The Cumberland and Westmorland Convalescent Institution was established in 1862 when a local business owner Richard Carruthers pledged £250 towards the cost of establishing a convalescent / sea-bathing institution. Times were different back then as can be seen from the Bishop of Carlisle’s comments to the Annual General Meeting in 1870. “There is a time when fresh country air, especially sea air, will do a man more good than any amount of skill brought to bear on him in hospitals.”
In those days the cost of a two week stay in the home was 10 shillings – approximately £230.00 in todays currency, and the home enjoyed a steady stream of visitors until the outbreak of the First World War. At that time the home became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and the Gretna ammunition girl workers. At the end of the war the home returned to its previous role in providing rest and recuperation for those in need.
It provided care for people from the Cumberland Infirmary up until the 1990’s when the contract with the Health Authority was terminated. At that time the home transitioned to establishment that we see today when the Nightingale Wards were closed and converted into single en-suite bedrooms.
The home, the oldest in Cumbria celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2012. Registered as a charity and governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, it continues to go from strength to strength, primarily due to the skill and commitment of the staff, many of whom have been at the home for 20 years plus. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the staff group to contain multiple generations of the same family. It’s this commitment that saw the home achieve the Gold Standards Framework Care Home of the Year National award in 2016 for palliative care, in recognition of the home’s uncompromisingly high standards of care.