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schools compulsory would be gladly hailed by them. Want of sufficient accommodation in the workhouse led to the establishment of these schools in the year 1850 and 1853, and the following is an extract containing an account of them by the gentleman with whom the plan originated :
“Many years since I was deeply impressed with the importance of industrial training for the children of my poor neighbours, especially for those who inhabited our workhouse. The system to which they were subjected was injurious to their bodily health, deleterious to their mental vigour, fatal to their souls' salvation. . . . Against the cost of the home we must place the cost of the same children in the workhouse ; from the former they invariably go to service; we could dispose of twice the number. From the latter they would never go, except for self-indulgence; a vicious career of short duration, ending in despair or in a return to the workhouse, to become perpetual or thoroughly vicious paupers ; so that in the case of such a girl, the cost of a life of pauperism must be carried on to account. . . . Nor let it be forgotten that we secure to these orphan and destitute children spiritual instruction, free from the distraction of ungodly companions ; moral supervision, moral training and example ; a knowledge of every-day duties ; a comprehension of the value of well-employed hours ; a perception of the evil consequences of a temporary indulgence in sin; the difference between a dwelling like this and the workhouse. We try to make this a home, and the matron a parent. The children feel that they are free agents ; they learn the value of self-exertion and of earned subsistence.”
Such “homes" as these, containing, perhaps, not more than forty girls or boys, must be far more hopeful attempts for educating the destitute children of the lowest classes than the large establishments spreading in the neighbourhood of London for the reception of children from the various unions, and where many hundreds are congregated together in masses too great to constitute in any sense a “family.” Such numbers collected under one roof must be managed by a machinery exercised by a few paid persons, who, however efficient, can ill supply the place of relations and home affections. This want is indeed a very difficult one to be supplied, for it must be remembered that these poor children have no homes. There is for them no going home for the holidays, none of the happy, joyous objects for thought which fill the hearts of most children. And here, when judging harshly of these classes, we should do well to remember the want of all the advantages which are usually considered essential to the well-being of children. Such reflections would go far to lessen the wonder so often expressed at the results apparent in the after lives of those who have been trained in circumstances so dissimilar, and of the fact that so many act as if they were outcasts from that world and that society which has shown so little love to them. It is a fearful and significant fact that many of the most hopeless and hardened inmates
* The numbers in the largest Metropolitan District Union Schools in the first week of January, 1856, were as follows: Central London, 1178; North Surrey, 667 ; South Metropolitan, 748; St. George's-in-the-East, 404; Whitechapel, 2992 ; Lambeth, 507 ; Stepney, 450.
of workhouses are girls who have been brought up in the pauper schools.*
Mrs. Jameson mentions the case of a large parish union where it was reckoned that about fifty per cent. of the girls were returned to them ruined and depraved ; and she gives the following testimony of a workhouse chaplain, Mr. Brewer :
“The disorderly girls and boys in our streets are mainly the produce of the workhouse and the workhouse schools. Over them society has no hold, because they have been taught to feel that they have nothing in common with their fellow-men. Their experience is not of a home or of parents, but of a workhouse and a governor-of a prison and a gaoler as hard and rigid as either.”_“ Communion of Labour," p. 113.
This was probably said of girls trained under the work
* Extract from the Report of an Inspector of Pauper Schools for 1855 :—“ I have been assured that the number of Kirkdale children (the district school for Liverpool), who after their discharge from the school have become inmates of the Liverpool
rkhouse, amounts to some hundreds, and that many of these were females under the most disgraceful circumstances. There were at one time, in the Liverpool penitentiary for fallen females, eleven Kirkdale girls, out of whom it was found necessary to dismiss four for bad conduct. More assuredly is practicable than has hitherto been accomplished; but it remains to be proved whether any person can exercise a sufficient moral influence over so large a number of girls allowed to associate together in the same building. As far as I know at present, no girls' school appears to be morally more unsuccessful in this district than the largest.”
house roof; but the result of district schools is at present less satisfactory than we should expect.
We would venture here to make the suggestion that ladies should be appointed to visit and inspect the schools as well as the gentlemen appointed by the guardians and the Poor Law Board, and this would be an important part of the work of ladies' committees connected with workhouses. They would endeavour to gain a hold on the affections of the children by means of a personal knowledge and interest, which would not cease when they left the school, but would follow them out into their respective situations; and as these establishments must be homes as well as schools, an infusion of some kindly and cheerful elements would be most desirable.
Who can tell what might be the value of a friend to many of these poor friendless ones, of whom Boards of Guardians are but too often the sole protectors ? And how many might it not be the means of rescuing from sin and misery, or an early return to the workhouse? If such a result were attainable, it would be wise in Boards of Guardians to encourage, rather than check, a system of inspection which women alone are able and willing to undertake.* It is well known that a large proportion of women prisoners have been reared in workhouses; and
* We cannot refrain from remarking here how important it is to secure the services of really superior and lady-like women to superintend these large establishments ;-persons who would be capable of managing the household, and yet who would be looked up to with respect by the teachers, male and female (who now feel themselves the superiors in education), as well as by the guardians and other inspectors.
the master of a large union has stated that the pauper schools furnish a large number of the unhappy women who are abandoned to the most vicious lives. The reason is, not that they are ill cared for in these schools, but that parish children are generally orphans or the children of profligate parents; and that after they are placed in service by their respective parishes, they, having no person to whom they can look with affection and respect, leave the places to which they have been consigned, and gradually are lost among the crowd of profligates who throng our streets.
* Extract from Mr. G. Bowyer's Report on Pauper Schools for 1855 :—“I have, ever since I have been an inspector, endeavoured to ascertain what was the subsequent conduct of children who have left the school in which they were educated and trained. In some workhouses, where either the workhouse master, the schoolmaster, or the chaplain happened to take an interest in the same question (and these were generally well-conducted establishments in regard to the education and training of the children), the answers I received to my questions were definite and satisfactory. But, in the majority of instances, the only thing that was known on the subject was, whether the children returned to the workhouse or not, and what situations some of them occupied.” In some of the district schools it is part of the chaplain's work to visit the children in their different situations for two years after they leave. We cannot help thinking that this is a portion of the work which might well be performed by
Why should not ladies in each parish of the union he appointed to visit girls, and keep up a friendly intercourse with them, which surely could be done by them as efficiently as by the chaplain, whose time must be fully occupied in the schools ? Many of the boys sent out from district schools are said to be