When Birdsgrove House was opened as a convalescence home in 1946, it relied on the generosity of those in the profession to help furnish it. In May this year we attended the RPS Fellows Dinner, bringing along with us some treasures from our Birdsgrove archive, including photos, documents and artwork crafted by those visiting the house. One of these items was a hand-bound book entitled “Gifts to Birdsgrove House” that documents every gift in kind received from 1946 to 1981.
Generous pharmacists and local RPSGB branches made donations to help expand the house and its amenities. Notably, a number of local branches donated furniture and decorations to their corresponding rooms, as a number of the bedrooms were named after areas of the UK. This included the Anglesey, North Caernarvonshire and Colwyn Bay branch, as well as the Denbighshire and Flintshire Pharmacies paying to refurnish the “North Wales” room in 1955; and the Bradford and District Branch providing bedding and curtains for the “Bradford” bedroom in 1973.
In 1946 the Huddersfield Branch donated a grand piano to Birdsgrove, a gift mentioned by Chair of the RPS Fellows Gill Hawksworth in her speech at a recent Fellows Dinner. This can be found in the book, along with an illustration to commemorate it. In 1956 a memorial fountain was built and dedicated to Thomas Miller, a pharmacist from Manchester. Large multiples got involved too, with Boots paying for the installation of a lift in 1958.
This generosity expanded beyond Great Britain – in 1952 the house received a consignment of travelling rugs all the way from The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand!
While a number of these generous gifts helped to establish the house, including things like bedding and crockery, we also received a number of unexpected donations. Birdsgrove was in no short supply of grapefruit spoons, having received two dozen of them in 1955 and another six in 1959! Other gifts included a collection of Winston Churchill’s memoirs, a revolving summerhouse for the garden, three Hungarian glass drug jars, a brass gong and two and a half dozen roses! Birdsgrove also received donations of food, such as jars of honey from a couple in Nottingham for a number of years in the 1970s.
The Gifts to Birdsgrove House book really is an interesting piece of Pharmacist Support’s history, and highlights the generosity of those in the profession. You can view more of our archive on our online timeline.
Do you have a Birdsgrove House story to share? We’d love to hear from you! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0161-