Catalogue description Truro Public Dispensary

This record is held by Archives and Cornish Studies Service (formerly Cornwall Record Office)

Details of X 459
Reference: X 459
Title: Truro Public Dispensary

Minute books, reports, accounts, papers and correspondence.

Date: 1842-1974
Held by: Archives and Cornish Studies Service (formerly Cornwall Record Office), not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Truro Public Dispensary, Cornwall

Physical description: 11 files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Records of Truro Dispensary deposited by Mr. Geoffrey Wilkes, Town Clerk of Truro, an ex- officio trustee of the former Truro Dispensary Fund (now reconstituted and amalgamated with another charity). Accession No. 1992.

Administrative / biographical background:

This Charity was formed at a Meeting held in Truro on October 27th., 1842. It consisted of:-


Patron - Viscount Falmouth


Two Vice Patrons - J.Ennys Vivian Esq.M.P. & E. Turner Esq.,M.P.


Hon. Secretary - J.G. Chilcott Esq., (Solicitor)


A Physician - Dr. Winn


A Surgeon - Dr. Bullmore


Hon. Treasurer - Mr. Hodge (Miners Bank later Bolitho's then Barclays


About twelve subscribers (called Governors)




To provide Medical and Surgical attention and Free Medicines to such deserving persons of either sex'living in Truro and District. The income varied from year to year from £120 to £140.


Each of the Governors were supplied with 'Treatment Letters' or forms according to the amount subscribed. These letters the Governors gave to such persons the Governors thought deserving. The letter provided attention and Medicine for six weeks.


Rooms were rented in Truro at which the Doctors attended at certain fixed times. An Apothecary was appointed who dispensed the Doctors prescriptions. The drugs were purchased at wholesale prices.


A paid Collector was also appointed to collect subscriptions.


The regulations laid down that a Meeting of all subscribers be held early in December each year, the Sub Committees to meet several times during the year as necessary, and report to the Annual Meeting in December.




The proceedings were very strictly observed. Minute books are available from 1842 to the present day. During the whole of this time there were always on the Committee a Manager or Director of the Miners or Barclays Bank, one or more Solicitors, the Mayor of Truro, members were men and women of repute and standing in the area.


There are no Rules of the original Committee in existence but a copy of the Amended Rules were printed in 1895 and again in 1905 - these are available.


In 1896 the Governors purchased the premises in Chapel Yard (which they had been renting for some years) for the sum of £250.


The medical attention to the Infirm and Elderly went on smoothly until the first National Health Insurance Act provided Free Medicine etc. for a large number of the population. This cut down the requests for 'Tickets' because Insured Persons were debarred from having help from Dispensary funds. The Apothecary had retired some time since and the Doctors had (reluctantly) also done the Dispensing.


The six Truro Chemists were asked if they would do the Dispensing on a Rota basis. Four agreed.


In 1934 it was decided to sell the premises in Union Place. The price obtained does not appear in the Minutes but a Resolution that not less than £350 be accepted. Then it was found that all the Trustees had died.


A special Meeting was called and two new Trustees were appointed (Alderman W.J. Kemp (Mayor) and A.C. Cannon (Chairman)


When the 1945 Health Act came into force the work of the Dispensary, as such, ceased and no more subscriptions were collected.


The Treasurer reported that there were several Investments from legacies realising from £130 to £135 a year.


Several Schemes were discussed at the Annual Meeting and the following alterations were agreed:-


1. Instead of Named Trustees in future the following three nominees be Trustees (by virtue of their Office) :- The Mayor of Truro, The Town Clerk, The Manager of Barclays Bank.


There would then be Trustees always available.


2. The Chairman be elected at the Annual Meeting


3. That the benefits of the Dispensary be used for the help of all infirm poor, deserving persons, who reside within the City of Truro, having been approved and recommended by the Committee.


4. That the business of the Charity shall be transacted by a Committee of about twelve consisting of the Mayor of Truro, the Town Clerk, The Manager of Barclays Bank and other members elected from the Governors at the Annual Meeting.


5. That subscriptions be not solicited in future in view of the National Health Insurance.


6. That the Committee shall meet in November or early in December to consider disbursement of its income to deserving cases, around the period of Christmas, or at any other time necessary, at the request of the Mayor and two members of the Committee.


7. That the Committee shall have power to make all such regulations as may be required, from time to time, for the management of the Charity, at the Annual Meeting, and shall have the control of the Annual Income of the Charity.


8. That future election of Officers of the Charity and Members of the Committee shall take place each year at the Annual Meeting.


9. That existing Rules & Regulations may be altered or amended by the Committee at its Annual Meeting.


10. That Mr. K.H.G. Martin (Chartered Accountant) be appointed as Hon. Auditor.


At the next Annual Meeting it was decided that the Secretary get lists of deserving people from the Welfare Officers of (a) The British Red Cross (b) National Assistance Board (c) the occupants of the Alms Houses (d) the Secretary of The Old Folks. These lists were examined and duplication eliminated. Then about 130 to 140 names of persons personally well known and vouched for as infirm and deserving by members of the Committee were selected.


A cheque was drawn for the necessary amount and a £1 note was put in an addressed envelope with a slip 'With the compliments of the Public Dispensary'. These envelopes were personally delivered to the addressee by a Member of the Committee.


This has been repeated each year since 1951 and has been a boon to many an old and infirm person, especially those deserving but who would not ask for help.


The present members of the Committee are :-


The Mayor of Truro


The Town Clerk of Truro


The Manager of Barclays Bank


Alderman A. A. Behenna (Ex Mayor)


Alderman H. Thomas (Ex Mayor)


Mrs. C. Sawle J.P. (Ex Mayoress)


Miss M.J.W. Jennings J.P.


Rev. H.M. Lloyd (Dean of Truro Cathedral)


C.I. Roberts Esq., J.P.


Mrs. A. Ogden (Ex Mayoress)


Dr. H.D. Eddy M.C.,M.R.C.S.,L.R.C.P.,B.M.,B.Ch.


Dr. F.H.A. Jago M.R.C.S.,L.R.C.P.


E.T. Carlyon Esq., (Solicitor)


Mrs. J. Sharp (Wife of Dr. G.T. Sharp)


A.C. Cannon Esq., F.P.S.F.S.M.C.,F.B.O.A. (Chairman)


Mrs. W.D. Allen (Hon. Secretary)


The present Investments are:-


£1,300 - 3½% War Stock


£2,320 - 2½% Consols


£400 - 3% Savings Certificates 1965/75


£400 - 3% Metro Water "A"


(Sgd.) A.C. CANNON




(Governor since February 1914)

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