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The League of Welldoers

The Liverpool Food Association, later known as the Liverpool Food and Betterment Association from 1898-1909, became the the League of Welldoers in 1909. It was founded in 1893 by H. Lee J. Jones, a pioneer in the introduction of the middle-classes into social work. Under Jones, as Honorary Secretary, and the City Coroner, as President, the Association took premises in Limekiln Lane, Scotland Road, Liverpool and put up soup boilers. In the first season, dinners at 1/2d each (or free to the poorest) were distributed to eleven schools.

Other services followed, such as the distribution of food to housebound invalids by voluntary Lady Attendants. To many this was quite literally a lifeline, without the charitable work of the League of Welldoers many people would have starved.

Herbert Lee Jackson Jones was born in Runcorn in 1868.  He was educated at Liverpool College, becoming proficient in art and wood engraving. Although he’d given thought to a career in the church, he gave this up to devote his life to philanthropy, funding the ‘Liverpool Food Association’ in 1893. In later life he was also a proficient photographer, taking photographs of the area in which his charitable work took place.

The range of charitable activities increased and diversified to include the notion of cultural "betterment", for example open-air concerts were provided in slum areas "to elevate the seared mind or brighten the dulled hour amongst the poor and the poorest poor". Herbert Lee Jackson Jones, known locally as Lee Jones, the founder of the League of Welldoers, took the notion of personal service to the extent of martyrdom, living in the service of the Association on no more than 15 pounds per year, plus uniform and austere board and lodgings.

From the earliest days his band of helpers were based in Limekiln Lane, right amongst those who he strove to serve. When it was known, in October 1936, that Jones was dying, crowds knelt outside the front corner of the building, praying for their true friend and benefactor.

The front of the building was destroyed in the May 1941 blitz and only rebuilt in 1952. The figures above the door, dated 1953, are by M. Newton

League of Welldoers War Orphans dinner  at St George's Hall in 1945

The League of Welldoers exists to this day offering their services to young and old alike, you can find out more about them on the website, link below.


Photo credits Lee Jones Collection, Courtesy of the League of Welldoers

By Robert F Edwards
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