Kingsley Wood: Welfare Centre In Chelsea (1930s)

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Sir Howard Kingsley Wood

As Minister for Health in the 1930s, Sir Howard Kingsley Wood visited the Violet Melchett Welfare Centre in Chelsea to see child health services in action.

Sir Kingsley Wood: British Movietone

Sir Howard Kingsley Wood, Minister for Health, visits the Violet Melchett Welfare Centre in Chelsea. 

Leader of the Fitter Britain movement, Sir Kingsley Wood, sees the work in action to support the health of babies.

“That every one has the chance of a healthy and a happy life” is his concern for these babies.

Sir Kingsley Wood was Minister of Health from 1935 to 1938, when he became Secretary of State for Air on the eve of World War 2. Churchill later appointed him wartime Chancellor of the Exchequer. He died suddenly on the day he was to announce the new PAYE (Paye As You Earn) taxation scheme to the House of Commons.

The Violet Melchett Infant Welfare Centre In Chelsea

The Violet Melchett Infant Welfare Centre in Manor Street, Chelsea, was opened on 2nd April 1931 by Queen Mary. It provided a combined infant welfare centre, day nursery and mothers’ home.

The land and the building was the gift of the late Lord Melchett to the Borough of Chelsea. He proposed the centre as a memorial to Lady Melchett, in honour of her work in the cause of infant welfare.

Lady Melchett’s Humanitarian Works

During the Great War Violet Mond, as Lady Melchett was known before her husband’s baronetcy in 1928, did many good works. She turned her country home, Melchet Court, Wiltshire, into a sixty-bed convalescent hospital. Also, her London home housed Belgian refugees.

For these services she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1920 Birthday Honours.

She then turned her attention to infant welfare, chairing the Violet Melchett Welfare Centre.

Queen Mary

A granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Mary of Teck married her cousin. When he became George V in 1910, she was made Queen Mary. She was approximately 63 years old when she officially opened the Violet Melchett Welfare Centre.

Who was Sir Howard Kingsley Wood?