An account of the St Georges in the East Library in 1938.

The St.George’s Library was formally opened in 1898 and included:
Basement: Staff room, part of caretaker’s apartments and news-paper filing room.
Ground Floor: Magazine and Reading Room part of which was fitted with book-cases and served as the Adults’ Lending Department. The book-cases were protected by grills through which readers could see the books but not
touch them and in this way made their selection. The assistants would then unlock the grills and remove the books the borrowers indicated they wished to borrow.
Small room equipped with a few chairs and tables and one book-case containing about 500 books and used as the Children’s Room and Lending Department.
First Floor: Lecture hall which by day was used as a Reference Reading Room.
The Reading Room and the Children’s Room were opened to the public in November 1898 and the Adult Lending Department in February 1899, The total number of volumes contained in the library on 3lst March 1901 was 6042.A few years’ sufficed to prove that the Children’s Room was quite inadequate and the Department was transferred to the Lecture hall on the first floor and accommodation provided for 1500 books. This arrangement continued for some years until the need for more accommodation was imperative. The rooms of the resident Caretaker in the basement of the building were appropriated and converted into a Children’s Department.
In July 1929 the Council approved the proposals of the Public Libraries and Museums Committee for the transfer of the Children’s Department from the basement to the ground floor to occupy the space previously used as a News Room. The former original combined Reading Room and Adults’ Lending Department was divided into two by a wooden partition in proportion of about two thirds for the Adults! Lending Department and one third for the new Children’s Department. This transfer provided more extensive accommodation for the borrowers of books and enabled the open-access system to be introduced for the children for the first time in Stepney; and also provided the same system for the Adults. Further facilities for reading by the children on the library premises, through the provision of chairs and tables was made possible, This re-arrangement although a great improvement upon the previous system was, however, far from ideal and during the ten years that has since elapsed the problem of more room has grown acute. Both the Adult’s and Children’s departments stocks have steadily grown until to-day it is a difficult matter to provide suitable, adequate and satisfactory accommodation for either adults or children. The present Children’s Department covers a total area of 624 sq.feet and has a maximum accommodation for 3500 books and is incapable of any further enlargement.
This brief history of past adaptations provides justification for the claims that a building erected to meet the requirements and conditions of 40 years ago must of necessity have become restrict in its possible uses, not capable of meeting the greatly increased demands, and no longer equal to the many advances in practices and methods of librarianship which have developed since the building ws first designed and erected. The various adaptions to meet these changes have now been exhausted and the only course left is an extension of the building, In about two-years time when the new Town Hall and Municipal Buildings are completed an opportunity seems to present itself of finding the necessary means of enlarging the present building by absorbing and including in the existing structure part of the old Town Hall next to the library. This would allow for the provision and equipping of a separate and up-to-date Children’s Department similar to those added in the last few years i the Limehouse and the Mile End libraries. the space at present used by the Children’s Department would then become available for the much needed extension of the Adult Lending library. Further for some years past the Committee will remember that they have been concerned with the problem of finding means for the enlargement of the St.George’s Nature Study Museum which occupies the old Mortuary of the St.George’s Vestry in the Churchyard end opened in 1904. This small building has long since become inadequate to the demands made upon it, All attempts to find ways and means of this long overdue extension have so far failed, but if the extension of the St.George’s library is made possible in the way I have suggested then part of the proposed enlarged building could be utilised for a modern and more suitable Nature Study Museum,
The actual stock of books at the 31st March last was adults Department 20,012vols; Children’s Department 6,056vols; total 26,168vols. The annual issues were Adults’ Department 122,795 vols; Children’s Department 86,818vols; total 209,613vols. In 1902 the corresponding figures were Adult’s Department 6036vols; Children’s Department 1674vols; total 7710vols, The annual issues Adult’s Department 31,273vols; Children’s Department 5607vols; total 36,880 vols.

scan of a type written document evidently a report to the library committee in 1938.


Bow Library 1901

When the Bow Vestry initially asked Passmore Edwards to support the funding of a Free Library their request was not favorably received. However, he eventually agreed to provide £4000 towards the building.

The Parishes of Bromley and Bow initially proposed combining to provide a central library and a branch library in each Parish but as soon as an agreement appeared to have been reached, negotiations broke down. Bromley had already opened a branch library at Brunswick Road in 1895, Passmore Edwards performing the ceremony but not contributing to the costs other than by giving his customary 1,000 books, and it was mainly due to the inability of the Bow Vestrymen to agree amongst themselves that lead to the breakdown and the decision to go it alone. In November 1898 the Clerk to the Bow Vestry, wrote to Edwards to ask for his assistance. His response what that he was unable to help at that time but a second request resulted in an offer of £4,000.
Designed by S B Russell, who also designed the Plaistow Library and the West Ham Museum, the Bow library was constructed on a salt glazed brick base with redbrick elevations and Portland Stone dressings. There were the usual arrangements for reading room, reference and lending library, with shelving for 12,000 books, but a feature of the library was the heating arrangements, with hot water piped under the road from the public baths and wash house opposite.

The date set for laying the foundation stone was Friday 19 October 1900, at 4 o’clock, after laying the foundation stone at Limehouse at 2.30. The previous day Edwards had reopened the West Ham Polytechnic, which he had not funded, and attended the opening of the adjacent West Ham Museum, which he had funded, and had witnessed the unveiling of a bronze bust of him at the Museum. Not only were the foundation stones for the Limehouse and Bow libraries laid on the same day, they also opened on the same day, 6 November 1901.Plans to extend the Bow library were proposed in 1926 but it was not until 1939 that work commenced, only to cease when the war started and instead a public air raid shelter was built on the site. Bomb damage occurred in 1940 but the library was only closed for a few weeks, and building recommenced in 1949, the extension finally opening in February 1950.

However, 1962 marked the end of the library service at the Roman Road premises, when a new library and community centre was opened in Stafford Road, nearby, and the Passmore Edwards building was converted into a public hall, called Vernon Hall. This library was itself replaced with the formation of the present library, the Idea Store, in 2002, situated just behind the original Passmore Edwards building.


“All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it (Did you think it was in the white or grey stone? or the lines of the arches or cornices?)”
In this blunt and characteristic saying Whitman suggests an artistic ideal which the younger architects have sought increasingly to follow. Recognising in architecture at once the basis and the crown of the arts, they would fain achieve in it, more fully than in any other, the expression of human personality and desire. Poetry, says Matthew Arnold—a more cultured and coherent critic—is the faithful and complete expression of a single mood of the mind. The poetry of architecture must, then, take larger ground than that utterance of individual feeling which the lesser arts supply. It must express, for, the moment that creates it, the mood of societies and nations,
The new residential colony in Tavistock Place, known as the Passmore Edwards Settlement, is a notable illustration of that development of modern life which is bringing together persons of kindred tastes and interests, more especially those engaged in social and educational work in a given neighbour-hood, to form a home in which the conveniences of family life shall be combined with individual seclusion and Liberty. Growing out of the former settlement at University Hall -an association inspired and practically founded by Mrs, Humphry Ward after the publication of “Robert Elsmere” in 1889 —the present building represents a larger effort in the same direction, and an architectural design of considerable originality as compared with the average building of today. Regarded from a higher standpoint, we may see in it a natural and simple solution of a modern architectural problem, and in this last aspect we shall briefly describe it.

Bold and effective as it is in the general mass, the first impression of the building from the street is not one of eccentricity but of commodious solidity and warmth. The broad projecting eaves give the idea of shelter and quietude, the expansive porches of hospitality and active intercourse, the ample and varied windows of diversity of life within, A general view of the settlement from the garden or from Tavistock Place is instructive, Instead of the usual hit and-miss arrangement of different materials, we have them used in large surfaces in a broad and sympathetic manner. The stone, brick, plaster, and slate are consistently confincd to particular portions of the structure: such a treatment gives scale and maintains the architectural form—a quality too often forgotten in the desire for elaborate detail. Breadth and dignity are achieved by the long unbroken line of the ridge facing the main street, and the happy grouping of the chimneys in the other elevations has helped to keep the whole design free from the merely picturesque outline affected by the ordinary architect,
The Mansard roof is very ably contrived, and the portion towards Tavistock Place is particularly ingenious, ‘The steep lower slope of the roof broken by a row of well disposed attic windows, is finished against two projecting wings Backing the gables at either end, which are carried up above the eaves and roofed by the fiat pitch of the Mansard running over them, the sides being hipped against the slope. The top-storey window in the wings, set close up under the eaves, is divided into three lights, the centre one breaking out into a small semi-circular bay. The second-floor windows, under these, are arranged in. single threes, while the main block at this level presents an unbroken facade which covers one side of the Lecture hall, The staircase windows in the wings are set diagonally, following the stairs, and give a pleasant variety to the surface scheme.
Entering from Tavistock Place, we pass the massive stone porch surrounding the front door, and enter the well wooded garden in which the building stands. Here we come upon the lofty bay-windows of the drawing room, and, on the quieter side of the quadrangle, the austerer precincts of the library and reading room. The design of the iron railings surrounding the basement may here be noticed: they are formed of single bars. placed angle-wise, and grouped at intervals into fours, which, on passing through the flat top bar-worked, where the standards enter, into a diamond shape to receive them – are bent round, flattened, and welded together in crossing one another.

One is tempted to regret that the beautiful recessed porch in the west wall is not visible from the street, forming as it does by far the most interesting and characteristic approach to the building. But the architects had, doubtless, some good reason for reserving the less poetic and more businesslike entrances to front the roadway, and thus securing for the residents’ private door the further charm of a garden path and an ancient tree in the foreground. ‘This porch (shown in our illustration), with its almost monastic, yet wonderfully genial shade, its perfect blending of the sense of hospitality with that of shelter and seclusion, is one of the most successful parts of the work.
Around and above it the well-lighted windows of the residential floors are ranged in pleasingly irregular groups, and the occupants, like a London poet of unhappier fate, may
“ —-mark,
The plane-tree bud and blow,
Shed her recuperative bark
And spread her shade below.”

A donation from Mr, Passmore Edwards has happily enabled the committee to give their architects, Messrs, A. Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer, a fairly free hand in the planning and carrying out of the building. In the actual putting together of the parts, frank and straightforward methods are the rule. Even difficulties in construction are made to contribute pleasing results. This simplicity of manner, this treatment of architecture as construction made beautiful, is very characteristic of the building.

The centre of the ground plan is occupied by the upper part of the gymnasium, which rises from the basement and extends through two Doors in height. The basement and ground floor have been advantageously utilised for the common rooms, including the dining hall, drawing and reception rooms, library, and a. number of small and homely classrooms, by which it is hoped to provide informally some educational facilities and social clubs for the neighbourhood, Above the roof of the gymnasium is an open quadrangle, which secures light and air for the backs of the upper storeys,
Entering the residents’ porch, we pass through a spacious hall and corridor, in which the prevailing note of the interior-simplicity of form combined with purity of colour-is instantly struck. The walls throughout the corridors and staircases are distempered a pale ochre, and the woodwork painted dark green. The simple lines of the small skirtings and architraves of the doors, unmarked by any extraneous ornament, serve to emphasise the restful quality of the colouring.
The drawing-room, which is one of the most picturesque in the house, is approached by a small ante-chamber, in which a judicious arrangement of pillars gives grace and dignity for the lack of a door. Any feeling of coldness that might be induced by this or by its ample window spaces is counteracted by curtains of plain blue tapestry, and thick Oriental carpet, which supplies the only colour pattern in the room, and two fire-places, one of which, as will be seen in our illustration is effectively placed between two doors slightly recessed in the thickness of the wall, and approached by a short flight of stairs on either side of the hearth. The dark blue tiles around the plain iron grate fail, however, to give quite the right note of colour to this end of the room, and seem to demand relief by brass or copper. ‘The chairs are mostly of ash wood, with simple rush seats, The table shown in the photograph is from a design used repeatedly in the common rooms, but with the greatest success in the dining hall, where, when out of use, the tables are folded flat in a remarkably small compass and are slipped into the shallow cupboards that line the wainscot, thus leaving the body of the room clear for friendly gatherings and house debates. By placing.a set of these ingenious items together, the convivial board is adjusted to
the required size. The room is somewhat long and narrow, well lit down one side from the north-west, and forms perhaps the most pleasant apartment in the house. The tone of the walls is here changed from the blue and green of the drawing room to a warm red. The floor is covered with cork carpet; the grate a broad and open pattern set in pale green brick; while the well furnished dresser and sideboards give a homely cheer to the place.

The library is dedicated to the memory of Professor Thomas Hill Green, the late leader of Heglian thought at Oxford, known to readers of “Robert Elsmere” in the character of Henry Gray. The central feature of the room is the memorial fireplace, a massive but simple structure of “Hopton wood” stone, with the monogram “THG” initialed in gold. The erection of a “memorial fireplace,” though somewhat novel, seems to commend itself as no less reasonable than the dedication of a window, especially when we consider how many admirable sentiments naturally gather round the social hearth. Deep book-cases have been built into the walls “to a considerable height, utilising the space in the most compact and economical manner, and the fittings are quiet and unobtrusive
The smoking-room is panelled in the window recesses, and has a large and comfortable settle, stained to the prevailing dark-green colour, occupying one of the side walls. The shallow arched recesses on each side of the fireplace break agreeably into the coloured wall above. “This and the other corresponding spaces have been painted by a friend of the settlement in a pictorial frieze representing outdoor recreations ; which as a labour of love is worthy of all praise.

The fireplaces throughout the building are by several well known designers They have been treated with freedom and diversity of method by Messrs, Lethaby, Voysey, Newton, Troup and Dawber, and the architects themselves have contributed the designs of the principal grates, the result giving a refreshing note of individuality to the different rooms, the cheerful hearth of the dining hall, with its setting in green “Lothaby brick,” has already been noticed, and it is satisfactory to know that this fireplace and fender, with several others, were carried out by the ordinary manufacturers from instructions and sketches supplied by the architects Such experiments deserve the fullest encouragement, and they have been amply justified in the present case. It is only in bringing modem design to bear directly upon ordinary production that any aesthetic growth can be effected in the commercial world, and thereby upon the public taste.
Without wishing to ascribe to a dominant artistic influence the credit due to the architects themselves, we may safely say that the building affords one of the happiest examples of the influence of “the Arts and Crafts” movement upon architecture. It proves, indeed, that the danger of such an infiuence degenerating into a cult is not a grave one, that it has, in fact, emerged from the experimental stage and taken its place as wholesome and potent stimulus to design. Seen from a broader standpoint as a factor in the modem rebuilding of London, the Passmore’ Edwards Settlement fully justifies its being, and gives, according to Mr Ruskin’s demand, something that compensates us for the last space of light and air; “an expressive picturesque object, a friend whose aspect, changing, with the seasons, becomes interwoven with our daily associations and is hailed with delight after absence ; not – as it too often happens – a shadow upon our life, a grim mass of lifeless stone or brick oppressing us with its tedious and persistent gloom.” It must at least be felt that such sincere and thoughtful architecture is in harmony with the ideal presented by Mrs, Humphry Ward in her inaugural address to the residents, “the building up of that true tolerance which lies in the passionate mutual respect of free individualities.”

all photographs by E G Martin.

The Passmore Edwards Ocean Library

The Passmore Edwards Ocean Library. started with his donation of 5000 books. Through the Ocean Library the Sailors Society was able to place collections of books on merchant ships throughout the world and exchange them when the ships visited a suitable port. The Princess of Wales ‘launched’ the library on the occasion of the opening of Jack’s Palace by placing a few books into a box that was to be sent to the crew of the steamship Ophir.

Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace British and Foreign Sailor’s Society’s Residential Hostel for Marine Officers, 1903

Sailors from all over the world came to Docklands. Many needed a place to stay while they waited for their ships to be loaded and a number of seamen’s hostels were founded, often by missionary societies, to provide cheap, short-term accommodation.
George Sims, 1900
The Sailors Palace was known for the quality of the accommodation provided.


The British and Foreign Sailors Society was formed to assist merchant sailors whilst in London. The Society first opened a hostel in an old war sloop on the Thames in 1818 and then opened a sailor’s institute in Shadwell in 1856. By the turn of the century the Society was working in more than a hundred ports across the world. But with the lease of the headquarters at Shadwell about to expire and The expansion of the London Docks and the expiration of the Shadwell lease caused the Society to look for a new home.
Edwards was attracted by the Society’s temperance principles and because he saw the proposals, a home where sailors of all nationalities would find shelter, as creating an international peace centre. He offered to build a building for their new headquarters, estimated at £5,000. As the proposals developed the costs, and Edwards’ contribution, increased. He eventually gave £14,000, the greatest amount ever received by the Society from one person. Edwards said that although he had cooperated with many others, and in many ways, to improve the conditions of life, nothing had given him more satisfaction than his active connection with the Society.
The architects Niven and Wigglesworth were chosen to design the building, fronting on to the East India Dock Road, Limehouse, close to the docks and similar homes for foreign sailors, and the foundation stone was laid in 1901. By the time the ‘Sailor’s Palace’ was opened by the Prince of Wales, in May 1903, the cost had risen to £18,000 but the total costs were more than £30,000, contributions arriving from Heads of State, associations, and individuals, across the world.

The building is predominately of brick, with bands of Portland stone and arched windows at ground-floor level. The main entrance and turreted gatehouse, described as a very free Tudor adaptation, is the dominant feature of the building with a magnificent figurehead of Britannia, carved in Portland Stone above the doorway, holding a ship in each hand, behind which a cherub blowing wind into its sails. Around the arch of the door, below the figurehead, are names of the continents: AMERICA AFRICA OCEANIA AUSTRALIA ASIA EUROPE, whilst above her head are the names of the 4 winds, EURUS – NOTUS – BOREAS – ZEPHYRUS.
Above Britannia is a lead plaque inscribed with the “Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace” and “British & Foreign Sailors Association”.
The ornamental plaques are continued around the building in keeping with the Arts & Craft Movement.

On the ground floor were the Albert Victor Sailors’ Rest, and accommodation for the ordinary sailors, the American Room, a temperance restaurant and the smoking room whilst the first floor accommodated the Society’s offices and Boardroom, and the Passmore Edwards Ocean Library. On the second floor was the officers’ and apprentices’ flat and on the top floor, an observatory, navigation room and staff accommodation.
The addition of the Alexandra Wing, named after the Queen, almost doubled the size of the original proposal and contained a hall, Captain’s and officer’s dining room, a tearoom and the King Edward VII Nautical School.

The nautical school was for the training of officers for the Merchant Navy. In 1926 the school was recognised by the London County Council as a Technical School and in 1949 the LCC implemented a scheme by which senior courses were established at Sir John Cass College, while junior courses remained at the King Edward VII School. During the 1960s the Department of Navigation at Sir John Cass College merged with the King Edward VII Nautical College and moved from East Indian Dock Road to a new building at Tower Hill, London. At the same time Jack’s palace was closed and the building sold to the Toynbee Housing Association, today providing much needed social housing.
Since 1995 the Society has been known as the British and International Sailors’ Society, and still works for the ‘material, moral and spiritual welfare of seafarers in ports throughout the world’.
Edwards was amused that the hostel became to be known as Jack’s Palace. He had been known as Jack when a lad and had now provided a home for sailors away from home.

Canning Town Boy’s Club (in connection with the Mansfield Settlement)

A boys club had been formed in Canning Town some years earlier in connection with the Mansfield Settlement. The original club premises consisted of six cottages, 310 to 316 Barking Road. These were, however, in a very poor state and it was decided to pull them down and rebuild on the site. Passmore Edwards offered £5000 for the building of the club premises.


Students at Mansfield College, Oxford founded the Mansfield House University settlement in Canning Town in 1889. Like the Bloomsbury Settlement, Mansfield House provided educational and many welfare services, such as a sickness benefit society and the ‘poor man’s lawyer’, free legal aid. As part of the development a Boy’s Club was started in a row of tumble down cottages and in 1890 it was decided to build a new club on the site. An approach to Passmore Edwards resulted in an offer of £5000 towards the final cost of £7,800. Designed by H C Lander, ARIBA, the club was opened by Mr Choate, the America Ambassador in July 1900.

Constructed in red brick with terracotta dressings, the three-storey building provided a wide range of facilities. On the ground floor was a clubroom with refreshments area, and a large hall, known as the Passmore Edwards Hall, which doubled as a gymnasium. In the half basement were slipper baths and showers. On the first floor were classrooms and games room and on the top floor a billiard room and workshops.
The club gained a wide reputation for sporting achievement, with some members going on to become international sportsmen, representing England at the Olympic games.
Though the Boy’s Club escaped serious damage during the Second World War, by the 1980s the settlement entered a period of decline and with the buildings in need of expensive repair a decision was taken to sell them. The work of the Mansfield Settlement, however, combined with the Aston Charities Trust, continues. The former Passmore Edwards building, now restored, remains a local landmark and reminder of a former age.


Harold Clapham Lander

Harold Clapham Lander (1868-1955), son of R S Lander, was educated at Tonbridge School and attended University College, London. Articled to Richard Smith and Charles King Bedells in 1888 and remained with the practice. Traveled in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Holland.
Lander was elected to ARIBA in 1894 and commenced independent practice in London and Tonbridge Wells in 1895

Extracted from Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, British Architectural Library.

Cobden Club & Workingmen’s Institute, Kensal Road, London NW

In a letter to Mary Ward, written in 1895, Passmore Edwards commented that “several years ago” he had advanced a mortgage of nearly £4000 to the Cobden Clubs Institute in NW London .. “but I am sorry to say that it is largely kept on its feet by the drinking habits fostered. This rubs against my grain painfully…”
He was probably referring to the Cobden Club and Workingmen’s Institute, which was opened at 170 & 172 Kensal Road in 1880. It remained in existence as a social club with as many as 400 members in 1983. However, more recently reopened as a “private gentlemen’s club” it would have found even less favour with Edwards.

Friendly Societies Convalescent Home, Herne Bay 1897

When the demand at the Friendly Societies Convalescent Home at Dover exceeded the accommodation available, they called upon Passmore Edwards for assistance.


In 1889 Mrs Charlotte R Rusher handed over the London and Dover Convalescent Home, a home that she had established some thirty years previously, to J E Nichols, George Vaughan and W H Chinn, all members of the South London District of the Manchester Unity, and also members of the Ancient Order of Foresters. The gift consisted of two leasehold houses, fully furnished to accommodate 80 patients and a sum of £750 invested in Consols, the whole to be used for the purposes of a Convalescent Home for members of the Manchester Unity and other Registered Friendly Societies. The total value of the gift was estimated at £4000. 
Thus came into being the first Friendly Societies Convalescent Homes. It was not long before the accommodation proved insufficient to meet demand but attempts to locate additional premises in Dover were unsuccessful.
Although, with nearly 3 million members, the Friendly Societies had capital of over £23 million pounds, the use of this was restricted, by Act of parliament, to met the sickness, funeral and other liabilities and none was available to purchase a Convalescent Home. Provision could be made, within the 1½or 2d per week ( less than 1p) contributed by members for purposes other than sickness and funeral benefits, for maintenance of a Home but without additional outside help the capital needed could never be found.
Passmore Edwards, hearing of the need, offered to build a Home to accommodate 50 patients, at a cost of not exceeding £6,000, on a site that the Society had located at Herne Bay. 

The chosen site, 7½ acres on the Beltange estate, on the cliffs east of the town of Herne Bay was just ¼ mile form the sea and had a road frontage of 300 feet.
Alfred Saxon Snell was appointed as architect and after his plans were agreed with Passmore Edwards building commenced, the foundation stone being laid on Saturday 6 November 1897.
It was soon clear that the total cost of the Home was going to exceed the amount offered by Passmore Edwards and the Trustees made an appeal to the Friendly Societies and Branches operating in London to finance the undertaking and take on the liability for its future maintenance. This appeal was not entirely successful and the Trustees applied to the Charity Commissioners for registration as a charity.
The design proposed by Saxon Snell was to accommodate 50 residents on three floors. Built of Canterbury red brick with Monks Park bath stone dressings under a Brosely red tile roof the design was said to avoid the idea of an “institution” as opposed to a “home” and also to permit additions without materially interfering with the original building.

On the ground floor the wide front entrance porch led to a small hall, with fireplace, and hence to the main staircase, which was top lighted. A corridor branched to the left and right of the entrance hall leading to the patient’s day rooms and the administrative offices. 
The day accommodation comprised a large general sitting and smoking room overlooking the gardens at the rear. In the front of the sitting room was the reading room and library with a large circular bay overlooking the front garden. A dormitory was provided on the lower floor for those who would find ascending the main staircase difficult or impossible. A large lavatory, with wash basins and resident’s lockers, and a bathroom was also provided on the ground floor. 
The dining hall, a large room 38ft by 21ft lighted by both end bays and side windows, included a raised platform at one end so that the room could be used for concerts and other entertainment. Also on the ground floor were rooms for the Master and Matron and a large kitchen.
On the first floor were five dormitories for 10, 8, 6 and two for 4 beds each. The staff and servants rooms were also on this floor.
On the second floor, and partly in the roof, were three dormitories for 3 beds each, one for 4 beds and one for 1 bed.
All internal walls were plastered and all day rooms a cement dado. The ground floor hall, corridors and verandahs were paved with tiles. 
During WW1 the Home was requisitioned by the War Department, as was the adjacent Railwaymen’s Convalescent Home, also funded by Passmore Edwards, and temporary arrangements were made to accommodate patients at a Hotel in Westgate.

It was not until 1919 that the Home was returned to the Societies and reopened. Immediately after the cessation of the war the South London District of the Order undertook to defray the costs of building and equipping the first extension, a wing to accommodate 20 patients. This ward dedicated to the memory of members who died in the war to end all wars was opened in 1923.
In the meantime plans were prepared for extending the accommodation for men and in 1928 an additional wing was opened for a further 30 patients. In 1929 an adjoining parcel of 2½ acres of land was acquired for future use and to protect the Home from unsightly building developments.
A further extension was provided by the South London District, this time for an additional 10 women, was opened in 1930. In 1934 a new patient’s reception and consulting room was completed and in 1935 outside workshops and stores for ground staff. By this time available accommodation had reached 130 beds, the majority being in separate cubicles with adequate bathing and toilet arrangements.
The grounds, of over 15 acres were laid out to provide pleasant walks and relaxation areas as well as fruit and vegetable gardens sufficient for the Home’s needs
At the outbreak of WW2 the area became a prohibited area and the residents had to move out once more. The Ministry of Health took over the buildings and operated an Emergency Hospital for many troops stationed in the area and then as a rest home for evacuated from bombed out houses within the coastal towns.
In 1944 the Kent County Council made proposals to use the Home for the treatment of persons suffering from TB but the Trustees argued against this on the basis that this would prejudice subsequent use as a Convalescent Home due to fear amongst patients of infection. The County Council then proposed to use the home as a nursery for the many unwanted and orphan children as a result of the war.
It was difficult for the Trustees to argue their own case without detriment to the children but eventually the Council decided to build elsewhere but it was 1949 before the Home reopened.
Over the years the building demanded even more resources in modernisation and repair and a decision was taken in the 1980’s to replace the Passmore Edwards building with a modern structure, after 100 years of use.