Treasure of the week no. 20 – Decayed tradesmen, fags of the family & stained glass windows

JND 194/14 (Please quote this number if requesting this item)

jnd 194 14 001

BRADFORD TRADESMEN’S HOME. Lily Croft, Manningham21st Annual Report, with list of Donors and Subscribers.  Bradford: W. Byles and Sons, Printers. 24 pages plus 10 engravings, 1889.

Caring for the elderly has ever been with us. Before state pensions, the National Heath Service, and local authority Social Services, the problem concerned many of Bradford’s leading citizens. Many Benevolent Societies were established and the success of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Society charted here, in building houses for pensioners, is an inspiring story.

‘The idea of a Home for decayed Tradesmen was suggested by the administration of the affairs of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Institution. Very early in the history of that Charity it became painfully evident that the mere annuity was insufficient to relieve the necessities of the recipients. With the most frugal management it could barely supply the means of sustenance, so that, with respect to what is equally important for the aged and the careworn – a peaceful home – they must shift as best they could. The pensioners must either be lodgers in the poorest and most unhealthy localities, exposed to every disturbance likely to destroy that calm so necessary for man’s final preparation, or they must dwell with their married children, where there may be equal annoyance, and a sense of dependence – where the grandfather is often made the fag of the family, the grandmother the incessant nurse, – and where in bad times the first resource is to forestall the pensioner’s annuity.’

A proposal was made to erect thirty houses, to be tenanted, free of rent, rates, and taxes, by pensioners of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Society and others, to be elected by the donors to the fund. A site for the building was purchased at Lilycroft, Manningham, plans of the houses were prepared and adopted,  and in due time the foundation stone was laid by Sir Titus Salt, who donated two thousand guineas. The thirty houses were all occupied by 1870 and during 1877 and 1878 another block of thirteen houses were erected. There was a lofty hall that could seat 300 persons, a hall that was beautifully enriched with memorials in stained glass of several departed friends of the Institution.


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