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The writer, however, was led to send the following letter to the daily press. It was kindly inserted by the “Record” newspaper, and cannot but be regarded as the foundation of those enlarged efforts, which have since proved 80 great a blessing to this neighbourhood :
THE COURTS AT THE BACK OF SAFFRON HILL AND
FIELD LANE. To the Editor of the Record. Sir,---These courts leading out of Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell, adjoining the Sessions' House, formed the subject of a leading article in the "Times" newspaper of January 12th last; their excessive depravity was there freely commented upon; and at the Annual Meeting of the London City Mission, at Exeter Hall, May 17th, 1841, the Hon. and Rev. B. W. Noel quoted the reports of four Missionaries who had investigated the neighbourhood. The following is an extract from the report of one Missionary :-“I have been engaged for the last twenty years as a visitor to several neighbourhoods, but I never saw such awful scenes or heard such shocking language before.” The other three gentlemen furnished similar reports. The City Missionaries have been made very useful here, shockingly depraved as the place is.
But what greatly cramps the energies of the Missionaries is the want of educational provision for the hundreds of dirty and half-naked children whose parents reside here. They are in a state precluding their admission into any decent charity school, and besides, the parents will not pay for
their education at all. The experiment of a twopenny week-day school has been tried since the appointment of the writer to this district, but proved a failure. The temptation to purchase gin with the money prevails ; and besides, many of the parents who are not drunkards are really, poor things, half-starved. A Sabbath School has been established in Lamb Court, leading off Clerkenwell Green, but a debt remains on the building, which there is no immediate prospect of liquidating; and although no effort has been spared, unless the public generally will subscribe the funds necessary for the engagement of a schoolmaster and mistress, there is no prospect whatever of the formation of a Day School.
Will the public suffer this appeal to be made in vain? There has been much said lately about juvenile delinquency, etc.; who will act ? Who will sell an old coat and send the money, or change a gold watch for a silver one, and remit the difference? It is ruination to suffer these children to rove about all day. They are ultimately found at the Sessions' House, Parkhurst, and the penal settlements.
Reader, if God has blessed thee with a good education, let the prayer of the Missionary on behalf of these poor children sink into your heart.
Articles of clothing, male or female, will be thankfully received at the Schools, or fetched, if a line be addressed to the City Missionary at the Schools.
R. W. VANDERKISTE,
London City Missionary. This letter, which appeared in the “Record”
on 9th April, was, a few days afterwards, responded to in the following pleasing and very encouraging manner :
To the Editor of the Record. Sir-In your journal of 9th instant, I observe an appeal made by Mr. Vanderkiste, London City Missionary, to the public for funds to maintain a DAY School for the children, etc. He adds, “Much has been said lately about juvenile delinquency; who will act ?” For one, I answer that I will, so far as I can; and, on my return to town (D.V.) in a few days, I will send you ten pounds by way of beginning, and if you will insert this letter, I have not any doubt that others will do
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A VERY OLD SUBSCRIBER. Brighton, April 13th, 1846.
Another benefactor also sent a donation of £20, and in the course of a few weeks a considerable sum of
money was in hand at the Record Office, for the establishment of my proposed Free Day Schools. The Committee, on the receipt of this public encouragement, 'at once engaged a regularly trained master and mistress. A Free Day Infant School was subsequently added to the establishment.
Very shortly after the appearance of the above letters, (on 16th April following,) Mr. Bennoch
petitioned the Court of Common Council, on behalf of the Ragged School Union, for a grant in aid of their funds. He spoke of several localities, and amongst them Saffron Hill; Mr. King seconded the motion, which was nimously carried, and a grant of £300 afterwards made by the Corn, Coal, and Finance Committee.
The Quarterly Review, Dec., 1846, honoured Ragged Schools with an able tribute to their usefulness, and thus 'spoke of their origin : “The Ragged Schools owe their origin to some excellent persons in humble life, who went forth into the streets and alleys, not many years ago, and invited these miserable outcasts to listen to the language of sympathy and care. We are not able to say when, exactly, the first beginning was made, nor to apportion the merit of the earlier efforts, but praise and fame are the last things such men thought, or think of. Much, no doubt, must be ascribed to the zealous humanity of the City Missionaries." Be it so, and to God be all the glory! From the small beginnings named in the case of the Lamb and Flag Schools, an institution has progressed, supported now at an annual outlay of nearly £300, and of which the following are interesting extracts from the Annual Report for 1850-51, read at the public meeting, the Earl of Chichester in the chair, supported by Admiral Vernon Harcourt, Mr. Kingsmill, Chaplain of the Model Prison, Pentonville, Dr. Grainger, of the Board of Health, etc. :
“In presenting their Sixth Annual Report, your Committee desire first to acknowledge the unfailing goodness of Almighty God, in fostering this institution, and sparing to them kind friends, whose contributions enable them to persevere in the enterprise of mercy in which they are engaged ; nor would they forget the Lord as the author of that grace
which alone can crown their efforts with
“ Your Committee would observe, that it is a happy omen of the times, that the claims of Ragged Schools upon the sympathy of the godly are increasingly acknowledged. Many who were formerly ignorant of their value are now their firm and liberal friends, and their value is admitted even in quarters where the claims of religion are not on all occasions so readily acknowledged.
“It is pleasing to call to mind, that the Ragged School movement, which is now fostered by royalty itself, (our beloved Queen and her Royal Consort having become munificent contributors,) originated, not many years since, in the efforts of the excellent missionaries of the London City Mission; and that in so short a course of years it should have won the confidence of the British public, and become registered by universal opinion amongst the greatest movements of the day, is only to be accounted for by the very great and palpable success which has