market town of Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -
CHARITIES administers fifteen individual charities dating back to
the 17th century through endowments for the benefit of the poor of the
town as well as land that has been left to the community. The largest single
legacy is the Charity of Robert Harrington (1589-1654), a former Bourne resident who became a gentleman landowner and left land and property in the Leytonstone area of London producing an annual income to be used for the benefit and education of the poor.
Total income from the various charities is considerable and currently
exceeds £660,000 a year while the organisation has
assets worth in excess of £12 million.
The government has taken over many such functions since the introduction of the welfare state in the mid-20th century but the trustees who administer the various funds still seek to maintain the traditional ideals of charity and compassion through the administration of almshouses
and a warden's bungalow in West Street and the distribution of weekly pensions to the old and needy. They also make an annual grant that is shared by the schools in the town.
The trustees have bought land and buildings over the years that are used for the benefit of the town, their most notable achievement being the acquisition of the Red Hall
in 1962 after it had been used as the stationmaster's house and ticket
office for the town's railway station since the 19th century. The building
is now used as offices while the reception room and kitchen are available for functions and as a meeting place for
some local groups such as the history society,
naturalists and other conservation organisations.
Other acquisitions include the Wellhead Gardens, consisting of 21 acres of
land that was developed as parkland open to the public under the terms of
a bequest from Alderman T W Atkinson who left property for this purpose,
together with the Garden of Remembrance and War Memorial. The charities
were also responsible for acquiring the outdoor swimming pool, now one
of the town's most popular summer amenities and run by a voluntary trust,
while the Abbey Lawn is set aside for sporting activities in perpetuity.
BUC also administer a plot of 13 gardening allotments
at the corner of Meadow Drove and Spalding Road and several other restored buildings that are leased at nominal rents to youth organisations, including scouts, guides and other community activities. One of the largest of these is the early 19th century Baldock's Mill in South Street that is now leased to the Civic Society whose members have restored the building and turned it into a Heritage Centre and museum.
The trustees meet in
private on the last Thursday of each month. Their meetings are not open to the
press and public and they do not issue statements either about their
deliberations, their activities, their finances, or how and when trustees are
appointed. The Red Hall, now a Grade II listed building, was restored in 1972
for use as a community centre yet now remains largely closed to the public.
REGISTERED WITH THE CHARITY COMMISSION FOR ENGLAND
AND WALES - GROUP OF CHARITIES 216000
(Registered 16 November 1962)
Classification is for the relief of poverty,
elderly/old people/general public/mankind
making grants to individuals (including loans), making grants to
organisations (including schools, charities etc), providing
Charity Correspondent or clerk is
(click on name to email)
The Red Hall, South Street
Bourne, Lincolnshire PE10 9LY
Telephone and Fax 01778 422387
A detailed appraisal of Bourne United Charities and its role
in the town
can be found on the CD-ROM