The million-peopled city

Garwood, John

1853

The Report of this School, as printed by Order of the House of Commons.

".- This school for the destitute was opened in . It is designed for the children of persons inhabiting the most wretched parts of , many of whom are professionally beggars;

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others get their bread by selling various articles about the streets, and it may be stated, that three-fourths of them are probably deeply engaged in crime.[1]  It was opened origin- ally as a Sunday-school, but it was found 'that the good effects of the Sunday's teaching were done away by the mischievous influence of domestic habits and example during the week. With a view to remedy this, a day-school was formed in addition to the Sunday-school. A few persons hired a stable, by way of experiment, for three months; this was rudely fitted up as a school-room, when, to their surprise, no less than to their gratification, they had in a few weeks 120 children. For some time past there have been 170 in constant attendance, and at the present time the names of 200 and upwards are upon the books.' The accommodation afforded in this building is of the humblest kind. The tiled roof remains without a ceiling; the floor is only partially boarded; no ventilation could carry off the exhalations inseparable from such a spot. Nevertheless, it has satisfactorily served the purpose of the experiment that has been tried in it, and the attendance being steady and increasing, the influential persons who have interested them- selves about the formation of this school, and contributed to its support, now contemplate an attempt to provide funds for a proper building.

" The appearance of the children sufficiently denoted the class to which they belonged. Many were without shoes or stockings; almost all were of English parents; some were so ill-clad, that their naked skin appeared through many parts of their tattered clothing; all were equally dirty, the effect of extreme poverty or domestic depravity, and therefore its correction was very properly left to time. They were ranged on forms for want of desks, of which the confined space does not admit of a sufficient number. The master stated, that

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'by talking kindly to the new-comers, they became after a little time willing to learn.' Eighteen out of seventy boys present could read fairly; thirty could write a word on their slates; six wrote on paper. They were classed in three divisions, by which the master was able to give his personal attention to each for nearly an hour during every school time, in addition to the scriptural lesson addressed to them all. They expressed pleasure when they found themselves learning something, and in some instances, when they were able to read, they were glad to be allowed to take home a book to read to their parents. Some good results are said to have been traced to occasions of this kind. It caused evident and very natural satisfaction to them to perceive that the darkness and confusion of ignorance was giving place in their minds to new ideas, and that instead of the neglect, perhaps aversion, to which their poverty had made them familiar elsewhere in the school, they met with nothing but kind treatment, and consideration for their deficiencies. No prizes or rewards, no gifts of clothing, or bribes in any shape for attendance, were allowed, neither were punish- ments, except of the slightest kind, and those seldom found necessary. The apparatus is scanty, consisting only of twelve Bibles, six copy-books, a few lesson-boards, and three slates.. They had learnt to sing by ear a few songs and hymns. The school is dismissed daily with a short, impressive, and appropriate prayer. On passing out of the school many seemed pleased to exchange salutations with the master, and some advanced to him for a friendly shake of the hand. ' Christian instruction and Christian benevo- lence' had awakened their sympathies, and led them to feel that 'the world and the world's law' was not altogether against them. Some were the children of known thieves; some had themselves been habituated to thieving; others were orphans; and all belong to the poorest and most destitute

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grade of life. The instruction was of course gratuitous, and care was said to be taken not to abstract any from schools where payment was enforced, and also not to admit those whose parents could afford to send them elsewhere. It was found, indeed, that very few of the latter would, under any circumstances, allow their children to mix with the class of which this school is composed. It is stated, that before it was opened, no fewer than eighteen children had been transported from families now sending children to it, but that since it has been in operation there has not been one. 'The same benevolent persons [2]  who have induced the children to attend the school, endeavour to secure that they do so regularly; they use every argument to persuade the parents to send them, and they call almost daily to satisfy themselves that the children are present; they also go to the residences of the absentees to ascertain the reason of their non-attendance.' A part of the stable was fitted up as an infant-school, and contains 100. They are taught in the method of the Infant-school Society, by a mistress who has received instruction at that establishment, and who had succeeded in making some progress with the different materials with which she had to deal. Twenty-four had learnt to read the lesson-boards; 8 could read in the Testa- ment, and could repeat texts with accuracy and intelligence; 16 could work with the needle; a few were taught to scour and clean the school-room. They were furnished only with a few slates, on which some had learnt to write, and also a little ciphering. While the eldest class is at needlework, one of the number reads a story to the rest from a book. They were able to repeat hymns and other simple pieces of poetry, and took an interest in the scriptural and other subjects to which their attention was directed.

"I made a subsequent visit to this school, with the view

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of endeavouring to satisfy myself by personal inquiries to what class of society the children attending it belonged; and whether it was probable that they were withdrawn to any extent from other schools, where payments were required and regularity of attendance enforced, and attracted to this by the circumstance of its being gratuitous, and by the absence of any attempt to make neatness and cleanliness of dress and person a rule and a characteristic. Sixty boys were present; and of these, taken seriatim, I obtained from the master the following particulars:-

" Seven had been at other schools, 4 of them at National, 3 at British; 2 of the former had been dismissed for irre- gularity of attendance: the parents of the remaining 5 were said to be too poor to dress them decently, and to provide the weekly payments.

"Twenty-five were the children of parents in various grades, of very humble employment, having from 2 to 5 young children each, and subject to be frequently without work altogether. A few of these had 1 child at a school where payments are made, but were unable to afford to pay for more, or to procure proper and decent clothing for them.

"Eleven had lost their fathers, and were supported by their mothers, having also from 2 to 4 children each to provide for: the mothers of three sold fruit in the streets; 2 more sold herrings and fire-wood; 3 were women. It was stated that the mother of one was often obliged to earn a trifling sum by her morning's occupation before she could provide a breakfast for her child, which she brought to him to the school; the child of another remained frequently at the school all day without food, the mother bringing some when she was able.

"Five had been deserted by their parents, and were dependent on the sympathy of neighbours.

"Five were the children of men of notoriously bad

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characters, one of them a known thief: one of the former had come to the school to hear his child read, which he was unable to do himself, and expressed much surprise.

"One was an orphan, supported by relatives.

" One the son of a blind beggar.

"Four were engaged in employments that kept them up a great part of the night, or occupied them from an early hour in the morning; they consequently came to school only in the afternoon: one of these was employed to sell bread and cold meat to the waggoners, drovers, &c., coming into London to the markets, or in some similar occupation; another sold ginger-beer in the streets to a late hour; a third sold lucifer-matches; a fourth, water-cresses, &c., early in the morning.

" Six only were the children of parents whose general condition might enable them to pay for the instruction of their children, and 2 of these were at the time out of work.

" There can, I apprehend, be little doubt that this school is a source of usefulness: there can, I should think, be as little, that in this and other parishes in which the poorer parts of the population are congregated, there must be many children still in want of places of refuge and instruction such as this, to which they can have recourse without payment, where the sorriest garb and exterior will not find itself in a position of painful contrast; where the treatment will be kind and considerate, and the instruction, though humble, yet sensibly conducted, in a manner to draw forth the faculties hitherto lying dormant through neglect, and to call into action right feelings and affections which mismanage- ment or harshness may have repressed. The success of the experiment, in this instance, has shown itself in the improved habits of some of these children; in the pleasure signified by others at finding total ignorance superseded by some gleams of knowledge; in gratitude to their benefactors;

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in growing self-respect, which manifests itself in attention to the precepts and suggestions of the master, on behalf of cleanliness and propriety even of the poorest dress. The school was formed, not without much personal exertion, by a paid agent and others representing to parents, too ignorant, perhaps, or too regardless to make a voluntary effort, the duty and the benefit of giving their children the opportunity of obtaining some religious and useful instruction. Having so far secured their confidence, and formed, as it were, this nucleus, the influential persons who commenced the work on behalf of their poorer fellow-parishioners, are now desirous of extending it by providing a proper building; and as at the period of my visit they made known to me their intention of applying to the Committee of Council for aid, I have given these details as material for their Lordships' con- sideration."

 
 
Footnotes:

[1] Printed prospectus of the school.

[2] Missionaries of the London City Mission

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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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