Cooper Memorial Children’s Convalescent Home, Brand Hill, Woodhouse


In late 1898, the Rev. William Henry Cooper of Burleigh Hall, Loughborough,  offered, as a memorial to his wife, to build a permanent home for 25 children[1]. This was to replace a temporary home that had been opened by the Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home in Maplewell Road[2], Woodhouse Eaves, that spring. It was the Rev. Cooper’s intention that the new home would be managed under the management of Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home, which opened its first home in 1884[3].

Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home

To the Editor.

Sir, – I shall be glad if you will allow me to correct an error in your notice of the Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home which in your issue for the 19th inst. This Home has not been amalgamated with the Loughborough Dispensary as there stated, but the Charnwood Convalescent Home and the Loughborough Convalescent Home have been united, and are now carried on at the premises formerly occupied by the Charnwood Home at the Brand Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, under the title of “Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home.” The Institution is now open for the season. As the error is likely be misleading, I shall be obliged if you will make this correction in your next issue.

Your obedient servant, Alfred W. N. Burder.
Loughborough, April 22 Hon. Sec. C. F. C. H.

The Loughborough Convalescent Home was formed in 1875, by Miss Herrick of Beaumanor and Mrs. White of Fairfield, Loughborough, the wife of Frank White, a hosiery manufacturer, to assist sick people on the way to recovery. They initially used a small cottage in Woodhouse Eaves, gifted by Mr. Frank White[4], to house four patients and superintendent[5].

The Rev. W.H. Cooper acquired, from Mrs. Perry Herrick, of Beaumanor, a two-acre plot on the upper corner of Hunger Hill Wood, Brand Hill. The building, capable of accommodating 26 children was designed by Alfred Burder in conjunction with Loughborough-based architects Messrs. Barrowcliff and Allcock, then based at No. 64 Mill Street. Building work was undertaken by Messrs. Moss and Sons, of Loughborough.

The Home was officially opened and handed over, furnished and ready for immediate occupation, to the management committee of Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home at a ceremony on 24th October 1900[6].

Part of the two-acre site were left “in their natural wild state”, whilst other areas were laid down to grass, together with playgrounds and a kitchen garden[7].

The brick building consisted of[8]:

…. two day rooms, viz. a dining-room and a play-room for the children, sitting rooms for the matron and nurses; two staircases are provided in case of fire, extensive kitchen offices, laundry and stabling. The children’s bedrooms are all on the first floor, and consist of four wards, having sleeping accommodation for 26 children. One was is arranged as an isolation ward, with nurse’s bedroom attached, separated from the main building by a lobby, so that in the event of any infectious illness breaking out, it can be completely isolated and provisioned from the kitchen separately. Cross ventilation is provided in all the wards, and the lavatories are shut off from the rest of the building on each floor by a passage with cross ventilation. The whole building is heated by hot water, both corridors, day, and sleeping rooms, as well as by open fire-places, all rooms being also ventilated by means of inlet and outlet ventilators, so that fresh air is admitted and the vitiated air is automatically drawn off. The water supply is from is form the Leicester new reservoir, and rainwater is collected in a large tank. A complete system of drainage has been laid down, ventilated, and constructed, with all the latest sanitary improvements. The building is lighted by means of acetylene gas, made on the premises ….

Unsurprisingly, Messenger & Co. Ltd., were responsible for providing the heating system, the hot-water system and ventilation above the kitchen/scullery[9]. All the formal correspondence was conducted through architects Messrs. Barrowcliff and Allcock. In August 1899[10], they successfully submitted revised estimates of £121 10s. for the low-pressure heating system and £55 for the bath and hot water supply. The former consisted of a No. 54 check-end saddle boiler, measuring 48in. x 21in. x 21in., 3in. and 4in. piping around the premises, 2 solid section radiators and all associated fittings, etc. The latter comprised of a No. 5 Independent cylinder type Monad Boiler, measuring 30in. x 18in., 100-gallon supply cistern and 60-gallon hot-water cylinder, together with all the necessary fixtures and fittings. The solution for operating the lights in the lantern above the kitchen/scullery had been agreed two months earlier. The plan was to use two sets of their “school-board” for which the firm submitted an estimate of £6 16s., exclusive of fitting. Interestingly the fitting was undertaken by Messrs. William Corah a Loughborough-based builder and contractor, despite the main contractor being William Moss & Son.

Messenger & Co. Ltd., returned numerous times over the following two decades. In 1910, they installed a veranda at a cost of £97 11s., including brickwork, etc. This is one of the very few occasions when they didn’t use their own glazing solution. They produced two estimates both dated 12th April 1910. The first using Messrs. Helliwell & Co.’s strong section steel glazing bars and 24in. wide 3/16in. cast plate glass came to £61 excluding brickwork, etc. The second using Messrs. W.H. Heywood & Co.’s combination glazing system, which included 21in. wide 3/16in. rough cast plate glass with bulb-tee section bars, “comprising leaden glazing bars and caps combined, on rolled steel bars galvanised, pure asbestos packing, strong copper stops and metal covered condensation eaves bars.” This estimate came in almost £10 cheaper, although with Messrs Barker & Sons estimate of £30 for the brickwork and an additional £1 10s. for teak posts, the final accepted estimate was £81 17s. 2d.

In August 1926[11], the firm were asked to estimate the cost of replacing the 26-year-old saddle boiler. They quoted £47 5s. to install a No. 46 Quorn boiler with associated fittings and accessories, which the Charnwood Forest Convalescent Homes committee duly accepted. The final figure came to £48 12s., as several valves and joints required repairing.

The firm retuned in early 1928[12] to install a new domestic hot-water supply. Their final invoice of £127 17s. 2d. was almost 50% higher than their original estimate of £87. Unsurprisingly the committee disputed the increase and with the firm apparently finding difficulty in providing acceptable explanations, the dispute dragged on for over six months.

The home was eventually sold to the Church of England Children’s Society, who used it until 1987. Two years later it became a residential care home for the elderly. It was later converted into private apartments and today (2016) is known as Charnwood House.

The current property is listed as Grade II and described in the listing of 15th March 1984 as:

Children’s Convalescent Home, now Children’s Home, of 1900. Red brick with brick band, wooden cornice, and plain tile hipped roof with massive red brick stacks. 3 ridge (1 coupled) and end stacks. 2 storeys in Queen Anne style with mainly 6/6 sash windows and some leaded casements. Gauged brick lintels to ground floor and stone sills. 2 closely set wings project to front right. That further to right has semi-circular 1 storey former porch with leaded half dome roof. Former door blocked with window and further 1-light windows either side. Above in stone band is inscribed ‘Cooper Memorial Convalescent Home for Children’. Canted oriel bay over and projecting stack and 4/4 sash to right. On stack a tablet in stone and cut and moulded brick inscribed ‘Built by Rev. W.H. Cooper of Burleigh Hall, Loughborough, in memory of his wife Mary Cooper, 1900’. The wing to left has 2 2-light leaded casements both floors. The wings are joined at 1st floor level by small C20 infill with similar 2-light: C20 door and window in recessed section under. To left of wings a similar 4-light casement both floors and a C20 2 storey wing with flat roof and brick stack projecting forwards. On right end of main range, a central 2 storey projection with hipped roof and 6-light mullion and transom staircase window with leaded lights. Similar 4-light casement beneath. 2 6/6 sashes both floors to left and 2-light dormer above. A 6/6 both floors and a C20 1-light window to right. On roof ridge a wood and lead octagonal open turret with weathervane. Rear is a front of 10 mainly 6/6 sashes with part glazed painted stone veranda to left, 2 glazed doors and 2 6/9 sashes within. Balustrated top and glazed over. Canted right end to veranda of brick with 3 4/4 sashes and door. Tripartite 2/2: 6/6: 2/2 and 2 further sashes to right. On roof to left 3 dormers:2-light, 3-light,2-light, the centre having curved gable. On roof ridge to right a wood and lead octagonal open turret. C20 1 storey extension on right end.

Alfred Burder joined the management committee of the Charnwood Forest Convalescent Home in 1882 and became their Honorary Secretary the following year until 1900. He became a trustee in1893 or 4, a position held until 1936. He became President in 1908 and one of the Vice Presidents from 1910 until his death in 1944.

Other members of the Burder family were closely involved in the running of the Convalescent Home. Elizabeth Burder, Walter Chapman’s wife, served on the Management Committee between 1884 and 1892 or 3. Walter served between 1908 and 1917 and Alfred Edward (Edwyn), Alfred Senior’s son, for the following two years.

Members of the family also contributed financially to the running of the Homes. Between 1882 and 1945, they donated in excess of £445 in yearly subscriptions and also helped in times of debt. In addition, Alfred and his wife made generous gifts during the late 1890s and early 1900s. In 1906, Alfred gave £200 in trust for providing poor Loughborough patients’, the trust was appropriately known as the Alfred Burder Fund.

The firm’s employees also gave donations to the Home, amounting to in excess of £135; latterly through their hospital & benevolent fund and hospital contributory fund.

In 1897, the family contributed £106 to the Home’s building fund (Alfred Burder – £25; his wife, Florence Burder – £26; Walter Burder – £25; Alfred and Walter’s mother, Ellen Burder – £5), whilst the firm’s employees gave £7 15s. 8d.).


  1. The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 24th December, 1898.
  2. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 27th October, 1900.
  3. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 26th April, 1884.
  4. The Story of Loughborough, 1888-1914; Author: W Arthur Deakin; Publisher: Loughborough Echo Press Ltd.; Date: 1979.
  5. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 12th June, 1875.
  6. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 27th October, 1900.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/185.
  10. Ibid
  11. Ibid
  12. Ibid