Henry Hoare's Lasting Gift
C. Hoare & Co.’s long tradition of philanthropy was honoured last week at a service in Westminster Abbey to mark the 300th anniversary of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Alexander Hoare, a direct descendant of the hospital’s founder, Henry Hoare, read from Ecclesiasticus: ‘The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired.’ The service also included the presentation of a bowl of oranges, in commemoration of John Kelly, Westminster Hospital’s first in-patient, who was cured of scurvy in 1720.
Henry Hoare (‘Good Henry’) was one of four original donors who established the hospital as charitable society for ’relieving the sick and needy, by providing them with lodging, with proper food and physick, and nurses to attend them during their sickness’. It was the first hospital in the world to be funded by subscription and remains a pioneering institution with a history of ‘firsts’ in brain tumour extraction, breast cancer treatment, HIV diagnosis and anaesthetics.
In his bidding prayer, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, called to mind the lasting impact of charitable giving. ‘We give thanks for the original founders and benefactors… and pray for the continuous discovery of new and better ways of promoting health and healing.’ The ongoing anniversary celebrations are a moving reminder of how the bank’s innovative philanthropic vision can change lives for generations to come.