The Police Treatment
For information about The Police Treatment Centres, view the official website:
The many links that
join St George's, Northern Police Orphanage and St Andrew's were forged
through a common history.
Both originated through the foresight of Catherine Gurney, with the
purchase of St George's House and land in 1897. The construction of St
Andrew's building commenced shortly after, in 1902, on part of the St
George's 12 acre estate. The two organisations were formed with the aim
of providing help for policemen and policewomen and their families, both
financed through subscriptions from Police Forces and donations from the
A brief History of St Andrew's.
Contributors: Gemma Pettman, Publicity Officer, The Police Treatment Centres.
G. C. East. Author: The Constables of Claro, A History of Policing in Harrogate.
police service owes a great debt of gratitude to Catherine Gurney – the
founder of several police charities including:
Institute in London.
Bible Class at Wandsworth
International Christian Police Association.
Police Convalescent Seaside Home, West Brighton.
Southern Police Convalescent Home & Orphanage, Redhill.
Northern Police Orphanage
(later called St George's House) Harrogate.
Northern Police Convalescent & Treatment
(The Police Treatment
youngest daughter of Joseph Gurney, a shorthand writer to the Houses of
Parliament, Catherine Gurney was a deeply religious woman who worked
with the poor communities of Wandsworth, London. This is where her
interest in the police service grew; it is said Miss Gurney was grateful
for the protection of the police officers working in the area where she
held her men’s bible classes and wanted to repay their kindness.
Then, like now, police officers worked long hours and faced many
dangers. It was an officer who Catherine Gurney visited in hospital that
told her he longed for somewhere to recuperate that prompted her to open
a police convalescent home.
Catherine Gurney wasn’t the only philanthropist in her family and in fact the
Gurney family as a whole was instrumental in starting the International
Christian Police Association, an organisation which still exists today.
first police convalescent home was opened in 1893 in Hove on the south
coast. It was funded initially by supporters of the police from within
the local community and was maintained through the endowment of beds by
police forces. The Police Seaside Home allowed officers to convalesce
after injury or illness. Pneumonia and other such illnesses were
prevalent at the time due to officers spending many hours pounding the
beat in all weathers.
content with looking after police officers Catherine Gurney turned her
attention to their families and founded an orphanage for police children
in Redhill. The same members of the community funded the orphanage as
had funded the convalescent home. The Southern Provincial Police School
catered for children of officers who had been killed or had died. What
prompted her to make this move was the discovery of five police children
in a county workhouse. Their father had died and their mother could no
longer look after them; a story typical of the era.
a few years there were calls for the homes in the south to be replicated
in the North. Catherine Gurney already had connections in the North of
England through the Southern Orphanage which received children from the
Manchester and Salford Orphanage and Benevolent Fund. Story has it that
Miss Gurney was crossing The Stray in Harrogate when she met a policeman
and asked him if he knew of a suitable place for an orphanage. He
directed her to St George's, a Boys’ School on Otley Road that was for sale and so
she settled on Harrogate as the location for her next projects.
George’s House, the Northern Police Orphanage, was purchased for
£10,000. Money was raised by Catherine Gurney’s personal visits made in
neighbouring towns and districts to people whose names were given to her
by the police as being supportive of the police force. Miss Gurney also
raised loans and paid the interest privately.
Originally half the building was used by children and the other half by
convalescing police officers until 1899 when the demand by police
officers became so high that it was decided a new home should be built
on the same plot. The orphanage was similar in
structure to the current Police Treatment Centre building and used to
occupy the land which is now known as Swinton Court, on the corner of
Harlow Moor Road and Otley Road.
The plot of land occupied
by St George's House showing
where the Police Convalescent Home was sited.
Once a building fund had
started and after much fundraising, an open competition was held for the
design of the new home. This was won by Messrs Chorley, Connor &
Chorley, of Leeds.
The concept drawing
and floor plan of the proposed Northern Police Convalescent Home.
Connor & Chorley (Leeds)
George Fletcher of Harrogate
Clerk of Works
& John of Leeds
Mr Airton of Harrogate
George Thompson of
Messrs J. P.
Mountain of Leeds
Messrs Baynes of Harrogate
Mr Wood of Harrogate
Messrs Teale &
Somers of Leeds
Middleton of Leeds
Mr George Newby of Harrogate
Messrs Hardman &
Powell of Birmingham
At the ceremony for the
laying of the foundation stone in 1902, a newspaper quotes that "a
platform was arranged and decorated with flags and bunting in order to
accommodate the guests. The children of the Orphanage were looking
remarkably smart as they led the singing of the hymns in a praiseworthy
manner, accompanied by the City of Sheffield Police Band".
The service was conducted by the Lord Bishop of Wakefield, assisted by
the Rev. Cohen, Vicar of St Mary's Church, Harrogate.
In April 1903 the
official opening of the new building was conducted by Viscountess
Mountgarret and Miss V. Donkin, who had been appointed Lady
Superintendent. At the opening it was stated that the new premises would
be fitted with electricity and telephones and would be efficiently
heated with hot water. The structure of the building also being
described as "handsome" stone
erection, the front to be faced with Dacre stone dressing.
The sanitory wing contained lavatories, bathrooms etc and was lined
throughout with glazed bricks; the floor of the hall consisted of
tesselated mosaic pavement. Drainage & ventilation were of the
"most up to date principles" and a special feature of the new home was
the open air gallery for the "treatment of patients now largely
recommended by the medical profession".
The Northern Police Convalescent Home building, on completion. Note the
cart and Tommy the pony.
By 1905 the number of patients had reached 164. Miss Gurney continued to
have a special interest in the home and was in constant attendance until
1927. On Sunday evenings she invariably
spoke to the people in the home on the beginnings of her work and they
were constantly amazed by her enthusiasm. It was always her intention
that the atmosphere of the home should be happy and whatever the rank of
the patient, all were encouraged to join in the companionship,
intoxicants were never allowed in the home.
The original main entrance foyer of St
Stained glass window in the home.
Many speeches were made
over the years, one worthy of note contained in the Annual Report of
1908 - 09 included the following summary as described by an unnamed
"A great deal is expected even of the youngest Constable. He should be a
walking encyclopedia, be able to answer all questions, be a peacemaker
between husband and wife, legal advisor to anyone in difficulty, find
all lost children, find all lost dogs, stop runaway horses, be ready at
any moment to face an armed burglar though himself unarmed, struggle
with a madman, leap into the river to rescue a suicide and what is
probably more difficult be perfectly calm and patient in the midst of
insult and abuse. The general view of the public of the policeman's life
and duties is that they are well paid, well clothed and stroll about. He
is a sort of privileged person, hated by the crowd and feared by the
evil doer. Few people think of the long hours during the night in fog
and rain, the long daylight hours in the burning heat or the icy blast.
The 14 days of night duty without a break, the continuous calls to extra
duties caused by various agitators of our day have a strain on their
health and few people recognise the strain on health".
Quite an oration - and one that could be brought up-to-date with but few
In the very early
years a pony was used to draw a small cart (see photo above) in order to
take patients for treatment to the Royal Baths, but when not required
for this duty Miss Gurney made use of it for rides in the country. On
one occasion, whilst returning from one of her outings, the pony stopped
outside a public house in Otley Road for no apparent reason, and
refused to go further, much to the surprise and amusement of Miss
In 1914 it was suggested
that the home should be offered as a hospital for the sick & wounded
returning from the war, but it was felt that there was an equally
pressing need for providing treatment for Police Officers. The Committee
did decide, however, to provide fifteen beds free of charge, to be at
the disposal of the War Office.
Various expenditure was
incurred in the next few years, including a billiard room in 1924,
provided at a cost of
and in 1926 the
first car was purchased for the transport of patients (the cost of which
was borne by the Leeds City and Liverpool Police). In 1928 the Home was
visited by Her Royal Highness the Princess Mary, when she performed the
official opening of a new wing at the Orphanage.
The Annual Report of 1928-29 notes that the "wireless" had made great
strides and because of this the Durham Police provided the home with an
"All Mains Pye Radio with a Celestial Speaker" - the absolute last word
in perfect sound reproduction !
Some old photographs of St
Andrew's facilities circa 1927
St Andrew's Billiards
St Andrew's Dining Room
St Andrew's Dormitory
St Andrew's Study
stirring the Christmas pudding at St George's,
August, 1954. Sir Henry Studdy and Commander Willis, with
watched by some of the St Andrew's patients.
some of the patients, outside the front entrance of St Andrew's
Convalescent Home. The lady is PW Sergeant Gauden of
It was officially recorded
that at the time of the death of Miss Gurney in 1930, a total of 12,644
patients had been admitted and treated at the home - surely a most
Both the convalescent home and the orphanage became increasingly busy
and in particular, demands for the services of the convalescent home
grew during and after the first and second world war. Many police
officers were diverted from their duties to the war effort and either
lost their lives (leaving children behind) or suffered injuries. Shortly
before her death, Catherine Gurney was awarded the OBE in recognition of
her efforts during the war years.
Catherine Gurney's original headstone now relocated
Catherine Gurney's new headstone
to St Andrew's, Rose Garden.
located at her gravesite in All Saints
Superintendents and CEO's
of The Police Treatment Centres.
Miss Emma Chapman
Miss V. Donkin
Miss E. H. Thompson
1906 - 1938
1938 - 1961
1961 - 1970
1970 - 1984
||Mr. Alan Outhwaite
1984 - 2004
Mrs. Katherine Martin
2004 - 2007
Mr. P. Grant
2007 - 2007 (Acting CEO)
Mr. Michael Baxter
2007 to date.
The Police Treatment Centres. 2009
St Andrew's, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Castlebrae, Auchterarder, Perthshire.
The Police Treatment Centre, Harrogate, 2011
St. George's Police Trust
The St George's Police
Trust, a charity registered in England, was founded in the 1950's with
the proceeds derived from the sale and closure of St George's House,
Northern Police Orphanage. The Trust is supported by voluntary donations
from serving police officers primarily in the northern forces of England, Wales, Scotland
and from the general public.
The Trust provides financial support to the children of police officers
who have died or who have been incapacitated and therefore unable to
earn a living.
the Patron of the
Police Treatment Centres is HRH The Duke of York and the President is
the Hon. Simon Howard of Castle Howard in York. The charity has a Board
of Trustees providing strategic guidance, while the management of
operations is overseen by the Chief Executive of the Police Treatment
Centres, Michael Baxter, QPM.
about the Police Treatment Centres.