CLACTON: The Reckitt Home Auxiliary Hospital, Holland Road

THE RECKITT HOME AUXILIARY HOSPITAL

Holland Road, Clacton-on-Sea (within ‘London Command District’ List)

Front view of The Reckitt Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson

Front view of The Reckitt Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson

In the same way as Clacton’s Middlesex Convalescent Home was connected with a London hospital (The Middlesex), The Reckitt Convalescent Home was connected to the Great Northern Central Hospital in Holloway Road, Islington, London.   .

Believe it or not, there is a timeline link between a 16th century Tudor will and The Reckitt Convalescent Home.  Upon his death, one Richard Cloudesley gifted 14 acres of land or two “Stony Fields” in 1517, to the parish of St. Mary Islington.   As per the will, the land was managed by trustees and used for grazing – profit from the rent benefiting the people of Islington, in the form of grants and loans.

In 1817/18, the land began to be developed for housing – parcels of land were let on building leases.  Skipping forward to 1902, the main beneficiary of the charitable funds was the Great Northern Central Hospital.  At that time, it was setting aside some of the annual Cloudesley grant to build a convalescent home in Clacton-on-Sea – for Islington patients.

The build had its difficulties and, in 1906, the Cloudesley trustees agreed to contribute for another five years. This decision, together with a donation in 1907, from local businessman Francis Reckitt (of the household products company Reckitt & Sons), enabled the aptly named ‘Reckitt Convalescent Home’ to open.

Holland Road in Clacton-on Sea was where the Home’s site was found.   The Home was built by ‘H.E. Mathews’ during 1908/9.  ‘The Reckitt Convalescent Home of the Great Northern Central Hospital’ was opened in 1909 – it had 30 beds.

‘The Reckitt Convalescent Home’ has been demolished, as have several other convalescent homes built in Clacton-on-Sea during the early 20th century.

As a footnote, 2017 commemorates the 500th anniversary of Richard Cloudesley’s legacy – 500 years on, the Cloudesley trustees give grants of £900,000 per annum to Islington “health and welfare organisations, residents facing ill health and poverty, and the Church of England churches in the borough” of Islington.  Read more about the Cloudesley charity here: http://www.cloudesley.org.uk/.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the Home was converted into an auxiliary hospital.   There has been no British Red Cross card discovered for The Reckitt Convalescent Home.   The Home may have been under military control – coming under the ‘London Command District’.

The Great Northern Central Hospital, itself, treated wounded service men – it was affiliated to the ‘Second London General Hospital’.  Perhaps The Reckitt Home received its wounded via this route?

WW1 soldiers and Nurses outside The Reckitt Home in Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather A. Johnson

WW1 soldiers and Nurses outside The Reckitt Home in Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather A. Johnson

The above photograph of Reckitt Home soldiers and nurses was taken by F. Finch of “The Studio, Clacton-on-Sea”.  The group was standing at the Home’s back door, as shown below.

Rear view of The Reckitt Convalescent Home. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Rear view of The Reckitt Convalescent Home. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

There were three WW1 ‘hospitals/homes’ known to have been in Clacton-on-Sea: ‘The Middlesex Military Hospital’ (previously known as ‘The Middlesex Hospital  Convalescent Home’);  ‘The Essex Convalescent Home’; and ‘The Reckitt’s Home Auxiliary Hospital’ (once called ‘The Reckitt Convalescent Home’).   There is no doubt that not all the people who assisted in the running of these establishments have been discovered within records and, thus, they remain un-named.

There is a strong possibility that other Convalescent Homes (of which there were many in Clacton-on-Sea at the time) may have played a role in nursing the returning, wounded or ill soldiers – perhaps on a regular basis or just on an odd occasion in times of emergency.     Likewise, they remain un-named.

Front view of The Reckitts Convalescent Home. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Front view of The Reckitts Convalescent Home. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.


LIST OF PEOPLE KNOWN TO HAVE WORKED AT THE RECKITT HOME AUXILIARY HOSPITAL: if a British Red Cross card exists for a person, a link is displayed at an individual’s profile [dates in () refer to length of service at The Reckitt Home Auxiliary Hospital]:-

BEAUMONT, Miss Beatrice A. (1912-1919. Commandant. Worked at Essex Convalescent Home too)

BRYAN, Miss Maud (9.1914-?9.1918. V.A.D. General Work. Assisting Ambulance Train & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

CHISNALL, Miss Rebe (03.1917-1919. V.A.D. Special Service. Household duties)

CURTIS, Mrs Ada  (V.A.D. Needlework duties)

FLETCHER, Miss Maud E. (1912-?. Matron & Lady Superintendent. Awarded Royal Red Cross)

FREND, Mrs. Florence (1912-?9.1918. V.A.D. Needlework duties & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

JOHNSON, Miss Susie (1915-1918. V.A.D. Nursing. Teacher doing holiday duties & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

SALTER, Mrs. Jane (Quartermaster. Ambulance Trains. War Work Depot. Army Canteen Work.  Also worked at Essex Convalescent Home)

SAUNDERS, Miss Kate (01.1917-15.3.1919. V.A.D. Nursing duties)

SHADBOLT, Miss Freda (9.1914-9.1916. V.A.D. Assisting.  Also worked at Essex Convalescent Home)

TREBY, Mrs. Emma (Needlework duties)

WRAGG, Miss Iris Maud (17.3.1919-30.4.1919. J.W. V.A.D. Nurse. Also worked at ‘Singholm’, Walton-on-Naze)


N.B. Some British Red Cross members worked solely at the Clacton Railway Station – assisting when the Ambulance Trains arrive – and other duties, such as engineering … these are mentioned at the end of this chapter.


PROFILES:

BEAUMONT, Miss Beatrice A. (1912-1919. Commandant. Worked at Essex Convalescent Home too)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=BEAUMONT&hosp=clacton&id=14887&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Beaumont Hall, Clacton – on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: 7 years service; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Comdt.; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 1912; DATE OF TERMINATION: not yet Demobliized; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Organizing work etc; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Organizing all work, for Essex & Reckitts Convalescent Homes, for wounded soldiers, refreshments for Ambulance trains at Clacton-on-Sea Station, assisting at War Work Depot & Canteen work. Resigned October 7th, 1919; DEPARTMENT: Essex/86;  COMMISSION: Essex /86.


BRYAN, Miss Maud (9.1914-?9.1918. V.A.D. General Work. Assisting Ambulance Train & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=BRYAN&hosp=clacton&id=30644&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Marine Parade Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex/86; RANK AT; ENGAGEMENT: nursing member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 09/1914; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Assisting Ambulance train; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 300; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Have assisted for general work at the Essex & Reckitts Con. Home. Also assisted at Clacton-on-Sea Railway Station Serving refreshment to wounded; COMMISSION: Essex.


CHISNALL, Miss Rebe (03.1917-1919. V.A.D. Special Service. Household duties)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=chisnall&hosp=clacton&id=41149&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Dunedin Connaught Gds Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Reckitts Convalescent Home B.R.C.S. Essex 86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Special Service; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 03/1917; DATE OF TERMINATION: Still working; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Household duties; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time 2 yrs; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Two years at The Reckitts Convalescent Home. 1531 hrs; COMMISSION: Essex.


CURTIS, Mrs. Ada  (V.A.D. Needlework duties)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=curtis&hosp=clacton&id=54374&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Electric Parade, Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex/86; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1913; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Needlework; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 160; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Reckitts Convalescant Home, Essex; COMMISSION: Essex.


FLETCHER, Miss Maud E. R.R.C. (1914-1919. Matron & Lady Superintendent. Awarded Royal Red Cross)

Born 1871 Hunwick, Durham.  Registered 1st Quarter. Daughter of Agriculural Labourer Henry Fletcher and his wife Elizabeth.

1871 Census:  Hunwick (Lane End), Durham.  Living with parents & siblings.  “3 months”.

1881 Census:  Hunwick, Durham.  Living with widowed mother (Head, Farms 24 acres) & siblings.

1891 Census:  ‘Nan Tan’, Dipon Lane, Gildersome, nr Leeds, Yorkshire. Home of a Medical Practitioner & Family.  Occupation: Housemaid/Domestic Servant.

1901 Census: 26 Green Street, St. George Hanover Sq., London.  With Sir Edward Sotheby K.C.B. & family. “Visitor”.  Occupation: Hospital Nurse.

1911 Census: Reckitt Convalescent Home, Clacton On Sea, Essex.  Occupation: Convalescent House Maker Matron.  9 patients; 3 nurses; and 3 servants.

2nd Nov 1917, Chelmsford Chronicle

ROYAL RED CROSS FOR ESSEX NURSES.

The King has awarded the Royal Red Cross to the undermentioned ladies of the nursing services in recognition of their valuable service in connection with the war:–To be Associates, Royal Red Cross (2nd Class). … Miss Maud E. Fletcher, Matron, Reckitt’s Home Aux. Hpl., Clacton.” 

A Maud E. Fletcher’s death was registered in the 4th Quarter of 1956, in the Dartford District, Kent.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=fletcher&hosp=clacton&id=76092&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Reckitts Cn Home, Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: BRCS Essex/86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Matron & Lady Superintendent; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 1912; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Head of Reckitts Convalescent Home throughout the war. 60 cases accommodated; COMMISSION: Essex; HONOURS AWARDED: 2nd Class BRCS.


FREND, Mrs. Florence (1912-?9.1918. V.A.D. Needlework duties & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=frend&hosp=clacton&id=79522&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Avondale Rd., Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex/86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nursing Member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1912; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Needlework; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 261; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Has assisted at the Reckitts and Essex Convalescent Home with needlework – 260 hours; COMMISSION: Essex.


JOHNSON, Miss Susie (1915-1918. V.A.D. Nursing. Teacher doing holiday duties & at Essex Convalescent Home too)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=johnson&hosp=clacton&id=120175&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Wellesley Road, Clacton-on-Sea; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nursing Member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1913; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing Essex & Reckitts Cn Home; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 424; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 1915 – 1918 A teacher doing holiday duties at the Essex & Reckitts Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. 150 hours; DEPARTMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex/86; COMMISSION: Essex.


SALTER, Mrs. Jane (Quartermaster. Ambulance Trains. War Work Depot. Army Canteen Work. Also worked at Essex Convalescent Home)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=salter&hosp=clacton&id=182759&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Hayes Croft, Hayes Road, Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex /86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Quartermaster; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1912 DATE OF TERMINATION: not yet demobilized; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Assisting organisation WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: At the Essex & Reckitts Convalescent Home, Railway Station (Ambulance trains) War Work Depot., Army Canteen Work, etc; Quartermaster to Essex/86. From August 4th 1914, to (Still serving); COMMISSION: Essex.


SAUNDERS, Miss Kate (02.1915-9.1916. V.A.D. Nursing duties)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=saunders&hosp=clacton&id=183792&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: 38 Salisbury Avenue, Colchester.; SERVICE FROM: 1914; SERVICE TO: 1919; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Clacton-on-Sea Convalescent Home. Assisted in wards from February1915 to September 1916; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Ordinary member at Gostwycke; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1917; RANK AT TERMINATION: Ordinary member at Gostwycke; DATE OF TERMINATION: 15/03/1919; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing member. Essex 92. V.A.D. Worked at Gostwycke Red Cross Hospital; WHOLE OR PART TIME: part time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Reckitts Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. Gostwycke Red Cross Hospital, Colchester. From 01.10.1913 to present date, member of Detachments Essex/92 & Essex/86; COMMISSION: Essex 92 & Essex 86.


SHADBOLT, Miss Freda (9.1914-9.1916. V.A.D. Assisting.  Also worked at Essex Convalescent Home)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=shadbolt&hosp=clacton&id=186580&first=true

ADDRESS: Avondale Rd, Clacton on Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex/86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nursing member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 09/1914; DATE OF TERMINATION: 09/1916; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Assisting generally V.A.D.; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 200 hrs; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Assisting at The Essex & Reckitts Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea for general work. 18 months. 200 hours; COMMISSION: Essex.


TREBY, Mrs. Emma (1915-1918. Canteen Work and Needlework Duties)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?fname=emma&sname=Treby&hosp=clacton&id=210819&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: “Highbury”, Ellis Road, Clacton-on-Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex /86 See Over; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nursing Member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1912; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Needlework, Recketts Cn. Home; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 344; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 1915 to 1918 Doing canteen work & needlework weekly for soldiers at The Reckitts Convalescent Home. 250 hours. Permanent Address has “Hayes Rd.” crossed through; COMMISSION: Essex.


WRAGG, Miss Iris Maud (17.3.1919-30.4.1919. J.W. V.A.D. Nurse. Also worked at ‘Singholm’, Walton-on-Naze)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=singholm&id=233669&forwards=true

ADDRESS: Ashland, Hope Nr. Sheffield; AGE WHEN ENGAGED: 18; SERVICE FROM: 21/05/1917; SERVICE TO: 31/04/1919; HOSPITAL: Temple Newsam, Leeds; Auxiliary Military Hospital, Park House, Market Harborough; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: PTO; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 21/05/1917; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: With; DATE OF TERMINATION: 30/04/1919; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 21.5.17 – 24.11.17: Temple Newsam Aux. Hos. Leeds. 11.12.17 – 19.3.18: Aux. Hos. Singholm Walton- on – Naze 29.6.18: Aux. Hos Park House Market Harborough 14.10.18 – 15.3.19 Aux. Hos. Singholm Walton-on- Naze 17.3.19 – 30.4.19 Aux. Hos. Rickett Conval. Home Clacton-on- Sea; DEPARTMENT: JWVAD; COMMISSION: Notts 80.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=singholm&id=233670&forwards=true

ADDRESS: Ashland, Hope Nr. Sheffield; HOSPITAL: Temple Newsam, Leeds; Auxiliary Military Hospital, Park House, Market Harborough; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Temple Newsam Mil. Aux. Hos. near Leeds (6 months) Park House Mil. Aux. Hos. Market Harborough (3 months). See over; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 11/12/1917; DATE OF TERMINATION: 15/03/1919; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: May to November 1917 at Temple Newsam Auxiliary Hospital, Near Leeds. December 1917 to March 1918 at Singholm Auxiliary Hospital, Walton-on-Naze. June to October 1918 at Park House Auxiliary Hospital, Market Harborough. October 1918 to March 1919 at Singholm Walton-on-Naze; COMMISSION: Essex / 126.


The Dining Room at The Reckitt Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson

The Dining Room at The Reckitt Convalescent Home, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson

CLACTON RAILWAY STATION – AMBULANCE TRAIN/ENGINEER DUTIES

The British Red Cross members below have been found solely giving assistance at Clacton Railway Station – on the arrival of the Ambulance Trains.  They are worthy of recording.  Other members have been found assisting at the Railway Station but they are mentioned under the Convalescent Home they also worked at.

ADAMS, Mrs. Matilda (VAD)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=clacton+railway&id=905&first=true

ADDRESS: Marine Parade Clacton. on Sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex /86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nursing Member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1914; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Assisting Ambulance teams; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 160; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Have assisted at Clacton-on-Sea railway station serving refreshments to wounded when they arrived during the night. 160 hrs; COMMISSION: Essex.


HUMPHREY, Mr. George William (1.8.1916-?)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=ambulance+clacton&id=113306

ADDRESS: 41 Lenville, Warwick Road, Clacton; AGE WHEN ENGAGED: 32; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Mespot; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Engineer; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/08/1916; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: £2; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A8033; DEPARTMENT: Motor Boat; COMMISSION: Motor Ambulance; CERTIFICATE NO: 9980.


SHADBOLT, Mrs. Jane (1914-1916. VAD duties)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=shadbolt&hosp=clacton+railway&id=186581&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Wellesley Rd, Clacton-on-sea; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: B.R.C.S. Essex / 86; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: nursing member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1912; DATE OF TERMINATION: 1916; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Assisting generally V.A.D.; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 200; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Assisting at Clacton-on-Sea, railway station, with refreshments on arrival of Ambulance trains. 80 hours; COMMISSION: Essex.


NEXT:  COLCHESTER: Isolation Hospital, Mill Road

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