John Edward Nichols memorial plaque
Memorial plaque, carved oak, to commemorate John Edward Nichols (d.1911). Founder of the Railway Convalescent Homes.
This plaque was unveiled at the Herne Bay Railway Convalescent Home in 1911, as a memorial to John Edward Nichols, one of the pioneers behind the Homes and Chairman of the Board of Governors. It was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart Dyke Bart. P.C., Chairman of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway Company, in the presence of railway dignitaries and Nichols’ fellow board members.
“In affectionate memory of John Edward Nichols J.P. To whose wisdom and foresight the railway service with which he was associated for fifty years is largely indebted for this haven of rest for its sick and injured. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors from 1901 to 1911 and passed to his reward on the 29th September 1911. This tablet was erected as a tribute to his memory by his friends and admirers in the service of which he was an honoured member”
Nichols was the Chief Cashier on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway when he became aware of the need for respite care for sick and injured railway workers. His position made him constantly aware that sick men often returned to work before they were really ready, largely because of the need to retain their income and the relative cost of care.
Nichols approached philanthropist J Passmore Edwards who had established convalescent homes for the Friendly Societies, who had 3 acres of land at Herne Bay. Despite initial difficulties in convincing Passmore Edwards to invest, eventually he agreed and the first Railway Convalescent Home was opened at Herne Bay in 1901. Nichols’ tenacity ensured that care was available to sick and injured railway workers and a further nine Homes were opened across the country, receiving over 270,000 patients between 1901 and 1961.