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July 9th.-Had our committee meeting in Waterloo Place to decide on the resolutions for the Workhouse Visiting Society. Mr. W. Cowper (who is to be our president) could not come, so Sir Benjamin Brodie, and then Mr. Monckton Milnes, took the chair. Ten ladies. were present. Dr. Bence Jones, and Mr. Howson from Liverpool, came in. A few days after I had an interview with Mr. Sotheron Estcourt at Whitehall, in the same room where, five years ago, I saw Mr. Baines and Lord Courtenay. I had a most pleasant visit, and was much encouraged by obtaining his sanction to the clause about Poor Law permission ; he said he could not, of course, give his name, but he would subscribe and help us in every way. He spoke of his plans for separating the worst, especially when crowded in the winter.* He appears a very benevolent, kind man.

During this year, 1858, I visited many workhouses and district schools, and made notes upon them. Wandsworth, St. James's, City of London, Whitechapel, West Ham, Hampstead, Windsor, Kensington, Bethnal Green, Hackney, St. George's, Hanover Square, and Westminster workhouses; Hanwell, Forest Gate, Plashet, Anerley, Edmonton, and other schools.

In the summer of 1858 I had the opportunity of visiting several distant workhouses, and thus enlarged my experience. At Northampton a lady visitor had already begun to carry out our plans, with the sanction of the chaplain-visiting the sick, the schools, and taking a Sunday class of the young women.

* This referred to a paper Mrs. Sidney Herbert had sent about the classification of women, in Wiltshire,


Besides this I visited Leicester, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, Derby, Nottingham, Shardlow, Lutterworth, Rugby, Birmingham, Ludlow, Clifton, Stapleton, Bristol ; and I saw many other institutions there, in company with Miss Carpenter, whose opinions and evidence on workhouse schools, etc., was most valuable.

On my way home I stopped at Swindon, and spent a few days with Mr. and Mrs. Archer, the authoress of

A Scheme for Befriending Orphan Pauper Girls,” 1861, which suggested exactly those “associations ” which are now being almost universally carried out. Mr. A. was Chairman of the Board of Guardians at the Highworth and Swindon Union at Stratton, and I visited the workhouse there, gaining much useful information. Then I went to Faringdon and Reading, where there were two workhouses. In nearly all these places I found that lady visitors would be gladly welcomed and received.

In October of this year I went to Liverpool for the meeting of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, the first of the many annual meetings which I was able afterwards to take part in at Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin. I also contributed a paper, on the “ Statistics of Workhouses,” the British Association, which met at Manchester in 1861, and another to the Church Congress at Oxford, in 1862. At Liverpool I read a paper, and a special meeting of our society was held. I also visited the enormous workhouse with Mr. John Cropper, one of the guardians, who has since done so much to improve the existing state of things, and to make it one of the first where improved nursing arrangements were carried out. I also visited the Kirkdale Industrial Schools, and also the West Derby Union.

At the end of this year I found Mr. C—-, an excellent guardian of St. G--, ready to help me in all ways to bring about some improvements which were much needed. In the infirmary especially there were indeed many sad sights and cases ; the food was generally, and most justly, complained of-boiled mutton four days a week, rice on some days, meat and butter (none in the morning) often uneatable, tea as bad as could be, with a nauseous smell ; and yet it was the last meal, at four o'clock, for the suffering and infirm people till breakfast the next morning! The light of the one gas-lamp over the door was so imperfect, that it was impossible to see to read or do anything after four o'clock in the winter afternoons. The linen could not be recognized as white, the beds were of the poorest flock, and the dirtiest of old Irish nurses in black caps reigned supreme, with only the occasional supervision of the one matron over the whole concern! For years I visited in one of the wards a most sad case of a bedridden and blind man about forty, who had lain there for fourteen years, and for whose comfort, and that of the kind old superior, though pauper, nurse, formerly a ratepayer in the parish, who came over daily to look after him from the other part of the house, I supplied candles to relieve the dreary monotony of the long winter evenings, when she used to read to him for hours the books I lent her. He was entirely helpless from spinal complaint, and suffered at times acutely, yet his patience and cheerfulness were marvellous, as was also his intimate knowledge and remembrance of everything : even the birthdays of myself and some of my family were not forgotten. Poor blind John ! it was difficult indeed not to feel the deepest compassion for such a case of entire deprivation of all that, apparently, could make life endurable. Often the only food he could eat was what his kind nurse procured for him with the few pence she earned by needlework; and happily, side by side with all this hardship, there was sufficient laxity for visitors to be able to take in any little comfort and alleviations for the sick. I remember well the feelings of despair that used to come over me at these visits, and I could not help wondering if any other place or institution could present objects of such abject and lifelong misery as this workhouse. I can hardly think that many such cases exist now anywhere.

One of the improvements introduced was a Christmastree for the poor ch en in the schools (long since removed into the country); this was followed by tea and a magic lantern, and the feelings of the children were expressed in the following genuine and amusing letters. Twenty years ago Christmas-trees and treats for schoolchildren and “paupers” were not as common as they are


“Ladies and gentlemen, I thank the many kind friends for the beautiful treat that they provided for us on Monday evening. I am happy to say that the large Christmas-tree which was so beautifully decorated with all kinds of toys and ornaments, looked very handsome. And also, after the Christmas-tree, we were supplied with a very nice tea, plum cake, buns, and cakes; and after tea, nuts, oranges, and sweets, and the magic lantern, which was very nicely performed. And we thank all the kind friends for the beautiful treat they provided for us—for it was such a treat as we never had in the school before. And we hope that God will bless them and repay them for their kindness to us poor children.”

“I say, God bless our kind friends for giving us that good treat we had at Christmas. We enjoyed it very much indeed. And may God bless Mrs. C-—'s good cook for making us such plum cakes. And may God bless you all, kind ladies and gentlemen, who paid for the plum cakes, tea, and nuts and oranges. We are thankful to you all, and please receive the thanks of all the boys in the workhouse schools of St. G-M".

In 1859 I visited Brighton, and the subject of visiting the workhouse was brought forward and discussed in the local papers.

I was glad to have the opportunity of bringing it before the excellent Colonel M--, who was thus induced to feel an interest in the cause, so great as to come forward as a guardian, becoming ultimately the chairman of the Board, by which many improvements were effected.

In the autumn of 1859 I went to Leeds, and visited the workhouse and Industrial Schools. A meeting was held, at which Dr. Atlay was present, to establish a visiting committee for the new workhouse.

Afterwards I went to see the Bradford and Bierley Unions, and attended the Social Science meeting at Bradford, reading a paper on “The Supervision and Training of Workhouse Girls.”

The impression left by all these visits was then, as now, the great want of a higher supervision and influence, in the schools as well as for the adults. In nearly every institution I visited I found a class of persons as superintendents who seemed to me utterly incapable of the management and government of large numbers, both of inmates and officials. In confirmation of this opinion I will give one description of a visit to a district

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