A.O.F.B. Cot Plaque

Some of the A.O.F.B. funds were used to provide hospital cots for Wee Waifs and each cot bore an bronze A.O.F.B. plaque. There was no UK National Health Service in the days of the A.O.F.B. - the provision and annual running costs of a single cot was around 500 per annum.

A.O.F.B. cot plaque
Click here for a hi-res version  545kb

The cot plaque shown is one of two that were originally invested to Bradford Childrens Hospital. Bradford Childrens hospital closed 18th July 1987. Peter Ellison e-mailed the FOFB to advise that the cot plaques were to be auctioned in 2007. Peter further wrote 'I was present on the day it closed. The senior sister found the plaques in the cellars of the hospital and at a later date gave them to me. I was then custodian, I cleaned them and on one of them I engraved on the back, all the staff names that were working on the last day, this will only be seen the next time this one is taken apart.' Peter had forgotten about the plaques for several years, then decided to sell them off to raise funds to aid sick children - how fitting.

Newspaper article from the Sporting Times of 24th December 1927
relating to the cot plaque investiture.

Sporting Times 24-12-1927  

Rear of the cot plaque showing the engraving by Peter Ellison on the closure of the hospital. Peter's wife Shirley was one of the Sisters in Charge.                                                                      

                                  EPlaque rear - engraved         Engraved rear of plaque

Over 54 cots were endowed in total in the U.K. but founder Bert Temple was keen to provide more and issued A.O.F.B. stamps ; to be used for sealing correspondence, and he hoped that all members on the Order would buy a booklet of stamps, if they did it would have raised enough funds to provide another 130 cots.

Overseas cots were also endowed although these were locally funded; cots being provided in India, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania and seven cots in Durban, Natal.

Here is a list of UK hospitals known to have had A.O.F.B. a cot ( or several ).

Kings College Hospital, London
Queen Mary's Hospital, London - two cots
Birmingham Childrens Hospital , two cots
Rugby Hospital , this was believed to have been raised and endowed locally
Royal Orthopedic Hospitals and Cripples Union - 'Woodlands Birmingham'
Royal Orthopedic, London
General Lying-in Hospital, Waterloo, London
Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester
Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children, Brighton
Kings Lynn Hospital, three cots, two of these were endowed locally
Stamford Hospital, see below - bottom of this page
Royal Hospital, Sheffield
Winchester Hospital
Northampton Hospital
Leicester Royal Infirmary ,
Bradford Childrens Hospital , two cots - the pictures above are of one of the plaques from here
Heartease, West Wickham, seventeen cots
Peterborough Hospital
Southend on Sea Hospital
Rochester Hospital
Manchester Royal Infirmary, two cots
Royal South Hants and Southampton Hospital

Overseas Hospitals known to have had an A.O.F.B. cot

Childrens home of Recovery, Isipingo, Durban, South africa
Hospital of  Port Elisabeth, Mussleburgh and Capetown, South Africa 

One UK hospital still proudly displays a cot plaque. It has been moved from it's original location on a cot and is now on show in the entrance to Stamford Hospital along with other plaques on investitures.



Pictures courtesy of David Woodhead

In August 2017, news of a Cot Plaque reached the FOFB.
Leila and Marven Starbuck wrote to tell of a cot plaque that belonged to Leila's late father Robert Mason, and had been in storage since his passing in 1995. Robert was born and raised in Birmingham and went to France as a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second World War. Robert was involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk and later joined the 14th Army in Burma with the Chindits as a medic.
After the War Robert worked at Farnborough Hospital in Kent until his retirement some 40 years later. He took a keen interest in the history of the hospital and the old workhouse that was in the hospital grounds. When the workhouse was due to be demolished he saved many times that had been stored there such as iron lungs, electric shock treatment machines, straight jackets, wicker wheelchairs and antique medical equipment. He squirrelled the items away in the basement, unbeknownst to the hospital, where they lay until his retirement. When he retired he asked that the items be given to a London Medical museum who were highly delighted that he had saved so many rare things, and more than happy to receive them.
It is thought that the cot plaque may have come from either the old Farnborough Hospital or even the old workhouse, but never went to the London Medical museum with the other medical curiosities.

During A.O.F.B. times, Farnborough Hospital and Workhouse (although technically a hospital) only became recognised as such around 1927, which was the peak of A.O.F.B. activity and when the majority of the cots (and plaques) were being invested. Extensive research has been conducted, and as of yet, no documented evidence of Farnborough Hospital being the recipient of a cot and plaque has been found. Documentation linking the A.O.F.B. to Bromley Childrens Welfare has been found, Farnborough Hospital and Workhouse came under the care of Bromley Health Authority many years later.
An enquiry was made to see if the cot plaque was acquirable. The Starbuck's very generously donated the plaque declining to 'profit' from it, and a charitable donation was made In Memoriam of Robert Mason to Acorns Hospice; very fitting that a children's charity could benefit.

A little on Farnborough Hospital and Workhouse can be found here : Farnborough Hospital and Workhouse

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