A.O.F.B. Cot Plaque
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
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
Leicester Royal Infirmary ,
Bradford Childrens Hospital , two cots - the pictures above are of one of the plaques from here
Heartease, West Wickham, seventeen cots
Southend on Sea 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
to Regalia / Merchandise