By the middle of the 19th Century Holly House belonged to a George Stansfield and in 1874 it was rented out to a Dr John Oakley. He was a very philanthropic man who was appalled by the suffering that he witnessed in Halifax. In 1886 he gave over a wing of his house to set up a specialist Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital. It ran, performing 13,000 operations until 1913, when the Infirmary took over the responsibility.
Notice is hereby given that at a Meeting of the Mayoress’s Lady Workers’ Committee… it was decided to organise all Ladies within Halifax and District willing to give their services by making up good serviceable clothing for the use of Soldiers and Sailors serving their country … making up of any articles … which may be wanted by the Red Cross Society, Ambulance Brigade, Local Relief Committee, or similar institutions … Dated this 11th day of August 1914.
Dr Oakley realised that the Lady Mayoress’ Committee would need storage space for materials and finished items. They also needed a central place for cutting out shirts etc. He offered them the use of the part of Holly House that had been the hospital.