Yesterday the foundation stone of the new Central Hospital, Liscard, was laid by Mrs. McInnes, of Heath Bank, Wallasey, in the presence of a large gathering of the leading residents of the district. Owing to the rapid growth of the population of Wallasey, the existing medical charities have become quite inadequate to the work devolving upon them, and consequently it was fittingly decided in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year to commemorate that auspicious event by erecting a hospital suitable to the requirements of the district. The late Mr. McInnes, of Heath Bank, Wallasey, initiated the project by purchasing the site of the hospital and generously presenting it to the committee. The public response to the appeal for funds was most liberal, £7000 being realised. The building will cost £15,000, but there is still a balance of £4000 required. The site adjoins the north side of the Central Park, in Liscard Road.
The building, which is designed by Messrs Maxwell and Tuke, of Manchester, will be a very handsome architectural structure. One pavilion will first be erected with male and female wards for 20 beds each, also a couple of small private wards for two patients each. When completed, the building will consist of three pavilions capable of accommodating 120 beds. It will be fully equipped with an operating theatre and the latest requirements for hospitals. Though smaller in size, it will be based on the principles adopted at the Northern Hospital in Liverpool and other up-to-date hospitals. Six or eight nurses will be retained on the premises, and probably also a resident medical officer. It is further contemplated to locate the horse ambulance at the institution. The administration block will accommodate the whole staff required for the three pavilions.
The large assemblage present yesterday included the Revs. W.H.L.Cogswell (rector of Wallasey), J.H.Gwyther, O.T.L.Crosssley, Canon Weatherhead, Major Lester (chairman of Stanley Hospital), Dr.Muir, Alderman James Smith, Sir W.Mitchell Banks, Messrs. G.H.Peers (chairman of the committee), B.W.Levy, William Rathbone, J.Paxton (chairman of the Wallasey District Council), G.Brick, R.W.Preston, F.Johnston, G.J.Coombs, J.Wright, C.R.B.McGilchrist (honorary secretary), W.Carson, J.B.Galt, W.F.Lee, D.A.S.Nesbitt, T.R.Bulley, and H.W.Cork, Drs. Napier, Walsh, Craigmile, Crooke and Banks. The choir of St. Mary's, Liscard, were in attendance, also a detachment of the 4th Company 1st C. and O.V.A., by permission of Captain R.R. Greene and officers. The proceedings having opened by devotional exercises.
Mr. G.H. Peers said he was sure that day would be regarded as a red letter day in the annals of Wallasey, for it marked the official commencement of an institution which would be an untold blessing for time to come. For a considerable period it had been felt that the hospital accommodation, particularly in the southern and central district, was very limited - he might almost say very crippled. The late Mr. McInnes, of Heath Bank, Wallasey, showed his prescience of what would soon be an absolute necessity by contributing that eligible central site where they stood. Still, it was felt that the erection of a hospital at that time was too great an undertaking. but in the Diamond Jubilees year of our gracious Queen, when Wallasey, in common with the rest of the country, met to consider the best way of commemorating that very interesting and auspicious event, it was decided to carry out the new hospital scheme, and the appeal met with a very general and liberal response, and the amount realised was about £7000. To that must be added the very generous donations from outside, also the funds in hand and the assets if the Seacombe Cottage Hospital, making the amount at their disposal about £11,000. (Applause.) The contract for the new hospital was £12,100, exclusive of the cost of the heating apparatus, etc., which would make a total of £15,000. That left a deficit of £4000, and another £1000 would be required for furnishing the building, but he was sure they could look for that to the ladies of Wallasey, who were ever to the fore in the relief of suffering. The new hospital would have accommodation for 40 beds, but it was so planned as to accommodate even 80 or 120 beds. The administration block would suffice for all time - for any future extension that might be required. The estimates might appear high, but the committee had carefully considered that point, and decided that the hospital should be thoroughly efficient and up to date. They had the most valuable assistance of Mr. Moore, the talented secretary and manager of the Royal Infirmary, Liverpool - (applause) - whose presence they were glad to see, and also the invaluable aid of Mr. Levy, whom they were proud to welcome that day. (Applause.) They considered it a very good act of kindness if Mr. Levy to come from London to those proceedings. (Hear, hear.) He had not only given them great aid in regard to the plans, but he had given generous aid in another way. (Applause.) Although doubts had been expressed as to the probable difficulty of maintaining the institution, the committee had every confidence in the public giving the necessary support. He then called upon Mrs. McInnes to lay the foundation stone, and presented her with a silver trowel on behalf of the architects, and a mallet on behalf of the contractors, Messrs. Joshua Henshaw and Sons, as a memento of her late husband, whose generosity, together with that of the McInnes family, had certainly given an impetus to the work.
Mrs. McInnes having duly laid the stone.
Mr. B.W. Levy addressed the gathering. He said that for the last two years he had been aware of the arduous endeavours on the part of the committee to erect the institution, without knowing where the funds were to come from. If it had not been for the assistance of those assembled, they would never have been there on that very happy occasion. In this selfish life, when they all more or less pandered to their own desires, what happier feeling could they have then that of trying occasionally to do good to others who could not give anything in return. (Hear, hear.) They must either assist by work or in kind in keeping the poor, who were always amongst them. They thought they did good by giving of their surplus, but what was that to the suffering, anxiety, worry, and pain of those who would at some later period be in that hospital. Therefore, it behooved them to do their utmost to assist the committee in finishing the building without debt. He was proud to be there that day, and he assured them that the service he had rendered would be continued in the future. (Applause.)
Mr. William Rathbone also testified to the generosity of the late Mr. McInnes, and spoke of the noble work which Mr. Levy had done for the sick and suffering by the erection of the handsome hospital in Liverpool.
Alderman James Smith referred to the encouragement which the committee received from the late Mr. McInnes, and said that he (the speaker) had the honour to propose at a town's meeting in the Diamond Jubilee year that they should build a new central hospital. Proceeding, he said they had another hospital in Wallasey in which he was deeply interested, and which he hoped was no less complete than the ine about to be built. He appealed to the friends of Wallasey to consider the claims of that institution as well as those of the new hospital. They had a dispensary in Liscard, in addition to the Seacombe Cottage Hospital, two district nurses, and a convalescent fund; also the Ladies' Charity and Convalescent Home for Women and Children, which was second to none in the country. (Hear, hear.) Thus they had a complete system of medical charities, which required considerable funds to maintain them. There never was an age more charitable then the present, and he had every confidence in the hospital being maintained efficiently. (Applause.)
Sir W. Mitchell Banks, M.D,. LL.D., moved a vote of thanks to Mrs McInnes, remarking that her husband delighted for over half a century to help every charitable work in the district. When one looked abroad, and saw that in every nation of Europe beneath the surface there lay a seething mass of anarchy ready to spring to up almost at any moment, and only held down by the swords of soldiers and policemen, they must feel a very proud and happy nation that they had none such among themselves. (Hear, hear.) If asked the reason why it was, because there sits on their throne one who for over 60 years had given all the best of her life to the doing of good deeds among her people. (Hear, hear.) There was not a member of her family assisting in some good and charitable work like that, which engaged the attention of those present that day. They found the great nobility helping and superintending the work of bazaars, and in a mercantile town like Liverpool they found merchant princes giving liberally of their money for the alleviation of the sufferings of their poorer fellow-men. And so long as that great Christian spirit existed between those whom God had blessed with abundance and those who had it not, so long would the country prosper and be happy. It had been said it would be a good thing to put their hospitals and great educational establishments on the rates. He never lost an opportunity of protesting against that. (Hear, hear.) Were it not for those great charitable institutions the spirit of liberally and generosity would die out - that spirit of governing power by which both the men and women of this country learnt to rule the great institutions, to keep their tempers -(laughter)- and to learn broad and human views of the great body politic. it would be a terrible thing if the institutions had to be paid for out of the rates and taxes, and if they lost the ineffable blessings he had spoken of. Would any amount of rates and taxes compensate for the lives of such men as Tate, Holt, Rathbone, Lewis, Levy, Cliff, and McInnes? (Applause.) In conclusion, he hoped the good works of Mrs. McInnes would continue as an honourable and noble example to the next generation of what a public-spirited woman should be. (Applause.)
Mr. J. Paxton seconded. he said if it had not been for the late Mr. McInnes they would never have been able to acquire that site. The dream of years had at last been realised. It was undesirable to place such an institution on the rates, but had the hospital not been provided by the community, the district council would have been bound to take the matter in hand, because the district had grown so much, and other public improvements might then have been postponed.
Mr. F. Johnston supported the motion, which was carried with acclamation, and acknowledged by Mr. W. Carson, on behalf of Mrs. McInnes. Canon Weatherhead proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. G.H. Peers, the chairman of the committee, and the proceedings concluded with the National Anthem. The invited guests were afterwards entertained to tea by Mr, and Mrs. G.H. Peers, on the terrace of the hall in Central Park.