MID KENT BAND OF MERCY UNION
This group was started as a `Juvenile Branch' of the `Prevention of Cruelty to Animals', and in 1889 had 200 members. The President was a Mr Sandland, and the Hon. Sec. Miss Blanche Davidson, who reported that Mrs Alexander had kindly granted the use of Cheveney Institute for a Tea and Entertainment, on the 9th of October that year, at which the President provided a Magic Lantern Show.
“ On Friday, the 5th of July 1895, a merry party of seventy Yalding members of the above named union started from Yalding Station by the 8.57 train for London, the weather being propitious, and a pleasant journey by S.E.R. brought the youngsters to Charing Cross. They were met by special horse drawn omnibuses, and conveyed to the Zoological Gardens, where they spent the day in riding on elephants and camels, watching and feeding the animals, the monkey-house and bear pit being largely patronised. Several ladies and gentlemen joined the hon. secretaries (Miss B Christian Davidson and Miss K A Smith) in devoting their day to the children's welfare and amusement; amongst them we noticed Miss J Pout and Miss Evelyn Norton. After a most delightful day, with many last lingering looks at various animals of which the bear-pit engaged many repeated good byes, the children re-assembled at the main entrance at six pm, and again taking their places on the vehicles, were steadily and courteously driven back to Charing Cross, and at 8.40 the last of the Band were safely landed at Yalding, after a most delightful day reporting, `All well! No casualties'.”
For the biennial treat of the Yalding, Down's Hill and Laddingford Branch, in July 1899 about 35 boys and girls accompanied by Mrs Button, Miss K Smith and Miss E Norton, went by road to Maidstone and spent an interesting afternoon at Barnum's Circus, followed by refreshments served in the station yard by the Rev. J R Hale. On June 7th 1900 a lecture was given on animals and their instincts by Mr Reeks, county lecturer for the R S P C A. At a meeting arranged by Miss Cahill, on Tuesday April 21st 1903, a violin solo was played by Miss Leigh accompanied by Miss Hards, possibly piano, after which the Rev. H C Bell showed some slides illustrating animal life. A meeting held Tuesday June 30th that year in the Girl's School attracted 90 members.
In 1904 Miss Cahill planned a series of six lectures on animal life, the first of which on Reptiles, was given on Tuesday March 22nd. Later that year on Saturday 25th of June the Bands of Hope and Mercy held a combined annual treat at Downs House, which no longer exists on the top of the hill, by the kind invitation of Mr and Mrs Norton. This appears to be the last mention of the Band of Mercy on our records.