Mary Jane and her husband Arthur FitzGerald Kinnaird 10th Lord Kinnaird (1814-1887) and her son Arthur Kinnaird Junior, became staunch supporters and advocates of homeopathy.
The wealthy people of the city and, indeed, of Europe generally, were more than ready to try a new medicine… they were predominantly members of the French and British upper and professional classes: nobles, clergy, military officers, doctors… the British were among the earliest visitors: Lord Elgin, Lady Kinnaird represented Scottish aristocracy… Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, James de Rothschild, Auguste Arthur Beugnot… Countess Musard… Lord Capel… Lady Belfast and Lady Drummond, the Duchess of Melford…’ [Rima Handley, 1997, pp. 20-22]
The Young Women’s Christian Association was formed as a result of a growing interest in the welfare of young women at work and the dangers to which they were exposed on leaving home, often to work long hours for very low pay in factories and workshops in the metropolis.
The whole character of the work from the outset was essentially religious and there were two strands in its development: in 1855 Emma Robarts, the youngest of five unmarried sisters living with their father in Barnet, formed a Prayer Union with 23 friends to help girls through intercessory prayer.
Following the example of the Young Men’s Christian Association, formed eleven years previously in 1844, they called themselves the Young Women’s Christian Association, and made contact with the girls for whom they prayed.
In 1859 this group took the name of the ‘Prayer Union’ and continued as a sort of inner circle of the Association for many years. As the movement spread in the 1860s and 1870s (there were 130 branches by 1872), the Unions met not only just for prayer, bible study and friendly social intercourse, but also to cater for the wider interests of the girls, aimed at developing body, mind and spirit. There were also boarding houses and some institutes or clubs.
Quite independently of this, also in 1855, the Hon. Mrs Arthur (Mary Jane) Kinnaird opened a home in London with a friendly Christian atmosphere where Florence Nightingale‘s nurses could stay both en route for and on their return from the Crimea. This home in Upper Charlotte Street also opened its doors to the many girls coming up to London to work.
The first report of The United Association for the Christian and Domestic Improvement of Young Women in 1862, told of its interest in the well being of young women engaged in houses of business, ‘Many people have learnt to care for their souls, and to desire earnestly to remove the pressure of over-work, by which their bodily and mental health is so often impaired’.
The Association’s stated aim was to establish homes all over London, with a missionary in each to be a friend and teacher of all in that neighbourhood who would come to her for sympathy and counsel. Bible classes and meals were provided and there were a few boarders.
The 1863 report stated that three London hostels had been opened with lodging costing 3s. 6d. on average, and that a fourth one was in prospect. Already there were auxiliary associations in Bristol and Liverpool, and other cities, including Paris, were interested in the movement.
The report for 1865-66 refers to the group as The Christian Association for Young Women and by the time of the report for 1867-1868, there is a second title of Young Women’s Christian Association in use. There were then two distinct branches of the Association, the Institutes, and the Boarding Houses or Homes. At the Central Institute, which opened in February 1866, young women could attend not only bible classes and religious meetings, but also a French class, and there was a good free library.
From the first the movement was enterprising: the 1870 report mentions the first convalescent home at Brighton. This association also aimed to provide young women with the same opportunities as those afforded to young men in the YMCA.
The 1876 report refers to endeavours ‘to form one General Association, consisting of a London Union for prayer and Christian Work, in connection with a world wide Prayer Union previously originated’. In January 1877 Emma Robarts and Mrs Kinnaird met and the union of the two associations in London was effected. Before the official announcement, however, Emma Robarts died on 1 May 1877.
The report that year stated ‘The work of the Society has been further developed during the past year, by the completion of the Union begun during the previous year with the YWCA, formed co[n]temporaneously with our London Association, by the late Emma Robarts….
And the United Association is called “The London Young Women’s Institute Union and Christian Association”’. Its objects were ‘to combine in a Union for prayer and work on behalf of Young Women of all classes, Christians whose interest can be gained’, and ‘to establish Institutes combined occasionally with Boarding Houses for the benefit of those engaged in houses of business or employed by them’.
The rest of the country was included, but London had its own separate Council until 1884. In this year too, the objects, expanded from an earlier form of 1877, also took definite shape. The organisation which developed comprised six centres (London; England and Wales; Scotland; Ireland; Foreign; Colonial and Missionary), each with its own president, secretary, heads of department and council.
George William Fox Kinnaird 9th Lord Kinnaird was also a patient of Samuel Hahnemann. He was also a patron of the General Committee of Management of the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary on the Treatment of Asiatic Cholera in October 1848, alongside many others. He also signed a petition organised in support of homeopathy by John Rutherford Russell. A Handybook of Domestic Homeopathic Practice by George Edward Allshorn was dedicated to George William Fox Kinnaird 9th Lord Kinnaird.
George William Fox Kinnaird 9th Lord Kinnaird was also a Vice President of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and the President of the Hahnemann Medical Institute and Dispensary at Welbeck Street, corner of Bulstrode Street, Manchester Square.
Queen’s Gardens are set in the shade of The Glades Shopping Centre that opened in 1991 in the centre of Bromley, with Kentish Way a major thoroughfare to the east. By the C19th the site was known as The White Hart Field and shown as such on the 1st edition OS map of 1871; it was used for public recreation and sports, and was named after the Inn of that name that stood to the side of the site. County cricket was played here until 1847.
In 1865 the ground floor of the White Hart Inn was opened as a homeopathic dispensary by Edward Gould, providing medical care to Bromley residents. The popularity of homeopathy led Dr Robert Phillips to open another practice in 1874 in 19 Widmore Road; he soon began collecting funds for building a much-needed hospital and in 1889 Bromley’s first homeopathic hospital opened. When it was decided to expand or build a new hospital, Coles Child, Lord of the Manor, presented Bromley with The White Hart Field in 1897, a section of which was given for the new hospital. The rest of the field remained in use for public recreation and was laid out with paths and planting, renamed Victoria Gardens in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The gardens have since become known as the Queen’s Garden or Queen’s Gardens.
The original main entrance to the gardens in the north west corner was at the apex of a triangle adjacent to Market Square where there were fine ornamental iron gates, donated by Lord Kinnaird (George William Fox Kinnaird 9th Lord Kinnaird 1807 – 1878), a close friend of Coles Child. The gates, which Kinnaird had purchased at auction, date from the 1850s and had stood in front of his residence, Plaistow Lodge, on London Lane. In 1990, when The Glades Shopping Centre was constructed, the gates were moved to their present position in the southern part of the gardens.
Phillips Homeopathic Hospital had opened in 1900, was enlarged further in 1907, but it was bombed in WWII by a direct hit and although it temporarily became a home for homeless people, escalating costs meant that it was eventually demolished in 1951. From the outset patients had used the adjacent recreation ground during convalescence. When The Glades Shopping Centre was built, the site was reduced somewhat in size. The naming of The Glades, chosen through a competition in which local residents participated, reflected the leafy, green image of the borough in which Queen’s Gardens plays a part. Today the gardens have formal beds of annual bedding plants, tarmac paths, seats and a number of mature and semi-mature ornamental trees. The copper beech are especially fine.