Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Shanklin Home of Rest

Further to the previous post, I checked out Shanklin Home of Rest as planned. Its history turns out to be quite well-documented. But I'm always of the opinion that there's never any harm in another take on a topic - especially as this, it turns out, ties in with a previous Shanklin post on JSBlog.

National Library of Scotland Map Images
Low-resolution screenshot for non-commercial illustration purposes
Click here for high-res comparison images
An immediate observation is that the building complex that was the former Home of Rest - at Lake, between Sandown and Shanklin - still exists. It's above Hope Beach, adjacent to the zigzag descent at Little Stairs, the only beach access route at Lake. The complex is now YMCA Winchester House, a YMCA accommodation centre with various community functions such as nursery and pre-school services. It original function, however, was as an affiliate branch of a different organisation, the Girls' Friendly Society.

Although both Shanklin Home of Rest and Ferny Bank House of Rest for Women in Business in Babbacombe provided affordable holidays for working women, they had a rather different basis. Ferny Bank was an independent venture of specific - if not idiosyncratic - intake: 'blue-collar' working women who weren't too genteel (no governesses), nor too downmarket (no domestic servants). The Girls' Friendly Society, which ran Shanklin House of Rest, had a much broader membership: in its early days, primarily young women who were domestic servants, teachers, nurses, clerks, students, and factory/warehouse workers.

I haven't been able to find a very early prospectus, but the 1903 Burdett shows the infrastructure:
Shanklin, Isle of Wight.—Home of Rest.—Opened 1893. Patroness.—Princess Henry of Battenberg. Patron.—The Bishop of Winchester. President.—Sir Wyndham S. Portal, Bart. Treasurer.—Rev. A.G. Joyce. Hon. Secretary.—Miss Lee, The Rectory, Botley, Hants. Hon. Med. Staff.—J. Groves, E.S. Thomson, R.A. Gibbons, J.H. Morgan and J. Ellis. House Phys.—Charles Fryer. Lady Superintendent.—Miss Willoughby. Beds.—73. Inmates.—856. Income (1901-1902).—£2624. Expenditure.—Ordinary, £2497; Extraordinary, £256. Terms.—For women and girls over 8; single bedrooms, £1 1s. to £1. 5s. a week; cubicle rooms, 13s. a week with subscriber’s letter; 15s. Without (G.F.S. Members 1s. less); Dormitories, 7s. 6d. with letter; 11s. without (G.F.S. 2s. 6d. Less). Hospital patients in Winchester diocese, 6s. 6d. London cases admitted. Subscribers’ privileges.—Subscribers are entitled to send one patient for every £1 1s. Subscribed. Donors of £21 = subscribers of £1 1s. The Home takes girls for industrial training from 13, at 5s., and over 14, at 4s. Per week, for a period of not less than 6 months. Duration of stay.—1 to 6 weeks.
- page 665, Convalescent homes, Burdett's Hospitals and Charities, 1903.
The 1914 The Englishwoman's Year Book and Directory lists the much wider disparity in costs once the Home of Rest included upmarket residents staying in a separate wing.
Shanklin, Isle of Wight – Home of Rest. With letter, 5s.; without, 8s. to 30s ... A few gentlewomen at 30s
There are, naturally, contemporary newspaper accounts of the 1893 opening of the Home of Rest.
On Saturday afternoon Shanklin was en fete, the interesting event being the opening ceremony with the Home of Rest, at Shanklin, built on the cliff, and furnished through the munificence of Mrs. Harvey, at a cost of around £12,000. Prior to the arrival of T.R.H., the Rev. W.H. Nutter, M.A. (Vicar of St. Paul’s, Newport), gave an organ recital in the chapel. The Misses Nutter, too, assisted in the carrying out of the musical programme. The Shanklin Town Band played selections at intervals during the afternoon. The following information, anent the new building, will not be without interest to our readers:—the donor has presented the building to the Winchester Diocese Council of the Girls’ Friendly Society. It is intended for the reception of ladies and others who need rest and change of air, particularly for members of the G.F.S. convalescents from hospitals in the Diocese of Winchester. Beautiful for situation on the cliff, the home is substantially built in three blocks, and contains seventy-three beds besides accommodation for the necessary staff. A chapel, which contains an organ, has been erected at the end of the principal corridor. A verandah more than 100 feet in length (closed at each end) on both the ground, and first floor facing  the sea forms a delightfully sheltered promenade.
THE ISLE OF WIGHT, The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England), Wednesday, May 24, 1893; pg. 4; Issue 4899. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.
I haven't quoted it in full. If you want to know a lot more - who attended, what was said at the speeches, etc - the above is the source to go for, along with SHANKLIN HOME OF REST - Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc (Portsmouth, England), Saturday, May 27, 1893.

The G.F.S. Home of Rest, Shanklin, IW
from found eBay postcard image
unprintably low-res image reproduced as fair use
As to further background, I won't reinvent the wheel here: gives the basics of the history, with photos - GFS Home of Rest, Shanklin, Isle of Wight - and Wootton Bridge Historical has a page about the central benefactor, Mrs Mary Nunn Harvey 1835 — 1897. She paid for the building and furnishing of the Home of Rest, funding the project from her late father's fortune from his Newport lacemaking factory - he was also a noted philanthropist - and then donated the premises to the Girls' Friendly Society. But the plan does seem to have been slightly less linear than that. Some accounts, for instance, EF Laidlaw's 1994 book A History of the Isle Of Wight Hospitals (see website - The Shanklin Hospitals), mention that the place was originally envisaged (who by?) as a children's hospital. I wonder what the story there is? Maybe the Local Board didn't go for it; the self-funding Home of Rest, paid for by its guests, would presumably have been a financially more attractive option than supporting a children's hospital.
Mrs. Harvey, of the Cliff, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, has offered to present to the Council of the Girls' Friendly Society a substantially built house near Shanklin, standing in its own grounds of about two and a half acres, and containing 100 beds, for the purpose of a convalescent home. The only condition attached to the gift is a ground rent of £40, to provide from which a guarantee fund of £800 is being raised, towards which Bro. Wyndham S. Portal has contributed £100.
- page 36, Masonic and General Tidings. The Freemason, Jan 21, 1893.
The same offer is reported - "A generous offer" - in the editorial correspondence section of The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England, Saturday, January 07, 1893; pg. 3), with follow-up news of its rapid acceptance -  ACCEPTED WITH THANKS (A SHANKLIN LADY'S BOUNTY) Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc (Portsmouth, England), Saturday, January 21, 1893 - and the meeting to establish the institution -  LOCAL AND DISTRICT NEWS (A MAGNIFICENT GIFT), The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England), Wednesday, January 18, 1893; pg. 4. The acceptance story explains the ground rent condition: to pay for the lease on the land, which was under a 999-year lease held by a Colonel Atherley.

Mrs Harvey died, at only 62, a few years later on 11th October 1897. Her home, The Cliff, is also still extant, now as the long-established Cliff Hall Hotel; its website has a good historical summary.

View of the conservatory at "The Cliff", Shanklin, Isle of Wight
Gardeners' Chronicle, March 28, 1898
(Mrs Harvey was a  keen horticulturalist. A Gardeners' Chronicle supplement for March 1898 has the above very nice image of the conservatory at her home).

A 1968 Isle of Wight County Press feature - "75 years of service" - has a good rundown on the subsequent general history of the Home of Rest.
The original intention was for a children’s hospital, but for various reasons the plan was abandoned, and the house and its furnishings were presented to the Winchester Diocesan Council of the Girls’ Friendly Society “for the benefit of those belonging to the society and also for others who want rest and change of air." ... The house was officially handed over on May 20th, 1893 ... The Ministry of Health took over from June, 1940, until July, 1946, and the house was used as an emergency hospital. Otherwise it has remained under the control of the Girls’ Friendly Society since its opening. The original titleShanklin Home of Restremained until 1907, when it was changed to The Home of Rest (Winchester House). The present title was adopted in September, 1952, when responsibility was handed over to the Central Council of the G.F.S. Changes come hard to some people, and the term “Home of Rest” is still frequently heard on the buses, and by passers-by. Even the ordnance survey show it as The Home of Rest on their maps.
- 75 years of service, IWCP, Saturday, June 8, 1968 , page 10 (reproduced as fair usage, Isle of Wight County Press Archive
I found a couple of early independent descriptions of the general architecture and decor. This one's from the previous post ...
A house of rest at Shanklin, built by the munificence of Mrs. Harvey, and presented by her to the Winchester branch of the Girls' Friendly Society, was opened last year, and will doubtless prove a haven of rest to many a worn and weary woman who has found the burden of life too heavy for her. This large house, which has seventy-three beds, in addition to the accommodation for the staff, is intended for ladies, as well as poorer women and girls who require change of air and quiet, and the three classes whom it is to benefit will pay small weekly sums in proportion to their requirements. The house is situated at the edge of the cliff, and there are extensive views by sea and land. It is prettily decorated and furnished. The sitting-rooms are large, and the bedrooms, entrance hall and corridors light and airy. Along the front of the house, and looking seaward, run two verandahs, each one hundred and twenty-six feet long, one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor, which will be invaluable to invalids for exercise; and in the little chapel, with its quaint fittings of oak and its sweet-toned organ is a stained-glass window, which diffuses a dim religious light around. Indeed, the house has been a work of love to the generous donor, and everything connected with it is as perfect as possible, as she has personally superintended and taken the keenest interest in every detail.
Rambles Through England: Isle of Wight (in contents as "ISLE OF WIGHT, The ... illustrated from Photographs"), The Ludgate Monthly, March 1894, page 502 in bound Vol VI compilation (Nov 1893 - Apr 1894).
... and this one from the Shanklin Spa guidebook - see Shanklin Spa ... (23 March 2014) - by the pseudonymous (and so far unidentified) Shanklin writer "Monopole", who notes quite early on the detail about the Home of Rest accepting gentlewomen too.
The Home of Rest is situated between Shanklin and Sandown, but so rapid has been the growth of the town in this direction that it may rightly be considered to be an integral part of Shanklin. It is built not far from the edge of the cliffs, has a commanding view of the sea, and an approach to the beach. To the munificence of the late Mrs. Mary Nunn Harvey the Girls' Friendly Society owe this generous gift, and although it is very largely used as a Home of Rest, it is also frequented as a seaside resort by gentlewomen, who have a wing to themselves. Those whose circumstances only allow them a limited expenditure, will find here a luxurious and beautiful home, enabling them to recruit their health by payment of a moderate sum of money. It was built in 1890, and has two acres of land attached to it, the main entrance is on the north, and you will note that the reception hall is exceptionally fine.
      On the north of the doorway is a very pretty chapel, which contains two valuable windows. On the first floor of the Home there are several drawing rooms, &c., and the whole of the building is heated throughout with hot water. A lift has been provided, in fact the Home may be said to be fitted up with every requisite for comfort and for health. It was designed, as was the Post Office, and the Club on the Cliff, by Mr. Lewis Colenutt, to whose genius Shanklin owes its principal buildings, the architectural beauty of which meets with universal admiration. It must be conceded that this Institution is doing a vast amount of good; it will be a lasting tribute to the generosity of the donor, for its cost approaches the sum of twenty thousand pounds; it is a permanent advertisement of the salubrious climate of Shanklin, for hundreds yearly enter the portals of this well-managed Home, weary, worn or overworked, or needing rest and change, and finding it here, after a short stay return home robust and strong.
Shanklin Spa: A Guide to the Town and the Isle of Wight ("Monopole", pub. Silsbury Bros, Shanklin, 1903 edition: Internet Archive ID shanklinspaagui00monogoog). 
If you Google "Shanklin home of rest", you'll find a few galleries with images largely from early 20th century postcards. Notably:
I've excluded sites that place obtrusive copyright assertions directly on the images for no good reason. An unobtrusive watermark is fine, if you really must. But I largely take the view that long-out-of-copyright historical images belong in the public domain or at least under a Creative Commons license - not in someone's scheme to market them or to co-opt them as exclusive to a website (especially if they came from an out-of-copyright original anyway). Unless, that is, it's done by a professional organisation that provides some seriously worthwhile derivative use of the images. Such use could include high-quality prints by mail order, or high-resolution digital images with legally reliable usage terms that authors/researchers can buy into without worries about the legal status. The best companies with image-related services combine a generous and altruistic attitude to noncommercial use with excellent value-addded services for commercial use.

- Ray

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