mr. Gilbert for his work in connexion with their schools since the London County Council had become a local education authority, for his efforts on behalf of the Southwark Rescue Society, and for the valuable assistance he had given in connexion with the Catholic Boys’ Brigade. Mgr. Brown, on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy at Crispin-street, spoke of the happy relations that had existed for more than twelve years between them and Mr. Gilbert in all affairs connected with the conduct of the charity which had been founded by his uncle. He also personally wished to express his thanks to Mr. Gilbert for his work for education in Southwark, attributing his own success at two London School Board elections to Mr. Gilbert’s organising capabilities. Mr. E. J. Bellord, on behalf of the Committee of the Providence Row Night Refuge, of which he is Chairman, expressed the thanks of all concerned for the work which Mr. Gilbert had carried on in connexion with the Refuge for the past twelve years. Mr. Gilbert, in reply, expressed his very grateful thanks to the Holy Father for the honour he had conferred upon him. There was no honour more valued by a Catholic than a distinction granted by the Sovereign Pontiff, whom the whole of Christendom regards with the deepest veneration, respect, loyalty, and affection, and who has won universal admiration and devotion by his unique work as priest, Bishop, and Sovereign Pontiff, and by his saintliness and charm of character. Mr. Gilbert also expressed his thanks to his Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, to whom he was indebted, not only for this honour, but for all the marked kindness he had always met with from him, both as Bishop of Southwark and as Archbishop. He attributed any success that might have attended his efforts on behalf of the Catholic cause to the generous encouragement and practical help of the leader of the Catholic Church in this country, who last September was acclaimed by the whole Catholic world as the champion of Catholic liberty, who had not hesitated to join issue with an English Prime Minister, and who came out of the conflict triumphant. He also offered his sincere thanks to the Bishop of Southwark, to Mgr. Brown, to Mr. Bellord, and to the Sisters of Mercy, who were really responsible for the gathering. Mr. Gilbert spoke with the warmest praise of the self-sacrificing zeal and perseverance of the Sisters in their work amongst the poor.

(5.)  1908 – CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE PROVIDENCE (ROW) NIGHT REFUGE.- On Christmas Day at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home, Crispin-street, E., which was founded by the late Mgr. Gilbert in 1860, a Christmas dinner was given to nearly 400 destitute poor, men, women, and children, irrespective of creed. The large rooms were tastefully decorated with evergreen, Christmas mottoes and the like. The dinner consisted of hot soup, beef, potatoes, bread, plum-pudding, and oranges by way of dessert. Mr. E. J. Bellord[ Uncle Edmund again] presided, and was supported by a large number of visitors including Mr W.H.Foreman, Mr J.W.Gilbert,[ John Gilbert.. see above]  Mr J.G.Bellord, Mrs Bellord, Mr R. O’Bryen, Mrs O’Bryen, [all see above]  Mr E.A.Mackenzie, Mrs George Blount, Miss Sherrington, Miss Gilbert, Mr Austin Bellord [ see above], Mrs Rolph, Mr Cuthbert Bellord, the Misses Bellord,[ see above] Mr L.M.Barry, Mr J.M.Barry, Miss McCarthy-Barry, Miss F.K. Pollock, Mr A. McDonnell. Mr J. McDonnell, &c., &c.

In the men’s refectory before dinner, Mr. E. J. Bellord, speaking on ‘behalf of the Committee, wished all the inmates a very happy ‘Christmas. He was very sorry for their misfortune, and trusted that by the time next Christmas came round, they would all have recovered themselves, and would spend Christmas in their own home. The Committee wanted them that day to remember the great Founder of the Refuge, the late Mgr. Gilbert, to whose zeal and self-sacrifice they owed that institution, and whose wishes they were doing their best to carry out. He also asked them not to forget the great debt of gratitude which they were under to the good Sisters of Mercy, who devoted their lives so generously to the services of the poor, and who provided so well for their comfort and happiness.

The dinner was served by the Sisters and the visitors, the latter Including a number of children, who vied with each other in waiting on the poor guests of the charity. After dinner each man received a present of tobacco, each woman a packet of tea, and each child a toy—all the gift of generous friends of the institution. Later on in the afternoon, tea with cake was provided, after which entertainments were given both in the men’s and women’s sections by the girls of the boarders’ and servants’ homes and others.

(6.)  1909 CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE PROVIDENCE ROW NIGHT REFUGE,CRISPIN STREET E.1. 1909

In 1909, Uncle Edmund (Bellord), Aunt Agnes’ husband, was chairing the committee. The Purssell family attendees on Christmas Day included most of the Bellord family, various cousins from the Winstanley  family [ Aunt Laura and Uncle Max’s children]. Uncle Rex, and Aunt Florence (O’Bryen), not strictly Purssells, but  Uncle Rex is Great-Granny’s brother-in-law, and she’s a Purssell.  J.W. [John, later Sir John] Gilbert the Hon. Secretary was the nephew of Mgr. Gilbert, the founder of the hostel.

On Christmas Day at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge, Crispin-street, E., in accordance with the custom of the Founder, the late Mgr. Gilbert, a special Christmas dinner, consisting of hot soup, beef, potatoes, plum-pudding, bread, and oranges by way of dessert, was given to all the inmates of the Refuge. More than one hundred poor people, for whom there was no room in the Refuge, were admitted to the dinner, the total number of guests, men, women and children, being nearly 400. The two large refectories were gaily decorated for the occasion with holly and evergreen and Christmas mottoes.

Mr. E. J. Bellord (Chairman of the Committee) presided, and was supported by Mrs. E. J. Bellord, Mr. W. H. Foreman, Mr. and Mrs. R. O’Bryen, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Bellord [Uncle Edmund’s brother], Mr. L. J. Winstanley [Laura and Max’s son], Mr. E. A. McKenzie, Mr. A. Bellord [John Bellord’s son], Mr. C. Bellord [ Cuthbert,  Edmund’s son from his first marriage], Mr. E. Kerwin, the Misses Winstanley [probably Margaret, and Dorothy], Mr. G. McCarthy-Barry, Mr. A. McDonnell, Mr. J. McDonnell, Mr. J. Fentiman, the Misses Bellord [Mildred and Margery, Uncle Edmund’s daughters from his first marriage] Miss Gilbert, Miss McCarthy-Barry, Miss Robinson, Mr. J. W. Gilbert (Secretary), and many others.

In the men’s refectory before dinner, Mr. E. J. Bellord, on behalf of the Committee of the Refuge wished all the inmates a very happy Christmas. He greatly regretted that, owing to the abnormal amount of distress, there was so much poverty and suffering. He hoped, however that, with the New Year, there would be a better chance for them to secure work. They must, however, forget their troubles on this great day and enjoy the fare which was awaiting them. He would ask them to bear in memory the name of Dr. Gilbert, the Founder of the Refuge, who had left it in so good a condition that they were able to continue his work up to the present time, and to whom, therefore, they really owed their good dinner that day: He also wanted them always to remember how much they were indebted to the Sisters of Mercy, who devoted their lives to the service of the poor, and who, by their generous help, made the Refuge the useful institution it was.

Dinner was served by the Sisters and the visitors, who were most generous in their attentions to their poor guests. For more than an hour both refectories presented a busy spectacle. After dinner each man was presented with a packet of tobacco and a cigar, which had been sent for them by two anonymous donors ; each woman received a small packet of tea and each child a toy, both of which were again the gifts of friends of the charity. Later on in the afternoon tea with cake was provided for the inmates, and a concert and entertainment were provided in each section for them.

Moving on twenty years to the 1930’s, the family are still involved but everything has moved on. Aunt Agnes (Bellord) had died in March 1925, followed by Uncle Edmund (Bellord)  in December 1927. Uncle Rex (O’Bryen) had died in January 1928. Uncle Wilfred (Parker) has replaced Uncle Edmund as chairman of the committee, and George Bellord [Uncle Edmund and Aunt Agnes’ son, and one of Alfred Purssell’s grandsons] has joined the committee

(7.)  1930 – ANNUAL FOUNDER’S DAY MEETING OF THE PROVIDENCE ROW REFUGE. – Mrs. Wilfred W. Parker [Aunt Charlotte] , whose effective speech at the Annual Founder’s Day Meeting of the Providence (Row) Night Refuge last week, made a considerable impression, is a daughter of the late Mr. Alfred Purssell [Great, great, Grandpa]  a founder of Westminster Cathedral, who was an intimate friend of the late Monsignor Gilbert, and a co-trustee with him of this well-known charity at the time of his death. Mr. Purssell served for many years as a member of the Court of Common Council for the Ward of Cornhill, of which the present Lord Mayor is Alderman. If memory serves, he was Chairman of the Bridge House Estate Committee when the Tower Bridge was opened. [He wasn’t – he was on the committee, but not the Chairman. The Bridge House Estates is a charitable trust, established in 1282 by the City of London Corporation. It was originally established to maintain London Bridge and, subsequently, other bridges; funded by bridge tolls and charitable donations, the trust acquired an extensive property portfolio which made it more than self-sufficient. It paid for and built Tower Bridge]  Another speaker at Crispin Street last week, Mr. J. S. R. Towsey, is a son of the late Mr. William Towsey, another great friend of Monsignor Gilbert. He joined the Night Refuge Committee at its initiation in 1860, remaining a member until his death in 1925, certainly a record. Last Tuesday was the thirty-fifth anniversary of Monsignor Gilbert’s death.

(8.) 1931 – PRINCESS MARY AT CRISPIN STREET.

Princess Mary c 1930

Princess Mary c 1930

In the course of its seventy years’ history the Providence (Row) Night Refuge has several times had the honour  of welcoming members of the Royal House within its walls. The Prince of Wales visited the Refuge about four years ago; and on Friday last week Princess Mary presided at the annual Founder’s Day celebration, the third princess to accept the performance of that function; her Royal Highness’s predecessors were Princess Alice of Athlone, who presided in 1913; and Princess Marie Louise, in 1924. Founder’s Day at Crispin Street is always an occasion for enlisting the sympathy, by presence, of a distinguished chairman; no fewer than eleven Lord Mayors of London, it may be noted, and five Chairmen of the London County Council, have been among those presiding in past years. This year, the visit of Princess Mary gave added distinction to the occasion, and the present Lord Mayor, Alderman Sir William Phene Neal, attended among those who welcomed Her Royal Highness and expressed their welcome in words. With the Lord Mayor were the Bishop of Cambysopolis, representing His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop; Viscount FitzAlan, the senior trustee of the charity; Alderman Sir Harold Downer, K.C.S.G.; Sheriff Collins ; the Mayor of Stepney (Mr. M. H. Davis, L.C.C.); Captain W. W. Parker, M.B.E., Chairman of the Committee; Sir John Gilbert, K.C.S.G., K.S.S., Secretary; Adele Countess Cadogan, and others.

Her Royal Highness, attended by Miss Dorothy Yorke as Lady-in-Waiting, took the chair. A bouquet was presented by Bona Leather, of St. Aloysius’ Secondary School, Clarendon Square, N.W. The speeches followed. First of all the Lord Mayor, expressing gratitude to the Princess for the honour of her presence, extolled the work of the Night Refuge and commended as an example the action of market workers in the City who had subscribed fifty pounds to its funds. Lord FitzAlan associated himself with the words of welcome ; and the Bishop, who followed, remarked, as representing the Cardinal, that His Eminence, in whose name he thanked Her Royal Highness for honouring the institution, took a deep interest in that as in all other good works in the Archdiocese. His lordship referred also to the beneficent labours of the Sisters of Mercy at Crispin Street, labours, he said, which included work that in its result often meant more than the value of food and shelter to the poor and needy who sought the Refuge. Monsignor Butt was followed by Sir John Gilbert, who briefly related some salient facts and figures in connection with the work, as, for instance, that since 1860 the Refuge has provided nearly 2,600,000 free nights’ lodgings, and 5,200,000 free meals, upon an organization plan aimed at securing the benefits of the deserving.

Princess Mary and the other guests afterwards paid a visit to the various parts of the Refuge. They found everything in its customary’ order ; the inmates for the night had been admitted as usual at five o’clock, and the only circumstance marking the rejoicing for the visit of Her Royal Highness was a special meal, provided by an anonymous benefactor and more satisfying in its character than any banquet of cakes and ale.

The valuable link between the Home and the Corporation of the City of London may be noted from an examination of the charity’s list of officers in the annual report. Sir John Knill, treasurer and a trustee, was Lord Mayor of London, 1909-10; Sir Henry T. McAuliffe, a trustee, has served for many years upon the Common Council and is Deputy-Alderman for Bishopsgate; Sir Harold Downer, a member of Committee, was Sheriff in 1924 before his election last year as Alderman for Coleman Street Ward. Similarly, an extensive “second generation” of workers for Monsignor Gilbert’s institution will be recognized. Sir John Knill’s offices were formerly held by his father, the late Sir Stuart Knill, London’s first post-Reformation Catholic Lord Mayor; as mentioned above, Captain W. W. Parker, son of the late Sir Henry Watson Parker, a well-known City lawyer, fills the chair of the Committee, as did his father-in-law, the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, a former member of the Corporation and the great personal friend of the Founder ; Mr. George Bellord has succeeded his father, the late Mr. Edmund Bellord, thirty four years a member of Committee and twenty-six years its chairman ; Mr. Joseph Towsey joined the Committee upon the death of his father, the late Mr. William Towsey, an original member with a record service extending from 1860 to 1926; Mr. J. Arthur Walton is the son of the late Hon. Mr. Justice Walton, a trustee for many years. Finally, Sir John Gilbert, a nephew of the Founder, will this year complete thirty-five years’ work as Secretary.

Princess Mary has had a letter sent to Sir John Gilbert expressing her deep interest in all she saw at the Refuge. Her Royal Highness wishes to show that interest by a grant from Queen Mary’s London Needlework Guild.

(9.)  1932 – CHRISTMAS DAY AT CRISPIN STREET.–In accordance with the practice of its founder, nearly three hundred destitute poor were entertained to dinner at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home on Christmas Day. Captain W. W. Parker,Chairman of the Committee, [ Uncle Wilfred – well technically GG Uncle] presided; and the visitors included the Rev. F. D. Healy, M.A., Alderman Sir Harold Downer, Sir John Gilbert, the Revv. C. Flood, P. J. O’Hickey, O.S.A., C. J. Dullea, O.S.A., P. Geisel, S.J. and G. Eldridge; Mrs. W. Parker [ Aunt Charlotte], Mr. George Bellord [ Uncle Edmund’s son, and one of great, great, Grandpa’s grand-sons] , Mr. J. G. Bellord,[ John Bellord, who is Edmund’s brother] the Misses de Zulueta, Mr. R. Bellord [Robert Bellord, George’s brother, and another grand-son of Alfred Purssell.] Miss Margolis, the Misses Parker[ Uncle Wilfred, and Aunt Charlotte’s daughters, so more of Alfred’s grand-children], and others.  In the women’s refectory, Captain Parker unveiled a clock presented to the Refuge by Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, [George V’s daughter, and the Queen’s aunt]  who presided at the annual Founder’s Day last April. After dinner, which was served by the Sisters of Mercy and visitors, presents were distributed, the gifts of generous friends of the charity.

(10.)  1935 – FOUNDER’S DAY AT CRISPIN STREET.—The thirty-seventh ” Founder’s Day ” celebration took place on Tuesday last at the Providence (Row) Night Refuge at Crispin Street. The chair was taken by the Lord Mayor, Sir Stephen Killik, who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress and by the Sheriffs. This was the thirteenth occasion when a Lord Mayor has presided on Founder’s Day.

After Sir Stephen Killik had expressed his pleasure at being present, and had pointed out the great help given by the Refuge to those who, sometimes through no fault of their own, fall by the wayside, he deplored the deaths which had so directly affected the institution since the previous year’s gathering. The Court of Common Council had recently made a grant of £100 to the charity.

Father Bernard Hyde, of Moorfields—who replaced his lordship the Bishop of Cambysopolis, prevented by indisposition from attending—followed with an appeal for continued and increased support, financial and moral, for the great charity inaugurated by one of his predecessors at St. Mary’s, Monsignor Provost Gilbert.

Adele, Countess Cadogan stressed the importance of the work being carried on for so long a period by the Sisters of Mercy, who devoted themselves so wholeheartedly to their task in the truest spirit of charity.

The loss sustained through the death of Cardinal Bourne, [he died on New Year’s Day 1935] a frequent Founder’s Day visitor; of Sir John Knill, [he had died in 1934] who for thirty-six years had occupied the post of treasurer, formerly held by his late father; and of the indefatigable secretary, Sir John Gilbert, nephew of the founder, was emphasized by Capt. W. W. Parker, the chairman of committee, and the newly-appointed secretary, Mr. J. R. Walker. Sir Henry McAuliffe proposed, and Mr. J. S. Towsey seconded the vote of thanks to the Civic Visitors, to which Sir Stephen Killik replied. A tour of the premises followed, and the new Hostel for youths between sixteen and twenty-two formally received the name of the Purssell Hostel, in memory of the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, a co-operator with Monsignor Gilbert in the pioneer days. The annual report mentioned that this hostel, developed in premises in Gun Street, had cost upwards of £1,700, towards which sum much was still required. At Gilbert House, the hostel for business girls, specified improvements had been made; and in the servants’ hostel the laundry had been refitted with electrical plant. Regarding the ordinary routine of the shelter, 40,000 nights’ lodging, and about 90,000 free meals had been dispensed from November to May, bringing the total to 2,800,000 nights’ lodging and about 5,000,000 free meals, during the existence of the refuge, to poor persons irrespective of creed.

Among those present, in addition to the speakers and others already named, were Canon Ring and Canon P. McKenna; the Revv. E. King, S.J., V. Baker, Cong. Orat., and A. Reardon; the Earl of Denbigh; Sir Thomas Molony, Bart; Sir James and Lady Connolly; Mr. G. Bellord; and Mrs. Copland-Griffiths.

Sir Harold Downer, K.C.S.G., has accepted the dual office of Trustee and Treasurer, rendered vacant by the death of Sir John Knill, and his place on the Committee has been filled by Mr. Leonard V. Parker. [Uncle Wilfred and Aunt Charlotte’s son]

(11.)  1937 – PROVIDENCE ROW.  The Founder’s Day Meeting of the Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home was held at the Refuge, on Tuesday, February 16th. Lord Russell of Killowen [Francis Xavier Joseph Russell [Frank], Adah Russell’s brother-in-law. ] was in the chair, and the two principal speakers were the Archbishop of Westminster and Sir Arthur McNalty, who had come in the place of Sir Kingsley Wood, the Minister of Health, who was unavoidably prevented from attending. The Refuge was founded in 1860, by the late Mgr. Gilbert, whose nephew, the late Sir John Gilbert, also was closely associated with it for forty years. As Lord Russell of Killowen pointed out in his speech, the chief work of the Refuge lay in giving the unemployed a place to which they could return after a day’s fruitless search for work, a place where they could find food and shelter and warmth and kindness. The extent of this work can be seen in the fact that last winter, 36,386 nights’ lodging and more than seventy-three thousand meals were provided for the homeless irrespective of creed or nationality. In addition, the Refuge includes Purssell House, a special Hostel for boys and young men ; Bellord House, a special Hostel for women ; Gilbert House, which gives an inexpensive home to young business girls whose own homes are at a distance ; and a Home of Rest for women, at St. Albans. Truly, as the Archbishop of Westminster said, the Refuge has become a worthy monument to its founder. Sir Arthur McNalty reminded his hearers of the fact that it was not until after the Dissolution of the monasteries that the State had to make any provision for the care of the destitute, and added that it was good to know that the Church continued its tradition of charity, for there were aspects of poverty with which the State could hardly deal successfully, and the work of such places as the Refuge was invaluable. This work could not be carried on but for the labours of the Sisters of Mercy, who have been in charge of the Refuge from its foundation, and the generosity of many benefactors. Notable among these recently have been Rosamond, Lady Trevor, who bore the whole cost of refurnishing the women’s dormitory ; and those who responded to Lord Russell of Killowen’s broadcast appeal and enabled many other improvements to be made.

(1.)  From the University of Nottingham manuscripts and special collections. http://tinyurl.com/h9krov7

(2.)The above text was found on p.36, 24th April 1897 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(3.) The above text was found on p.23, 5th January 1907 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(4.)  The above text was also found on p.23, 5th January 1907 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(5.) The above text was found on p.24, 4th January 1908  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(6.) The above text was found on p.38, 2nd January 1909 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(7.) The above text was found on p.22, 22nd February 1930  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(8.) The above text was found on p.22, 2nd May 1931  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(9.) The above text was found on p.23, 2nd January 1932  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(10.) The above text was found on p.25, 23rd February 1935  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

(11.) The above text was found on p.26, 20th February 1937  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .