The million-peopled city

Garwood, John

1853

The first Ragged School in London, as established in "the Old Stable" at Westminster.

"

The first [

Ragged School

, in the strict sense of the term] in London was in the old stable where Walker taught,

" according to Mr. statement. This "Walker" is one of the missionaries of the London City Mission, and the "old stable" was at . The following most touching account of its formation was written in , four years before the London was formed, by , of , and was published in the same year. It was two years previous to this date that the school was first formed in a smaller room, which could only be had on Sundays.

" A lamentable destitution of the Scriptures prevailed in all the districts previous to the late supply afforded to the by the . On visiting one house in Duck-lane, the missionary now on this district was met by the man who kept it, who told him he had better pass on, for no one there or in the next house wanted his assistance. The missionary, however, got into conversation with this man and drew him out, and learned that all the inhabitants were thieves or coiners; that several who had formerly belonged to the gang had been executed, and many of them up stairs were returned

25

convicts. He expressed his earnest wish to see them, and the man, who gave his card, ' ' said, 'Well, I will accompany you, and protect you from insolence.' The missionary went up and saw them all. He was received respectfully, and subsequently supplied them with the Testament and Psalter. It appeared a most unpromising soil, but extraordinary results followed some months afterwards. At another little hut in a back court, when he opened the door he found a travelling tinker, preparing his barrow to go out to mend tin ware and grind knives. In reply to the question, ' Have you a Bible?' he swore vehemently, and replied, ' Yes.' The missionary said, 'What sort of a religion do you learn from it that lets you swear so?' He said, 'Religion ! Oh, you shall see my religion if you are not off!' and, opening a cupboard, he whistled to two great dogs which were used for fighting at Duck-lane Theatre. ' There,' he said, 'that's my religion.' The missionary talked with him, and subsequently gave him a Testament, and invited him to his room. To the surprise of the missionary he came, brought his Testament with him, followed the missionary in his readings, was most attentive, and brought other men of the same trade as himself. The missionary called at his residence frequently, but could not find him at home for two or three months. He learned from the wife, however, that the dogs were sold, and he had told her, that sport was all over with him now. When the missionary got an opportunity to see him, he found him a broken-hearted penitent.

" After some time it was proposed to get the children together out of the streets to the room on the Lord's-day, to instruct them, and the missionary, in giving this notice at his room, asked any person who could, to come and help to teach them. The poor tinker kept back until the last, and then said that he was not much of a scholar, but if he

26

could do anything, such as go round and persuade the children to come, or be useful in any other way, he should be glad to help. His services were accepted, and, although that took place nearly two years back, the tinker has never been absent but one Sunday, and that was through illness. He is the first in the school and the last out. While he is endeavouring to teach others his own mind has opened, and his walk and conversation have been becoming the Gospel.[1]  We had a pleasing testimony as to his private habits in the following way:-A poor wretched girl was found living in sin, who appeared penitent; but a difficulty arose, for we could not meet any poor virtuous person at the moment who would take her in and shelter her until an asylum could be obtained: and we find it necessary to do this while the good impression is upon such characters, or else, if they return to their former mode of subsistence, we fear the opportunity for reclaiming them is lost. Well, in this difficulty the poor tinker said, ' Let her go to my wife, and I will sleep in the shed for a few nights.' She did so. Since then she has been got into a situation, where she is going on well. When the missionary called, after a time, to see how she got on, the mistress said, ' Oh, she wants a ; for the tinker used to read the and pray with them morning and night, and charged her to do so; but she has not got one, and she wishes to do what the tinker told her-he was such a good man, and so anxious for her welfare.' 'Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree.' Truly the most humble, when blessed with the grace of God themselves, become blessings to others.

"The school was formed; 44 children were gotten together on the first Sunday. Very few of them had shoes, not many had shirts; some little fellows made a ludicrous appearance, having their fathers' coats on, which just came above their heads, while the tail reached to the ground. This buttoned up served to cover the want of shirt and other under-clothing. Thirty-eight of them could not tell their letters, never having been to school before: for such the missionary sought in his visits, and I believe all of them were fetched on the day by him, and brought in his hand. He worked very hard; they were remarkably attentive and anxious to learn: and when, after two or three Sundays, we had a reward-viz., a little piece of pasteboard with the prayer printed on it, 'Create in me a clean heart,' with a long piece of red tape to suspend it round the neck, and to be given in each class to the child who could repeat most perfectly a verse or two of Scripture which they had been taught on the former Sunday-there was as much anxiety to obtain it as though it had been a medal of gold; and the successful competitor, in dirt and rags, appeared to think himself highly honoured for once.

It was soon found that these children lost in the week all the good they had gained on the Lord's-day. They spent their time playing in the streets, and were idle, vicious, and dissolute: their extreme poverty (owing frequently to the vice of the parents, many of whom were thieves or prosti- tutes) prevented them either from paying even a penny per week, or from attending those schools, open gratuitously to the poor, but who were expected to come clean and decent. We therefore resolved to open a large room for the reception of such children only, and try the experiment for three months. A stable in was obtained and fitted up, and here we have an average attendance of about 120 children, all of this wretchedly poor class. Some of them

28

have scarcely sufficient clothes to cover them decently, very few shoes or stockings, but all who come are, without exception, received and attended to. Any children of this kind met with by the missionaries in their visitations are brought to this school. Their names are arranged in districts, and the list of absentees in each district is given to the missionary thereof every Monday morning, who, in the course of the week, visits their abodes and reports the cause of absence; and this attention to the poor, outcast, and hitherto-neglected children of these very poor and wretched persons, has amazingly won upon the parents and delighted them, while the missionaries, by this, amongst other means, gain a growing esteem in the hearts of the people.

The expense of fitting up this school and paying the master has been great; but it has been borne entirely by private subscription, and has in no way entrenched on the funds of the Mission. The present superintendent of the district is the treasurer, who receives subscriptions. A lady of title, whose name I cannot mention without feelings of respect and gratitude, has taken a great interest in this school, wretched as is the neighbourhood and the school- room, and the class of children who meet there; yet she has attended the school, assisted in its working, brought others to see it, and obtained those subscriptions which have met its expenses, but without which it could not have been carried on. It has now been open about ten months. Other kind ladies have also lent assistance, and , of the , has kindly given his advice and obtained books, &c.; and, if such help be con- tinued, there is every reason to hope the school will continue to prosper and be a blessing to these poor outcasts.

" In this school-room the meetings are held for prayer and reading the Scriptures; and since the lodging-houses have been well visited, and the school established, the inmates of

29

those places and the parents of the school children have attended in such numbers as to fill the place. Latterly the singing has been led by a beggar-man, who sings in the streets, whom the missionary met with at one of the lodging- houses, and who had never attended a place of worship before.

" An incident, which much affected my mind, occurred at this room when first the public-houses were closed on the Lord's-day morning. Two women, with children in their arms, came one evening and requested the missionary to thank God for having put it into the heart of the Legislature to close the gin-shops, &c. on the Sunday. They said their husbands were coal-porters, and, until then, had not for years been sober on a Sunday; but now they dined comfortably at home, with their families and wives; and children and fathers were all so happy together. They entreated him to pray that God would be pleased to incline our rulers to perfect the work, and have them closed all the Sabbath-day.

" One of the poor boys in the has lately died, and the following is a verbatim statement, taken down from the missionary's lips, of what he has known and learned of the boy during his illness --.The day or two before he died, he called his sister, a girl about nine years of age, to his bed-side, and told her what a bad girl she was to her parents, and where she would go if she did not seek a new heart from God. He entreated her to obey her parents and to keep the Sabbath. He said that he was about to go to heaven, but there she could never come except she sought mercy through . He then called his mother- told her what a bad woman she was, never to go to God's house, or pray, or read the Bible, or care for the Saviour; and if she died so, she would go to hell. Those were his very words. ' Oh!' he said, 'pray for a new heart!' He then called his father, and told him, 'I am going to my heavenly Father, where,' he said, 'you can never come,

30

unless your sins be pardoned and your heart changed.' He blessed his teachers, and the missionary, who, he said, had told him of dying for sinners such as lie was. He requested his mother, with great solemnity, to tell his grandmother to pray to God for pardon, or she would go to hell. Those were his words. The boy died, and the grand- mother fell sick the same week with inflammation of the stomach; and the words of the boy deeply affected her mind. The missionary never visited her (and he did so daily) without her mentioning these words. She was directed to the Saviour-she sought for mercy: she has recovered from her sickness, and attends constantly the Wesleyan chapel. The missionary met, at this poor old woman's bed-side, during her illness, one of her daughters from the East-end of London, who had been a great sinner. He pressed on her the necessity of seeking the salvation of her soul. She was deeply impressed, but lamented that her husband was a Socialist. The missionary lent her lecture, 'Is there a God?' and Mr. Garwood's, 'Is the Bible of Divine Authority?' for her husband to read. He did so. When she was going again to see her mother, she told her husband she must take the books back. He said, 'Ask him to lend them me another week or two-I must read them again.' He has done so, and he has thanked the missionary for them, saying, 'They are very convincing ;' and he has given up the Socialist meeting, and allows his wife to attend the house of God."

 
 
Footnotes:

[1] Since the above was written he has been appointed, by the club of tinkers like himself, a sort of steward or visitor of their sick and infirm members; he has, in consequence, been obliged to leave the school, but carries with him to the bed-sides of those he visits the glad news of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ.

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 Title Page
 Preface
Chapter I: Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
A distinct Class from Adult Thieves
Their extreme Youth, and sometimes Childhood
Great Severity of British, as compared with French, Law on Juvenile Offenders
Their especial Claim, when resident in London
Their supposed Numbers
The Classes from which they are drawn
The Training for Crime which they receive
Their Gradations in Proficiency
Importance of Missionary Operations among this Class
The Ragged School Movement
The Connexion of the Ragged schools with the Operations of the London City Mission
Ragged Schools in an especial manner free from the Difficulties of Difference of Creed and Interference with the Duties of Parents
Early Approaches to the Ragged School System
The first Ragged School in Lonon, as established in 'the Old Stable' at Westminster
The Report of this School, as printed by Order of the House of Commons
Mr. Charles Dicken's Account of the Plot of Ground on which this School stood, called 'The Devil's Acre'
Letter of the Children of this School to the City Missionary
New Pye-street Girls' School, April 10, 1843
Dickens's narrative of Emigrants from this School
The Field-lane ragged School described, as a second Illustration of these Institutions
Description of the adjacent notorious 'Thieves' Houses'
Formation of the School
Dickens's Narrative of different Visits to this School, and of the Improvements effected in the interim
Narrative of a Visit to this School, from 'Chambers's Edinburgh Journal'
This School first interested Lord Shaftesbury in the 'Movement'
Erection of a New Schoolroom with a large Dormitory
Review of the subsequent Progress of London Ragged Schools to the present Time
Industrial Schools
Refuges
Emigration
Sergeant Adams's Eulogy of the Efforts of Ragged School Teachers
Three Cases of Usefulness from the Ragged School Union Magazine
Case of Usefulness reported to the Author by a Clergyman
Two other Cases of Usefulness from the 'London City Mission Magazine'
The Shoe-blacks a most remarkable Illustration of the Success of the Efforts made to benefit this Class
Broomers, and how they might be made to cleanse London
Messengers
Steppers and Ragged Nursery
Comparison of the Expenses of Schools and Prisons
The especial Claims of Girls
Voluntary Effort, and that by the Masses, rather than Government Aid, to be especially rested on
Appointment of a Missionary by the London City Mission
Importance of Increased Exertions, in order to bring the whole of this Class under Ragged School Instrution
Concluding Remarks
Chapter II: Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals fit Adornments to the two Shores of England's Metropolis
Greenwich Hospital
The Pensioners
Their Ages
Their Present Number
The Yearly Deaths
The Infirmary for the Sick and Dying
Religious and moral Character of the Pensioners, and Providsion made for their Instruction
The Pensioners not allowed to marry, and the bad Effects of this Rule
The Royal Hospital Schools
Law Agency in a peculiar manner important with these Men
The London City Mission, the only Agency of this Character in the Hospital
Need of a Second Paid Lay Visitor
Description of the Meeting of Pensioners held daily by the Missionary
Striking Cases of Usefulness among the Pensioners by this Agency
In A.D. 1851
In A.D. 1852
In A.D. 1853
Case of Usefulness among Out-pensioners, from the Scripture Readers' Association 'Occasional paper'
Chelsea Hospital
Its Origin
Nell Gwynne's Grant of the Building
Number of In-pensioners admitted
Their Character
Out-pensioners
The Pensioners' Opinions of the late Duke of Wellington, and of Lying-in-State
The Crowds of the Public who assembled to see the Spectacle
Number of Out-pensioners in different Years, according to the Prevalence of Peace or War
The immense Cost of the Pensioners to the nation, even at the Present Day
The Hotel des Invalides in Paris, established before Chelsea Hospital in London, and a Standing Army established in France before its Establishment in Enbland
How the Disabled and Aged Soldier was previously supported in this Country
The College was not completed till the Revolution
The Interest of William the Third and Fourth in the College
The College is for Invalids also
Ages of the Pensioners
Number of Deaths annually
The Burial-ground of Chelsea Hospital, and its Remarkable Epitaphs
Burial Registers
The Funeral of a Pensioner described
Flags and Trophies recently removed from St. Paul's Cathedral to Chelsea Hospital
Specimens of Certificates of Service given to Pensioners on their Admission to the College by their Commanding Officers
The Clasps worn by Pensioners to denote the Number of Battles in which they have engaged
Guard kept at the College in Military Style
Foreigners and different Creeds among the Pensioners
The heavy Manner in which Time hangs on their Hands
Cards, &c. introduced by the Authorities of the College to remedy this
Library, and its Defects
Gardening introduced by Lord John Russell
These Gardens were the former famed Ranelagh
Great Abuses in the Management of Chelsea Hospital abolished by Lord John Russell
Regulations as to Marriage more favourable to Morals at Chelsea than at Greenwich
The Royal Military Asylum for Boys
The Wellington Fund now raising for the Children of Officers
Gratitude of the Pensioners for Religious Instruction, and their Visit to City Missionaries, when the latter had been ill
Their Interest in Religious Tracts
Their Desire of Further Instruction
Number of Out-pensioners resident in the Metropolis
Facilities for, and Importance of, Benefitting these Men
Extracts from the Reports of a Missionary of the London City Mission
The especial Claims which Pensioners present on the Christian Benevolence of the Nation, and not of the Inhabitants of London only
Thankfulness for Peace
Immense Cost of War as compared with the Insignificant Amount which would now add greatly to their Comfort, and promote their Best Interests
Danger of Delay with Men so Aged
Chapter III: The London Cab-Driver
The London Cab-Driver
The Introduction of Coaches into London in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
The riding Horses in previous Use
Coaches when introduced only by the very Highest Class of Society, and regarded as an effeminacy
On other Classes beginning the use of Coaches, the higher Classes continued to add to the Number of the Horses by which their Coaches were drawn, in order to retain a Superiority
The Introduction of Hackney Coaches kept at Inns, in the Reign of James I
Hackney Coach-stands in the Public Streets established
These Prohibited by the Proclamations of succeeding Kings, but in vain
The Two Centuries of Hackney-coach continuance
The Last Days of London Hackney-coaches
The Cabriolets of Paris
Their subsequent Introduction in London
The immense Increase in their Number during the Twenty Years of their Existence
Their present Number
The Cab-driver
The extensive Use of London Cabs on Sundays, and its injurious Effects on the Drivers
The Extortion complained of in Cabmen
The unlicensed Driver, and the extreme Depravity of this Class
Cab-drivers as a Body exposed to unjust Odium
Recent Alteration in the System of Licensing, and its Effects
Great Difference in the Character of London Cab-stands
The Waterman
First Efforts for the Religious Welfare of Cabmen as a Body, as made by the London City Mission
A Missionary appointed by that Society to visit them, and his Great Success
A Second Missionary appointed, but soon discontinued, through want of Funds for his Support
Cases recorded of his Usefulness
The Emigration of the First Missionary, and the Appointment of his Successor, with Review of his Efforts and Success
Cases of Usefulness recorded by the Cab Missionary of the London City Mission, last Year
Chapter IV: The London Omnibus Man
The London Omnibus Man
The Introduction of Omnibuses into London, and their previous Establishment in Paris
The Enterprise of Mr. Shillibeer, in starting Omnibuses in the English Metropolis, the Difficulties he encountered, and his subsequent Ruin
The Paris and London Omnibuses of the present day compared
The constant Litigation between the Proprietors of London Omnibuses after Mr. Shillibeer's Failure, and the consequent Establishment of large Omnibus Companies for the sake of Mutual Protection
The Immense Amount of the Capital and Annual Expenditure of the London Omnibus Trade
The vast Sums of Money spent by the London Population in Omnibus Riding
The Large Amount of Revenue which London Omnibuses produce to the Government
The very small Number of Omnibuses in the remainder of England, as compared with the Number in London
The almost incredible Length of Distance traversed periodically by the London Omnibuses
The constant Increase in the Number of London Omnibuses
The Metropolitan Omnibus Traffic greater in the Number of Passengers than the Metropolitan Railway Traffic
The Condition of the London Omnibus Men, and their present Numbers
Their Sunday Occupation in the Metropolis of a professedly Christian Country scarcely less than on Week-days, and sometimes greater, while an Extreme Amount of Toil is imposed on them during the Week
Lord Shaftesbury's Testimony of the Success of an Omnibus Proprietor who Discontinued Sunday Work
Testimonies as to the Toil of Omnibus-men from the Early Closed Association
From an Occasional paper of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society
From the Rev. J. T. Baylee's 'Statistics and Facts in reference to the Lord's-day'
Extract from 'Silverpen' as to the Wives and Families of Omnibus Servants
Medical Testimony as to the Injury of Labour so hard on the Constitution of the Men
Testimonies given to Mr. Mayhew as to the Severity of the Labour, by a Driver, a Conductor, and a Time-keeper
Their Wages
Their Temptations to Drink
Their Temptations to Embezzlement
Urgent Appeal as to the Heathenism of so Large a Body of Men
Reference to the Efforts of the London City Mission, in a Pamphlet entitled 'The Omnibus Men of London'
Recent Efforts of Omnibus Servants themselves to Improve their Condition
The Grand Junction Omnibus Comopany
The Introduction of Omnibuses has brought more together the different Parts of London
Concluding Appeal
Chapter V: The Irish of London
The Irish of London
Their Numbers
Their Country and their Race
St. Patrick
Subsequent Wars
Conquest of Ireland by Henry II, and its subsequent Oppression by the English
The Reformation in Ireland
The Protestant Colony of Ulster Established
The Battle of the Boyne, and its Consequences
The Union
Remarkable Increase of Population in Ireland during the close of the 18th and the commencement of the 19th Centuries
The pleasing Peculiarities in the irish Character
Their Hospitality
Their strong Natural Affection
The Native irish Poor more virtuous than the English Poor
Even the Good Qualities of the Irish cause them especially to need Faithful and Judicious Counsel and Visitation
Their Claim as Immigrants into, to them, a Strange Land
The Excellences of the Irish Character are beheld in London in their rudest form
How Popery has Marred and Debased the Irish Character
The Irish have been made thereby Idle
They have no Proper Feeling of Independence
Their Disloyalty
Their Spirit of Persecution and Hatred to Protestants
The Irish of London require 100 Missionaries or Scripture-readers, in order that the Gospel may be brought to their Abodes
The same Agency, for the effecting the same Results, is what is especially required for the Irish of London
Cardinal Wiseman's recent Denunciation of this Agency in London
Soundness of Protestant Feeling among the English working-classes
'The testimony of no single missionary is materially different'
The Persecution which the recent London Converts have had to endure
General Expectations of Irish Romanists that Ireland will soon become a Protestant, and England a Popish Country
The Causes of the Extensive Immigration of Irish to London in Recent Years
The better Class of Poor emigrate from Ireland to America, and the worst Class to London
The Divisions of the Irish of London into Cockneys and Grecians
The Irish of London, as divided into Connaught and Munster Men
Immigration of Immoral Irish Women
The Numbers of the Irish of London who can read English and Irish respectively estimated
Irish Protestants possess more Scriptual Knowledge than English Protestants
Extreme Ignorance on Scriptural Subjects of Irish Romanists, illustrated by Examples
The Irish, on arriving in London, rapidly lose their previous Religious Habits
London considered by the Irish as an Infidel City, in which, without Loss of Character, they may live in the Neglect of all Religious Observances
The Prevalence of Drunkness among the Irish and English compared
The Rookeries are the Parts of London in which the Irish Chiefly dwell
The Occupations of the Irish of London
Especial Suitableness of Irish Scripture-readers and Misisonaries for Irish Districts and the more Especial Facilities with which they may be obtained
Future Hopes
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