Manchester Medical Mission Affiliates to Charter Street Ragged School by Simon Ward

Here are my notes from when I went back to the archive to look up the Manchester Medical Mission which was affiliated to Charter Street Ragged School and Working Girls Home. It was situated on Red Bank which is on the opposite side of the Irk from Angel Meadow and is now called Green Bank. The information was all in the form of year books from 1901 to 1910. Their evangelising seemed a bit more aggressive than their Charter St counterparts and some of the language they used would now look inappropriate.

Manchester Medical Mission
Manchester Medical Mission

Manchester Medical Mission and Dispensary

Letter dated 07/10/1924 Trustees of the medical mission received £2000 from a bond taken out with Salford Corporation. The letter was from Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst trustee of the Manchester Medical Mission (MMM) asking for £1000 to be given to Wood Street Mission and the other £1000 to be given to Charter Street Ragged School and Working Girls home.

Letter dated 08/10/1924 thank you letter from Charles Noar on behalf of Charter St Ragged school.

Letter 23/12/1927 money from a mortgage of £400 to be divided equally with £200 going to Charter Street and £200 going to Wood Street Mission In the same letter the Old Victory (see Richard’s Facebook post on the Old Victory) on Angel St was not offered as it was seen as a liability, it had been offered to Manchester Corporation but they were not interested in acquiring it, so here it was being offered to Charter St. The Old Victory was structurally unsound and in a dangerous condition. There was no letter of reply to say whether they would accept the Old Victory or not.

The Annual reports of the Manchester Medical Mission affiliated with Charter St Ragged School and Working Girls Home. 31 Red Bank.

Angel Meadows Map

1901 Annual Report

  • The dispensary opening times were 8am to 10am with gospel address
  • There were 1857 new cases
  • Total consultations 10,090
  • New cases since opening in 1870, 80,998
  • Consultations and prescriptions since 1870, 512,390
  • The President was William J Crossley
  • Treasurer E Totall Broadhurst (see above letters)
  • Honorary Physician M.P Ledward
  • Honorary Surgeon Herbert Lund
  • Medical Officer R.M Fenn
  • Secretary C.J.P Pugh
  • Housekeeper Mrs Pugh

Dr Fenn’s (Medical Officer) Report

  • Announcing the death of Dr Meacham who had suggested the founding of the Medical Mission in 1869 with help from Mr Arthur Heywood. Even after Dr Meacham had retired he still gave financial support to the mission.
  • The work of the mission is the “spirit of God” bringing patients from darkness to light.
  • Friday 21/9/1900 21 of the patients at the gospel service had “yielded to Jesus Christ and received salvation” and gave in their names.
  • 300 patients had found Christ from September 1900 to March 1901 but some had relapsed into “sinful habits”.
  • The mission reaches those who don’t attend regular places of worship (see ragged schools and regular Sunday schools)
  • The patients are affected by problems of drink with both males and females some are also “gaol birds”. Some children and feeble elderly also attend. They are victims of privation and want, unemployed men, friendless young women “fighting a lonely battle amid terrible dangers”.
  • The report gives an example of a respectable looking man who had spent 30-40 years in prison, it goes onto say “whose remaining degree of health and strength was a credit to our English prison treatment” who gave great hopes to reform and conversion. The man let them down subsequently but it wasn’t specified how.
  • Returning problems in the area caused by drink, mentioned a female victim of drink who attended the mission and signed the pledge, she was very ill but pulled through by giving up alcohol.
  • Sunday and week night meetings were held at the mission, with Sunday afternoon bible classes for men and Monday evening bible classes for women.
  • A mistake had been made in collating the new patients figures for 1900 and the numbers had been over stated..
Attendance figures


  • Increased numbers of patients had presented themselves to the mission with cases of peripheral neuritis caused mainly by alcohol abuse. This is brought about by the use of arsenic in beer and stout. Three cases were men and nine were women and had occurred with patients from across the city.
  • Volunteers from the mission go out on home visits, and to new converts who have signed the pledge.
  • £500 had been donated to the new building fund from Mr Harding from Southport. The numbers of subscribers had been decreasing, and the mission was dependent on receiving money from Charter St children’s fund via Mr Johnson. £4000 is needed to complete the new building.
  • Gifts were received in the form of flowers from private donations and from Wilmslow Ladies Dorcas Society and Wilmslow Congregational Church. Also bedding clothes and vegetables were received.

Manchester United 1902

1902 Annual Report

  • The mission has patients from outside the immediate neighbourhood. After conversion to Christianity patients move onto other places of worship.
  • The number of patients had nearly reached 11,000 this year, and some had to be turned away so as not to overwhelm the staff. The doctors could see between 100-150 patients in a day.
  • For Jewish patients who use the mission “and that they might not only renounce their prejudice against Christ but be led to accept him as their saviour. But there remains a great dread of them changing their religion
  • Gospel meetings are held Sundays and week nights, in both lodging houses and outdoors.
  • Poverty is a large problem in the area, where patients affected by depressed trade and the mission had seen examples of extreme poverty meeting cases of semi-starvation. Special funds were given to doctors to distribute in extreme cases.
  • More funds were requested by the mission, cross subsidies were needed from the Charter Street trip fund. Additional funds were also received from Moss Side Baptist Church’s Hospital Sunday collection. But the Manchester Medical Mission can’t receive funds from Hospital Sunday Funds from other churches because of its own mission work.
  • Mrs Pugh the housekeeper had a handmade clothes sale and raised £6 for the mission.
  • Mr George Shaw had donated a large quantity of Yiddish literature for the Jewish patients.
  • More clothes and flowers were given by organisations in Wilmslow (see 1901 annual report).
  • Two men had been redeemed by the mission this year, one a “Scotchman” who was a match seller on Market Street, who had originally come to the mission as a patient and then signed the pledge. The other man was a 28 year old partially paralysed through drink. He found God while Mrs Pugh was applying an electric current to his arm from a battery.
  • Medicines were donated by Mrs Heywood. Clothes and bed linen were donated by other individuals.
  • Mr Ledward the Honorary Physician had died this year.
Buffalo Bill Visits Manchester in 1903
Buffalo Bill Visits Manchester in 1903

1903 Annual Report

The Manchester Medical Mission is the only type of mission and medical based charity of its kind in Manchester, with work done amongst the sick poor. The prescribing of remedies and preaching the gospel go hand in hand.

Patients pay 1d for a medicine bottle if they haven’t brought their own. The mission tries to search out people who may try and abuse the free service given by the mission by asking patients about their personal circumstances, and if they cannot pay ordinary medical fees. If patients are found to do so then they are discharged. Patients were still being turned away as there were too many for the staff to see during surgery.

The mission was dismayed that many patients didn’t know what the New Testament was, one woman thought it was her appointment card, and a boy thought it was a type of hymn book. The author mentioned they were not Jewish patients whom a lot knew what the New Testament was.

Widespread problems with malnutrition, some patients don’t eat for one or two days a week. A 70 year old man was mentioned who often went two to three days without eating due to the folly of his youthful days. There were a lot of older isolated people, anticipating the workhouse hospital or pauper’s grave. Problems with drunken parents with a lot more women turning to drink.

Gospel meetings still being held in lodging houses. Some female volunteers found a young girl who had travelled from Bradford and run away from home to look for work. She had been plied with drink by a woman who “sought her ruin”. The women from the mission helped the girl return to Bradford.

Published in the Manchester Guardian March 18th 1904
Published in the Manchester Guardian March 18th 1904

1904 Annual Report

  • The mission welcomes Dr Dixon who worked at the Mildmay Medical Mission for Jews.
  • Patient numbers are still increasing with some being turned away.
  • The mission “provides heterogeneous meetings for Jews from various lands, and also gentiles both Protestant and Roman Catholic”. One of the patients is a Turkish Jew who only knows “thank you” in English.
  • Patients given a numbered card and a book with their own medical details and prescriptions before they see the doctor. After the consultation they hand the book back to the doctor.
  • Mrs Berry who did the home visits talked of a widow who did shirt making, and was paid 9d for a dozen shirts, sometimes she got 2s for a bundle of shirts. Her rent was 3s6d per week and 2s6d for the hire of her sewing machine. Mrs Berry met another woman who made patchwork quilts 2 ½ yards by 2 ¼ yards for 2s6d per dozen, who didn’t earn enough to eat.
  • A funeral dress was given to a German woman whose husband had died and left her with 2 children.
  • The mission had increased its spending on cod liver oil as the price had gone up.

1905 Annual Report

  • Crowds at Royal Visit to Manchester Victoria Station 1905
    Crowds at Royal Visit to Manchester Victoria Station 1905

    The mission treated a lot of patients with chronic bronchitis, consumption(TB), “disorders of digestion” and chronic rheumatism.
  • Miss Bate of Uttlesford and Mrs Berry gave massages to patients with rheumatism on Thursday afternoons.
  • The mission also treats Bright’s disease (kidney disease), diabetes, Locomotor ataxia (inability to control one body movements), chorea, peripheral neuritis, Hemiplegia (paralysis), Raynaud’s disease (reduced blood flow due to stress), gastric ulcers, and various types of heart and skin diseases and influenza.
  • Home visits were also helped by the Manchester and Salford Sick Poor and Private Nursing Institution.
  • Food and clothing tickets were distributed to many patients.
  • A donation to the mission was received from the Lord mayor’s fund.
  • Thursday night gospel temperance meetings were held at the mission.
  • A report from Mrs Berry, who helped a woman with consumption to get a hawker’s licence after she had found God. A widow with pleurisy was helped to recover by sending her to Southport and paid her rent while she was away. When Mrs Berry visited Style Street in Angel Meadow she described it as one of the worst slums in Manchester, she went to see a washer woman who had turned to drink after her husband an old soldier had died. During the visit Mrs Berry noticed the woman had no blanket on the bed and only a handful of coke to burn. The widow had been encouraged to visit the mission by a neighbour and she subsequently signed the pledge, and then received help from the parish.

1906 Annual Report

Direct quote:

Jewish people persecuted in Russia where pillage and destruction are the order of the day are treated with respect at the Medical Mission. The foreigner in our midst may be a Russian, a German or even a Turkish Jew. He may be a Roman Catholic from Poland. He may require to be addressed in French, German or even Spanish, or through an interpreter in Yiddish, Russian or Turkish. To come nearer to home we have Irish patients who at times resemble the foreigners in expressions of gratitude poring forth hearty benefactions on their benefactors. A few Scotchmen come, but still England herself furnishes a goodly number of sufferers.”

  • The mission had capacity for 150 patients, at each surgery, but some always had to be turned away. Others were turned away if they could afford ordinary medical fees.
  • The mission had helped a widow with four children whose husband had died of consumption. “Many need rest but have to remain working including the solitary aged. Drunkenness is a problem especially on the part of the family breadwinner.
  • The mission received donations totalling £28.18s.6d this year.
Christabel Pankhurst and Mary Gawthorpe welcomed at Manchester 1907
Christabel Pankhurst and Mary Gawthorpe welcomed at Manchester 1907

1907 Annual Report

It gives an example of a typical day with an 8:35 am start…

The first patient is seen who is a Jewess with an easily pronounceable name. She is tall stoutish with a round face, pleasant expression and kindly eyes. Her dress is worn, and as with most Orthodox Jewesses in wedlock her shorn head is covered by a dark green wig. She begins with the usual foreign expressions of esteem and gratitude… her English is very broken and serious difficulty might occur with a diagnosis were it not that she is suffering from an ailment which is extremely common, one was going to say universal among the Jews, viz dyspepsia. Advice with regard to diet and a prescription is given. She bestows a wet kiss on the doctor’s hand.

Another patient, a young woman the nature of whose disease discloses a departure from moral life. Shame and humiliation and dismay pass over her face when she discloses the sad secret of her life that even her parents do not suspect has become known. Before leaving she is pointed to the saviour and exhorted to repent. Little Jim a Roman Catholic and a cripple with bent spine and bronchitic chest, but with a beautiful character and a heart of affection for his doctor. We trust that he is a true disciple of Jesus Christ”

  • The Timperley and Baguley Men’s Bible Class had given £2 for New Testaments to be “given to the Jews”.
  • Miss Berry held Tuesday afternoon meetings in Angel Meadow, she had made a convert in a Mrs F who holds meetings in her house in what she calls the “Hallelujah cellar” where she helps women in the area against the evils of drink.
  • The mission had a trip to Wilmslow on Whit Friday in three charabancs.
  • 10s was donated towards a patient’s funeral expenses. Some patients were sent away for treatment and home visits took place.


Aeroplanes for All advert, William Arnold, Manchester Guardian 19 October 1909
Aeroplanes for All advert, William Arnold, Manchester Guardian 19 October 1909

1909 Annual Report

Forward by Medical Officer Mr R.M Fenn, Mr and Mrs Pugh are leaving. Mrs Pugh by this time was very ill and Mr Pugh is feeling the weight of advancing years. They had served red Bank and the Mission for 25 years.

12000, had been seen this year, and 30% were Jews, “many only encountered Christians when they devastated their homes in Russia, the Christ of a Pogrom what a fiend!”.

Patients seen on a typical day, a man with consumption which was advanced in the left lung and beginning in the right, he told the doctor “I‘m feeling better I am getting more food, I was getting one meal one day and no meal another. Now I have a little work” he was working as a hawker.

Patients who need surgical appliances are sent to Mr Lomax the Secretary of the Surgical Aid Society.

A woman patient with a head wound inflicted by her husband with a poker. She then showed a scar where he had stabbed her with a pen knife and another where he had kicked her in the head he got six months for that and then the collar bone which he had broken with his fist.

Mr Knott and the Mildmay Mission to the Jews visited. It was estimated at the time there were 28,000 Jews in Manchester. The Mildmay Mission sought to bring the “witness of Christ to the Jewish population”. A Jewish woman patient was heard to say the doctor at the Manchester Medical Mission is very good to our people but I cannot say I believe in Jesus.

Gospel services were held in the waiting room in English for the Gentiles, and by Mr Knott in Yiddish for the Jews.

Patient Mr B with throat cancer was sent for surgery at a large institute was told it was inoperable. The mission paid for him to have expensive medication which was administered by injection which seemed to work for a while but later it came back and he died. The mission received letters of thanks from his widow and daughter.

  • Patients were sent to recuperate in the cottage of a Miss Barlow near Bolton.
  • The mission was running at a deficit of £200 p.a at this stage.
  • See letter details on page one in the accounts it showed an investment account for a mortgage for £400 at a 4 ½% interest rate p.a. Also a £2000 bond with Salford Corporation for the mission building fund.
Sunday School Parade 1910
Manchester Sunday School Parade 1910

1910 Annual Report

  • Mrs Pugh the former housekeeper had died with a large attendance at the funeral.
  • Problems with overcrowding at surgeries had decreased by the re-opening of the out-patients department at the Royal Infirmary.
  • 1290 patients had been treated and 9250 seen down from 1828 & 11,993 patients respectively in the previous year.
  • Food medicine, gifts and clothes were distributed. The mission work in lodging houses was also continued.
  • The mission helped an unemployed man, who had to sell all his furniture and live in a completely empty house with his wife and child.

Description of a home visit to a squalid building with a family in each room of a man who had attended an open air meeting of the mission. He lived there with his wife and three sons, the man and wife had a dirty iron bed frame to sleep on, and the boys slept on a “vile” straw mattress in another corner. The room had one chair and a table and a few broken and cracked pieces of crockery. The stench was overpowering. The man was apparently well educated but had fallen into this state through drink. The man had eventually found some work and the mission offered to help him and his family move into a small house.