Christmas at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, St John’s Wood 1903

I love this one

hospital-of-st-john-and-st-elizabethThe sated pessimist who looks upon all things that are made and finds them soil, who distills poison from every flower, who, himself drinking life to the lees, would close the springs to others, need seek no other tonic to his disordered system than he would have found on Wednesday afternoon among the poor little afflicted innocents to whom the Sisters of Mercy minister at their hospital in St. John’s Wood.

edwardian-christmas-treeThe children’s ward was transformed into a fairy palace of delight, with electric lights glowing everywhere among the most graceful festoons, and a tall Christmas tree laden with wonderful gifts, and also glistening with electric sparks that hung like gems among the branches, and the little sufferers, bearing vicariously the world’s sorrow in their frail bodies, fairly beaming with smiles and laughter as they reflected the sunny looks of the Sisters that are ever beneficently bent upon them. They lay in their little beds tricked out in gay and graceful costumes, bright, eager, fluttering with excitement, veritable blossoms of humanity, each hearing shining witness to the good deeds that redeem a naughty world. And a great company was there to share in the pleasure, first of whom must be mentioned Mr. Sperati, who personally contributed, designed and executed all the beautiful decorations.

There’s a nice mixture of the family peering at the sick children, and getting their mementos, including Charles Russell, his sister in law, quite possibly the nephew who inherits his baronetcy, Lady Watson Parker, Charlotte Purssell’s mother in law, and almost inevitably the Roper Parkingtons.

Among other visitors were the Count and Countess de Torre Diaz, Mrs. Witham and family, Mrs. Frank Eyston, the Lady Hylton, Hon. Charles Russell, Hon. Mrs. Cyril Russell and children, Mrs. and Miss Louis Taylor, Mrs. Wegg Prosser, Madame Van de Velde, the Misses Van de Velde, Mrs. Semper, Mrs. Bellamy and family, Miss Barton, Lady Fleming, Miss Sperati, Miss Burke, Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor and son, Mr. and Mrs. George Herbert, Miss de Zulueta, Mrs. J. Weld and family, Miss Weld, Lady and Miss Vavasour, the Right Rev. Mgr. Canon Fenton, V.G., Mrs. Macdonell, Mrs. Cuthbert Macdonell and children, the Very Rev. Canon Rymer, D.D., the Very Rev. Canon Delaney, Mrs. Barry Ball and family, the Misses Dawson the Hon. Mrs. le Poer Trench, Mrs. Charles Roskell and children, Miss Roskell, Dr. and Miss Blackett, Mrs. Le Grande, Dr. and Mrs Harold, Mrs. Madden, Lady Watson Parker, Mrs. Colvin, Mrs Clementi Smith, Sir Roper and Lady Parkington, Signora Campione, Mrs. and Miss Walthew, Dr. Constable and family, the Misses Cahir Miss Pownall, Miss Fanny Pownall, the Misses Judd, Mr. and Mrs. Sperati, Dr. and Miss Ware, Mr. and Mrs. Blackett, and many others. A post-office was set up, and each of the visitors received therefrom directed, sealed, stamped and delivered a parcel containing some memento:of their visit. xmas-at-st-john-and-st-elizabethThere was music too contributed by Miss Pinto Leite and Miss Perret, and all the scene was filled with a gladness that will not die out of the faces of of those innocent sufferers for many a day in the new year.

The hospital is beautifully placed in Grove-end-road, and is a spacious, well-appointed building, fit in every way for its purposes. The work of completion of the men’s wing is unhappily suspended, owing to a plentiful lack of funds. The King’s Hospital Fund contributes £500 a year, and granted a donation of £500. It remains for the Catholic public to do the rest.

The above text was found on p.34, 10th January 1903 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Reception at the Mansion House 1910

by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, bromide print, 1900s
Sir John Knill, Lord Mayor of London,about 1910. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Almost inevitably the Roper Parkingtons were there…….

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress held a reception of Catholics at the Mansion House on Monday afternoon. Gracious, simple, and Catholic, it was a gathering of the family. The Archbishop was there and all the Bishops who had arrived for the Low Week Meeting : the Bishop of Newport, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Bishop of Nottingham, the Bishop of Salford, the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Bishop of Southwark, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Bishop of Menevia, the Bishop of Galloway, and the Bishop of Amycla, whose purple with that of the Monsignori added colour to the scene. Amongst the clergy were Mgr. Canon Scott of Cambridge, Mgr. Tynan of Salford, Mgr. Canon Moyes, Mgr. Canon Howlett, Mgr. Grosch, Mgr. Brown, Vicar-General of Southwark, the Right Rev. Vicar-General of Glasgow, Provost Mackintosh, priests too numerous to name from all parts of London, North and South, Canons of the Cathedral Chapters of Westminster and Southwark, parish priests, Cathedral chaplains, priests from the provinces, members of religious orders, Jesuits, Dominicans, Augustinians, Benedictines, Franciscans, Servites, Canons of the Lateran, Vincentians, Salesians, Oblates of St. Charles, and many more. Catholic society in all its grades was represented :—the Princess Marie Louise de Bourbon, the Duchess of Seville and the Duc de Seville, Lady Mary Howard, Lady Edmund Talbot, Lady Vavasour, the Earl of Denbigh, Count Mensdorft, the Austrian Ambassador, the Count and Countess de Torre Diaz, Count O’Clery, Sir W. H. Dunn, M.P., and Miss Dunn, Sir J. and Lady Roper Parkington, Sir Francis and Lady Fleming, Lady and the Misses Dalrymple, Miss Weld Blundell, Colonel Sir Charles and Lady Euan-Smith, Sir Henry, Lady, and Miss Norbury, Sir Charles and Lady McDonogh Cuffe, Lieutenant General and Mrs. Mackesy, Mr. Justice Walton, Mr. J. G. Snead Cox, Major and Mrs. R. Meyer, Miss Anstice Baker, Mrs. Bernard Mole, Miss Streeter, Mlle. Janotha, Miss Minnie Stewart, Mrs. Leeming, Mrs. Plater, Colonel Vaughan, Mr. Roskell, Mr. Lescher, Surgeon-General Maunsell, Mr. and Mrs. John Kenyon, Chancellor and Mrs. Tristram, Dr. Counsell, Lieutenant-Colonel Wellesley, Miss Emily Hickey, and about 500 others, all representative of business, law, art, letters, and public life among the Catholics of London.

A programme of music of exceptional interest was provided in the Egyptian Hall under the direction of Mr. H. Plater. The central attractions were the singing of Madame Blanche Marchesi in Willeby’s “Crossing the Bar,” an “Ave Maria” by Mlle. Janotha, and ” Jerusalem ” from Gounod’s “Gallia.” Miss Newbery, Madame Henrietta Engelhard, and Miss Catherine Aulsebrooke, also sang with much acceptance ; Miss Nora Freeley in violin solos, Signor Manrico Bacci, Mr. Fraser Gange, and Mr. Denis O’Neil in songs also making their mark; as also did Mr. H. Plater as a whistler, and little Blanche Young, a mite of a child, in a finely executed “Good Luck Dance,” written by Mile. Janotha, and named after her mascot, ‘ Little White Heather,” which, by the way, Mlle. Janotha brought with her. The accompanist was Mr. Albert Lyne.

Egyptian Hall
Egyptian Hall, Mansion House

The reception was in every way a memorable one in the crowded year in which the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress are utilising every opportunity for doing good. An illustration was a beautiful but pathetic scene in the Egyptian Hall. While all was moving brightness in the rooms of state, at the end of the Egyptian Hall, to the accompaniment of the rare music, a number of cripple girls were giving an exhibition of exquisite work in artificial flowers, to which craft and art they had been trained by a beneficent institution, the Watercress and Flower Girls’ Mission in Cripplegate, founded in 1866, and beginning work among crippled girls in 1879. The work is educational, curative and industrial, and extends to all parts of the country, teaching crippled girls to earn their own living, and ministering weekly to 5,000 girls, women, and children. It was established by a Nonconformist minister, and is a non-Catholic institution, but charity knows no boundaries, and “God’s Poor,” of whatever creed or kind, find loving sympathy in the large Catholic heart of the City’s queen. The cripple girls and their exquisite work were made a special and fitting feature of the reception.

The above text was found on p.30, 9th April 1910 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher” The Tablet can be found at .

More detail on the flower girls mission can be found here