A Haydock ward councillor has spoken of his delight on securing pieces of local history after a 130-year-old foundation stone, entrance arch and a time capsule, were given back to St Helens Council to put on public display in Haydock.
Haydock councillor, Martin Bond, held successful discussions with the land owner of the former Haydock Cottage Hospital to claim possession of a entrance arch, a foundation stone laid by coal mine owner Mrs Josiah Evans, and a time capsule containing two annual reports of the hospital and copies of the Wigan Observer and Earlestown newspapers, which were put into a glass bottle on the opening day of Haydock Cottage Hospital on 7 August, 1886.
Haydock Cottage Hospital was built in 1886. The land was donated by Lord Newton along with a piece of land to be used for the recreation of the patients.
The colliers of Haydock, raised the princely sum of £290 by a halfpenny a week from their wages. In consideration the committee decided that the miners of Haydock, Parr and Pewfall could be treated free of charge and given free treatment for accidents.
Official records state that heroine nurse, Florence Nightingale, requested copies of the hospital plan, and in a letter dated June 10, 1885, she made observations on every detail and also suggestions for improvements to the hospital, which got her overall approval.
Following several local colliery closures - coupled with new safety measures imposed on colliery owners by the Coal Mines Act which meant less accidents, resulting in less patients – the hospital was eventually opened up to all citizens from Haydock and surrounding areas in 1930, until it’s closure in 1975.
Present land owner, Issam Jabrow, has plans to rebuild on the site and the foundation stone and time capsule became his on sale of the land.
However, following talks with Councillor Bond, Mr Jabrow has kindly agreed to hand over the items so that they can be permanently displayed in Haydock for residents - and family members of those miners who helped fund the hospital - to see
Councillor Bond said: “I am absolutely delighted that through the generosity of Mr Jabrow, we can ensure that the memory, history and heritage of the Cottage Hospital can be preserved in Haydock.
“I come from a mining family and am profoundly conscious of what we owe to our forebears, who put life and limb at risk every day of their working lives.
“Not only did the mining industry power the Industrial Revolution that founded the wealth of the whole of the UK - it kept the home fires and foundries burning during two world wars.
“Now that the pit heads have gone, the time capsule and decorative masonry from the Cottage Hospital will take pride of place in Haydock, so that future generations can learn the story of how and why the hospital came into being."
It is planned to display the time capsule at Haydock Library – while the foundation stone and entrance arch will be sited in a different location in the Haydock area later this year.