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East Cowes

Frank James Memorial Cottage Hospital 1903

The building on Adelaide Grove known, as “Frank James” was formal opened on Thursday 18th June by H.R.H. Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Governor of the Isle of Wight. The weather was fine and there was a large gathering of guest and local people to greet the Princes and the area was decked out with flags. With the shipbuilding and other industries in the district there was a large number of accidents and there had been a need for a hospital in the area for some time. Currently all accident had to be transported to I.W. County hospital at Ryde with the associated delays, the new hospital would allow treatment to be given much early thereby saving distress to the injured person and possibly saving lives.

Picture of Frank James Hospital in 1905
Frank James Hospital in 1905

The idea for a hospital had been long though about, but money had been a problem, eventually money was collected and a site in Newport Road acquired. Plans drawn up, but unfortunately due to lack of funds they came to nothing and site was sold. Due to the generosity of Mr. Arthur James and his brother Mr. William in giving the land and buildings together with a yearly endowment, a hospital in the town became a reality.

The long term future of the hospital had been assured due to the generosity of J.S.White & Co and their workforce of over 2000 men who have promised a yearly contribution Other companies and employees in the district have pledge their support. The local medical profession have also offered their service at no cost to the hospital. Miss Lear-Month was appointed the first matron; she had served in the South African War and been awarded two campaign medals. District nursing will be provided funded from hospital funds.

In his address of welcome to Princess Henry, Mr. Godfrey Baring read the following statement [abridged]

“May it please Your Royal Highness, I am speaking on behalf of the committee to offer their hearty and respectful thanks for your presence here today to open the “Frank James” Memorial Home as a Cottage Hospital for Cowes, East Cowes, Whippingham and Northwood. We wish to thank your Royal Highness for your involvement in a scheme to bring relief to the suffering of the poor in these areas. It is less than six months since you called us all together, since then the building has been structurally altered and is now fully equipped to receive eight patients, no doubt this number could be doubled if funds were available. We are also pleased to report that we have received £502 pounds to cover initial expenses and the annual income arising from subscriptions paid and promised amounts to £823 pounds.

We wish to acknowledge the gift made by Mr Arthur James and his brother William of this building and its contents together with an annual endowment of £300 pounds. We must also place on record the help give by J.S.White and Co. together with their employees who have given a second endowment of more than £300 pounds per annum and the help given by other firms in the area. We must also place on record our thanks to the medical gentlemen of Cowes and East Cowes who have offered their professional services to the hospital without charge and other donors who have no immediate connection with the area.

I now respectfully request Your Highness to declare the hospital open”

In response the Princess then said “I have much pleasure in declaring this hospital open”

Picture of Frank James Hospital in 2011
Frank James Hospital in 2011

Source: Isle of Wight County Press, 27 June 1903

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:29

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