The first patients were admitted to the West Wing of the Sanatorium at Benenden on 4 March 1907. When Harry Moore, Walter Peris and Robert Coles arrived, all their details were recorded in a ledger that has survived for 110 years.
Harry Moore, age 36, a married Tinsmith from Grimsby was the first patient to be admitted. The notes suggest Harry hadn’t worked for 10 months and entered Bensan with a poor prognosis. Following a stay of 8 weeks and 3 days, Harry was discharged home.
Walter Peris, age 34, a married upholsterer from Nottingham. Unlike Harry, Walter’s prognosis was good but he stayed at Bensan for 12 weeks. Having not worked for 7 months, he was able to return to work after discharge.
Robert Coles, age 24 a single gas company collector from Islington London. Robert’s prognosis was noted as ‘doubtful’ but he was discharged home after 21 weeks and was enjoying excellent health one year later.
Hearts of Oak
All three patients admitted on that first day, were members of the Hearts Of Oak Benefits Society. This Society was established in 1842 to provide a means for persons to save into a mutual fund that could draw upon and provide financial protection in times of sickness much like our own organisation today.
In 1992 the Society was renamed the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Ltd and in 1997 relocated their office from Euston Road to Leicester. The Society was taken over by the Reliance & Mutual Insurance Society in 2007.
Reference: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=094-2322… (National Archives site with historical notes about the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society).