History of the Orphanage on Newsham Park

1868 December 16. Meeting in Mercantile Marine Association Rooms, to consider expediency of establishing an Institution to provide for the needs of the Orphaned children of Seafaring men.

A promise of £500 was made by Mr James Beazley if nine other subscribers would do likewise.

1869. Account opened Heywood's Bank, Brunswick Street.

1869 August 9. "Temporary Home" opened at 128 Duke Street, Liverpool

1870 April 7. Liverpool Town Council approve proposal to grant a site in Newsham Park to the Seaman's    Orphan Institution.

1871 September 11. Foundation stone of new building laid by Mr. Ralph Brocklebank, first President.

Pdf of the opening ceremony from Rev W. M. Taylor click on image.

1873 The Liverpool Mercury Saturday August 2. Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage Institution

Laying the Foundation Stone of the Chapel.

The foundation stone of the chapel in connection with the orphanage, Newsham Park, was laid yesterday by Mr. C. MacIver. There was a large attendance of spectators, amongst those present being the mayor (Mr. E. Samuelson), Messrs. R. Brocklebank, J. Beazley, W. Langton, A. Brown, Clarke Aspinall, A. Balfour, H. J. Ward, Samuel Smith, Joseph Armstrong; the Revs. Canon Stewart, Canon Warr, R. H. Lundie, P. T. Forfar, G. Lord, A. Pitt, Drummond Anderson, and J. Turnbull; Captains Judkins, Lott, Inglis, Hains, Bell, &c. A number of the inmates (girls and boys) of the temporary home in Duke-Street, accompanied by the band of the institution, occupied seats in front of the platform, and their clean and healthy appearance bore testimony to the care taken of them.

Mr. James Beazley, the chairman of the executive committee, in opening the proceedings, said it was now about four years since an appeal was first made to the public for funds to build the institution from the tower of which the flag flew that day for the first time, and they hoped to open the building before the winter was over and admit 200 children; but it depended in a great measure upon the joiners of Liverpool, who for the last two or three months had kept these 200 poor starving children out of the building. (Cries of "Shame.")

The building would cost £25.000, and it would be opened entirely free from debt. (Applause.) They were now about to erect alongside of it a chapel, which, apart from the higher considerations in favour of the scheme, would, he had no doubt, add very considerably to the funds of the institution by means of the offertory after the Sunday services. (Hear, hear.)

The Mayor, at the request of Mr. Beazley, then took the chair, and a hymn having been sung by the orphans, and prayer offered' by the Rev. Canon Stewart, his worship said he felt, some few months ago, great delight in being able to congratulate those who interested themselves in this institution that their efforts had attained such success; and he was now equally delighted to find that they were not contented that the children should be housed, but that they felt that their religious education should also be fostered. (Applause.)

They had heard that, so far as the institution itself was concerned, all that was required had been received, but he had to make a strong appeal to the public on behalf of the building they were about to erect, and he was sufficiently liberal to hope that when they had erected a church on that side of the institution there would be others who would follow their example and build a chapel on the other side. (Hear, hear.)

It was sad to think that 200 or 400? Children were kept out of the adjoining building in consequence of a misunderstanding between workmen and employer - it was indeed sad that the designs and intensions of benevolent men should be thus frustrated and the work of God impeded.

He did hope that when the work upon which they were now engaged was commenced they would not look back until the vane was put upon the spire. (Applause.)

Mr. MacIver then proceeded to lay the stone, using for the purpose a handsome silver trowel, with carved ivory handle, manufactured by Mr. Mayer, of Lord-street, and bearing the following inscription: - "Presented to Charles MacIver, Esq. - on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of the chapel of the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution, 1st August, 1873."

The stone having been declared duly laid, one of the orphan girls stepped forward, and, having placed a box on the stone, dropped into it a small contribution, her example being followed by the other children.
The Mayor begged the company to understand that this interesting episode in the proceedings was quite a surprise to the committee, and was not arranged for sensational effect.

The other day the children were each presented by their kind friend and benefactor Mr. Brocklebank with a new coin, and it would seem that they thought they could not do better than devote it to the purpose to which they were now applying it. (Applause.)

Mr. MacIver, on coming forward to address the company, was loudly cheered. He said if their lamented friend Mr. Graves had been alive, it would most likely have been that gentleman's privilege to lay the stone which he had just laid.

Brief as was this allusion to Mr. Graves he hoped it would be taken as it was offered - as tribute to his memory. (Applause.) he knew of no reason why he had been asked to lay the foundation stone, but when Mr. Beazley and Mr. Brocklebank called upon him and expressed to him the wishes of the committee, he saw that Mr. Brocklebank would like him to do so, and Mr. Brocklebank was to his mind an engaging type of a true British ship-owner. (Laughter and applause.)

Mr. Brocklebank thought of the seamen and worked for him, and was not stingy in giving his money; and that was the type of individual it was desirable to have in Liverpool. (Laughter.) No one would gainsay that it was a very fit and proper thing that a chapel should be connected with the Orphan Institution, and Mr. Brocklebank and a few kind friends had established a chapel fund.

The cost of the edifice would be about £6000, of which little more than half had been contributed. If the public of Liverpool in their generosity thought fit to contribute, taking the action itself as their reward, the committee would be very happy indeed to receive contributions; but he was bound to say that if they did not get any more money, they would contrive to do without it, getting the money from some other source. (Laughter and applause.)

The chapel would be indisputably a Protestant chapel, subject to the laws - the known and declared laws of the Church of England. (Hear, hear.)

If the committee were fortunate in making a good selection of a minister, they would have nothing to regret; but if it should be otherwise, they would have the power of removal, and need not keep any clergyman longer than the necessity was urgent or the utility evident. (Hear, hear) At all events, he so understood it.

One thing he felt bound to say - that as this would be a Protestant church, the confessional would never be allowed. (Applause.)

Without saying what it was in other churches, he was of opinion that in a Protestant church it would be destructive of all moral and social life and order, not less certainly than it would be destructive of physical life to try to feed a human being on strychnine. (Laughter.)

He had no doubt that he would be called a bigot - (cries of "No, never") - but let them carry this along with them that there was scarcely a cathedral or church of any pretentions that he had not been in, and he had seen the most splendid ritual in full blast. (Laughter.) He was not a bigot for another reason. He had very many friends who believed neither to the Catholic Church, nor did the Presbyterian Church, nor the Church of England, and perhaps, some of them belong to no Christian church at all. (Laughter.)

Some of his friends were in Turkey and elsewhere throughout the world. But, perhaps, he had better drop this part of the subject. The committee of the institution would try to recognise God in all their ways, and he would direct their paths. The subscriptions to the Seamen's Orphan Institution showed that sympathy with the sailor was deep and wide.

Already 125 boys and 57 girls had been passed for admission into the institution as soon as it was opened. The boys were not placed there with the intention that they should become sailors; they might all become tailors for anything the committee cared. (Laughter.) The yearly subscriptions on which they could depend for the support of the building only amounted to £1200. He could not account for it.

He contended that they had a right to expect contributions from all the steamship and sailing companies, from the tug companies, from the ship furnishers, and from the dock board, who, if they could be hospitable, might also be charitable. (Laughter and applause.) He also thought that the insurance companies and underwriters ought to subscribe. He concluded by wishing the institution every success. (Cheers.)

On the motion of Mr. Brocklebank, seconded by the Rev. R. H. Lundie, and supported by Mr. Clarke Aspinall, a vote of thanks to Mr. MacIver was carried amidst loud cheering; and on the motion of Mr. A Balfour, seconded by Captain Judkins, thanks were voted to the mayor for presiding.

The doxology was then sung, and the benediction having been pronounced by the Rev. Canon Warr, the proceedings terminated.

The plan of the chapel consists of a nave, with central passage, transepts, in which the children will be seated, and chancel. The nave will accommodate about 320 visitors and the transepts about 400 children. An organ chamber and vestry are provided for in the angle of the east transept and the chancel, externally, the walls will be erected of grey bricks, with an admixture of red Runcorn stone in the plinth and window sills and jambs, and of red terra cotta, in the cornice.

The transept windows, and those at either end of the building (and not those of the nave.). Will be divided by mullions and enriched with traceried beads.

The end windows will be filled with stained glass, presented by friends of the institution. Internally, the brickwork of the walls (above the dado, which is to be formed in cement) will be visible, and will be relieved by bands of dark grey terra cotta and red Runcorn stone. The structural timbers of the roof will be all visible. The seating and the other fittings of wood will be of pitch pine.

The transepts will be separated from the nave by two bold pointed arches, in each case supported in the centre by a column of red granite. Terminating the gable end of the nave, next the chancel will be a bell-cot or bell-gable, constructed of stone with arched openings for two bells. The chapel will be erected by Messrs. Haigh and Co., of Liverpool, at a cost of £6200 under the direction of the architect Sir Alfred Waterhouse of London.

1874 January 30. Informal opening of North Wing of Orphanage.

1874 September 30.

Royal opening of the Orphanage, Newsham Park, by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.

1875 July 8th Visit of the Sultan of Zanzibar.

1879 The Liverpool Mercury, Monday May 5th Opening of a sanatorium at the Seamen's Orphanage.

On Saturday afternoon, a large party of ladies and gentlemen assembled at the Seamen's Orphanage, Newsham Park, to witness the opening of a sanatorium, which has been erected at the sole cost (about £4000) of Mr. Ralph Brocklebank the president of the institution.

The Mayor and Mayoress (Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Royden) were present to perform the opening ceremony, and amongst the company who met them in the large dining hall were Mr. Ralph Brocklebank, Alderman Boyd, Mr Clarke Aspinall, Mr. R. Brocklebank, jun. Mr. James Beazley (the treasurer and chairman of the executive committee), Bishop Kelly, the Rev Drumond Anderson (the chaplain to the institution), Rev. Canon Warr, Captain Gough, C.B. Mr Joseph Armstrong, Mr P. Nelson. Mr. A. Turner, Mr. R. Allan, Mr G. Holt, Rev. William. Lefroy, Rev. L. H. Lundie, Councillor Nicol and &c.

After the singing of a hymn by a number of the children, a procession was formed to the new building, the appointments and arrangements of which were minutely inspected by the visitors.

The sanatorium forms a detached block on the south of the orphanage, but is connected with the main building by a means of a covered corridor. The kitchen, office, and medical stores are on the ground floor, the first and second floors being devoted to the sick wards. The exterior design is in character with the main building, and is constructed of similar materials.

Mr George Enoch Grayson was the Architect, and Messrs Holme and Nicol the builders. At the close of the inspection, the mayoress declared the building opened; and a short service was conducted by the Rev. Drummond Anderson. The party again returned to the dining hall, and, the children having sung another hymn.

Mr. Beazley said it was his pleasing duty, as the chairman of the executive committee of that institution, to read a very short address to their excellent president, Mr Ralph Brocklebank, the donor of the sanatorium. (Applause.) It was not his (Mr. Beazley's) intention to say anything beyond the reading of the address, as he thought it would be found to express all that was desirable to say on that occasion, in a very few words. (Applause.) Mr. Beazley then read the following address:-

To Ralph Brocklebank, Esq., First President of the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution.

We the committee of the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution, desire respectfully to tender to you our warmest thanks for your great kindness in providing this needful addition to the orphanage, which has been erected at your sole expense, and in your earnest desire that nothing may be wanting to promote the temporal as well as the spiritual well-being of the orphan children of our sailors. We cannot doubt that this building will be of great service in ministering to the health of the children, and in meeting such emergencies of sickness as are incident in so large a household. We accept your generous gift with all gratitude. May you be spared many years to see the blessing of this your work of love.

Permit me to add that you would confer upon us, and upon many others in this community, an additional favour, if you would kindly consent to sit for your portrait, to be placed in the dining hall of the orphanage.
Signed on behalf of the committee and friends of the institution. James Beazley.
Chairman of executive committee and treasurer.
Edward Stubbs, Capt. R.N. Secretary.
Liverpool May 3, 1879.

Need to replace this image with one relating to the article.

The address is a handsome work of art, and contains a view of the "Sanatorium" and also portrait groups of the children in the pretty and appropriate dress of the school. The border is after the style of the 14th century manuscripts, richly coloured and gilt, and contains the armorial bearings of Mr. Brocklebank, as well as the "Liver," "Delphius," &c., and other suitable devices. It is mounted and framed in oak and gold frame, and was prepared by Mr James Orr Marples, 16, Liverpool and London Chambers, Exchange.

The Mayor said that Mr. Beazley was quite right when he observed the the address omitted nothing which they might say regarding Mr. Brocklebank; but while they might not be able to say anything more, they might be allowed to enlarge upon some portions of it, and he could say that every sentiment which it embodied found an echo in every heart in that borough -(applause)- and particularly that part which alluded to the hope that Mr. Brocklebank might be long spared to witness the good which he had done to that institution.

The Seamen's Orphanage was one of the best institutions in the town, and in many respects it presented one of the greatest claims upon them. (Hear, hear.) Where a great number of children were drawn together, illness in various forms frequently showed itself and a year or two ago when measles got into the institution it was found necessary to have a place where they could keep isolated the children so affected, and from contact with children in a healthy condition. In order to do this, the sick children had to be sent away, and this was felt not to be in accordance with the design of the institution.

The committee therefore came to the conclusion that something must be done to remedy this matter, and the question they had to deal with was how was it to be done. They could not devote their funds towards such a purpose, and they found they would have to make a special fund to deal with it.

Mr Brocklebank, however, at once offered to provide this building entirely at his own cost, and the committee were thus freed from any further responsibility in this matter. (Applause.) They had seen that day how that gift had been carried out and provided; and they would not only congratulate Mr. Brocklebank on making them such a handsome gift, but upon having such a successful building for the purpose for which it was intended. (Applause.)

He often thought if they recognised to themselves the value of such a life as Mr. Brocklebank set before them; if they thought of him as a businessman placing his name in the first rank as a man of unimpeachable honour and integrity; if they thought of him, that notwithstanding the extensive demands upon his time for his business he still found time to perform acts for the general benefit of the town, the way in which he managed the dock board and other institutions - and he (the Mayor) need not enumerate the many sets of kindness and charity which Mr. Brocklebank had performed in their midst - they would see the value of such a life and very great indeed. (hear, hear.) It added lustre to their town, and he trusted that the esteem in which Mr. Brocklebank was held would be in some degree a slight regard for his conduct. (Applause.)

Bishop James Kelly said that was the first time he had visited that institution, but it was not the first occasion by a great many upon which he had advocated its claims. Many a time in crossing the Atlantic had he pressed its claims upon his fellow passengers and he always found amongst the commanders of Atlantic going vessels very keen and lively interest in the institution. (Applause.) Bishop Kelly then spoke of the excellent gift which Mr. Brocklebank had that day presented to the institution.

Mr. Ralph Brocklebank, who had received with applause, in reply to the address, said that in making the presentation to him they had placed him in a somewhat embarrassing position and he could not, therefore find proper words with which to express himself for the great honour they had done him. It was a much unexpected thing to him, for he was not aware that he had done anything, at least he did not feel that he had done anything, to call for such encomiums as he had heard from his worship and Bishop Kelly.

He, however, thanked the committee, and Mr. Beazley especially, and those connected with the Seamen's Orphanage, for the kind manner in which they had promoted the presenting of that address to him that day.
He felt himself entirely unworthy of receiving it, but he did receive it nevertheless with feelings of the deepest gratitude, because he believed it was given to him with the same feelings with which he received it himself (Hear, hear.) The services he had rendered to that noble institution had been amply rewarded by the success which he had seen attend it from its first conception to the present time, and it had been his earnest desire in the words of the memorial "to promote the temporal as well as the spiritual well-being of the orphan children of our sailors." (Applause.)

With reference to the building of the sanatorium it was no difficult matter if one had money to give it; but there were some things which could not be valued by money; there were some things money could never reach; and one of these was the organisation and carrying on of such an institution as they were met in that day.

The Seamen's Orphanage had been carried to a most successful issue, and he thought they must give the credit to a gentleman whose name was attached to the address which had been presented to him, and that was Mr. Beazley. (Applause.)

That gentleman possessed the esteem of everyone who knew him, and there were very few in this town who were not acquainted with Mr. Beazley and his works. (Applause.) The erection of the sanatorium did not originate with him (Mr. Brocklebank); it originated with Mr. Beazley, who had impressed upon him the need there was for such an institution.

The building was now opened, and he thought they would find it was amply sufficient for any case that might arise. They must understand, however that it was entirely and exclusively for the inmates of that institution, and when it was not required for the purpose for which it was intended, it might be used as a place for learning the elder girls laundry work or the general duties of a household. Mr Brocklebank then suggested that they should build a house for their excellent chaplain, the Rev. Drummond Anderson, on the grounds of the institution.

That gentleman at present lived away from the building, and it was very inconvenient, especially in the winter time, for him to attend there early in the morning and at night, as he was required to do daily. He threw out the suggestion, and he thought if they set their shoulders to the wheel, and particularly his friend Mr. Beazley, it would be carried out directly. He thanked them all for their presence that day, and for the kind manner in which they had recognised his services. (Applause.)

Mr Clarke Aspinall then addressed the gathering upon the value of Mr. Brocklebank's gift, and with reference to his suggestion of providing a residence for their esteemed chaplain, remarked that if the "wheel" which Mr. Brocklebank said they should put their shoulders to was Mr. Brocklebank himself, the suggestion would very soon be carried out. (Laughter and applause).

Mr. A. Turner then moved, and Canon Warr recorded a vote of thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress, to which the Mayor briefly replied.

During the afternoon Mr. S. Claude Ridley, the organist to the institution, played the overture to Zampa and an operatic selection from William Tell.

1879 Unveiling of Portrait of Mr. Ralph Brocklebank.

1880 Unveiling of Portrait of Mr. James Beazley.

1880 The Sun (New York) May 11. Brief Mention.

During the last voyage hence to liverpool of the inman steamer SS City of Richmond a concert given by the members of Col. Mapleson's Italian Opera Company was highly enjoyed and appreciated by all on board. The proceeds, amounting to a handsome sum, were for the benefit of the Seamen's Orphanage in Liverpool.

1885 The New York Times Sept 5th One Eigth of them clergymen.

Of the 200 saloon passengers who landed yesterday morning from the Inman steamship City of Berlin no less than 24 were clergymen. On Sept 1st an entertainment, consisting of singing and recitations, was given in the cabin for the benefit of the Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage.

The entertainment closed with the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Save the queen." A handsome sum was realised by the managers of the entertainment.

Among the passengers of the SS City of Berlin were Lady Alice Seymour, (she later married James Hainsworth Ismay son of Thomas Henry.) Dr. Herbert L. Spence, the Hon. William J. O'Brien, the Rev. Dr. Charles E. Harris, the Rev. Dr. E. P. Masden, and Capt. T. M. Canton.

1893 The Liverpool Echo Saturday April 8, The Bishop and the SS. Naronic.

Interesting to see J Bruce Ismay carrying on in his fathers  (Thomas H Ismay's) footsteps as highlighted in this newspaper article from The Liverpool Mercury Friday March 30th 1900


1900 The Liverpool Mercury Saturday July 21 Swimming At the Seaman’s Orphanage

The Lord Mayor (Mr. Louise S Cohen) Who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress and Miss Cohen, yesterday performed in a very high temperature, the pleasing ceremony of opening the new swimming bath generously given to the Liverpool Seamen’s Orphanage , Newsham Park, by several staunch friends of the institution.

The bath, which is in every way up to date, save that a spray remains to be added, measures 60 by 26 feet, the floor bring graded so as to save waste of water, while at the same accommodating divers, novices, and polo goal keepers. Galleries at each end complete the structure, which is capitally lighted and ventilated the architect (Mr Alfred Culshaw) having produced a bath which is the admiration of experts.

The Opening was brief and bright. Mr R. G. Allan (chairman of the institution) having conducted the guests to the chief gallery amid the cheers of boys and girls who with the teachers lined the bath, said the committee were adding to moral and intellectual training a more complete provision for physical exercise.

Some of the generous donors where - Sir Alfred Lewis jones, Robert G Allan, James H Allan, Thomas Henry Ismay, Mr Justice Bigham, Arthur Earle, Sir William B Forwood,  Ralph Brocklebank, Richard M Brocklebank,  Thomas Brocklebank, Edward H Cookson, Mr George Holt, Sir Francis Henderson, Alfred David Jardine, William Johnston, James Lister, Alfred T Parker, Evelyn Parker, John Rankin, William H Shirley, Robert Singlehurst, Samuel Smith MP, Stephenson an old pupil, Sir Peter Walker, Mr and Mrs George Henry Warren, Mrs Mary Jane Titterington Legacy, Mr James Wood and Sir Robert P Houston MP to name but a few.

The Lord Mayor, in declaring the bath open, gave the children a description of Lake Vyrnwy, the source of the water in the bath and thanked the generous donors in the name of the institution, for their noble gift. The costs of the bath had been about £3500 of which only £100 remained to be subscribed. The bath held 40,000 gallons of water, so that it would cost £1 for each refilling or £100 a year. That would represent a serious charge on the institution, but the results would be well worth the expenditure.

At present some 75% percent of the men in the British navy could not swim, a fact greatly to be deplored and doubtless the fathers of not a few orphans who passed through that excellent institution had lost their lives owing to their being unable to swim. He, himself was educated at an expensive school, but it had not the advantages of a swimming bath such as that free school now possessed, and therefore he did not learn to swim; but he had been surprised at the ease with which all his children had acquired under good tuition, the useful art.

He rejoiced that the Liverpool baths, though not great in size,  were so numerous and steadily increasing. Last year over 1.250,000 baths were taken in Liverpool public baths, while on Thursday this week 12,000 children were bathed free, and 30,000 people paid for baths. In conclusion he placed £5 in the hands of the chairman for swimming prizes at the Seaman’s Orphanage. (Enthusiastic applause from the boys and girls.)

On the motion of Mr. Arthur Earle seconded by Mr. Charles Greenrow, the Lord Mayor was thanked.

A short program of water races followed, and the band of the institution under Band master G.C. Smith R.A. (bandmaster of the 1st L.V.A.) played selections in the grounds. The arrangements by Mr. Mylie (headmaster) Miss Wilson (head mistress). And Miss Postance (Lady Superintendant) were excellent. Mr W. R. Court (baths engineer) to the Liverpool Corporation) was present, him having naturally taken great interest in the new departure. The bath can be occasionally utilised as an indoor gymnasium.

Alfred Culshaw the architect of the plunge bath in the grounds of the orphanage was a former president of Liverpool Architectural Society established in 1848.



1901 H. M. King Edward VII Patron of the Institution.

1901 26 February The Sydney Morning Herald


The Runic, a sister ship to the Persic and Medic, and the latest of the ships built for the White Star Australian line, berthed at the Quay yesterday. She is of 12,000 tons, and a detailed description of her dimensions and appointments has already been given. The passage, for weather conditions, was made in splendid time, and the vessel's steadiness in a seaway is warmly praised by passengers.

Liverpool was left on January 3,strong south- easterlies prevailing while crossing the Bay of Biscay. The equator was recorded on the 15th in 10° W., and the trades enabled fine progress being made to Cape town on 24th. Passengers and mails having been embarked, the voyage was resumed same evening. Easting was made over the 45th parallel, the prevailing westerlies proving strong until February 11, off Cape Borda, when a N.E. change set in.

At Adelaide 1100 tons merchandise was landed. On January 27 Gladys Mary Mountford, 3 years of age, on the passenger list for New South Wales, died from natural causes. Commander Kempton's officers are:-Messrs. T. Kidwell (formerly of the Oceanic), chief; E. J. Fletcher (Medic), first; J. Fox, R.N.R., second; W. B. Sewell,   third ; E. Pilcher, fourth ; Dr. S. S. Defree, surgeon; M. Barry (Medic), steward in charge;, G. Wright (Persic), chief engineer; W. H. Lyon, second; J. Turner, third; J.W. Pascoe, sup. third; R. Muir, refrigerator.

At each port Captain Kempson was presented with testimonials from disembarking passengers, expressive of their appreciation of attention to personal comfort. Several entertainments were arranged on the voyage, the proceeds being donated to the Melbourne Children's Hospital and Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage.


1906 28 September Munificent Gifts.

The late. Mr. William Imrie, one of the owners of the White Star line, whose death was recently announced, has left the munificent sum of £100,000 to the Liverpool Cathedral fund, and £50,000 each to the Liverpool Seaman's Orphanage and the Homes for Aged Mariners at Egremont, beside. lesser sums to various other local institutions.

The total value of his estate is £300,000, the interest only of which he bequeaths to his daughter for life, while the principal is to go at her death to the public objects above-mentioned. The Liverpool Cathedral, though not yet completed, gives promise of being a magnificent and unique' pile. It will cost £500,000 altogether, and in total area will exceed-that of any other English cathedral.


1908 11 Jan The Western Australian. TREMENDOUS INTEREST IN AMERICA,

According to the officers of the SS. Vienna, which arrived from New York last evening, the running of the new Cunard liners Lusitania and Mauretania created tremendous interest in America, probably more so than in the country under whose flag they sail.

When the Vienna was in New York the Lusitania was then on her third trip across the "pond," and so great was the interest taken in her, even then, that thousands were unable to secure tickets of admission to inspect her.

She was thrown open for inspection from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the charge. for admission being 50 cents (2s. ld.) and during the whole of that time there was one constant stream of visitors, The proceeds, which amounted to a very large sum, were handed over to the Seamen’s Orphanage Fund.

Amongst her passengers on the third trip was the famous actress Mrs Patrick Campbell, who in a spirit of generosity, offered to distribute 1,000 dollars: amongst the stokers if the vessel arrived at New York at midnight on the Thursday by doing this she would have beaten her previous record, but, unfortunately, rough weather was encountered just before arrival, which considerably interfered with what chances she had. It is stated, however, that the stokers were rewarded, despite the failure.

Interior and exterior images of ship link

1908 Gymnasium opened Architect Francis Usher Holme. Still trying to find the article relating to the opening for further information - if anyone can spare a little time please do, get in touch.

1911 15th of February  John Kennedy sent in proposals to the orphanage to donate proceeds from his book History of Steam Navigation. A Fascinating insight into over 100 years of steamship companies with some amazing images.

1912 The year was clouded by the tragic sinking of the liner Titanic on her maiden voyage. With so many Merseyside seafarer members of her crew it might of been thought that applications for relief would put a tremendous burden on the Institution's financial resources. In the event the National Relief Fund organised by the Lord Mayors of London and Liverpool took care of Widowed mothers and dependants in need of assistance.

1913 The Pilots of the Port still show their deep interest in the welfare of the seamen's orphans. As a result of their excellent concert on Easter Monday, they contributed £100 to the funds of the Institution. As in former years, so in that under review, the income of the Charity has been most materially helped by the Passengers of the "Liners" crossing the ocean, and also by the Captains, Officers,  Medical Officers, Pursers, Engineers, Stewards and Crews of the ships sailing out of the Port of Liverpool, who themselves have contributed, and have awakened the sympathy of the Passengers in our good work.

The Committee being assured that the work of the Institution must ever appeal to the Seaman's heart, trust that the practical sympathy which has been shown in the past will always continue.

Donations were received from 165 merchant ships.

1914 It was inevitable that the outbreak of the First World War in August, should affect the institution in various ways. There where problems with educational programmes due to the masters leaving to join the armed forces, there was a loss of income as a result of no revenue being received from collection boxes on merchant ships which were requisitioned or lost by enemy action and by a big falling off in passenger traffic on the North Atlantic.

1915 The number of ships concerned had dropped to 85. On this the annual report for 1915 commented: "Receipts had fallen more than 50% below the usual amount, and it now becomes a question whether the Committee will be able to continue outdoor relief on the same scale as before.

1921 H.M. King George V Bestowed the Title "Royal" on the Institution.

1928 24th September  The Cumberland Argus and Fruit growers Advocate

SEA DRAMA Commodore Dies on Farewell Trip


Sir James Charles, Commodore of the Cunard Fleet, died with dramatic suddenness after arriving, in Southampton on the liner Aquitania on what was to have been his last voyage before retiring from the sea. He was taken ill on the arrival of the liner in Cherbourg Roads, and died half an hour after the ship berthed at Southampton. He had Just swung the ship into Cherbourg Harbour, dropped anchor, and handed the vessel to the pilot when he retired to his cabin. A few minutes later there was a long ring on the bell from his cabin, and two junior officers rushed to him. They found the commodore prostrate.

The ships surgeon, Dr. Sydney Jones, and his assistant Dr. Arthur Lancaster at a glance realised that he was gravely ill, and Sir James was placed in his bunk. An examination proved him to be suffering with internal haemorrhage. Wireless messages were sent to Southampton to have an ambulance waiting, and the famous commander, instead of walking proudly down the gangway to fulfil his desire for retirement to a cottage in the country, was carried down on a stretcher.


So ill was he that he scarcely recognised Lady Charles, who was on the quayside waiting to meet him he was taken to a local nursing home, but within half an hour of the ships arrival at Southampton he was dead.

The news of Sir James illness spread round the ship like wildfire in the early hours of the morning, and cast a gloom over both passengers and crew, It was only in New York on the trip which concluded so tragically that officers and members of the crew had presented him with a walnut secretaire, a chair, and a silver plaque bearing in relief a model of the Aquitania.

The presentation was made by Mr. L. Roberts, the chief engineer, and Sir James, in replying, had thanked the crew and said that he had been deeply touched by tile kind feelings which had prompted the presentation. "I shall always remember the Aquitania and my shipmates to the end," he said, amid applause. "I feel that I have become a part of the ship, and breaking away from it is a very severe wrench. When I come down to Southampton I shall come on board to see you all again." At the conclusion of this ceremony, the ship's band played and the entire crew joined in singing, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," after which the Commodore's salute was sounded by the ship's bugler.


Sir James for the past ten years had served continuously in the Aquitania, which he first took over when she was an armed cruiser during the war. Before going to that vessel, however he had commanded many other famous Cunarders, including the Lusitania and Mauritania. His first command with the Cunard line was in the Aleppo, to which he was appointed on April 16th 1904.

During the early part of his career, he sailed in sailing ships to many parts of the world, and saw service with the British India Steam Navigation Co., and the Savill and Albion Co. While on the Aquitania he achieved a remarkable performance in 1919, when assisted by a pilot, he took the liner out of Southampton docks without the aid of tugs, a feat declared by local experts to be Impossible.

While at sea on the same vessel on his 55th birthday, he was presented by the passengers with £500, a gift which he handed over to endow the Sir James Charles bed in the Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage. Sir James, who Joined the R.N.R. as a sub-lieutenant, finally retired from it with the rank of commander. One of the most popular of the North Atlantic commanders, he had crossed the Atlantic 758 times. Sir James had been wonderfully popular with his crew, many of whom had served ten years with him on the Aquitania. Austere though he could be, he was at all times keenly interested In the welfare of tile men serving under him, and displayed a kindly interest In their affairs.


1937 Daily Post 21st April The Seaman’s Orphanage Extension.

As announced at the annual meeting of the Royal Liverpool Seaman’s Orphanage Institution on Monday, a scheme for the erection for a new block of four classrooms, to cost over £11,000, is now taking shape alongside the institution in Newsham Park.

Our perspective drawing shows the new block of rooms as they will appear when completed. They will be situated close to the gymnasium, fronting the boy’s quadrangle.

The scheme has been designed to meet recent developments in modern education. The building will provide accommodation for 112 scholars, and will contain four rooms equipped for instruction in domestic science, arts and crafts, woodwork and metalwork, science and geography, enabling scholars in the senior school to receive instruction in these special subjects. Work has already commenced and it is expected that the building will be completed by October next.

The design is that of Mr Richard. H. Kelly. Who was trained at the Liverpool School of architecture.
In March 1938 the new block of classrooms formally opened.


1940 Daily Post 19th December The Queen's Doll For sick children.

The Queen sent a beautifully dressed doll for the Merseyside Sick and Orphan Kiddies Christmas Treat Fund, which the Merseyside Hospitals Council organsise each year. It was on view at the Liverpool Town Hall yesterday in the exhibition of dolls wwhich had been dressed by women employees of various city firms, and was greatly admired, as were the other dolls, all of which were very well done. The Queen's doll, which is to go to the  Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Myrtle Street, is dressed in a lovely robe of silk embroidered chiffon with a shirred bonnet to match tied with pink ribbons, and a little matinee coat.

The exhibition was held in the Council Chamber, and the Lord Mayor (Alderman Sir Sydney Jones), in thanking the workers, said the dolls would bear a message of hope and good cheer to those who received them. Twelve year old Ivy Gorman, a scholar from the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage, made an excellent little speech in thanking the Lord Mayor for his interest in the children, and the workers for their great kindness in dressing the dolls.

After describing the way in which they played with their dolls at the Seamen's Orphanage, she remarked: "You see we take great care of our dollies, and any new ones coming to us will find a very good home !"

Miss M. G. Hewlett (Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company). As spokeswoman for the workers, said the work gave them tremendous pleasure. "The dolls are clothed with loving thought for their future owners." she said.

Dr. R. A. Grant, medical superintendant of the Birkenhead Municipal Hospital, thanked the Lord Mayor and the organisers of the fund and the workers.

Mr. Sydney Lamb, secretary of the Merseyside Hospitals Council, said that altogether 10,000 dolls and toys would be distributed to sick and orphan children on Merseyside, and already several hundred parcels had been dispatched to children who had been evacuated.

A Study in expresions at West Kirkby R.A.F. Staion yesterday, when toys were being distributed to 150 children from the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage, who were entertained at a Christmas party, the toys were made on the station.


1942 Daily Post 12th May A Great Institution

An urgent appeal on behalf of the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution was made at the annual meeting in the Town Hall, Liverpool, yesterday. Mr F. A. Bates, president. who was in the chair, said that the Battle of the Atlantic was being won by the men of the Merchant Navy, and it was for the orphans of such men that the institution existed. He appealed urgently to the public to continue to give annual subscriptions.

A similar appeal was made by Colonel J. G. B. Beazley, hon. treasurer, who asked the citizens of Liverpool to "see to it that this great instition was not handicapped in its work through lack of funds." The country, he said, simply could not exist without the Mercantile Marine.

Ninety-nine boys and fifty girls were resident in the orphanage at the end of last year and during the year 21 boys and 10 girls left to take up positions which had been found for them. On the outdoor relief list were 421 boys and 404 girls, the total amount expended for that purpose being £5,677.


1942 Journal of Commerce 29th July

Trained in Sea Tradition Admiral’s Tribute to Liverpool Institution

Prize day was celebrated yesterday by the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution now situated in Wirral. Admiral Sir Percy Noble, K.C.B., C.V.O., Commander – in – Chief, Western Approaches, presented the prizes, and on arrival inspected a guard of honour formed by the older boys.

Addressing the boys and girls, Mr. T. H. Naylor, the chairman of the institution, said, their fathers had been in that wonderful service, the British Merchant Navy, on which the very existence of this country depended probably to a greater extent  than on any other single service, It was therefore particularly appropriate that Admiral Sir Percy Noble should have consented to distribute the prizes, for he was responsible for the safe conduct of that very vast fleet of merchant ships coming in and out of our ports day by day.

They had now had three Admirals visit their institution, for Admiral Beatty came in 1919, and in 1894 they were visited by Admiral Gough.

Admiral Sir Percy Noble said it was a great pleasure to be asked to distribute the prizes. He had been greatly impressed by the smart guard of honour, of which any service would be proud, and of the fine singing of the boys and girls. “All sailors sing,” said the Admiral, and went on to tell of the sailor who started to sing when he tackled a thing that couldn’t be done – then done it.

“A Great Work”

Referring to the Institution, which was over 70 years old, he said it was a great work of the cities of Merseyside to look after the children of the men in the Merchant Navy who had lost their lives and he was proud to feel himself with people who were of the same family as the sea – for the sea was a tremendous family; it always had been and always would be.

“Here in the vicinity of the greatest port of the Empire it is very fitting when gathered together, to think what the merchant seamen of Great Britain are doing now,” the Admiral declared. For hundreds of years the people of England had depended on the sea. Sometimes in the piping days of peace people were inclined to forget their seamen, but particularly when danger threatened this country, or in times of gravest action, it was to the seamen they looked and became very fond of them.

At the present moment our seamen were coming into their own again; they were seeing us through the most dangerous period this Empire had ever had to face.

“The gallantry of the men who are crossing the oceans, bringing necessities to England in the face of danger from under the sea and in the air is so fine that surely these men deserve well of their countrymen,” he went on. It should be our task, when this war was won, to say that they got their due reward.

The Seaman’s Tradition

Concluding, Admiral Noble said that institution should be a great source of pride to the people in that part of the country, for he could think of no finer way of showing what could be done to train people to bring them up in the fine tradition of what belongs to this country – which is the seaman’s tradition.

The Bishop of Chester, Dr Crick, recalled that the first five years of his ministry were spent as chaplain of the Mersey Mission to Seamen. They were enjoyable years, and he would never forget how much he learnt from the sailors.

Today the men at sea were making a wonderful contribution to the welfare of our country. “Those who support this Institution are doing something extremely worthwhile,” he concluded, “because here is being laid the foundation of sound Christian citizenship – something the nation and the whole world will need even more desperately in the days to come.”

Proposing a vote of thanks to the speakers, Colonel J. G. B. Beazley, honorary treasurer of the Institution, stated that never before had there been a greater need for a Seamen’s Orphanage in Liverpool than there was today,  and never before had there been a greater call on the beneficent pockets of the public to keep up that great institution, which cost a very great deal of money.

“I venture to say that it will be quite unthinkable that the activities of the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution should have to be curtailed through lack of funds,” he said.

Colonel Beazley described how when it became necessary in the interests of safety, to move from Newsham Park elsewhere, a very grave problem faced the committee. Just when they were wondering what to do, their deputy-chairman, Mr. E. B. Royden, and Mrs. Royden, came to the rescue. They had to thank them not only for that generosity, but also for the kindly sympathy and help they had always extended to every individual child within their gates.

After the prize giving the boys and girls gave an exhibition of physical training and dancing on the playing field. Examples of the children’s craft work were on view, and the school band played at intervals.

1944 Daily Post 16th May Seamen's Orphans - Liverpool home needs £24,000 yearly.

For the first time since the outbreak of war, children of the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution, evacuated to Cheshire, were able to attend the annual meeting at Liverpool Town Hall yesterday, when the Lord Mayor (Alderman Austin Harford) presided and warmly commended the Institution.

Mr T. H. Naylor, chairman of the committee, said the Institution was successfully tackling some of the problems which on a larger scale, faced the Government. It was giving financial assistance to the parents and guardians of some 800 children apart from those in the orphanage; and children had long been encouraged to stay on until the age of fifteen, beeing then given subsistence allowance at a technical or secondary school.

There was a difficulty in finding suitable homes, especially for wholly orphan children, between leaving the institution and earning a wage sufficient for maintenance. Farming made an appeal to some of the boys.

Colonel J. G. B. Beazley, hon. treasurer, said a sum of between £23,000 and £24,000 a year was needed to maintain the orphanage and give external relief, and support was a duty every citizen owed to our merchant sailors.

On the motion of Mr. E. B. Royden (who has provided accommodation for the orphanage in the grounds of Hillbark, Frankby), the general committee was re-elected.


1946 Daily Post 18th May Seamen's Orphan's At Town Hall.

Dressed in their "sailor  suits," the children of the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution filled the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Liverpool, yesterday, on the occasion of the seventy-seventh annual Meeting.

The Lord Mayor (Alderman Luke Hogan) presided, and told his young audience that in these days of austerity it was impossible to provide a lavish treat for them. Ice cream would however, be available for all.

The report and financial statement were adopted. The members of the general committee for last year were re-elected, with the name of Mr. G. Gordon Beazley added.

A remarkable instance of continuity in public life was brought to light at the annual meeting of the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution yesterday.

When Mr. G. Gordon Beazley was elected to the general committee, it was announced by Mr. T. H. Naylor that the Beazley family had provided the treasurers for the institution ever since its inception in 1868. At present Colonel J. G. B. Beazley holds the position, which was occupied by his father, uncle and grandfather before him, in an unbroken line of seventy-seven years.

The colonel, who is a member of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, tells me that he still has a copy of the letter written to his grandfather appealing for funds to start the institution, and promising £500 if twenty other persons would give the same amount.


1948 the West Kirby Advertiser August 6th

Orphanage’s Nine Happy Years “Hill Bark” Stay Nears Its Close

After nine years at Hill Bark, Frankby, residence of Mr. E. B. Royden, J.P., the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphanage, which is at present caring for and educating 120 girls and boys, is soon to return to the Orphanage premises at Newsham Park, Liverpool.

This announcement was made at the prize day ceremony, held on Friday, July 23, in the oak-panelled Great Hall at Hill Bank, when the children received their school prizes.

The Orphanage moved to Hill Bark when the war clouds gathered in 1939 and there, away from the hazards of life in Liverpool, found welcome sanctuary in the lovely grounds, where special buildings were erected, and often in the quiet, dignified mansion itself. It was a merciful thing that they were able to do so, for their Newsham Park premises suffered blitz damage which would quite likely have involved loss of life.

Host and “Father”

For nine years Mr. Royden has been to these children not only a generous host but a kindly and affectionate “father,” who will indeed be lonely when his large “family” has left. And it will be remembered, too , that Mrs. Royden—now of happy memory—shared her husband’s pleasure in promoting the welfare and happiness of the children.

Present at the prize-giving (in addition to Mr. Royden) we noticed Col. Beazley, who presided, Miss Mary Royden, the Rev. Frank Davies (Vicar of Frankby), Mrs Storrs (Heswall), who  presented the prizes and several other ladies and gentlemen who take a kindly interest in the Orphanage, in addition to the Orphanage House Governor, Mr Walford Headen, the secretary, Miss Forsyth, the matron, Miss Bateman and the headmaster of the school, Mr R. Barker.

Benefactor Thanked

Col. Beazley took the opportunity of publicly thanking Mr. Royden for his generosity and the loving care he had showered on the boys and girls.

“I shall miss the boys and girls very much,” said Mr. Royden, who referred to a recent gathering of 140 Orphanage old boys and girls who belong to the Old Boys’ and Girls Association. It was many years since they were at the Orphanage and the fact that they still took part in the re-unions showed that they were glad to recall their happy days there.

During the course of the prize-giving the orphanage, whose singing at Hill Bark and at Frankby church has often provided a treat for listeners sang several part songs (Mr. Higginbottom playing the pianoforte accompaniments). In the sphere of music, as in the educational field generally, their efforts matched a high standard, thanks to the most careful training they had been given by Mr. Barker, who has a flair for music.
After guests had watched a physical training display by the boys, dancing by the girls, and had inspected examples of the children’s work in the schoolrooms they were entertained to tea.

Class prizes. --  Rose Edwards, Beryl Chambers, John Parsons, Elizabeth Owen, Mary Melarangi, Eric Coombes, Agnes Broomfield, Ronald Parsons, Cyril Court, Ada Doyle, Pat Barker, Ann Vondy, Alan Hayes, Arthur McGuinness, Miriam Davies and George Doyle.

Subject prizes.--  Composition: Ada Doyle, Richard Vanson, John Allman, Beryl Chambers;  Handwriting: Cyril Court, Sylvia Black, Walter Vondy, Ernest Gallagher;  Handwork: Ron Towers, Ernest Gallagher, Joyce Merritt, Peggy Greenway, Beryl Chambers, Mary Melarangi, Joyce Booth, Jane Barker, Elsie Melarangi; P. T. Les Hughes, John Graham, Mary McColl, Joyce Merritt; Sport: Hugh Brooks;  Gardening: Fred Coombes, assisted by John Withey and Eric Coomber, Rita Cleary, Joyce Booth; History: Wm McGuinness, Geography: Rose Edwards.

Special prizes.—Brian Humphreys, Pat Barker, A. Graham, Mary Melarangi, Edna Anders, John Allman, Thomas Wares, Betty Cleary, Rita Quayle, and John Graham.
House Shield.—Christmas, 1947, Rodney (Rose Edwards); Easter, 1948 Drake (Rita Quayle); summer, 1948, Drake (Rita Quayle).

The Chapel was lost during the blitz not much info on this yet.

PDF of the centenary of the Royal Liverpool Seaman's Orphanage Institution 1969.