Nineteenth century charities

Facade of Victoria Baths:Detail of the front facade of Victoria Baths on the east side of Park Street, which opened on 24 May 1888 as slipper baths for the local poor. They closed in 1979 and Sloane Court now stands on the site
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

b) NINETEENTH-CENTURY CHARITIES: Numerous charitable and voluntary institutions were established in the nineteenth century to care for those who could not afford to care for themselves, but who did not enter the workhouse. Medical help was provided by the dispensaries (see “Hospitals and Dispensaries”), lying-in institutions, and medical missionary societies. Other societies such as the Mutual Provident Society and the Dollar Society allowed poor people to invest hard-earned money, to be returned with interest when it was most needed. Co-operatives were formed to reduce the cost of food and other essentials to the poor (see “Co-operatives”). In 1829 the first soup kitchen was established at SpringGardens, and permanent soup kitchens were opened at Mighell Street and Ship Street in 1839 with several others later; they lasted well into the twentieth century. Winter warmth was also provided by the Brighton and Preston Blanket Lending Society which continued until 1940. Numerous societies also tried to improve the moral welfare of the poor, including temperance societies, the Salvation Army, and the Brighton and Hove Town Mission. ‘Model Dwellings for the Poor’ were provided by a charitable trust in Church Street (still standing) and Clarence Yard in the 1850s. Elementary education for the poor was provided by the church and a number of charitable societies (see “Schools”), while the council built public slipper baths at North Road , Cobden Road, Ditchling Road , Park Street and the Aquarium . Similar to domestic baths, the slipper baths lasted into the 1970s and enabled the poor of the town to keep themselves clean at low cost; they were also popular social meeting places. {2,3,6,7,24,115,275a}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

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