50 years ago


THE need for charity is not so great as in the past, yet the need still exists.

But the pounds given to charity today are worth little more than the pennies given in the early days of the Peterborough Benevolent Society, and those who give should recognise the change in money values.

This appeal was made by Mr R Bone, the senior trustee, when the society held its annual dinner and dance.

When the society was founded in 1833 to help the poor, members agreed to pay one penny a week, he recalled.

Wages in those days averaged about 8s a week, so a penny went a very long way.

Mr Bone quoted one case from the records, when a family with a wage of 10s was given a grant of £1.

"Today with the average wage at £12, if the society gave £24 to the one family, they would be regarded as extravagant," he said.

He pointed out that most of the society's income - which was distributed to the needy - was still derived from the interest on the investments of "those old gentlemen who contributed a penny a week".

More contributions were needed.

Mr Bone was replying to the toast of the society and officers, proposed by the mayor, Cllr WJ Bolton, JP.

Cllr Bolton described the society's work as being of inestimable value and still necessary although there had been great social advances since the society's inception.

A large part of the effort and resources of the Peterborough today were concerned in the care of the needy old folk in the borough, but this year the society felt that this work was not enough.

It had taken on a stall at the Friends of Fulham Hospital garden party in the summer.

"I repeat, Fulham Hospital," stressed the mayor.

"You can call it Charing Cross or whatever you like; so far as I am concerned, it is still Fulham Hospital - and you raised at the garden party one of the highest amounts of any stall there."

The major praised also the society's hospitality.

25 years ago

November 30, 1984 IN PERIL - MAJOR HOSPITAL A MAJOR West London hospital is under threat and more health cuts are on the way.

This is the grim warning from Hammersmith and Fulham's health watchdog - the Community Health Council.

It follows last week's announcement that the Government has agreed, in principle, to merge Hammersmith and Fulham's Health Authority with neighbouring Victoria.

The new jumbo health authority will be called Riverside and will have a revenue of about £120million a year.

The North West Thames Regional Health Authority's merger proposals were bitterly opposed during consultation.

Hammersmith and Fulham CHC's secretary Sue Beatty said: "We are astonished that the Secretary of State should fly in the face of the views of democratically elected local authorities."

Objections to the scheme were submitted by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the City of Westminster, all the MPs in the area, Hammersmith and Fulham's CHC and Victoria's CHC and Health Authority.

"We think the consultation was just a charade to disguise a decision already made by civil servants," said Mrs Beatty.

"The Minister's letter informing us of his decision says 'The need for a considerable degree of nationalisation of services is pressing'.

"In plain words, that means more cuts in our health services and the almost certain loss of one of the three big hospitals - Westminster, St Stephen's and Charing Cross."

Health Minister Kenneth Clark said: "We have considered their views very carefully indeed.

"I am convinced that, far from making joint planning more difficult, this proposal opens the way for an improvement in the way the NHS and local authorities plan and manage services for priority groups."