On Thursday 12th June we were delighted to receive Rachel to illuminate us on the history of local charities. Rachel informed us that a law passed in Elizabeth the first’s reign (1597/8) introducing the ‘poor rate’, was the first complete code of poor relief. The poor rate was administered by Overseers appointed by the Vestry of the Church, but the monies were sometimes allocated to public building repairs, instead of benefiting the poor.
Wealthy people sometimes left land and properties to the ‘Poor Estate’ which generated an income to help the poor of Marlow. Some bequests, stating their provisions, can still be seen on the walls of All Saints Parish Church. These bequests have been grouped together as the Marlow United Charities. Legacies and bequests funded various requirements from apprenticeships, to flannel gowns and warm stockings.
In 1608 John Brinkhurst left land to build four almshouses in Oxford Road. Although demolished in 1971, the replacement complex is still run by the Trustees. A few years later, Sir William Borlase founded his school to teach 24 boys to read, write and cast accounts. Later the school paid for boys to be apprenticed.
Last century Edward Riley endowed the Riley Recreation Ground (between Riley Road and Cambridge Road). The other Recreation Ground in Gossmore Lane is administered by Marlow Parish Council acting as Trustees.
The Marlow Education Foundation was set up in 1961 and provides people under the age of 25 with financial assistance for education, outfits, tools, etc. to enter a trade, or profession and to provide for recreational facilities not normally provided by the local education authority.
The Myers Benevolent Trust was set up in 1980 to provide school uniforms, carpeting, household appliances and to help the elderly.
All in all, there is still a proliferation of charities in Marlow, only some of which are mentioned above.
Many thanks to Rachel for a most enjoyable and informative talk.