Harrogate Herald - 15th August 1934
Mr. Charles Sykes, a former member of the Harrogate Town Council, and a well-known Bradford merchant, has generously presented his house, Carlton Lodge, Leeds Road, to the town, in memory of has wife, who passed away in November.
Prior to the usual business at the Council meeting, on Monday, Mr. Sykes, who occupied a seat next to the Mayor, was warmly thanked for his munificent gift, and for his high regard for Harrogate.
The Town Clerk (Mr. J. Turner Taylor) said he was permitted to inform the Council that the Finance Committee had, at its last meeting, received a letter from ex-Councillor Sykes, addressed to Alderman Stott, intimating that he was giving Carlton Lodge to the town. This was considered by the Council-in-Committee to be a most munificent gift. (Hear, hear.)
The Mayor (Councillor J. H. Newsome) said it was a very pleasing duty to receive from Mr. Sykes the gift of the documents relating to Carlton Lodge. It was a valuable gift and whatever the purpose to which at was ultimately put there could be no doubt that there were a number of purposes which would be of great use to the town. He hoped that Mr. Sykes would live many years to serve his fellow men. (Applause.)
Mr. Sykes, in acknowledgment, thanked the speakers for their kind words and good wishes. He mentioned that he had been in hopes that after signing the documents he could slip away, but he had capitulated to their wishes for him to stay. (Hear, hear.)
Giving a resume of the steps which led up to the gift, Mr. Sykes said that when he lost his dear wife last November he had suffered four or five months of real loneliness which he felt he could not stand much longer, so he went back to his native town of Bradford. He was interested in musical matters and he still found music the best solace for a lonely state.
Then there were the demands of business. Living in Bradford he was now able to get to business at half-past eight in the morning. He had had over 40 years of solid grinding and he still liked work, which he would continue, for he found nothing in life that gave him greater pleasure.
When he left Harrogate he asked himself what could be done with the house? They all knew of beautiful houses which were going to rack and ruin because they were empty. He remembered the happy associations he had with his late wife in this house and the happy times they had there together. Several propositions were thought out. Three weeks ago he made up his mind to offer it to the Council. Since the idea took root he had never wavered in his determination.
When he was a member of the Council he was approached several times with regard to a branch library in that ward. For economic reasons it was not wise to bring the matter forward at that time.
Congestion and noise in the Oatlands district had raised a traffic problem which would have to be tackled. There were no means of rest between the Prince of Wales' corner until they got past Oatlands near to Almsford Bank. If the house could he used for a library or other purpose and the garden converted into "rest place" for people, it would he very nice in years to come when the roads would be busier still. It would he a haven of rest. If his wife were here he felt sure she would agree with the way lie was disposing of it.
Mr. Sykes had been a member of the Town Council and he was known to all. They had admired, to no small extent, the quiet, good sense he had displayed and the advice he had from time to time given as a member of the Council. Since his retirement from the Town. Council he had removed to another town, but still apparently thought a good deal of the town of Harrogate. (Applause.) He (the Mayor) thought there was some feeling of sentiment in the matter, inasmuch as his late wife had had a great love for Harrogate and that this gift would have pleased her. They very much appreciated Mr. Sykes' gift. (Applause.) It was a splendid house with nice gardens. They had not decided for what purpose it would be used. It was a munificent gift and they were all proud to receive it at the hands of Mr. Sykes. They were glad to have him there that afternoon, and on behalf of the Council and of the town they thanked him very much for making this presentation. (Applause.)
Alderman W. W. Stott moved a formal vote of thanks to Mr. Sykes. He said it afforded him great pleasure to do so. It was, undoubtedly, a splendid gift. The house was in a very good state of repair. There were rose gardens and kitchen gardens attached and it would be a great boon to the Oatlands district. (Applause.)
There were many purposes for which it could be used. Mr. Sykes had realised that there was a need for a branch library in that part of the town, and there was no doubt that it might be used partly for that purpose.
Some years ago they had the offer of a most valuable collection of Leeds appropriately housed. In his opinion this house was an ideal position for the housing of that pottery. (Hear, bear.) Then the gardens could be used either for recreation or as a "garden of rest" for the aged people in that neighbourhood. In future years they would thank Mr. Sykes more and more for his gift. (Applause.)
Alderman R. Annakin, seconding, said he was always sorry that for business reasons Mr. Sykes ceased to be a member of the Council, but he was glad to know that he had not forgotten his old colleagues, nor the town in which he resided nor the ward which he had represented. (Hear, hear.)
It had always been a matter of surprise to him (Alderman Annakin) that there had been so many wealthy men in Harrogate who had not remembered the town in the same way as had Mr. Sykes. (Hear, hear.) He thought it was one of the best ways in which a man could show his love for the town. (Applause). He knew that Alderman Stott was greatly interested in the development of Harrogate and he approached him in the matter. He wanted to thank Alderman Stott and all the other members of the Council sincerely for what had been done. He was sure the Council would take great care of this small estate, aided by able officials, and that it would be a beauty spot in the years to come. He hoped that it would be of benefit, physically, mentally, and spiritually. (Applause.)
Mr. Charles Sykes became president of the West Ward Conservative Association early in 1929, and in November of that year, was elected to represent the ward on the Harrogate Town Council. His retirement from active municipal affairs in 1932, was a matter of great regret in the town.
A native of Bradford, Mr. Sykes is managing director of Charles Sykes and Co., Ltd.. worsted spinners, of Bradford, which he founded in 1901. He was for many years associated with various Bradford musical organisations.
The following is the letter in which Mr. Sykes makes his offer to the town.
Dear Alderman Stott.
You will remember I left my Harrogate residence, Carlton Lodge, in April last, and am now residing at the above a(address.
I have been much concerned as to what will happen to my old home, and, as you will agree, there is the difficulty of disposing of a large house and grounds in the present condition of things.
I cannot calmly resign myself to the idea of the house and grounds being empty and useless, so have arrived at the conclusion that they must he put to some practical use. Therefore, I shall have pleasure in making a gift of them to the Corporation of Harrogate for the use of the public.
My late wife loved the home and the garden. and it is in memory of her that I desire to make the gift.
I believe a branch library has been required in the Oatlands district for some years past, and perhaps the house could be used for that and other purposes, and the garden could be converted into a garden of rest. These are only suggestions that occur to me - but the Council could do just whatever, in their discretion, they thought best for the common good.
If the gift is accepted, I shall be pleased to he informed of same, and the deeds of the property will then be promptly forwarded to the proper quarter.
Kindly remember me to the former companions of my toils on the Council.
With kind regards,
[There is almost an identical article in the Harrogate Advertiser of 18th August 1934 in the box in the library]
[No date available, but it must be 1934]
[Original cutting in box at library]
The ratepayers of Harrogate will join in all sincerity in expressions of thanks to Mr Charles Sykes, a former West Ward Councillor, for his splendid gift to the town. For many years he resided at Carlton Lodge, Leeds Road, but recently, following the death of his wife some months ago, he returned to Bradford, and to mark the affection he and his wife had for Harrogate, he decided to offer the house and grounds, the whole covering an acre, to the Corporation. The offer has been gratefully accepted, and on the Council meeting on Monday, Mr Sykes was thanked in terms that left no doubt as to gratitude of the town, expressed through many of its representatives.
The use to which the house will be put is a matter of conjecture. It is suggested that it should be used as a branch library for Oatlands, while the well laid out grounds might be converted into a rest garden for the elderly people of that neighbourhood. We may be sure that the Corporation will use this magnificent gift in the best interests of the town, and to the entire satisfaction of the donor.
Harrogate Herald - 6th February 1935
Sir, Referring to the generous gift to the town of above mansion, it would be interesting to know whether the Corporation have come to a decision as to what use is to be made of the house and grounds. There are a good many rumours going about, some of them perfectly silly. It is asserted, for instance, that the house is to be let off in flats, the erection of extensive public lavatories - for men and for women - are to occupy part of the grounds, that a public bowling green to be installed, etc. we in the Oatlands district would welcome a much need branch free library, and that the grounds should be laid out as a quiet retiring place for the people of the neighbourhood, which is largely working class.
We are sure that ex-Councillor Charles Sykes would not wish that anything should be done which would hurt and annoy the residents and property owners in the neighbourhood, but on the contrary, he would support any measure calculated to prove an amenity to the surrounding population..
We hope that wise counsels will prevail, and that the use made of this fine mansion will be worthy of the donor and of the town.
February 5th, 1935
Harrogate Advertiser - 26th September 1980
"The end of an era of personal attention" was how a spokesman for staff this week described the proposed closure of Carlton Lodge maternity home by the North Yorkshire Area Health Authority.
The authority, which has decided to concentrate its maternity services has outlined the home's closure for 1983. by this time an extension to Harrogate General Hospital providing more and better maternity facilities should be completed.
The spokesman at Carlton Lodge said : "We are very unhappy about the proposed closure. We feel we can offer a kind of service which a larger maternity unit cannot always provide. There is a special, more relaxed atmosphere here which will be lost. To us, the home's closure will mark the end of an era of personal attention".
The area health authority is giving people until the end of this year to raise objections to the Carlton Lodge closure, but points out that objectors must come up with a viable alternative to closure.
At present, maternity beds in the Harrogate district are divided between the General (41 beds), Carlton Lodge (13), and Ripon and District Hospital (10).
The authority points out that this does not make the best use of staff, premises, or cash resources.
No redundancies are envisaged with the propose closure of Carlton Lodge and cash saved by the move would go towards providing additional staff at the General.
Objections to the plans should be sent to the Area Administrator, Mr W L Moore, North Yorkshire Area Health Authority, Ryedale House, 60 Piccadilly, York, YO1 1QJ.
Harrogate Advertiser - 30th September 1983
Closure of Canton Lodge has been accepted by Harrogate's Community Health Council.
The health watchdogs have agreed closure of the maternity home in 1986 as part of a package deal. This Includes the provision of facilities for GPs to deliver babies at the General Hospital and the opening of a new delivery suite and special-baby care unit next January.
At a meeting, at the Royal Baths Hospital on Monday, Community Health Council Secretary Mr. John Lee said: "This is a package deal we are recommended to accept. We have assurance that there will be a viable GP unit and a viable ward seven at the hospital before the closure of Carlton Lodge."
And health Authority Chairman Col Edwin Winn said that a new GP unit would certainly be part of the deal.
"Without a GP unit in the new ward seven we would not close Carlton Lodge", he said "in our 1980 discussions we did not know what would replace Carlton Lodge and that was the reason for the delay. Now we know precisely what we are going to do".
Newly-elected Chairman of the Community Health Council Mrs. Rita McLusky said: "We will be very sorry to see Carlton Lodge close but we realised the importance of the new unit."
Councillor Janet Binns, a new Community Health Council member, said that she would like to see Carlton Lodge turned over to the needs of the elderly after it's closure as a nursing home.
"The house was originally left by an old gentleman for the needs of the elderly in the Oatlands area and I hope this will materialise now," she said. "We should aim to see small housing units in the grounds".
Harrogate Advertiser - 6th June 1986
For 42 years, Carlton Lodge has echoed to the sound of crying babies. Now It stands silent and forlorn, its windows boarded up.
Those who have made use of the maternity home's valuable services would say it is the end of an era, and there may never be anything like it in Harrogate again.
The lease on Carlton Lodge does not expire until July, but on Monday the workmen move in to secure the building against vandals. All remaining patients and staff have now been transferred to the new six-bed general practitioner unit at Harrogate General Hospital.
Carlton Lodge fell victim to the Area Health Authority plans to concentrate the town's maternity services under one root at the hospital.
Although many people thought its closure was inevitable, the axe did not fall without a struggle. A protest group, The Friends of Carlton Lodge, was formed in 1980 to keep this asset open for maternity services.
They led a pushchair protest through the town, but were unable to prevent the closure.
The history of Carlton, Lodge as a maternity' home can be traced back to the Second World War, but was first given to the old Harrogate Corporation in 1934 by Mr Charles Sykes. It was donated with the rider that it be used for the benefit of the town's inhabitants.
The elegant building on Leeds Road was first used as a veterans' club in 1942. But, since being converted into a maternity home, hundreds of babies have been born there, more recently with an average of two each week.
Mothers who have experienced the homely atmosphere of Carlton Lodge, say it is preferable to that of a hospital ward. Mrs. Ann Taylor, whose son James was the last baby born there said: "I felt more at home. The new unit is quite pleasant, but it is a shame Carlton Lodge had to close."
It has always been a popular maternity home, and was the only one in Yorkshire to be included in the 'Good Birth Guide', earning itself a place for the welcoming and informal atmosphere.
A member of the Friends of Carlton Lodge Mrs. Di Wetherell said: "We are obviously disappointed It is closing, and we hope the new unit will live up to the reputation of Carlton Lodge. It has provided excellent maternity services for several generations.
One lady who has directed work at Carlton Lodge for eight yearn is Senior Nursing Officer for Midwifery Miss Ann Johnson. She will now run operations at the six-bed G.P. unit, but is sorry to see Carlton Lodge close.
Miss Johnson said: "It was very well used and will be missed by both the mothers and staff. They prefer a homely atmosphere rather than walking through doors and corridors in a hospital, but they like the new unit."
Another long-serving member of staff at Carlton Lodge is Sister Ruth Ogle. She has been sister-in-charge for over 18 years.
Looking back over the year, Sister Ogle recalled: "I have always been happy there, and I count myself lucky to have been a part of Carlton Lodge. It was a very happy and close unit. Everyone is very sad it has closed, we never thought it would happen."
The future of Carlton Lodge remains uncertain, but Harrogate councillors are waiting to hear from the Charity Commission on plans for a sheltered housing development on the site.
Earlier this year chief officers of Harrogate Council turned down proposals for a hospice in Carlton Lodge. Chairman of a housing committee meeting in February, Councillor Paul Mayrick said : "We have acknowledged demand for sheltered accommodation, but we do not have an acknowledged demand for a hospice."