The Hertfordshire Convalescent Home

St Leonards on Sea, Hastings


Old Herts


Convalescent Homes



If your ancestor was missing from Hertfordshire in the 1881, 1891, 1901 or 1911 census they may have been recovering at the Hertfordshire Convalescent Home, St Leonards on Sea, Hastings.


Dear Friend. Arrived here quite safe feeling very tired it is a lovely place every one is so kind I think this change will do me good do try and come down it will do you so much good I have thought of you hope you are better        good bye M B****

Sent to Mrs Simmons, 49 Liverpool Road, Watford, (circa 1905-1910?)

Hertford Mercury, 7 August, 1880


(To the Editor of the Hertfordshire Mercury)

Sir, —At mooting held in the Shire Hall, Hertford, on the 13th of January last, to take into consideration the desirability of establishing a sea-side convalescent homo for the county, the following resolution was passed; That a committee of seven persons be appointed to consider whether it is desirable to establish an independent convalescent homo for county of Hertford, or to suggest any other scheme for carrying out the same object, and to report at a public meeting, to be called as soon as they shall think fit.”

Through the kindness of Earl Cowper, and under his lordship’s presidency, this Committee met at Panshanger on Saturday last, the 3rd inst., and after careful consideration of the subject the following resolution was adopted:—

That if it should seem probable that a sufficient sum could be collected for the purpose, it would desirable to form sea-side convalescent home for tho county of Hertford.”

At the request of the Committee I am asking you kindly to give publicity to their derision through the medium of your columns, and state also that it was thought desirable that the £3000 should be raised as an endowment fund, and about £450 in annual subscriptions, to secure the successful maintenance of the Institution. Towards this request £768 has been already promised for the endowment, and about £100 in annual subscriptions.

A public meeting will held in Hertford on Saturday, April the 24th of this month, at 3 o’clock, when Earl Cowpor has very kindly promised to preside, and it hoped that those who may feel an interest in the formation of this Institution may find it convenient to be present.—

l am, sir, your faithful servant,


Hertingfordbury Rectory, April 8, 1875.

Hertford Mercury, Saturday 10 April, 1875

The introduction to the index of some papers on the Convalescent Home at HALS, ref DEX913, reads :

At a public meeting held at Shire Hall, Hertford on 13 January 1875, the Reverend F Burnside (Rector of Hertingfordbury) presented a scheme that would provide a convalescent home for the poor of the county. On Thursday 28 October 1880 the Hertfordshire Seaside Convalescent Home at St. Leonards-on-sea, Sussex was formally opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Christian. The money for the scheme had been provided by voluntary subscriptions by the people of Hertfordshire. The home received people for periods of convalescence and recuperative holidays. It was a non-profit making charity run by a voluntary committee and was not part of the National Health Service. In 1982 the home was sold and the money remaining was invested and used to send convalescents to appropriate surroundings under the Hertfordshire Convalescent Trust.

Women's Sitting Room, Herts Convalescent Home

There is a booklet The history of the Hertfordshire Sea-side Convalescent Home at St Leonards-on-sea by Gordon M Frizelle, published in about 1964, which I have not yet seen. There is copies in Hastings Library and  other copies at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine and at the London Metropolitan Archives. There is an online history, which may have been taken from the booklet, at 1066Online.


PRINCESS Christian on the 29th ultimo opened, at St. Leonards-on-Sea, the new buildings for the Hertfordshire Convalescent Home. Lord Lytton, who, at the luncheon which was given on the occasion, proposed the health of the honorary medical officers, illustrated the value of their services by the following graceful apologue. He said that in the wise old literature of India there was a little story told, which forcibly recurred to his mind in connection with the day's proceedings. It was the story of a king who was famous for his virtues, but especially for two which it was not always easy to reconcile - namely, justice and compassion. A dove pursued by a falcon sought refuge with the king. The falcon, however, who was a remarkably, in fact a supernaturally, clever bird - as logical as the late Mr. Mill, and as eloquent as the present Prime Minister - pointed out to the king that he was entitled to his prey; and proceeded, just as if he were a statesman out of office, to impugn the motives of the king, who, he remarked, shrank from the disagreeable dictates of justice which caused him pain, while indulging at the expense of others in the luxury of compassion. Moved by the falcon's arguments, the king ultimately agreed to give up as much of his own flesh as was equal in weight to the dove. Scales were sent for, and the king, drawing his sword, cut from his own body one pound of flesh. But the dove in the opposite scale outweighed it, and the king hacked and hacked and cut at himself till he was little more than a skeleton, still without the desired result. At last, in desperation, he himself jumped into the scale. Then, indeed, did the scale sink, but at the same moment, the dove and the falcon rose to heaven and were transfigured; and so, continued the Hindoo chronicle, the king learnt the whole theory and practice of morals, which began and ended in self sacrifice. That was the moral pointed by this convalescent home, and more particularly by the efforts of the honorary medical officers, who, like the king in the Hindoo story, threw not merely their purses - for time to them was money -but themselves into the scale.

British Medical Journal, 6th November, 1880

This 1881 plan from "The Builder" shows the building as first erected.

There are separate entrances, staircases and reading rooms for the men and women

but they obviously shared the dining room.

1881 Census - Hertfordshire Convalescence Home

Mary K. Philpot Head Widow 42 Matron Surrey, Mortlake
Henry J. Philpot Son   14 Scholar London. St John's Wood
William Abbott Patient Unmarried 26 Labourer in Gas Works Herts, Rickmansworth
Jacob Allen Patient Unmarried 39 Insurance Collector Essex, Laughton
Ada Barden Patient Unmarried 23 Housemaid Sussex, Guestling
Clara Barden Patient Unmarried 24 Cook Sussex, Guestling
Mary Barker Patient Unmarried 17 Pupil Teacher Herts, Hainds Park
William Bowery Patient Married 42 Cardboard Maker Essex, Bloodlaw
Hannah A. Bird Patient Unmarried 19 Cook Surrey, Putney
Sarah Catlin Patient   17 Work at Silk Mill Herts, Redbourn
Walter Chapman Patient Widower 40 Butlerman Herts, Wareside
Samuel Coe Patient   18 Upholsterer Herts, Cheshunt
William Coles Patient   12 Formerly Newspaper Boy Kent, Tonbridge
Rhoda Cook Patient Unmarried 27 Housemaid Herts, Hatfield
Rose Crampton Patient   13 Scholar Not Known
Emma Edwards Patient Unmarried 18 Housemaid Herts, Bayford
Charlotte Day Patient Unmarried 29 Dressmaker Surrey, Sutton
Elizabeth Day Patient Unmarried 29 Housemaid Herts, Hitchin
Mary R. Ghost Patient Unmarried 53 Dressmaker Herts, St Albans
George Harwood Patient Unmarried 35 Gardener Herts, Offley
Elizabeth M. Halsey Patient Unmarried 23 Parlourmaid Herts, Bushy Heath
Elizabeth House Patient Married 23 Independent Bucks, Franlore?
Annie Jackson Patient Unmarried 22 Independent Herts, West Mill
Ellen Kibbles Patient Married 33 Work in Paper Rag Mill Herts, Batchworth
Edward Kinis Patient Married 32 Butler Northampton
Rueben Kirlopie Patient Married 24 Grocers Assistant Essex, Wickham Mills
Elizabeth Long Patient Unmarried 33 Independent Bucks, Chesham Bois
Florence Mackenzie Patient   13 Scholar Middlesex, Enfield
Herbert Marlow Patient   17 Bakers Boy Herts, Offley
Esther Mortlock Patient Unmarried 48 Independent Middlesex, London
Emma Moxon Patient Widow 36 Dressmaker Herts, Codicote?
Joseph Nash Patient Married 45 Stonemason Bristol, Winterbourne
Stephen Norfolk Patient Unmarried 28 Brickmaker Herts, Hertford Heath
Rose Phipps Patient Unmarried 19 Cook Herts, Broxbourne
Emily Saunders Patient Widow 31 Laundress Herts, Watford
Sarah Smith Patient Unmarried 30 General Servant Herts, Wellingdon
Jane Wallace Patient Unmarried 19 Independent Herts, Great Munden
Peter Wingrave Patient Married 42 Agricultural Labourer Herts, Kimpton

A number of local newspapers published weekly statistics - which were undoubtedly supplied using post cards such as the above.

August 2010   Page created
September 2016   Update