Fullerton Hospital – New Extension Opened – Spirit of “Safety First”

December 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times, December 11, 1925

Fullerton Hospital
New Extension Opened
Growth of a Denaby Movement
The Spirit of “Safety First”

The extensions to the Fullerton Hospital at Denaby Main were formally opened on Sunday afternoon by Mrs Leslie of Straddleforth Hall, wife of Maj J.H.Leslie, chairman and managing director of the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Ltd.

The extensions were undertaken two years ago, and have cost, with furnishing, about £7000.

The effect is to double the accommodation of the hospital which is now capable of dealing without undue pressure, with 50 inpatients. Included in the scheme is a considerable improvement of the amenities of the hospital and a rearrangement, an extension of the administrative block.

The scheme had been greatly facilitated by a loan of £6000, free of interest, from the Colliery Company, without which it could not have been undertaken so thoroughly or completed so promptly. The extensions have been designed by Mr H.L.Smethurst, of Conisborough, and the work has been executed by Mr G.W.Robson, of Sheffield, who built the Welfare Institute at Denaby and the new Epworth Hall. The extensions are in careful conformity with the original design, and make a handsome as well as a useful addition to the hospital.

The opening ceremony on Sunday was witnessed by considerable company of friends and supporters of the hospital. A short service preceded the ceremony. The vicar of Denaby, the Rev H.Lee, offered a dedicatory prayer, and the choir of the parish church led the singing of a hymn.

A Denaby Monument

Mrs Leslie was welcomed and introduced by Mr H.C.Harrison, general manager of the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries, who paid a tribute to the devoted and efficient work of the hospital management committee, and referred with particular pleasure to the presence of two old and valued supporters of the hospital, Mr W.H.Chambers (one of the founders) and Mr H.Watson Smith, a former manager of the Denaby Colliery.

Mr Harrison added that he was proud of Denaby Main and of all that had been achieve there; and he was particularly proud of their little hospital, which he thought would bear comparison with any in the country. Denaby had two fine monuments to its essential humanity, it’s hospital and it’s ambulance movement. (Applause.)

Mrs Leslie, before declaring the extensions open, said she had heard a great deal about the hospital from her husband, who was most enthusiastic in his appreciation of it. She herself was deeply interested in hospital work, and it recalled her own war service. – As she was anxious to inspect the hospital and to make the acquaintance of the patients she declared the new buildings open without further remark.

Denaby Miner’s First Fruits

Major Leslie said that when he came to Denaby two years ago he was immensely impressed by the hospital. It was one of very few self-supporting hospitals in the country. Indeed he did not know another which had a sounder financial base. It was to the foresight and humanity of men like Mr W.H.Chambers and those who work with him in Denaby 20 years ago and more that they owed to this handsome and efficient little institution.

Since then they had accumulated a great debt to the devoted doctors and nurses who had toiled there unwearied for the healing of bodies and the alleviation of pain. During the last few days there had been a good deal in the papers about the money the miners spent on cinemas. He did not know what they spent on cinemas in Denaby, and in any case it was no business of his, but he did know that the first charge on their wages, voluntary imposed by themselves, was the alleviation of suffering. (Hear, hear)

His first thought of every month, before he began to spend his own money, was for the sick and the maimed. The Fullerton hospital was a monument to the thrift, the providence, the self-denial, the Fellowship, and the humanity of the men of Denaby and Cadeby. (Applause)

History of the Hospital

Mr Harry Hulley, treasurer of the street, handed a key to Mrs Leslie. Mr Hully gave a short account of the state of the hospital, which he said, sprang from a meeting of workmen, by my Mr W.H.Chambers in 1903. At that meeting it was agreed that better and more convenient provision for injured workmen could be made than by sending them to the hospitals of Doncaster, Sheffield and Leeds, often in no condition to travel.

It was resolved, therefore, to provide a hospital at Denaby, the movement was started there and then with subscriptions amounting to £275. By July 1905, they had a hospital built and furnished at a cost of £5530. That hospital had done  a splendid service, but it’s accommodation had gradually been outgrown, and by 1923 they could postpone  no longer the work of extending it. This work had been carried out, and they were met that day to inaugurate the extension which brought the accommodation up to 44 beds. It was possible in an emergency to deal with 50 patients.

This was a noble achievement, and credit for it belonged to the workmen, who had subscribed gladly, steadily, and generously. The income from workmen’s subscriptions had gradually risen from £15 a week to £80 a week. The new scheme had been greatly facilitated by the Colliery Companies loan of £6000, which was free of interest. The present hospital was worth, at a current valuation, between £30,000 and 40,000, though it had cost nothing like that sum to build and equip.

He congratulated the committee and subscribers on the stage of development that the hospital had reached, and he would like to take that opportunity of expressing the management committee’s great appreciation of the work of the medical and nursing staffs. (Applause)

Mr E. Winpenny, chairman of the management committee, moved a vote of thanks to Mrs Leslie, and Mr F Ward (vice-chairman) seconded.

The Godfather

Mr W.H.Chambers, of Clayworth Hall, formerly managing director of the collieries and a trustee of the hospital, speaking with emotion, said he was rejoiced to see that day and to “look upon his baby grown into a fine man.”

Denaby’s motto had always been “safety first,” and as soon as they were able they made provision in their midst to save their injured men the pain and the danger of long journeys to distant hospitals.

When he initiated the scheme it was immediately taken up by the workmen and officials of the collieries and throughout the history of the hospital there had been the warmest and closest co-operation between all its supporters. It had always been a joy to him to confer with the workmen about the welfare of their hospital. The hospital movement sprang out of the ambulance movement, and it was in the spirit that inspired ambulance work that the hospital scheme was undertaken.

As soon as he mentioned it the workmen said, “It’s a good and a necessary thing; and we’ll help.”

“I am proud,” concluded Mr Chambers, “and every workmen at the pit is proud, to have a share in this hospital. It is their own and they have paid for it. Would God that spirit prevails in all things.” (Hear, hear)

The extension of this hospital was the culmination of one of the ambitions he had entertained for Denaby. He loved the place and the people in it. If it had not been for the affection and loyal support he received from the people of Denaby Main he would not have been there that day. He felt bound to join them on that occasion to meet once more the folk who had rallied round him again and again and supported him in all that he had tried to do for Denaby. (Applause)

The hospital was then thrown open for inspection and many persons availed themselves of the privilege.