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The Builder Heritage Journal   | 26 April 1902

Builders Clerks Benevolent Institution Annual Dinner review

Mr. Frederick Lionell Dove (Messrs. Dove Bros.) presided on Tuesday evening at the Holborn Restaurant, over the twenty-fourth annual dinner at this Institution. The company numbered close on 300, amongst those present being the Rev. C. J. Proctor, Messrs. J. Murray, A. Parker, L. J. Maton, F. J. Dove, R. D. Lown, J. Carmichael, G. Appleton, H. H. Bartlett, T. F. Kider, A. Stoner, A. Randall, F. Lown, H. 8. Love, R. Roberts, E. Brooks, J. Austen (sec.), &c.

The usual loyal toasts having been honoured, Mr. H. H. Bartlett proposed "The Imperial Forces," and this was replied to by the Rev. C. J Proctor (an ex-volunteer).

The Chairman, in proposing "The Builders' Clerks' Benevolent Institution,' said that with a view to inducing those who had not made up their minds what they were going to give, he would give a short resume of the history of the Institution. About thirty-six years ago some few gentlemen who were engaged upon the staffs of some of the leading builders in London met together, and, imbued with the kindly spirit which was always associated with those connected with bricks and mortar, resolved to found a benevolent fund for the relief of their more unfortunate brethren. He need hardly tell them that amongst men who every day of their lives were associated with the brain-destroying eccentricities of architects' drawings and surveyors' quantities, and, above all builders accounts, such an idea at once tool tangible shape, and they decided not only at once to render temporary aid to poorer members, but also to organise a system of pensions. Before long they admitted widows of deceased members to the benefits of the Society, and of course it was a short step from the widows to the orphans, and at the present time there were something like twenty or thirty widows and orphans, who were receiving benefits—the former in the way of pensions and the orphans in the way of being clothed and educated and fitted for the battle of life. In such a huge and complex trade as they were engaged in, with the keen competition, it was obvious that slackness of trade resulted at times in a certain number of men being thrown out of employment through no fault of their own, and there were few sadder sights that that of men who had done good service for many years, owing to the exigencies of trade having no employment and, without private benevolence, having nothing to fall back upon but the workhouse or starvation. It was such cases as those that the Society relieved. The Society appealed particularly to three classes of the community, viz., builders' clerks, builders, and builders' merchants. He strongly appealed to all builders' clerks who were not at present members of the Society to join at once, for it was like an insurance to them. He could mention that, with the exception of the small and insufficient remuneration paid to the secretary and the collector, nearly every penny of the money subscribed went to the Society. With regard to the builders, he thought the Society afforded an opportunity for increasing the friendly and happy relationship which always existed between builders and their statis, and as to the merchants, they knew it was the builders' clerk who made things go smooth in the office. He coupled with the toast the name of Mr. E. Brooks, who was connected with the firm of Messrs. Colls & Son.

Mr. E. Brooks (Treasurer), in reply, said he had in his hand the first report issued by the Society, and he found that of the thirty members of the committee in that year only himself and two others were left. The first report showed that their income was 634l., and now they had 7,000l. invested. He did not think, however, that that was sufficient for thirty years existence. They formerly used to give a 20l. a year pension for men and 15l. for widows, but now they gave .a year to the men, and 24l. to the widows. He trusted that the appeal of the Chairman to builders' clerks to join the Society would bear fruit.

Mr. R. Roberts, in proposing the toast of the "Architects and Surveyors," said that the builder worked primarily for profit, but the architect had the enthusiasm of a love for art, and the surveyors were well known for their elaborate detail, and their mathematical accuracy. Taking them altogether, he thought they were a great triumvirate. They could not exist apart, as the artistic ideas of the architect required to be put into practice by the builders, and had to be always weighed and measured, not always to their satisfaction, by their surveyors. Having been a builder for something like thirty years, he could only say that, as a rule, the relationship between the builders and the architects and surveyors were exceedingly pleasant. Of course, they knew that at one time the builder was his own architect, but in these days of industrial development that was impossible He thought there were great opportunities before all three classes, for in the next ten or fifteen years London would practically be rebuilt. They had very serious problems ahead, but the architects had shown great skill with regard to the scientific planning of buildings.

Mr. J. Murray replied briefly for the architects, and remarked that the work of the architect could be greatly assisted by builders' clerks. If the builders' clerks did their with thoroughness and good fellowship it would assist architects as well as builders. That meeting, he thought, was a fair example of the thoroughness with which builders' clerks did their work, and he hoped they would have the greatest possible success in the future. He believed that if architects could in the future. He believed that if architects could in any way assist builders or builders' clerks they would be only too happy to do so.

Mr. A. Stoner, replying for the surveyors also touched upon the pleasant relationship which existed between builders and surveyors. He took it that the duty of the surveyor was to apply the schedule of impartiality between the architect and builder, and he could say that that had always been his aim.

Mr. F. S. Oldham submitted the toast of "The Builders," and remarked that the builders of London had always generously supported the Institution.

Mr. A. Parker, in reply, alluded to the builder having been once his own architect, and said that for himself he preferred to do the work fo building and leave the architect and surveyor to do their own work.

The other toasts were "The Donors and Subscribers, " proposed by Mr. F. J. Dove, and responded to by Mr. C. Lewis Jones; "The Past Presidents"; and "The Executive. "

During the evening subscriptions were announced to the amount of just over 300l., the chairman contributing 25l.

Appointment of Sanitary Officers

The Local Government Board has sanctioned the appointment of the following sanitary officers:

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