East and West London
Being Notes of Common Life and Pastoral Work
in Saint James's, Westminster and in Saint Georges'-in-the-East

by the Rev Harry Jones, Rector of Saint George's-in-the-East (Smith, Elder & Co, London 1875)   

Part 4 of 4 - the following chapters:
Sailors' Homes
Social, Physical and Civil Life
Trials, Hopes and Prospects

The parish — St. James's, Westminster — in which I had worked for 15 years before I came to St. George's was, under the supervision of successive rectors, well provided with schools. But when I came here I found no school attached to the Mother Church beside that associated with Raines Charities — of which more presently. True, there is within the limits of the part of the parish specially under my charge a District Church school, carried on with much spirit and success in arches under the Blackwall Railway. But even if this were large enough to take in the untaught of its immediate neighbourhood, its situation ought to condemn it. The ceiling of the school-room is the floor of the railway. Every two or three minutes a train rushes overhead with a scream and a roar that obliterates the voice of teacher and scholar. It may be that those who study under these noisesgrow used to them, but it is hardly well to become so used to a bad thing as not to notice it. For it must be bad, even though it may compel some children to read aloud with special effort and distinctness. Too much praise, however, cannot be given to those who have done a good work under such great difficulties.

Having been long deeply interested in education, and having indeed been the moving cause in the erection of successful schools at St. Luke's, Berwick Street, I felt aghast at the apparently inadequate provision at St. George's for the elementary education of my poor neighbours, and was not sorry to hear that a Board-school was about to be built in that part of the parish still ecclesiastically attached to the Mother Church. Some of my new friends, indeed, disliked the prospect of it, but literally one quarter of an hour's observation convinced me that a great hope of the parish lay in its provision.

The district church (parochial) school to which Harry Jones refers, in arches under the Blackwall Railway, is described here.
The new Board School was that in
Lower Chapman Street, built in 1874-75 to designs of 1873. See here for the comments of the Rector of Christ Church Watney Street on Betts Street Board School.

One week-day afternoon, at three o'clock, when the existing schools were at work, I walked round the site of the projected Board-school with my pencil and note-book in my hand. In fifteen minutes I counted 232 children, apparently of an age to attend school, sitting on doorsteps or playing in the street. That settled the question in my mind, and I saw with joy the walls of the new school-rooms begin to rise. The building was designed eventually to accommodate 1,200 scholars, but since doubts had been expressed as to the need of so large an establishment, only half was built to begin with. When the half was completed, though as yet unused, I went over it, and rejoiced again to think that some at least of the little ones now rambling around would be taught, and in light wholesome rooms. As soon as the school was opened the children poured into it, till it was brim full. One afternoon, while there were 650 children present in this school, which was constructed to hold only 600, I made another circuit with my note-book and pencil. On this occasion I counted, in six minutes, 72 children still sitting on doorsteps or playing in the street, within bow-shot of the school. I need hardly say that the second half of the building was proceeded with speedily. It has, however, not 'filled' as it ought. Their work may be difficult, but I do not think that those officials whose business it is to sweep the streets for scholars realise what they have to do. It strikes me that they are more ready to meddle with existing denominational schools than to forage for those under the Board.

Statistics and disputes about the procedure of the London School Board have been so plentifully set before the public that I will not attempt to furnish any fresh information of that kind about the matter. I am constrained, however, to state my belief that in the end the School Board must swallow up, or leave dry, all, or almost all, the common primary schools in the metropolis. No doubt there are cases in which the Board-school supply is provokingly in excess of the demand, and a clergyman who at much pains and cost has built Church schools in his district may be pardoned for some expressions of sharpness or dismay at seeing a newly-created power come into his parish, and not only provide buildings better than his, but outbid him in the market for teachers and their assistants. The first movements of a revolution must pinch, press, or put out somebody, but I think it was high time for Government to take up the cause of education as it has done.

It is all very well to talk of voluntary schools, but the word suggests a spontaneity of support which is hardly warranted by facts. People forget, or do not know, the strenuous, incessant, and even humiliating pains which the promoters of voluntary schools, mostly clergymen, have been at to set them up and keep them going. When, e.g., I first went to St. Luke's, Berwick-street, I found a mixed school held in the dark rooms under the church. It cost such and such a sum yearly. My friend, the rector of the parish, who had supplied this money, told me that if I established better schools he would allow me towards their maintenance the subsidy which had been granted towards the old mixed school out of the central educational fund of the parish; and he added a condition that any subscription then being received from the district parish of St. Luke's should be handed over to the central fund. And what did it amount to? From a population of between nine and ten thousand the beggarly sum of a guinea and a half was all, and that represented two subscribers.

That fact has since taught me much. It was monstrous that in so large a portion of St. James's, Westminster, virtually none had cared to help with their money in the cause of primary Church education. However, I accepted the conditions, and having secured an old chapel, converted it, at a considerable expense, into school-rooms, in which, though I say it myself, some good educational work was done. Before I left, and when I left, the schools were full and thriving. We added, moreover, a master's house and playground. These schools were certainly a success, but the toil and time given to the whole business were such as those only know who have undertaken and carried out such a work. I did not indeed anywise grudge my pains, for the idea of a London School Board was not then born. But when I think of the large number of people who were asked to give, and gave nothing, though they were such as the friends of Church education had reason to look to for aid, and when I remember that my case was only one of hundreds, and that many parsons half wore out their hearts in straining themselves to provide elementary schools by sheer dint of pertinacity, I cannot help a chuckle at seeing the educational net thrown over this recusant section of the public, who are now compelled by the action of the London School Board to put their hands into their pockets.

This compulsory subscription to educational purposes, obnoxious to many, presents itself in a special light to those who have felt what it is to establish and support national schools. At St. Luke's we eventually raised by small solicited subscriptions some thirty pounds annually from the district, but this came in drops, and some of the largest makers of money in the place steadily refused to give anything. Our help came chiefly from the same kind hands as we looked to for support in all Church work, and who were in many cases unconnected with the district. It is true that we did thus carry the schools on, and keep a balance on the right side, but the bulk of the people, who by residence and business were most concerned in the well-being of the district, contributed nothing, though repeatedly asked to do so. The time had arrived for these, and such as these, to be compelled to do their share towards so important a work as that of national elementary education. It was intolerable that the parson should be expected to dun for money to educate the people, and have, in many instances, donations to the schools looked upon as personal aid to or patronage of himself. And it was monstrous that a state of things which drove him to scrape, and beg, and screw, and subject himself to endless refusals should be dignified by the name of the Voluntary System. Barring a few liberal hearts who always responded to the mere announcement of a want, donors had to be hunted out and besieged with all that machinery of petition, pressure, and entreaty from which the soul recoils. And for what? For so crying a need as national elementary education.

It was therefore with a sentiment of relief and satisfaction that shortly after my coming to St. George's I saw the walls of a fine Board-school creeping up, and knew that throughout the metropolis the saddle had at last been put upon the right horse, and that the parson, in respect at least to this item of needful work, was no longer compelled to exhibit himself to his parishioners and the public as a beggar. It would be difficult to say how much we parsons have been injured morally by the habit of begging contracted in the strain to provide and support schools for the poor amongst whom we minister.

I am inclined to think that though some schools are still kept afloat by the parson, we are witnessing the expiring phases of his enforced pertinacity in this respect. Before long Board-schools must represent the primary education of the metropolis. People will not eventually yield to the appeals of the 'voluntary ' school collector while they are compelled to pay taxes for education. Habit and respect, for individual clergy may keep the old order alive here and there for a few years. The old voluntary ship may thus float a little while, but it is settling down, however assiduously its crew may work at the pumps. New men, not inheriting the educational sentiments and obligations of the past, will be found unwilling to commit themselves to efforts which arc virtually hopeless, and it will be a day of wholesome relief to the clergy when they can generally realise that the old order has given place to new.

Of course I am well aware of the drawbacks, or supposed drawbacks, to their good estimation of Board-schools involved in the fact that the clergy are forbidden to teach the scholars of the Board-school in their parish, and that, especially, the reading of the Bible is left to the superintendence of the master. This regulation not only hurts the feelings of men who know that the nation has mainly had to thank them for its best primary educational work in the past, but in one aspect it is an absurd waste of power to decline the help of those who have long taught conscientiously, and know how to teach so as to put fresh warmth and interest into dull educational routine. But whether the conduct of late educational legislation has been somewhat bungled, or whether the parsons themselves have shown in some instances too much acrimony of opposition to the measures in question, so it is; and it would be well for such as kick against the pricks to see, even at the eleventh hour, whether they cannot make the best of what they think to be a bad bargain. If the clerical world had not risen with vehemence against the educational parliamentary proposals the case might have been different, and even now it is possible that some modifications of the existing rules may be eventually introduced if the clergy moderate some of their antagonism to Board-schools.

The 1870 Elementary Education Act (sometimes known as the 'Forster Act'), which established Board schools for all, included the much-contested 'Cowper-Temple clause' (s.14) which specified - mainly to appease nonconformists - No religious catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall be taught in the school. It was named after its proposer, Liberal MP William Cowper-Temple (as he had become: his name, and its pronunciation, was perpetuated from 1998-2007 by the catchy title of a rock band 'Cooper Temple Clause'). Liberal clergy like Harry Jones saw the sense of this, as he argues below, and welcomed the advent of the Board schools, but other Anglican clergy continued to object. He returned to the theme of religious education in later writings - see here.

I, for one, am however very much inclined to doubt whether the clerical direction of the religious teaching in our elementary Church schools in London has really provided such spiritually righteous results as some would credit it with. Individual instances of wholesome religious teaching have of course been seen again and again in connection with most national schools, and, especially in the days when children were examined in their religious knowledge by the Government Inspector, astonishing accuracy in the details of Biblical history and Church doctrine was exhibited by many of them; but the great bulk of those children of the working classes who have long been thus sedulously taught the Bible and the catechism have grown up wholly indifferent to at least the services of the Church. When I first went to St. Luke's there was a huge gallery at the west end of the building, into which the children of the St. James's national schools were trooped every Sunday, and had been so trooped for I do not know how many years. There were about six hundred of them. And thus, since the body of the church was but thinly attended, the preaching there was like addressing a rookery across a field.

This arrangement was altered veiy shortly after I began my ministrations in the parish of St. James's. The St. James's children were provided with a special service in their own room, half of the gallery being removed, and though our own Sunday-school scholars still sat aloft and joined in the prayers, I always sent them out before the sermon, allowing only such of the elders as chose to do so to remain in the body of the Church. But the sight of those six hundred children perched in the gallery on Sundays, and the consciousness that they were regularly instructed in the Bible and the catechism during the week, coupled with
the knowledge that not one in a hundred ever attended the services of any church as soon as their school course was over, has presented and penetrated me with an instance of the apparently small religious results obtained in a school carefully superintended, and taught by an able and pious master. And this was only an example of many, I may say most, denominational schools, for I am persuaded that the shortcoming I speak of has been exhibited among Nonconformists as well as Church people. Surely it is hardly worth while to make an outcry about the discontinuance of a system which, as a means of indoctrinating children with at least those religious sentiments that result in their after attendance at public worship, has been so deplorable a failure.

As to the dreaded effect of Board-schools leading children, by reason of the undenominational way in which the Holy Scriptures are there taught, to grow up indifferent to the observances of religion, the system has not been tried long enough for any one to form an opinion. But it could, in this respect, be hardly more barren than that which it supersedes. And indeed I am inclined to believe that children may, as they pass into manhood, become more interested in spiritual things, as they have not been strenuously plied in childhood with compulsory technical religious teaching. They will still be taught to read the Bible, and when they have left school for some time will not be conscious of that formulated sediment of doctrinal instruction which now tends to lead them to think that they have already been taught what the Church has to teach, and which is in their minds associated with week-day instruction — which at the time was more or less uninteresting or distasteful — and compulsory session on a hard bench on Sundays in a hot gallery during a sermon which they did not understand. A boy who has been thus technically taught 'religion' in the week, and compelled for five or six years to sit every seventh day for a couple of hours on a deal form while the service has been going on, is not likely afterwards to view that service with interest. If this long-pursued system has been a training up of children in the way that they should go, and if it is to be tested by their after attendance at public worship, Solomon's estimate of the result has not been worthy of his reputed wisdom.

In respect to the present educational measures of the Government, I cannot resist the conviction that they will have to be much modified. Direct compulsory education will never be generally accepted or acceptable in England. Its reputed success, especially in Prussia, is no earnest of its success here. There it forms part of a severe paternal government; but here, if it is not a piece of new cloth in an old garment, it is radically opposed to the strongest sentiments of that class to which it is chiefly intended to be applied. Already a feeling of irritation at the fining of parents for the non-attendance of their children at school is spreading, and possibly a few more turns of the compulsory screw may bring about a deep and extended resistance to the direct compulsory system. As it is, direct compulsion cannot really be said to be generally applied. There are obviously large numbers of children in our streets who are untouched. The school visitors cannot or will not lay hold of them. If they cannot, the system seems simply to fail: and if they put forth fresh energy, and do succeed in netting any large numbers of those who are now allowed by their parents to run the streets, hauling them into school, and extorting their fees by legal process, I am persuaded that this direct compulsory system will be seen to break down ignominiously. The present Government instrument of education is still on the anvil, and it will want much turning and hammering before it takes its final shape. We are as yet only beginning the work.

The following paragraphs discuss Raine's Foundation Schools, and in particular the benefactor's curious marriage portion lottery; he calls calling for an overhaul or reform of both, describing the abuses to which the latter was open. (Note: the legal action for breach of promise of marriage - which lies at the heart of Gilbert and Sullivan's one-act comic opera of 1875 Trial by Jury - was abolished in 1970.)

The chief provision hitherto made in St. George's for the education of the poor is seen in 'Raine's Charities', which, some 150 years ago, long before the revival in national education, assisted by the parochial clergy, was begun, and when Board-schools were undreamt of by the most advanced seer into the future, provided for the instruction and clothing of 50 boys and 50 girls. These are taught in solid red 'Queen Ann' brick buildings down Old Gravel Lane. Outside the school are set figures of the boy and girl of the period, and a tablet declares the spirit of Raine in the words, 'Come in and learn your duty to God and man' — excellent advice, which it would be well for any school managers to take as their motto, and put forth as the true purpose of all education. Along with these charity schools Mr. Raine founded, hard by, an asylum for the boarding, clothing, and teaching of 40 girls, to be chosen from the girls' school, and for four years instructed in and fitted for domestic service. These charities Mr. Raine placed under the government of a board of some 40 trustees. And he added this kindly direction, that when the girls came of suitable age to be married, two every year should be presented with a marriage portion of £100 each, provided they could produce satisfactory testimonials from the masters or mistresses of the households where they had lived of piety, industry, and continuance in the principles of the Episcopal Church of England, and presented to the trustees as suitors young men also well recommended as members of the Church of England, and living in one of the 'parishes of St. George, Middlesex; Saint Paul, Shadwell; or St. John, Wapping; the preference being given to a man living in St. George's.

Here worked a paternal spirit, though Mr. Raine was no father, but, as he states in his will, kept himself unmarried that he might have enough to spare for the poor children of his parish without impoverishing his relations. This conscientious and kindly Churchman left also behind him a large number of rules and regulations for the application of his generosity, and among them a singular order for the disposal of the marriage portion. As of course more than two of the 'asylum' girls might annually be found ready to fulfil the conditions I have referred to, it is further directed that the marriageable maidens should, not more than six at a time, draw lots for the £100.

This drawing for the marriage portion has naturally become an institution at St. George's. It takes place on the 1st of May and 5th of November, when those who have been so fortunate as to draw prizes six months before are married, with some pomp, in the parish church. These days are kept ceremoniously. Peals are rung upon the church bells, the children, accompanied by the trustees and other officials, march through the streets with banners and nosegays, and the trustees and their friends dine (at their own cost) in the large room of the asylum. The children are on these occasions plentifully fed out of the funds of the Charity, and a special dinner is provided for the newly-married couple, who in the course of the evening present themselves before the trustees and their guests in the large room to receive congratulations, good advice, and a purse containing 100 new sovereigns from the chairman. It is altogether a busy day. First comes the procession to the church, then the marriage of the girl who drew the prize six months before; then, accompanied by suitable addresses, the drawing of lots by those who hope to be married six months later; then the children's dinner; and then, involving the presentation of the marriage portion, the trustees' entertainment, which last entails a long list of toasts.

The real business of the Charities has however in process of time become so cumbrous, questionable, and complicated that the trustees have lately applied to the Endowed Schools Commissioners for a new scheme which shall enable them to make the best use of the funds at their disposal. As I write, this scheme is in preparation, and I cannot tell what shape it will assume. But while it is to be presumed that it will grant much satisfactory power to the governing body of the Charities, I hope it will not present any deviation from the main principles which have hitherto guided the trustees. It had, however, become obvious to them that some changes and modifications in the conduct of the schools and asylum were needed, and this seemed a suitable time at which to seek the co-operation of the Commissioners.

These Charities have done very good work in their day; they are intimately associated with the civil and religious life of St. George's, and are capable of being rendered more serviceable to the parishioners than they have ever been. But we have become hide-bound. Some of our rules and customs are absurdly objectionable and severe. The girls, e.g., in the asylum, who are there being fitted for domestic service, have had no corporate holydays, being permitted to visit their parents rarely, in driblets — and then only for a day — while their parents were never allowed within the walls of the asylum. The girls, moreover, have not been accustomed to be taken out for a walk, having been kept strictly within the walls of the building and its premises. Indeed the rules of a nunnery could hardly be more strict about their relationship with the outer world than some of the regulations of this establishment. For instance, I have before me a standing resolution of the trustees, dated December the 6th, 1803, to the effect 'That, in future, if the parent or parents, or any relation or acquaintance of, or belonging to any of the children in Mr. Raine's asylum, stop to talk with any of them going to or from church, or churchyard, that the child or children so spoken unto shall be deprived of the holiday next ensuing; and if repeated shall be liable to censure or expulsion, as the trustees shall think proper; and that this resolution be printed and delivered to the parents or friends of the children on their admission into the Asylum'.

This example will suffice to show that we need some reformation, and I am glad that the trustees have taken the bull by the horns, and put themselves into communication with the Endowed Schools Commissioners. Sooner or later 'Raine's Charities' must have been overhauled, and it is better to court reformation than to wait for changes which might be more radically severe than the governing body would relish.

It would hardly interest my readers if I were to go into the projects of the trustees for the better application of the charity at their disposal than is possible under the existing rules. We hope to see divers desirable educational improvements effected in the direct instruction of the children, and some better ordering of the other provisions made for them under Mr. Raine's will. The disposal of the marriage portion has, e. g, been attended with some very unpleasant circumstances even during the short time I have been associated with St. George's; and in the retention of this custom great care will be needed to make it more wholesome in its operation. Out of the three or four who have drawn the prize since I have been here, two have been incapacitated for receiving it through double dealing on the part of either the girls or their suitors. One girl, well knowing that both she and her man were bound to be members of the Episcopal Church of England, concealed the fact that they were both strong Nonconformists till the marriage itself was coming on, and it appeared that they were seeking the money under false pretences. The girl had drawn the prize. Another, who also had drawn the £100 prize, presented as her future husband a man who failed hopelessly to fulfil the ordinary conditions of the trustees. On his finding that she could not receive the marriage portion, he jilted her; and she brought an action for breach of promise of marriage against him. There was another matrimonial collapse, of which I forget the particulars, about the time that I came to St. George's. In short, the whole business wants the revision which the trustees now desire. It may well be questioned whether large powers should not be given to them in respect to the application of the money devoted to the provision of the marriage portion, so that the spirit of the Founder's intentions should be carried out, and deserving girls be settled in marriage without the drawbacks now attendant on the process. For instance, I think myself that the drawing of lots for the £100, though it certainly provides an easy way of settlement among a number of claimants, is in some respects objectionable. Mr. Raine, who seems to have been specially considerate and self-denying, sets forth in his will that in order to provide for his nephews as well as for the girls of the asylum, he had kept himself unmarried, and he doubted not but that his said nephews would cheerfully acquiesce in his setting aside a part of his substance for the perpetual provision of the marriage portions 'if his nephews had seen, as he had, six poor innocent maids come trembling to draw the prize, and the fortunate maid that got it burst out into tears with excess of joy'. Yes. But how about the rest? The worthy Mr. Raine does not tell us of the bitter disappointment of the five 'poor innocent maids', who had of course all provided themselves with suitors, and came 'trembling' in hope of being soon settled comfortably in life, but drew blanks.

When I had been some time at St. George's, the trustees were pleased to do me the honour of electing me as their chairman, and one of the duties I had soon to perform was to preside over ths lottery, and, according to custom, deliver two addresses, one to the successful and the other to the unsuccessful; and in speaking to the latter I could not mingle my consolations with any warm defence of a process which keeps a girl in unwholesome suspense at a crisis in her life when mere 'luck' ought not to affect her prospects. Although the 'drawing' is conducted elaborately and seriously, the marriage of the unsuccessful is at least deferred, and the whole thing resolves itself into something very like the 'tossing up' for a husband.

However, the prize, and the excitement naturally attending the getting of it, has of course made the attendant ceremonies so conspicuously popular in the parish that the asylum is commonly known as the 'Hundred Pound' School, and we have a large gathering to see the 'poor innocent maids' dip their hands into the vessel that holds the tickets. But, with all respect for the memory of Mr. Raine, I doubt if this generosity of his, as now applied, promotes real thrift and righteous love. I have already stated that there have been sad cases of attempted imposture during the very short time that I have known anything about the matter, and while the settling of good girls in  desirable marriages may well be an object in which the trustees should concern themselves, I hope that the chance elements in the business will be modified or corrected in the new scheme which they have applied for. The marriages themselves, with their attendant bell-ringing, sermon, and publicity, the ceremonious presentation of the marriage portion, the popular processions through the parish, and the stated entertainments at the asylum, might all be retained without a process which conspicuously supports the assertion of those who say that marriage is a lottery.

It would take me too long, and I should become too statistical, if I were to attempt to enter upon the condition of education generally in the East of London. Many, though, would be pleased to learn, as they might, that it can show national schools which for efficiency and self-support, set an example to the metropolis. In these, however, he fees are too high for the poorest class, whose schools have been to a great extent created and kept alive by strong public appeals on the part of their promoters. I venture to think that the School Board must eventually provide for the education of these 'masses' throughout London. It is not well that this should be done by the sheer importunity of their school managers. Indeed, one of the unfortunate accompaniments or results of strenuous efforts to provide and maintain schools by begging of the richer part of the metropolis and the country, has been seen in the temptation laid upon their promoters to describe the people as worse than they were. Some earnest well-wishers of the poor, who have devoted themselves with energy to hard work among large masses of neglected people, naturally anxious to make out as good a case as possible in pleading for help, especially in the establishment of schools, have unwittingly brought undue discredit upon whole districts by setting forth their condition in the darkest colours. Thus the best intentions have resulted in the creation of an evil impression about the condition of the East of London, which is, to say the least of it, in many respects exaggerated and injurious, and which is slow to pass
away. I am persuaded that some zealous promoters of educational as well as other charitable work in this part of the metropolis have done more harm by their pictures of assumed eastern depravity than good with the money collected from the public by means of harrowing appeals.

The application of the voluntary principle, shrewdly strained in the laudable struggle to provide and maintain schools for those who are too poor to provide and maintain them themselves, has gradually resulted in the 'Mendicant System', which, while it has characterized the educational work of the metropolis, has engendered or encouraged a habit of begging, from which few of us parsons are free. I do not think that we deserve the blame which is sometimes freely laid upon us, for many have begged sorely against the grain, with sheer desire to better the condition of those in whom we are most immediately concerned. Still it must, I suppose, be admitted that the whole pastoral economy of London, including the north, south, and west, as well as east, is penetrated and tainted with the spirit of mendicancy, which has tended to demoralise instead of elevate those amongst whom it has worked, parsons included.

But a better day is dawning. The London School Board releases those of us clergy who would thus be released from the suppliant attitude we have been compelled to take in order to provide primary education for the people; the Charity Organization Society supplies us with some escape from small pottering habits of philanthropy which mostly fail in their good purpose: the growing conviction that improved .dwellings can be provided on commercial rather than charitable principies for the working classes opens an enormous prospect of social and moral improvement amongst those who need it most; and the Charity Commissioners — under whatever name they work — help forward the wise application of antiquated and hide-bound endowments.

Sailors' Homes
This brief chapter provides Harry Jones' take on the institutions in the neighbouring parish of St Paul Dock Street (with which relationships had been strained in Bryan King's time); by this point, St George-in-the-East was no longer running its own maritime projects.

SOME notice of these may properly follow the few remarks which I have made about education, for the object of the best of these institutions is not only to provide shelter for sailors, and to draw them from evil ways, but to educate them in habits of thrift, and to instruct them in seamanship and navigation.

I have noticed the sore temptations to which, when on shore, they are exposed in these parts, and from which, less than fifty years ago, they had virtually no escape, being left to every kind of evil influence and unfair treatment that the debased and greedy were only too eager to ply them with. The most practised and cunning parasites were always ready to pounce upon poor Jack and wheedle the hard-earned coin out of his pocket directly he touched ground. I am afraid that the Ratcliff Highway and its immediate tributaries provided an army of crimps and dissolute tempters as experienced and deadly as could well be found.

In the last half century, however, a great change has been brought about. Not only are improved facilities afforded for the safe custody of a sailor's wages, or the transmission of them to his family, but means are provided for his protection while on shore. There are divers institutes and associations for the benefit of seamen, but there is one in tins immediate neighbourhood so good in its object, and, it would seem, so wisely conducted, that my readers will, I am sure, be interested in hearing something about it.

The 'Sailors' Home' in Dock Street was instituted in 1830, opened in 1835, and enlarged in 1863. It is now capable of sheltering 500 men, and provides them, by means of stores under its roof, with everything a sailor is likely to want, at a fair price. On entering the building by the Dock Street entrance it is obvious at once that the place is well appreciated by those for whom it is built, for that kind of management is adopted which does not deter by its primness men who are necessarily penetrated with some sort of holy day feeling, and are conscious of money in their pockets. Numbers of tanned and hearty-looking seamen are to be seen lounging about at their ease. If they want refreshment they can get it at a handy bar inside the house, without the risk of finding a crimp at their elbows; and close by is a busy bank, where they can lay by what they do not immediately want of their wages. It struck me when I lately visited the place that the bank
was being more used than the bar.

The whole place smacks of the sea. A large dial placed on the wall of the entrance is so sensitively connected with a wind vane on the roof that the least change in the successive puffs of a breeze betrays itself conspicuously. The hand on the plate wavers so constantly that I am sure I know people who would be made sea sick by watching it. There is, of course, to be found here the very best meteorological advice which the barometer is capable of giving, and while charts and maps are not forgotten, the most prominent ornaments in the place consist of elaborately rigged and equipped models of ships.

The building is large. In the basement are the kitchen, store-rooms, larder, butcher's shop, laundry, &c, &c. Here also is placed the navigation school, which has done good service, many having by its means passed their examinations for the posts of second and chief mates, as well as for those of masters. In one part of the basement are situated the bath-rooms and barber's shop; and a skittle alley is not forgotten. But this last is, I am told, not much used, probably because it needs a level floor, which sailors seldom have. The two next floors are occupied by the dining-hall, library, reading-room, clothing department, bank, bar, smoking-rooms, &c, with various other offices, and a Mission Hall. There are daily morning and evening prayers, with other frequent services in this last, which are occasionally attended by a good many men; but the managers of the institution, while they openly take Godliness as the basis and motive of their work, are wisely careful not to press its inmates with too importunate invitations to take part in religious worship, knowing that undue pressure sometimes provokes a reaction. Much good seems to have been done in connection with this Mission Hall and its missionary. The second and third floors are wholly devoted to sleeping berths, with lavatories attached. There are some 500 of these cabins, each of which is about 8 feet long by 5 feet wide, and suitably furnished. In every cabin, moreover, there is a copy of the Holy Scriptures.

It would, I think, be difficult to find any work which more directly met the needs of a neighbourhood and gave more encouragement to a philanthropist than the Sailors' Home. For the best of it is that the institution has become almost entirely self-supporting, and the directors, in their last annual report, state that they 'now look forward hopefully to the time when the Home will no longer stand in need of pecuniary aid from the public.' The balance sheet appended to the report fully justifies this hope, for while the income of the institution is set down as £12,232 16s. 0d., £11,101 10s. 1d. is received from the sailors who make use of it. Of the difference between these sums, only the modest sum of £167 6s. 10d. arises from donations and subscriptions, and £219 19s. from legacies. These together make £387 5s. Now since in the account of the expenditure a balance is reported of £177 4s. 8d., after the investment in stock of £1,400, it does not require much knowledge of arithmetic to enable the reader to perceive that this wholesome Sailors' Home is fairly afloat. The large number of 11,305 seamen have been lodged and boarded here during the year, and their use of the Bank in the establishment has been most encouraging. Of course the greatest pains are taken to assist them and their friends with postal facilities, and information about absent relations, and communications are kept up with Sailors' Homes elsewhere in different parts of the world. A visit to this in Dock Street would repay those of my readers who like to see a good work done well, and some might be tempted to aid the good cause to which it is devoted, not by mere subscriptions, but by helping forward elsewhere some such institution as really contains within it the seeds of self-support. One important feature of Sailors' Homes, which those who would support them should bear in mind, is, that they are 'Homes', i. e., places in which the sailor, during his time on shore, is lodged and boarded. This is the speciality of the place of which I have spoken; and considering the peculiar situation of the class it is sought to benefit, I doubt whether any institution which does not make this the chief phase of its work is likely to do much good. Jack does not want merely to be talked to, but to have some comfortable and respectable roof under which to live, and some trustworthy resident friend to take care of his money or help him to lay it out to the best advantage till he goes to sea again.

Social, Physical and Civil Life
It was my purpose in writing this little book to devote separate chapters to the moral, social, religious, and physical condition of the people in the East of London, comparing it where I could with the impressions I had received in the course of my ministerial work in the West. But I found, as I might have seen beforehand, that it was impossible to disentangle the results of such observation as I could make so as to present them separately. I have therefore given up the attempt to classify the notes I had made about these phases of life, and shall take them as they come. That is, indeed, the order in which they naturally arrive in actual experience. Physical, moral, and religious influences are too intimately involved and intertwined to permit their formal separation.

The statistics which give some account of the morality of a district as tested by the proportion of drinking-houses to the population in the various divisions of the metropolis, would seem to show that in the Tower Hamlets, comprising Bethnal Green, St. George's in the East, and such parishes as contain a very large proportion of poor, the number of persons to every drinking-shop is greater than in Westminster — I quote extracts published in The Times from a Parliamentary Return for the year ending March 31, 1875 — and that thus there is more drinking in the latter than in the former part of London. But there is not much to choose in this respect among the Metropolitan Boroughs. I mention the matter only to remark that we do not seem to be worse than our neighbours, considering the large preponderance of the labouring class amongst us. In respect to other kinds of intemperance, there are, of course, exhibitions of gross profligacy in all sea-ports, especially in the neighbourhood of docks, wherever they may be found; and as London is, I suppose, the largest sea-port in the world, and as moreover the London Docks are mainly situated in the parish of St. George's in the East, we ought to have our full share of grievous and open debauchery. And we have. It is gratifying, however, to know that examples of steady Christian life are conspicuous in many who live in those of our streets which are counted as least reputable by the public.
Here is a list of all the pubs, past and present, in the civil district of St George-in-the-East, and a map of the location of pubs from the early 20th century.

Ratcliff Highway, our chief thoroughfare, has got a bad name. Years ago, when most of the coal used in London was brought by sea, and the 'Pool' was crowded with colliers, the riot and indecency of the Highway was excessively shocking. I have heard descriptions of the scenes habitually witnessed there which I could hardly set down on paper. Now, though we have a crowd of ships in our Docks, a large proportion of which are 'ocean-going', the 'Pool' is comparatively bare of colliers, the 'forest of masts' below London Bridge has been felled, and the troops of coal-grimed satyrs who disported themselves in their hours of relaxation along its banks have mostly disappeared. The result has been a great diminution in the retail trade of the Highway, and also in the profuse debauchery which accompanied it. Moreover, the provision of Sailors' Homes, and the facilities afforded for sending their money to their families, has very much checked riotous local expenditure.

The once famous, or infamous, Highway is very unlike what I am told it was. Still it is, at times, bad enough in all conscience. I say 'at times', for it often is so quiet that friends of mine, ignorant of the East of London, have been almost unwilling to believe me when, after walking down it for some distance, I have said, 'This is the Ratcliff Highway'. Occasionally, however, this quiet is disturbed, for this street is still the chief promenade of sailors, from all nations, ashore for a few hours' dissipation. And yet I was surprised the other day at trying to reckon up the number of regular attendants at our church, and Sunday-school teachers, who reside there. The respectable and dissolute strata of society in the Highway and its immediate affluents keep themselves strictly apart. Not that I have observed any severity or bitterness of Pharisaic judgment in those who live decently. On the contrary, it is from several steady communicants that I have heard the kindest utterances of extenuation for the most grossly degraded. These last, moreover, are civil enough to those who leave them alone, and they never by word or gesture offer any offence to the great bulk of reputable residents or wayfarers. I can scarcely say the same of some places in the West which are highly esteemed in society.
See here for more on Ratcliff Highway.

But hitherto, at St. George's, I have never been the subject of any remark or incivility by harlots or their dissolute companions. It is curious, moreover, that these fallen women have their phase of honest industry. I have frequently noticed that as they lounge about the corners of the streets they are engaged in knitting. What they knit, and how they dispose of their knitted wares, I have been at a loss to perceive or discover, but they mostly knit, and divers of them carry babies. I have been also told by those who know the neighbourhood and its ways better than myself that there is an illegitimate sort of faithfulness recognised between many individuals among them and the particular sailors with whom they are associated. Indeed I venture to say that before God I think the harlotry of the Haymarket is radically worse than that of the Ratcliff Highway. There is this difference, that in the latter thoroughfare the dress of the degraded is outrageously flaring, and in the other studiously fashionable. With us, white muslin gowns and red boots are supposed to be attractive. But the poor sailors are chiefly the prey that is sought. And — I hardly know how to put it politely, though the truth ought to be noticed — there is more excuse for intemperance in men who have been afloat for months, and who pursue their pleasures coarsely, than for the cultivated and continuous sensuality of such as risk their health and waste their substance in the riotous living that characterizes the resorts and centres of profligacy in the West. No doubt the Eastern dissoluteness of which I speak is more painfully and conspicuously repulsive, and it is sometimes accompanied by fights among the women themselves which are frightfully personal and persistent,, but, considered fairly, the West has less to be said in palliation of it.
Mary Steer commented that prostitutes pleaded their knitting as an excuse for not attending her meetings - she told them to bring it with them. See here for the 'Tigresses' around Betts Street.

These fights between women are indeed among the most painfully distressing phases of unrigheousness that a clergyman ever comes across. I have stopped several (not at St. George's), though in almost terror of my life, for attendant sons of Belial are likely to interfere. I remember once intervening in a hideous duel between two viragos, whose rage was inexpressible. But the unexpected interference of a parson, who held the combatants asunder at arm's length, had an influence which was well-nigh grotesque. It certainly answered. But I hope I may never have to try it again.

Sometimes a comical result follows intervention when fair play is not being duly observed. One evening I found a big boy mercilessly thrashing a little one in the street. I intervened, laying hold of the bully. Seeing him thus hampered, the little fellow hit him so straight a blow from the shoulder in the eye that I let my man go, half blinded by the prompt use of the opportunity for a Nemesis, which the defendant had perceived and accepted.

Altogether, judging of the comparative immorality and sin of any sort presented in poor or wealthy localities, it must be remembered that the 'Street' comes to be a prominent meeting-place and scene of entertainment among such of the 'poor' as live bad lives. No doubt the parlours of some public-houses, especially those low-browed, dingy beershops, which have no great crowd outside, are scenes of sad social mischief. Indeed the house which has a brilliant gas-lit front and a large 'bar' is frequently the best conducted, for the poor tattered sots who hang about outside do so because they are not allowed lodgment within. The bulk of their customers come and go quickly, and they are largely used by such as send to them for their dinner or supper beer, being to a great extent the cellars of their district. They do not rely upon that stifling, drunken session which disgraces those of less pretension. Indeed the street is in divers instances the chief place of assembly and scene of offence with many who least respect themselves among the working classes. Domestic differences, social disputes, and impure overtures are public. When a man or woman exceeds the license of the most tolerant publican, the offender is thrust out of doors. Now if all the irregularities, excesses, and delinquencies of the rich were displayed in the roadway, the respective states of morality in low and high places could be more fairly compared.

No doubt there is a refinement of transgression which indicates at least an emancipation from the more brutal and degrading forms of evil, but sin is sin, whether it be coarse or refined. Evil passions are evil, whether those who suffer from them are well or badly dressed and housed. What might be termed the private ill-conduct of a poor man is never hidden, and cannot be indulged in without the cognisance of his friends and acquaintances. The son of the household in the family of an artisan who sows his wild oats mostly sows them under the nose of his parents; whilst in other classes they frequently do not even hear of the youthful 'indiscretions', as they are called, of which he may be guilty. These domestic troubles are all patent or published in the society of the working classes; their conditions of life render privacy almost impossible.

In fact among the poor there are no skeletons in 'cupboards'. However painfully they expose family affairs, they are never hidden; and though there is undoubtedly some advantage in the concealment of offences and defects, it may be questioned whether, in the sight of God, the frailties and offences of the 'poor' are not often far too severely judged by those whose faults are or have become more refined, and who are, in a great measure, enabled to screen them from public observation.

As to the physical condition of the working-classes in the East, or at least that part of the East in which I live, compared with that I know most of in the West, I might fill many pages with interesting statistics; but I will not weary my readers with them. I must however quote two or three facts from the last printed reports of our Medical Officer of Health, which may indicate the state of our affairs in this respect. The annual birth-rate of St. George's for the last ten years has averaged 40 for every 1,000 of its population. That of the whole of London has been for the same period, ten years, 37 per 1,000. Thus there seems to be a reserve of productive power in the place. But through carelessness, I believe, as much as evil sanitary condition, our death-rate is swelled by the large proportion of children who die. Out of our total deaths in the last published report during twelve months, nearly one-half were infants under the age of five years. Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Rygate, remarks: 'It is true that our parish very greatly supplies the labour-market with many in those periods of life which show the lowest mortality, and these being drafted off, we are left with the very young and very old'. But the large proportion of deaths among the very young indicates great carelessness rather than a radically bad state of the conditions of life, for the tabular statement of deaths for the last ten years from fever, smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, and diphtheria, diarrhoea, and whooping-cough, gives a marked decrease in the general total, and in every affection, save whooping-cough and diarrhoea, the maladies from which ill-nursed infants mostly die. Again, of the 98 cases of deaths from diarrhoea which appear in the last annual report of our Medical Officer of Health, 65 occurred in infants under 1 year of age. And he has been able to find out that as many as 36 of these infants were being brought up 'by hand'. He remarks, moreover: 'How much of this mortality is prevented at the West-end, and wealthier parts of London, by wet-nursing?' And he adds: 'How frequently do I find upon enquiry that our parish is the source of these fostermothers, their own children remaining here to be brought up by hand or
the bottle, a stereotyped, but very indefinite phrase.'

Thus, in regard to some phases of our physical condition, it would seem that the things which should have been for our wealth are unto us an occasion of falling.
Dr John James Rygate, of 126 (later 116) Cannon Street Road, was born in 1825 and was the Medical Officer of Health for St George's for many years. (His annual salary in 1873 was £150 - the average figure across London, though some were paid more, e.g. £450 for Hackney and £600 for the City; in Wandsworth, separate officers for each of the seven divisions were paid £50 each.) In 1880, after 32 years in post he tendered his resignation; but, according to the Lancet, he received so many expressions of kindness and sympathy that he was induced to ask permission to withdraw his resignation; this was granted, and he was given two months' leave of absence. He was still in post in 1898 - when he was interviewed for the Booth archive. By 1901 he had retired to Hove. He had four sons, all of whom entered the medical profession, and three daughters.
Harry Jones refers later to his role in condemning slum housing.  R.H. Hadden also includes quotations from his slightly later reports, in his 1880 book East End Chronicle.

Our present exemption from small-pox is very gratifying. In the last published annual report only one death is recorded to have resulted from it in a population of about 50,000, and on enquiry our medical officer found that this had not been correctly registered. The same report gives only ten deaths from fever as having occurred during the preceding twelve months. It is true that in no year has so favourable a condition of things existed. In one month, however, an outbreak occurred in a court, chiefly among children, and the cases were removed. 'Three of the dwellings were closed as unfit for habitation until properly cleansed and disinfected. Another was well fumigated and disinfected, the inmates leaving their home for a time for the purpose.'

On the whole the sanitary condition of our parish is not such as many heedlessly think, who look on the East of London as a region of perpetual distress or depression. We have, indeed, very much need of improvement; for though, as I have already remarked, the 'poor' have certainly more room with us than in the central and west-central parts of London, they live far too closely and carelessly for anything like the exercise of proper caution when a disease, such as scarlet-fever, is epidemic. When an infectious disorder makes its appearance I often wonder how any one escapes. Our medical and sanitary officers do what they can, as in other poor localities in London, and yet the intercourse among the poor is so constant and unrestricted that, by all the laws of contagion, every accessible person ought, it would seem, to suffer. There are, however, mysteries involved in the history of epidemics which have not been, and cannot perhaps be, explained. For instance, in the last visit of scarlet-fever to London we had some share, when, all at once, the matter which conveyed the disease seemed to lose its virulence. The plague came and went; and that is pretty nearly all that can be said about it. Any one who knows how inefficiently the directions given by medical officers and others to the poor are carried out, even under the best supervision that has yet been exercised in London, must allow that the disappearance of scarlet-fever from a district is but slightly due to scientific or sanitary proceedings adopted when the plague has made its appearance. They may check its progress or alleviate its intensity in some instances, but, considering the subtlety with which it is propagated, it cannot account for the rapid subsidence of the disease. It is otherwise with cholera, since, through the evidence afforded by the famous Broad Street pump, in the midst of my old district of St. Luke's, the chief vehicle of the latter has been proved to be water; and in the case of small-pox, vaccination provides a shield of influence which it would be well for those who question it to consider the results of, in the medical statistics in reference to this matter which have been published. I was exceedingly interested and concerned in the treatment of cholera when it visited London in 1866. Everyone who knows anything of the matter has heard of the terrible outbreak of this disease in St. Luke's, Berwick Street, in 1854. I am afraid to say how many hundreds died in a few days within a bow-shot of the church. Thus the appearance of cholera in London had a specially significant sentiment attached to it by ourselves, though in reality the chief cause of the mischief it did there had been discovered and corrected.

Still there was need of great circumspection and care. And I mention what we did to show how much can be done by prompt parochial combination and a wholesome fear of trusting too much to official ability and zeal. The leading residents met together in one of the rooms under the church. We divided the parish into manageable districts, and, acting in concert with the local sanitary authorities, in a few days inspected every drain, cistern, and ash-pit in the place, besides putting, as far as we could, all on their guard, without alarming them. I was personally aided in the part I took in the matter by my dear friend the late Dr. Anstie, who was always ready as a champion to fight with disease, dirt, and disorder of any and every kind. We had several cases of cholera. Two occurred in one house, brought, I think, from Bow. And how well I recollect seeing the clothes, bedding, &c, of the sufferers burnt myself. Each case was beaten out as if it were a flake of fire on thatch, and we had no 'outbreak' of the malady. Altogether it was a very interesting period of watchfulness and sanitary effort. Indeed the thorough, though unauthorised, inspection we made of the dwellings in the district resulted in such a wholesale and detailed scrubbing, whitewashing, and mending of drains, traps, &c, that the general health of the neighbourhood was thereby sensibly improved. I had ever so much fault found with me afterwards for interference in some cherished cases of domestic dirtiness, for I had ventured to arm our visitors with an official-looking printed paper directing such and such enquiries to be made and defects remedied. People submitted to our intrusion without suspecting that we had no authority whatever for what we did. Many, indeed, thanked us, but some did not find out our unofficial character till it was too late.

Moreover the revelation made, though I say it myself, by amateur investigation in the case of a late visit of small-pox to St. James's, Westminster, was such that I am constrained to set it down. At St. Luke's we took steps to see that children were vaccinated, and quite an eagerness to be 'done' was set up in the school when I had my own arm operated upon, and sat in the boys' room with my coat off and shirt sleeve rolled up. Several little folk who had been overlooked came afterwards to be vaccinated, with almost a complaint that they had missed their share in the general treatment.

The disinfection of clothes, &c, was, of course, an important matter, and I was astonished when in the course of my enquiries I discovered that no adequate provision existed for it. I came across a heap of infected bedding belonging to some servants who had had small-pox in one of the clubs in Pall Mall. Pursuing this, I found that the only means for its disinfection appeared in an iron gas-heated box about five feet long by two wide and two deep, which had been used to kill vermin in the clothes of 'casuals' at the workhouse. This implement or vessel was obviously unfit for the disinfection of bedding used in small-pox cases. It was much too small, and could not be sufficiently heated. Moreover the bedding, &c, was brought in a wooden truck, and after being little more than warmed was sent back in the same vehicle. I must say that though the members of the Vestry who were concerned in the sanitary matters of the parish did not seem at first inclined to believe my statements, they accompanied me to the 'Stone-yard', where this futile iron box stood, and allowed me to measure it with a two-foot rule in their presence. The result was eventually the provision of a suitable hot disinfecting chamber and furnace for the parish. I may add that in one place in London (not St. George's) where I was having a sanitary hunt I was assured that infected bedding had been sent to be baked in the oven of a baker's shop, which is not a nice mode of disinfection to think of, however efficacious it may have been. I only wish that any man, though without official authority, who suspects any defects in the sanitary machinery of his parish would be content with nothing less than an importunate personal investigation of it. I am sure that he would receive the thanks of any permanent official who was worth his salt.

But I must return to St. George's in the East. We still suffer from the want of enforcement of some sanitary laws. We have as yet no proper arrangements for the disinfection of clothes and bedding, though we have talked about them. I would also instance smoke. It is true that fewer blacks settle on the papers on my study-table here than when I lived in Duchess Street. This is partly accounted for by the fact that mine is a detached house, and its windows do not immediately invite the smuts from a next-door chimney. But our lesser amount of blacks, which of course are most numerous where fires are most used, may be partly accounted for thus. The east wind is the coldest in London, and thus leads to the largest consumption of coal. And when the wind is in the east all our smuts go westward. On dark, cold winter days I have been much struck with the growing clearness or lessening thickness of the atmosphere, if I happened to move from the west to the east.

The great body of smoke in London comes, I imagine, from private houses, and can hardly be hindered; but that which arises from factory chimneys is capable of being at least lessened. And I do not see why the furnace of everybody's lungs should be compelled to consume the manufacturer's smoke. Chiefly around London there are hundreds of huge brick and mortar masts, from many of which long black banners stream day and night. Any man might, of course, inform against his smoky neighbour, but this is a disagreeable procedure, and one which, as a parson, I have not hitherto had moral courage enough to adopt. The provisions of the Smoke-Consuming Act are, however, not now enforced with half the vigilance which might be exercised even under existing powers. This neglect is the less excusable, inasmuch as the nuisance I complain of is grossly obvious; and thus those who should protect us have no difficulty whatever in obtaining evidence of the offence. There is the smoking chimney, and the imperfect furnace is sure to be found at the base of it. We Londoners sorely want some official in the shape of a Public Prosecutor, who will compel the proper construction of furnaces, and relieve individuals and local corporations from the invidious task of summoning a next-door neighbour or large ratepayer before the magistrate for what is really an offence to the community at large. As it is, each district suffers from the smoke of the next. If any reader has a lofty 'smoker' next door, his smuts, set flying 200 feet up in the air, pitch a mile away, while those which settle on his own door-step come mostly from a distant stranger. At St. George's whatever factory blacks we get during an east wind arrive chiefly from the neighbourhood of Bow, while a west wind brings us the smoke of ten thousand domestic chimneys, from Notting Hill to Whitechapel. But on the whole our sky is cleaner, or at least less dirty, than in the centre of London. I recollect, moreover, that on the occasion of the famous fogs in the winter of 1873 it was remarked in the papers that the plague was least in the neighbourhood of Wapping. Here, though, a fog is especially disastrous, since the edges of the quays which line the Docks are unguarded, and we had many cases of persons stepping over the edge and being drowned. As well as I recollect, some thirty persons thus lost their lives during the fog I refer to, in and about the Docks, and in one or two instances carts or waggons were fairly driven into the water from the inability of the driver, and one would suppose also of the horse, to perceive the stone rim which marked the boundary of safety.
° The Metropolitan Sanitary Commision made its first report in 1848 - the dangerous state of the water was its chief concern (and it was belatedly realised that this was the chief cause of cholera which ravaged various parts of London in the mid-century.) William Quekett had been instrumental in setting up the Association for Promoting Cleanliness among the Poor a few years earlier.
° The curious (but commonly-used) name 'Smoke-Consuming Act' refers to the Smoke Nuisance Abatement (Metropolis) Acts of 1853 and 1856, which empowered the Home Office to appoint an inspector to work in consultation with the Metropolitan Police to abate nuisance from the smoke of furnaces in the metropolis and from steam vessels above London Bridge. These provisions were not effectively enforced.The
1875 Public Health Act contained a smoke abatement section, on which subsequent legislation was based. As for his comments about smuts and 'factory blacks', as he says elsewhere, when the wind was in the east (and coal usage was highest) these tended to go west!
° For detail about the Rectory - one of the few detached houses in the area - see here.

The rough work of our neighbourhood results, I fear, in an excessive share of accidents, but some of the escapes are surprising. One day this year a little boy fell fifty-two feet down a shaft connected with the tunnel under the London Docks, and escaped unhurt and without loss of consciousness. The accident, moreover, had its grotesque phase. A man working near the bottom of the shaft took the lad for a log, and shoved him away with his foot. Becoming aware of his mistake by the crying out of the supposed log at being kicked, he looked up the shaft and cried out, 'What did you "chuck" this boy down here for?' Eventually they pulled him out, as I said, none the worse for his tremendous tumble.

I often wonder how the big ships which crowd the Docks are got in and out of their stations without more damage to themselves and those who have to guide them. But the men who manage these matters, and who are experts, will bring a huge vessel, some 300 feet long, into its place as neatly as if it were a wheelbarrow, and seemingly without scratching its paint. There is indeed a nicety and gentleness in the right performance of the roughest and heaviest work which is nowhere better seen than in the skill with which the ponderous and unwieldy hulls of ships are moved about in a crowded dock. They have so long been driven of fierce winds, or urged at top speed with the screw from the utmost parts of the earth, that the transition in their movement to the cautious snail's pace with which they slide into their nooks, side by side, till they stop with their noses over the quay, seems almost to indicate intelligence on their part. They seem to smell their way in circumspectly, as if well knowing that a body representing, say, two thousand tons, held in a thin skin, must be careful how it touches the hard stone edge of the dock side.

But this is a divergence from the proper subject of this chapter, though it be suggested by some thoughts about the weighty character of the work in which many of our people are engaged. They have rough toil, and some of them are rough enough to look at, in all conscience. But there is an individuality in the roughness of the most laborious in these parts; and although of course we have a share of those who go by the name of 'roughs', and some of them are strikingly the reverse of smooth, I seem to miss that peculiar form of unattached vagabondism which elsewhere slouches about the skirts of luxurious life, and which any gentleman reining in his horse almost anywhere about the West End of London is sure to see a specimen of present itself, as suddenly as if it had sprung out of the ground, to touch its battered hat and offer to hold his steed. While I think of it, I cannot recall ever having seen a gentleman on horseback in St. George's. And I doubt whether we have any appreciable proportion of that seedy servile race which hangs about the West. True, we have some courts, fancied by thieves, though I believe that their evil business lies chiefly elsewhere; and we have quite our share of so-called men who beat their wives, and whose exhibition of rough anger is less distressing when they 'punch' each other's heads. One fancies it is possible to detect the operation of a rude sort of Nemesis when two of these bullies come to blows. The feeling themselves of a rough and heavy hand, which is sometimes raised against a woman, must involve a wholesomely suggestive sensation when it falls on a man's own pate.

As to the great bulk of 'poor' people inhabiting our streets, I can honestly say that they are very civil in respect to their reception of any pastoral visits. Knowing as I do something of those various parts of London which are most crowded, and having paid, in my time, literally thousands upon thousands of visits in all kinds of places where the poor chiefly congregate, I am especially struck with the civility, not servility, of the working people in these parts. There is little touching of hats, and curtseying, but I find a frankness and pleasantness of manner among them which is exceedingly wholesome. And many of their houses are clean and well kept. Even in courts of worst repute none of us have ever met with any rudeness, and some of the places which ought by all their associations to be dens of disorder exhibit a few exceptionally remarkable phases of neatness. I remember especially the home or lodging of a dying harlot, whom one of my colleagues was asked to visit. One morning I went with him to see her, and found her just dead. The room in which she died, and the sheets in which she lay, showed considerable respect for external cleanliness. Divers of loose characters were hanging about, and took kindly a few words of truth. This was in a notorious, I might say infamous, court. It had furnished Dickens with a scene. The readers of 'Edwin Drood' may recollect the spot to which Jasper betook himself for his opium smokes. This was the place. The old crone who received him, well-known as 'Lascar Sal' lives, or lived till quite lately, in a court just beyond the end of our churchyard. And I know the 'John Chinaman' of whom she was jealous as a rival in her deadly trade. He had a ground floor in the same court, and a friend of mine who came to prowl about St. George's in the East could not complete his experience without going in to have a few whiffs at the opium pipe in his den. But in this court of evil fame we have been ever welcome when paying a kindly visit or attending the sick. It must, however, before very long, be pulled down, being in a grievously dilapidated state, and having some of its houses already shut up. Indeed it borders on the great chasm made through the parish by the construction of the East London Railway. More of this presently.
This version of the site and personnel on which Dickens based the opium den in Edwin Drood is compared here with other accounts.
Harry Jones returns to this theme below in relation to slum clearance.

I now merely remark, that the affronts or insults which a visitor is assumed to be exposed to in the worst courts exist only in the imagination of those who know nothing about the matter, or they are invited by the visitor himself. If he sniffs about censoriously, and asks impertinent questions, or gives himself airs in any way, he is likely to meet with a rebuff which the offended party does not know how to convey in the shape of polished sarcasm.

As a rule, all over the world, in its ugliest corners, if you are civil to people they will be civil to you. And the most curious phases of social interest will sometimes turn up in the worst slums. I remember once being much interested in a specially unpleasant young blackguard whom I wanted to save. It happened while I was at St. Luke's, Berwick Street. This particular vagabond, poor fellow, had been ill brought up, and had had a bad example set him at home. I recollect that his mother had once to go to gaol for biting a neighbour's nose off. She was thus obviously a very ill-conditioned parent, and her son was a bad boy. Somehow I came to be especially interested in trying to draw him from the error of his ways; but I lost sight of him for a long time, till one rainy day, as I was getting into a cab in Oxford Street, my rascal presented himself to shut the door. 'William', said I, 'where do you live now?' He told me, and I presently routed out the place. It was one of those low lodging-houses where the street-door stands always open, and the walls of the passage are greasy with the slouching shoulders of many generations of lodgers and tramps. Ultimately I got my rascal into a home, in which he partly recovered himself, and whence he emigrated to Canada, where he did well. I had a magnificent letter from him not so very long ago. Meanwhile, to go back to the days before his emigration, I had occasion to visit his dirty lodging. At my last call there the landlord, a grimy harbourer of thieves, remarked quite seriously, 'I understand, sir, that you have placed William in an institution'; adding, 'I thought, sir, he was going to make himself respectable, as he had been and bought a pair of trousers. But about the institution, sir: I do trust it is conducted on Protestant principles.' He was obviously a strong anti-ritualist.

Some of these thieves are very soft and nervous. I remember once finding a city missionary being evil entreated by a parcel of roughs. I went, of course, to his rescue, and incidentally laid hold of one of the offenders by the arm in the course of my expostulations. I suppose I griped him harder than I intended, for he wept. Great tears made clean tracks down his dirty cheeks. They cry readily, do these roughs. One day, at St. Luke's, a pupil-teacher at our girls' school came running and flustered to my house, saying that she had been garotted and robbed in such and such a court, though the robber had found but little in her pockets. This was too bad, for I had been very kind to the evil characters of the neighbourhood; so I asked her what the garotter was like, and, on her describing him, I felt sure I knew not only my man, but where he lived. He was but a lad. I popped on my hat, and, posting off to the Marlborough Street Police-court, and stating my case, asked for three constables. I took them to a certain house, and setting one at the front and another at the back, put the third into the door, like a ferret into a rabbit-hole, telling him he would find the offender in the second-floor front room. Sure enough he was there. We took him straight before the magistrate, and he got three months within an hour of the commission of his offence. A companion of his, who was in the room with him, a bigger lout, cried copiously at the possibility of his being taken also. But we had no case against him.

The strenuousness of the personal appeals to his Christianity and charity when a clergyman is compelled to hand any offender over to the law is remarkably touching. Some years ago, at St. Luke's, we were for a period plagued by Irish boys who found amusement in lounging into the corridor communicating with the church, and, when the evening congregation had assembled, pushing one of the folding doors open, and howling into the church. Of course this sudden salute made the worshippers jump, but was highly comical to the saluting party. I went intentionally late to church one Sunday evening, and just as I got to the door heard the howl delivered. It was immediately followed by a rush of the performers, their leader running plump into my arms. He was a very ill-conditioned looking fellow, worse than a mere boy 'on a lark', and at the instance of one of our churchwardens, who gave the offender into custody at the police office, was locked up for the night. The congregation of Irish who awaited me when the evening service was over, and who besought me to let him go free, used none but theological arguments and appeals. I was more unchristian than cruel, though I was both, and the whole business was very discreditable to me, considering the sacred character of my office, &c, &c. So they pleaded. But I have found that if a clergyman has occasion to appeal to the current magisterial law in defence of things and persons under his charge, it is mistaken charity in him to melt under pathetic remonstrance. We were troubled with no more of these Irish overtures to our service. Nothing is however of its kind more destructive of his due influence than for the parson to be continually appealing to the policeman; and, though the provocation be strong, he must not interfere with physical force himself. I never did but once. That was in a very offensive case of insult — not to me, but to a parcel of school-girls — and there was no time for expostulation. Having a handy cane, I thrashed the offender soundly, and so scientifically that I don't think he could have sat down with any comfort for a fortnight. Meeting that afternoon one of the Marlborough Street police magistrates, with whom I was acquainted, I told him what I had done, and said that perhaps I should have to appear before him for an assault. 'No fear of that', he replied, 'I only wish you would do it again'. However, we had no more of the nuisance in question.

I think the boys are more 'owdacious' in the central parts of London than in the East. But perhaps this impression comes from the fact that here they are not bottled up so tight, and therefore show less effervescence. There is much misapprehension about the London 'Arab', as he is called. Many of the most unruly and troublesome boys whom I have known have not been outcasts, but the children of decent parents, and far more mischievous than wicked. Most of them are simply 'pickles', and turn out much better than the sober elders whom they affront would expect. The really tainted class keep chiefly to themselves. We had a gang of these young criminals in our streets at St. Luke's, and I have often thought how mistaken an estimate is sometimes formed of the street boy or gutter child by a mere superficial observer, who might have seen some scores of all sorts playing near our school, a few minutes before two, and confounded them, unjustly. They all seemed much alike, but when the school-bell rang the true arabs were eliminated. While the others poured into the building they were left in the street, and might then be perceived to have been intent on some chuck-farthing business amongst themselves. The two classes did not amalgamate, although they were necessarily more or less mixed up. The distinction became more apparent when we got a playground. The respectable boys within it made, I think, more noise, and were more boisterous in their play than the arabs. These last are slouching and sly rather than uproarious, and they mostly congregate at the corner of a street, because there they have additional facilities for the detection and avoidance of a policeman. I have often noticed how on his approach the majority of imps in full strenuous play have taken no notice of him, while a certain number in the crowd have slipped sullenly off. These were the arabs, not to be confounded with those who mostly have no place but the street in which to romp about, and who naturally, in order to be less interfered with, choose the debateable strip between the foot-path and the carriage-way, especially when marbles are 'in', for their sports. But such as these by no means deserve the evil character associated in the minds of some with the term 'gutter' children. The kerbstone, moreover, offers a convenient seat for such of the little bodies with short legs as need one, and becomes quite a sofa-stall when Punch stops and opens his theatre. Strangely enough, however, I have not yet seen a Punch in that part of the East of London which I know best.

I have already noticed that I have found much less begging at St. George's than I found in St. James's, Westminster. Lately, moreover, there has been a decrease in the amount of out-door relief. The subject of Pauperism and the application of the Poor-laws is one which I cannot enter into so fully as I would in this little book. I must, however, admit that I am more and more impressed with the conviction that much social mischief has been done by a system of liberal out-door relief. It tends to lower wages, to encourage improvidence, and to further the neglect of parents by their children. The inquiries made by the Charity Organisation Society, of which we have now a branch at St. George's, have revealed many cases of imposition on the part of those in the receipt of money from the rates. In a place like London it is extremely difficult to get at the truth about the resources of those who apply for public aid. The cunning of the pauperised is sometimes almost incredible. At the same time, while fresh cases of applicants for out-door relief should be severely investigated, the promoters of reform in Poor-law administration might show more tenderness than they sometimes do in dealing with aged widows who have long been in the receipt of some weekly allowance. Eighteenpence or two shillings a week is a small sum, but it often makes a great difference in the condition of a poor old woman who dreads the House, and will somehow potter on with her petty gains in washing or cleaning for neighbours, if she can see her way to the rent of the little room where she keeps her 'bits of sticks.' To look at the question from the economical side — and this becomes an especially serious one in a district where there are many needy ratepayers — I believe that divers of the poorest single old women are kept going with a little weekly allowance who would cost more if they were driven into the House by its withdrawal. And surely there should be some commentary of kindness in the administration of the law by the corporate representative body of a parish. Poor-law Guardians have of course no business to indulge their private feelings of benevolence at the cost of their neighbours, but the exhibition of some tenderness may well be asked at the hands of those who supply the funds for parochial relief, especially while the process of reformation is going on. It is useless to plead with the old and infirm among the poor that they would be more 'comfortable' in the House. Comfort is not to be measured solely by a sound roof, a clean bed, and fixed rations. The bird in a cage is in some respects more comfortable than one in a bush, especially when the leaves are off and the berries all eaten. And a slave under a kind master escapes some of the inconveniences of personal responsibility; but nevertheless liberty is sweet, and residence in the Workhouse is, after all, only a form of incarceration, though an inmate may discharge himself. He must while there be subject to regulations which are doubtlessly annoying to him, and wear something like a prisoner's dress. The separation, moreover, of old couples, who have long run their humble course and come down the hill together, cannot be thought of without a hope that arrangements may be made for them not to be parted till the Great Divider separates them. While a wholesome reform of this branch of parochial administration is needed, and improvements are made in it, which in the end will benefit the class who furnish paupers, the reformers must not be too 'doctrinaire'. It is better even to let some small abuses die out rather than summarily put them down. The feelings of the million, which surely should be consulted, are infinitely less hurt by severe caution in the entertainment of fresh applications for parochial relief than by sharply cutting off the small weekly allowances of old people, who cannot long continue to burden the rates, and many of whom would, in the ordinary course of things, have soon drifted into the Workhouse or Infirmary. I will not, however, dwell on the large question of Parochial Relief, and the way in which this generation should face the problem of Pauperism left by mischievous legislation, which reaches far back into the past; but I think that, even in the interest of those who are most needy and improvident, the day in which out-door relief is, if not discontinued, at least very much reduced, will be seen by all to accompany a more wholesome state of affairs than has lately existed. Meanwhile I do not think there has been sufficient recognition of the great trouble Guardians of the Poor have been at in the discharge of their duty. It is well for complaining Parishioners to point to defects in the administration of the law, but, I would ask some of them if they have taken pains to see it better administered? Are no thanks due to those representatives of the ratepayers, to whom time is money, and who spend hours weekly in the adjudication of relief, being paid nothing for their pains? Parochial corporations have often had but scant justice done to them, and though there are battles in most Vestries, which are signs of life, many who speak slightingly of them have little idea of the time and labour voluntary parochial officials spend in the administration of the affairs of a populous parish, and what an essential element they represent in English life. With us the Vestry is much more representative of the parish than I knew it to be in the West. Indeed East London is obviously much more really 'London' than those parts of the metropolis where a great bulk of the residents, and those often the wealthiest, are merely lodgers for a season, and take no interest whatever in the cares of self-government.

Our Vestry Hall, a handsome central edifice, admirably equipped, is much more plainly the focus of representative parochial management than similar buildings in some parts of the metropolis which are dwarfed by or lost in a crowd of mansions, whose inmates know little or nothing of the business of the Parish in which they live, and of the trouble in conducting it undergone by fellow parishioners less conspicuous in the eyes of the world than themselves.
See here for an explanation of local government arrangements, and here for details of the Vestry Hall in Cable Street. His desire to see a further reduction of 'out-relief' (and his praise for the work of the Poor Law guardians - whose membership overlapped to some degree with the parochial officers) links to his comitment to the ideals of the Charity Organisation Society. See here for details of the parish workhouse in his day.

Trials, Hopes, and Prospects
THE colloquial form which I have allowed this book to assume encourages me, at the risk of being thought to take my readers too closely by the button, and talking too much about my own experience and opinions, to say something more of past efforts, and of our present plans and projects at St. George's.

I remarked at the first that if I ventured at all to respond to the proposal that I should write on these matters, I must necessarily be personal; and thus I must speak not only of what I have tried to do, but also of what I want to see done. This last, indeed, forms a prominent phase in the procedure of any man who is anywise interested in his calling. The course of a clergyman's work has been called 'a succession of experiments'. There is something depressing in this definition, and yet these attempts are not to be despised because they are transitory. By experiments we accumulate knowledge; but these pastoral efforts are, it is to be hoped, something more than experiments. Each has some distinct effect in stirring the stagnant air into which we are all apt to lapse. They are efforts, each attended at the time by some good to those whom they reach, and really, though perhaps almost imperceptibly, promoting radical corporate growth. The individual effort may seem to die down, but still it leaves a measure of healthy seed to spring up in the place of some social mischief, or to reappear in another shape. We walk by faith; we are saved by hope. Life is too dull to be lived without some project in view. And thus, though many may smile at the smallness of our schemes, I cannot speak about my work in the East and West of London without reference to what I have done, and failed to do, and also much which I yearn to see accomplished. Of course most clergymen have some enterprise in hand beyond the precise discharge of their most sacred duties. These come first; but they can hardly help being accompanied by some project for the material, social, and moral bettering of a class, a community, or a neighbourhood.

It will be perceived that in this little book I have not attempted, or even intended, to dwell on modes of strictly ministerial work, such as the visitation of the sick, management of Sunday-schools, Bible-classes, and methods of preaching. I have rather tried to set forth the state of things by which a clergyman finds himself surrounded, and his general relation to the people amongst whom he ministers, and in respect to whom his first, central, and last object is to awaken and help to guide the spirit of Godliness in the largest and deepest sense of the word. But no work of any kind is really worth doing except in a truly righteous spirit. However secular it may seem to be, it is mixed up with the working of the laws of God, and can be done aright only on the lines of the Great Worker. That which is good is of God, though it be but the sweetening of a drain; and that which is anywise right has its inevitable relation to the Lord of Righteousness. Bearing, I trust, this in mind, I here speak mainly of those matters which some might think of mere secondary importance. It is well however to recollect that if the First Commandment tells of love to God, the Second, which treats of love of our neighbour, is like unto it; and the ramifications of goodwill towards men are manifold and infinite, embracing the children that play in the market-place, and the largest principles of life that affect the well-being of a nation or a church.

In what remains to be said in these pages I seek to keep myself on the lines I have tried to follow; and in speaking of some trials I have had, or hopes and prospects which I now entertain, dwell on the collateral work of the minister, not despising little things which have come in my way whilst engaged in the stricter work of the ministry. Every clergyman knows how constantly he is required to see to matters which those amongst whom he serves rightly think to be such as he may well be expected to show an interest in. Thus a kindly feeling, which is of great price, may be kept up, without the sense of the duties of his sacred office being anywise dimmed or disregarded. Indeed it is to me one of the great charms of the Church of England, and one of the most wholesome signs of its life, that the man is not mewed in the priest, but that he is expected by the people amongst whom he serves to be the minister of 'good', and that 'good' involves far more than the round of those offices which are accounted to be directly sacred or religious, and embraces questions of social recreation and entertainment, as well as those connected with habits of providence, economy, and bodily health.

In these respects I have had some small successes. But it is curious to note how, occasionally, one idea takes a material shape with the least effort, while another hangs long and heavily in hand. I never did, in its way, a better stroke of secular parochial work than when I found myself, years ago, President of the St. Luke's Cricket Club, and with virtually no place to play in. So, believing in direct application to head-quarters, I sat down and wrote what I thought was a convincing letter to Lord John Manners, then in office. I asked him to appropriate to us a portion of the Regent's Park. To our great delight — and, I confess, my own surprise — I was almost immediately furnished with a document granting my request. We set off and pitched our wickets, to be suddenly descended upon by divers conscientious custodians of the Park, who, with proper official asperity, set about warning us off. Of course, under existing regulations, we were impertinent intruders. But the exhibition of our passport protected us. Really we were the bristle to the thread. The Government office was speedily besieged by cricket-clubs from all the contiguous parts of London; and, permission having been once granted, a considerable portion of the park came eventually to be set aside for their play. I never pass those exclusive acres now without thinking of our first visit there, when we surprised the almost incredulous officials with the display of the written permission with which we had been so kindly furnished under the administration of Lord John Manners. This was a mere passing shot in the way of parochial schemes, but it had the ultimate effect of providing a large portion of London with a space in which to play as well as walk about.

Other and more important schemes were long in taking a practical shape. There was, e.g., our St. Luke's Working Men's Club. We began, of course, with a public meeting, at which much enthusiasm was displayed, and then we passed, as is usual in such cases, into a very small party really prepared for business. I do not think there were above a dozen of us. Well, presently, two or three of them — working men — asked me whether I would apply to some of the potentates in St. James's for funds to set us up. But this I steadily refused to do, saying that unless they were prepared to try their own legs they had no right to expect to stand or walk. So we went on in a small room with a sanded floor, a few wooden chairs, a few papers, and a little band of members. Difficulties of all sorts arose, and the infant society nearly died of convulsions associated with teething.

I remember a very seriously propounded question about suspected clerical influence. Some thought, I suppose, that I had underhand schemes for committing the club to unfair clerical influences. However, to make a long story short, we survived. A gentleman lent us some money at 5 per cent. We stuck to the original principle of self-support, and when I visited the club some little time ago, in the twelfth or thirteenth year of its life, it numbered more than 300 paying members, and was conducted much on the principle of those in Pall-Mall. A committee was appointed by the members. Every candidate had to be proposed. His name was set forth along with his address, the name of his proposer, and his trade. This information was made public to the club, and men were then elected or rejected by the committee. The club bought its own liquors, and had its reading-room, billiard-room, and servants. There were two full-sized tables in the billiard-room, and these proved a lucrative source of income, the losers paying the club threepence for every game, fifty up. It had some educational features, the committee providing French and drawing-classes. Several changes were made in its management, as experience taught the managers. For instance, it was for some time found cheaper to send to an eating-house for food than to keep a cook. Now the cooking is done on the premises, as at the Athenaeum or the Reform Clubs, though we have not had a Francatelli or a Soyer. I ceased to be a member of the committee long before I left St. Luke's, and saw little of the club; but once or twice I was asked to dinner there, and had a very good meal and a kindly welcome. Of course the club had its ups and downs, and on one or two occasions I was given to understand that some of the members made too much noise on leaving late in the evening. But it was a genuine working man's club, and I mention it to show that such an institution is much more likely to grow and last if it goes upon stern principles of self-support, and avoids the danger of too much patronage and coddling.

The 'St. James's and Soho Working Man's Club', as it was finally called, has now left its old premises in Rupert Street, and migrated into Gerrard Street. As far as I have seen, however, I must say that on the whole it seems to me a genuine success. The best of it is that it sets an example which working men can follow anywhere if they choose, and that most of the questions, plans, and schemes for working-men's clubs appear to find a solution in the fact of its existence. The club is now contemplating the erection of a new club-house, and on my last visit to it, in Gerrard Street, I was told that it numbered close upon 500 members. If working men do not care to set up a club for themselves in an humble way, and stick to it, no patronage and coaxing will produce anything likely to last.

I have laid the history and rules of our West End Club before a gathering of working men in St. George's, and wait to see whether they take sufficient interest in the matter to establish anything of the kind here. Certainly experience has taught me that, in London at least, the establishment and supervision of a club merely by the clergyman is likely to end in failure. Self-management — with of course such advice as a man of some experience, parson or not, can give, and no set of sensible men will despise — is the only ground on which to go in the conduct of such an institution.

I also learnt a lesson in reference to what are generally understood by ' clothing-clubs,' at St. Luke's. These are supposed to encourage provident habits in the 'working classes' by means of a bonus added to the deposits of such as belong to them. I doubt whether they do, at least with any organic result. Here and there gratifying instances may be quoted of the formation of saving habits by some one who has been tempted to join a club of the kind I speak of by the bonus offered by its charitable promoters, but these institutions, as generally conducted, are too small and petty in their principles and regulations to set up any deep radical action in the social life of working people. I grant that it is gratifying to the kindly manager to see a number of poor persons laying by their pence weekly, and, say at Christmas, to hand back their small stores in the shape of useful articles, with the addition of two or three extra shillings-worth of flannel, or what not, to the bundle which the depositor tucks under her shawl and carries off, often with a pleasant adieu, and a remark that the store comes back 'like a gift'. Exactly. There is the fly in the ointment. There is the weak point in the whole business. The result is too like a gift. Such people would mostly prefer a present or a dole. They are encouraged in the sentiment of being recipients of charity. The little increment to their deposits, so far from creating or increasing a wholesome sense of self-reliance, tends, I fear, to nurse that of dependance; and, in a healthy state of things, I think that working people ought to resent this bonus on their providence. They are willing in some instances to make use of machinery, such as that of a savings bank, to put odd sums away out cf daily reach, and to accept an interest which, being commercially calculated, is not degrading. But where this interest arises from charitable contributions they have been found to detect its pauperising influence, and to decline it; and the fact of such disinclination having been found to exist anywhere casts a suspicion on the good which this charitable increment is supposed to promote. I met with a case in point at St. Luke's. When I first went there I inherited an old-fashioned clothing-club. People were invited to deposit their money, and if they took it out in orders for severely useful articles, which they were directed to get at certain shops, received interest on their deposits to the amount of 20 per cent.; while, if they simply took back their money, no interest was added. I found this club languid; there were only 117 depositors. In analysing the thing I discovered that 91 percent declined the bonus, and took back at Christmas merely the sum of their deposits in coin. I therefore called the depositors together, and told such as came that the old club would be discontinued, but that if any would like me simply to take care of their money I would begin a penny bank, the members of which should have no interest, and buy their own books. In a few months we had 1,600 names on our list, and the business of conducting the bank became so onerous, that I was obliged to decline the deposits of those who did not live in the district. This set me to question the whole fabric or scheme of charitable bonuses. These have certainly an air of providence about them, and may perhaps be used with least harm in cases where the depositors are members of such an association as a mothers'-meeting, for there they are mixed up with so much else that they lose their distinctiveness. But the mere charitable bonus, though it has an air of providence about it, is little better than a disguised dole, and I am afraid is apt to encourage the very thing from which it is supposed to provide an escape. The money which supplies the bonus, and is publicly subscribed by charitable persons, is, indeed, not paid down to the recipients on the nail, but every recipient comes under the shadow of petty dependance when he or she goes before the 'gentleman' or 'lady' to have a few pence added to the score on the depositor's card. The aim of the true philanthropist should be, not to bribe people into providence by gifts, but to show how small savings really mount up, and thus help to deliver the depositor from any sense of reliance on charity.

Talking of penny banks, I hope that the time is coming when those which at present form part of a clergyman's pastoral economy will be superseded by companies on a much larger scale. I have before me the prospectus of a project, 'The National Penny Bank', which strikes me as so good that I quote it at length:—
(1) The object of the Company is to establish Penny Banks, on commercial principles, in London and elsewhere, similar to that which has been so successful in Yorkshire.
(2) The main wish of the promoters is to encourage habits of thrift among the industrial classes, to extend the facilities for saving, and to manage the business in such a manner as to secure that those in the receipt of weekly wages may use the Bank. The establishment of the 'National Penny Bank', on a strictly commercial basis, has been determined upon, to prove that the industrial classes do not desire, or in any way need, charitable assistance to provide them with facilities or inducements for saving. At the same time the promoters, beyond providing powers to declare a dividend not exceeding 5 per cent, do not enter into the scheme as a commercial speculation.
(3) The Yorkshire Penny Bank has been founded about fifteen years. It now holds invested deposits to the extent of nearly £400,000, and is a strictly commercial undertaking. Its success warrants the promoters in hoping that in London even greater results may be obtained.
(4) The undertaking is intended to be supplementary to the Post Office, and other Savings and Penny Banks, but its minimum deposit will be as low as one penny.
(5) It is intended to make the rules and regulations of the Bank as popular as possible; to bring the Bank to the people; to start branches, wherever it can be done, at workshops and places of business ; to avoid complicated and unnecessary restrictions; and, in fact, to carry on the work of the Bank in promoting thrift, in the same way and with the same facilities with which a successful trader in any other business seeks to develop his custom.
(6) The Bank proposes to facilitate the purchase of Consols in small sums, to promote Life Insurance, both in the Post Office and elsewhere, to make known the advantages of Deferred Annuities, Endowments, and other means of saving, and to facilitate by the machinery of the Bank, which will provide for the collecting regularly of small sums, the possession of such securities by the weekly-waged classes.
(7) As soon as one thousand shares (of 10/- each) are subscribed for, it is proposed to commence business by opening a branch in each of the Metropolitan boroughs.

This has a wholesome promise about it, but even such a large extension of the present institutions would be much less needed if the meshes of the Post Office Savings Bank were made a little smaller, so as to catch sums less than a shilling, and the banks themselves were open after working hours. Perhaps this is too much to expect, but at one stroke an incalculable impulse might thus be given to the provident tendencies of the people.

A shilling is a good deal for a working lad — and young people compose the bulk of depositors in the existing parochial penny banks — to lay by at a time. While the stray pence which would reach a shilling are being accumulated they sorely ask to be spent.

Anyhow, in the extension of penny banks without interest, or with only such as is justified by ordinary commercial conditions, I think that one very promising influence is to be found. And the sooner so-called provident clubs, with a bonus dependent on charitable contributions, die out, or are swept away, the better.

Here is a brief explanation of the history of provident clubs and societies - which initially served a valuable function, and arguably continued to do so despite Harry Jones' pleas for a more 'professional' approach: recent banking history has shown the dangers of this, even for socially-conscious banks, and the value of local and mutual principles (e.g. credit unions) have been rediscovered. William Quekett had instituted a Penny Savings Bank at Christ Church Watney Street as early as 1842 - see this article from 1859 in Dickens' journal All the Year Round  - which later amalgamated with the Tower Hamlets Savings Bank (of nonconformist origins), then with the East London Savings Bank, becoming in 1980 part of the Post Office Savings Bank (set up by Palmerston's government in 1861 when Gladstone was Chancellor of the Exchequer). Dan Greatorex at St Paul Dock Street also set up a penny bank and provident fund. So there were already local models; but the proposal for a National Penny Bank which Harry Jones quotes with approval draws more particularly on the Yorkshire Penny Pank [for which the present Rector of St George-in-the-East still has a savings box]. Right is a queue outside the National Penny Bank headquarters in 1914 when it closed temporarily at the start of the War.

Among my failures at St. Luke's I must reckon and mention the really very strenuous efforts I made to improve the streets and dwellings of the district. I do but repeat a truism when I say, that it is hopeless for a clergyman to expect to see highly religious influences at work among people who are incessantly surrounded with degrading circumstances, and the fire of whose life burns low by reason of the tainted air which they breathe. It is very true that drunkenness produces degradation; but, on the other hand, it must not be forgotten that degradation produces drunkenness. One radical way to raise people and cure them of their intemperance is to remove the causes which minister to their physical debility. In many dwellings, especially in the central and westerncentral parts of London, one room constitutes the house and home of a working man.

Now I would ask my reader, What would be the effect of this mischievous crowding on themselves and their families? What would your pulse be if you slept in the same small room you had worked in all day, with perhaps your wife and three or four children? If your medical man were to feel it thus fluttering or weak, he would probably prescribe some stimulant. Now comes one cause of mischief. A man wakes in the morning with a bad pulse and no appetite. Nature says, 'Give me something'. So he steps out, or sends one of the children and a bottle, turns up his little finger with a dram, and is relieved. But when a man, with such a spur as the consciousness of temporary relief from the use of alcohol, begins to drink in the morning, there is small hope of his recovery, or, at least, he is exposed to sad moral and physical danger. It is very easy for those who have every sanitary appliance, suites of rooms, change of occupation, fresh air, tubs, and well-cooked food, to cry out at the intemperance of the working classes; but this is not a radical vice among them, it is mainly a result of circumstances which drag them down, and if we should judge any severely for its prevalence; we should judge those whose indolence or selfishness permits such a state of things to continue. There is another provocative to drink, in the monotony of trade. Work is now so much subdivided that a man is tied down to the ceaseless repetition of a particular process. Do not suppose that one person makes a pair of boots. A 'bootmaker' does not join the seams; he fastens the 'upper' to the 'sole'; a 'closer' does the stitching. So with a coat. One is 'good' at collars, another at button-holes, &c. Now this wearisome beginning over and over again at the same part of a process so acts at last upon some men that they 'break out', as it is called. Nature avenges herself; she creates a long-desired diversion by a bout of drinking. There is the alternative, close at hand. You cannot expect every man to 'clean' himself, and go to the British Museum for an hour's recreation. There is all-potent gin, which carries the weary worker off into its region of delirious change, round the corner, for a few pence. In a day or two the man returns to work, with red eyes, shaky hand, and crusty temper, to create still more rapidly another accumulation of bilious weariness, which he dissipates, with lessening resistance, by the same miserable means. There are other influences which we sorely need. I am really speaking chiefly of my experience in St. Luke's, Berwick Street, and a few of these current pages are taken, with slight alteration, from an article which I wrote in Macmillan's Magazine some ten years ago, about some of the ways of working men. I say that there are other influences which we need. Air — we want more air. Play — we want more wholesome play. If t hose in the crowded parts of West London would but get out more into the parks, thereby involving a better dress and a refreshing contact, however slight, with other society and scenes, we should hope to check or disturb the creeping palsy of domestic stagnation, which too often results in periods of monotonous toil, relieved by slovenly idleness and drink. The worthy gentlemen, ruddy and pious, who sent up petitions against the Sunday bands from the country would, I am sure, relax much of their indignation at the offence if they knew how hopelessly some of those packed together in central London get mired in depressing drudgery, and how thankful they eventually would be to be tempted out of their close courts by some attraction which such as have green fields around and blue sky above them do not need.
Pieceworking, with armies of home-based workers (including children) performing one distinct element of garment manufacture, was to become a key feature of the rag trade, and Harry Jones notes its demoralising effect. He recognises the desperate need for relief from its monotony, so - unlike other Christians of his day - was no sabbatarian.

As to the condition of my old friends at St. Luke's, Berwick Street, I am constrained to say that the local remedy they, and some thousands of others in their predicament, most need, is better streets and houses. Efforts have been made from time to time to draw public and parochial attention to their case. These may so well be taken as a sample of others, that I will mention their particular necessities, and in so doing help to serve the battery which is working against all such social arrangements as do mischief to the working class. I use names, for any one who lives in London and reads this may go and see for himself some of the truth of what I say; and those at a distance, who may feel any concern in a local matter which has a general interest for society, will follow and understand me better than if I were to put an imaginary case before them.

The population of St. James's, Westminster, is 35,324, of which one-third, more or less, is lodged in about one-eighth of the space occupied by the whole parish. My own district, as I have said, lay in the most crowded part of this crowded portion, and is stated by authorities learned in statistics to be, by comparison with other localities, the most populous district of its size in London. All the houses in it, with the exception of those which have been already adapted to the requirements of the residents, were built for one household alone; but having been deserted by the class for which they were designed, are now crowded to their chimneys by the families of working people. The rents are high, the buildings old, and the accommodation, in the majority of cases, scanty and indecent. In the thick of the most crowded parts, moreover, there is an additional evil in a number of blind, or half blind courts and streets, which dam up all those influences that are opposed to wholesome commerce and trade. There are the spots where thieves and other persons beneath the more fashionable profligates of the parish assemble. They do not live there, but meet, and more or less degrade the residents. A network of courts, too, is mischievous on sanitary grounds, as well as on social ones. It shuts out fresh air as well as the corrective public eye, and tends to injure the health of the residents, as well as to provide a rendezvous for bad characters.

Any one can see that this, with all its vested interests, and, in many cases, the indifference of the sufferers themselves, some of whom have, I fear, at last grown to like it, is a heavy dragon to fight; but fought it has been, and will be, till it is slain. Some time ago a long and toilsome protest on my part drew such attention of influential residents in St. James's to this cancer in their parish, that a proposal was made in the Vestry to cut the cancer right through the middle by connecting two streets — Rupert Street and Berwick Street — which run in the same line, the expense being borne by a three-halfpenny rate, and the result being shown, by those who were able to calculate it, to promise eventually a gain to the parish in poor and police rates. All looked promising for a time. I brought leading parishioners to see and smell for themselves. An important representative deputation, with Lord Stanley (now Lord Derby) as spokesman, addressed the Vestry. All agreed that the formation of a new street by connecting the two I have mentioned, and lining the new part with houses well adapted to the working classes, would be a 'boon' to the parish ; but the three-halfpenny rate stuck in the throats of some of the smaller householders who had votes in the Vestry. The larger ratepayers were willing to bear their share, but some, whose share would have been 6s. 2d., looked blue and important. The levels, however, were taken, the cost calculated, and the plans made by an architect. The toil of years came to a crisis in a crowded Vestry. I, having no vote, was advised by several of the leading parochial authorities to do no more. The matter was out of my hands. It was a fair fight. I could not interfere any longer; so I went to a friend's house at Bedford, five miles out of town, for a day's rest, desiring the result to be telegraphed to me. It came — I walked out to meet it — in the hands of a little sauntering boy, who threw stones at the birds in the hedges as he dawdled along. The improvement was lost by three votes. Dirt, the great dragon, and six-and-twopence had won that round. The work is still to be done. Then — and I mention this because it bears on one of the most pressing questions of the day — there was a proposal for an underground railway, with a street (in this part of its course, at least) above it, to be carried right through the parochial cancer which the Vestry declined to cure. Fresh interviews, letters, statistics, looking at the place, talking about it, plans, levels, appointments. The old story, now so familiar to me that I think if I were dead and galvanized I should sit up and repeat it straight through. The look of the new street on rolls of paper was to me a picture of Paradise. I could see it as I walked down Berwick Street. Lovely ugly houses in flats, four or five storeys high, with shops on the ground floor, and entresol above, for the shopkeeper to live there if he liked. A common door, with large, well-lit staircase opening into sets of two, three, or four rooms, suitable to the wants of the artisan.

This failed. But I had yet another round with he old dragon of exclusive dirt and needlessly-crowded degradation. I really forget how the chance of it began, but I know that I got closer to victory than ever I had done before. The Vestry of St. James's, after another period of debates, and all the wearisome procession of effort which accompanies any struggle to do good, actually agreed to defray half the expense of the projected junction of Rupert Street and Berwick Street by a roadway. The thing seemed to be accomplished. Is it not written in the chronicles of the Metropolitan Board of Works? I well remember, one rainy day, calling at their office and being told that the business was virtually settled, and that notices were about to be served on the tenants of the houses in the obstructive courts. I believe I took off my hat and said a sort of Te Deum as I turned back into Trafalgar Square. But this effort also failed. Vested interests spoiled the carrying out of the scheme in its perfection. Thetwo streets in question are indeed now joined, not by a roadway for vehicles, but only by a wide footpath. The proper work is still to be done. A wholesome draught of traffic is needed, unpleasant to the idlers at the public-house corners, in short hair and jackets with thieves' pockets in them, who romp occasionally — in coarse, rough gallantry — with bare-headed girls, thus providing an out-of-door school of foul morals to the children of decent working people. The neighbours complain of these Bohemians bitterly. Poor creatures! one's heart bleeds for them; they — the girls especially — are so defiant of decency. It is a common sight enough. All honour to any man, be he who he may, who can break through the reserve of their close society, and set up a wholesomer action within it. These entry, who were civil enough to my colleagues and myself, and took in kindness any poor efforts we made to improve them, are ill-disposed towards the police, whose heads they occasionally break with brickbats; and you have only to ask the constable on duty at the bottom of Berwick Street what he thinks of the place, and he will give a character to the neighbourhood which the hard-working residents would resent, since the conspicuous offenders are felt to be a scandal to the genuine artisan, whose business compels him to live near the spot. Indeed they are attracted by some tumble-down houses close by, where some of them live; since they have there the certainty of cheap rents and the possibility of being able to run away without any payment for their lodging at all. But the destruction of any such houses as they live in would be an unmixed good. They are mostly bricklayers' labourers, whose work moves about everywhere over London, and who would be much healthier if compelled to flit to the cheaper tenements in the suburbs. A railway through our district would provide lodgings for the characteristic working classes of the parish, some of whom, who would be decent in decent streets, sink below their proper level under the influence of degrading circumstances.

I am quite willing to admit that changes which improve the look or value of a place by driving away the poor who ought to belong to it, and have tolerable dwellings therein, is cruel, however it may diminish local expenses. But in this case, and others, many mechanics who work and would live in the parish are excluded by the present state of some of the dwellings, or, if not that, by the state of the streets in which the dwellings are situated. And I am strongly inclined to think that this is true where any nest of foul, close houses is found. Under no circumstances are they fit for human habitation. They breed disease and death, and avenge their existence on those who suffer them to stand, as well as injure such as dwell around and within them. A rotten dirty house is like a piece of carrion. Let it alone, and it not only produces a swarm of its characteristic tenants, but stinks in the nostrils of all who live near it. A rookery
as it is unjustly called, for rooks will never build on a rotten tree, and are conspicuous for their love of ventilation and strict observance of social laws — is by no means a necessary item in the fabric of a city. It is always a sign that a certain portion ought to be cut out, like a fly-blown spot in a carcase. Let us hope that the Artisans' Dwellings Bill will make a clearance in St. James's, Westminster.

Here, at St. George's, we have a street or dwelling-house scheme in hand. I have already referred to the courts of evil repute where Charles Dickens laid the scene of Jasper's opium debauches, in 'Edwin Drood'. The East London Railway has torn a great passage through the parish, on the edge of which lie Perseverance Place and Palmer's Folly, the courts in question. They must come down. I trust to see the day when this chasm opened through the parish will be bordered by improved dwellings, while its centre is occupied by a new street leading down from the Commercial Road to the Docks. I have already devoted much time and pairs to the forwarding of this scheme, but at present the condition of the chasm is not such as to allow any reconstruction of its borders. Still I am not without hope, for some time ago I managed to get the representatives of St. George's in the East and Limehouse, which is also concerned in the matter, to meet the Chairman and Surveyor of the East London Railway for an interview with the Secretary of the Peabody Trust. On that occasion the last-mentioned gentleman held out a prospect of the Peabody Trustees being willing to deal with the Railway Company; and the representatives of the latter expressed their readiness to treat with them in case the financial conditions involved in the matter were satisfactory. To put this tendency into a practicable shape I succeeded in obtaining from the offices of the East London Railway Company a detailed plan of the lands in this locality at their disposal, and have handed it to the Secretary of the Peabody Trust. Thus, in some measure, the two associations are brought together, and I trust they may be able to do business as soon as the works in connection with the railway are sufficiently advanced. The benefit to the parish would be incalculable. There is no doubt but that new dwellings provided by the Peabody trustees would be appreciated. They have some blocks not far off, in Shadwell, which are filled by the very sort of people who need them most.
Harry Jones' earlier comments about Edwin Drood are here, and they are compared with other views here; the East London Railway cut through the parish from Wapping to Whitechapel, and did indeed result in the demolition of the courts mentioned.

Our Medical Officer, Dr. Rygate, in his report for 1872, in speaking of the extension of sanitary care in St. George's, remarks on the low mortality in model lodging-houses, which is only 14 per 1,000. He adds elsewhere, in his report published in 1874:
Dwellings for the poor might be erected of a better character, by placing more power in the hands of an active local or general board, with greater and cheaper facilities for the purchase of property ill-constructed or kept, and the erection on the land of properly ventilated and drained, and otherwise well constructed edifices, occupying no more ground than those removed, but extending in the only other fit direction, namely, upwards. Such dwellings would let well, and would be a great saving to the rates, as many would have their amour propre raised by living therein, and thus be kept off the relief list. Thus a parish could afford to pay a fair price for such property, and be satisfied with a moderate interest. Looking at the subject in a broad view of it, there could be little doubt of this, and with the great local experience of the members of the parochial boards, such purchases might safely be left in their hands.

This reads well; and as Mr. Hardy's Artisans' Dwellings Act has come into existence since it was written, I trust that our Medical Officer of Health will be encouraged to further the application of some of its provisions in St. George's, whether the Peabody Trust moves in the matter or not. We have a great chance now from the clearances caused by the construction of the East London Railway; and there are divers other parts of the parish where the new Act could, with the concurrence of the local authorities, be made to produce excellent fruit; for though, as I have repeatedly remarked, our poor people have more room than those living in the central or west-central parts of London, their houses need much improvement.
footnote: Since writing the above I am delighted beyond measure to find that our Medical Officer recommends the removal of between 200 and 300 houses in the Parish of St. George's as unfit for human habitation, under the provisions of Mr. Hardy's Act.
See above for Dr Rygate.
The Act which became law during the writing of this book was the Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act, more commonly known as the 'Cross Act' [Cross was Home Secretary - Hardy was a Member of Parliament who managed its business], enabled compulsory purchase for slum clearance; see here for more details of this legislation and its local impact.
For the local Peabody estate see here.

I have said that the worst courts skirting the route of the East London Railway lie just beyond the eastern end of the parish churchyard; and it is in connection with this that we are trying to make another highly desirable improvement. Our long disused churchyard is of considerable extent, covering, together with the church and rectory, some three acres of ground. This is already planted with trees, and a large portion of it, at the eastern end, is comparatively bare, of tombstones. Our lilacs and laburnums this year made quite a respectable show, and the vines in the churchyard are hung with grapes. But it is practically inaccessible. There are people who have lived close by for years who have never even seen it. It is surrounded by high walls, and is readily available only to the residents in my house. An avenue of small lime trees in it is indeed called 'The Rector's Walk' — I suppose from having been the pacing-ground of some predecessor of mine. It would be difficult to adapt the western portion of the ground to public use, as it is crowded with tombstones, brick graves and vaults, but the bare eastern part invites transformation into a public garden. There is no such garden near. There is no spot nearer than Victoria Park, some two miles off, where a working man can sit down and rest himself under a tree, or children escape from the gritty streets. I have told the parishioners that I shall be very willing to yield my privacy so far as to give up this open space to them, if they will put their hands into their pockets and make a bright and accessible spot of it. There would be great risk in the mere turning of Ratcliff Highway into the churchyard as it is. It must be properly fenced; and one great feature of our scheme, which involves the formation of a public path that should traverse the garden, would be lost if an attempt were made to utilize it by admitting the public into the spot as at present circumstanced.

We see, however, a way to use the place which would provide such use of and access to it as would hinder it being possibly employed as a questionable hiding-place, as it might become if only one narrow way of approach were made to it by opening from the Ratcliff Highway a court which leads towards the churchyard.

The burial-ground, now also disused, of the Wesleyan Chapel in Cable Street, adjoins that of the Parish Church, and is well planted with trees. It is, however, separated from it by a gaol-like wall, high spiked and strong. The obvious course is to throw all sectarian reminiscences to the winds, pull down the middle wall of partition between the two burial-grounds, and thus provide a good acre or more for a well-ordered public garden, traversed by a broad path between two of our main thoroughfares, Ratcliff Highway and Cable Street. This would make it easily accessible to all the parish, bring the watchful eye of the public into it, and also provide a new and pleasant access to our three chief buildings, the Vestry Hall, which looks on the Chapel burial-ground, the Chapel, and the Parish Church. There would be an additional advantage in the path, inasmuch as it would lead towards the new station to be built on the East London Railway, some hundred yards or so from the Chapel.

I am happy to say that the Vestry have taken up the project with spirit, and that there is good hope of our seeing it translated into fact. Great things are expected by some of us from our public garden, though I think people hardly realise the effect which will be produced when the horrible high spiked wall between the dead Churchmen and their deceased Nonconforming neighbours has been pulled down. Its demolition will shed a special sense of space into the centre of the parish. And I hardly dare to picture to myself the final result when a good acre or more is laid out with flower-beds and lawns, and well dotted with groups of shadow-casting trees, under which people can sit, away from the hot and gritty streets. My imagination, moreover, constructs a fountain in one particular spot, with a pool around its base, where bright-winged waterfowl will circulate and convey the contagion of refreshment to the wearied eye by the appetite with which they will enjoy themselves in the spray. I hope, too, we may have our colony of tamest pigeons, and it will go hard if we cannot get a few peacocks to unfold their stores of colour in some part of our garden. Indeed the place is capable of being made a delicious protest against and escape from the monotony of griminess which broods over miles upon miles of dull straight streets, where the granite stones of the road and the long lines of hard brick house-front are broken by no better plea for green growth and life than is seen in a flower-pot on a window-ledge, or a lark imprisoned with a handful of sod and a heart full of song. The united burial-grounds have, too, the additional capacity of being converted into a living retreat, since they are skirted by high walls, which can be covered with ivy and Virginia-creeper. Thus the eye as it glances under the trees and across the lawns and flowers will be stopped by no reminder of the dusty town, but rest finally on leaves. This will make our garden seem larger than it would otherwise appear. The sense of space will be further encouraged by the absence of many high buildings in its immediate vicinity. As it is, the top-gallant masts and pennons of the big ships in the Docks mark the sky line from some parts of the churchyard.

But I must not anticipate too much. These lines which I now write will have to be finally committed to type before a spade can be struck into our soil or a stone of the gaol wall between the burial-grounds pulled down. And there is such a thing as a slip between the cup and the lip. We have, however, taken such serious steps for the erection of the public garden, that I hardly think we shall fail. In the first place the idea is by no means a new one. It has crossed the minds of divers of our residents before now. And when once, not long after I came to St. George's, and was looking, with some of my leading neighbours, out of a back window of the Vestry Hall upon the two burial-grounds, and said something about the recreative capabilities of the place, my remark met with immediate response. After the matter had been the subject of many stray conversations with leading fellow-parishioners, I ventured to call a public meeting of the inhabitants in reference to the scheme. It was well attended, and the favourable words of the speakers met with unanimous acceptance. The meeting issued in a numerously signed petition to the Vestry to take the project into their serious consideration, and a strong recommendation of it by the local press. Many difficulties of course arose, and were discussed. Legal opinion was taken on our powers in respect to the churchyard. Once the line of our progress was apparently worn to its thinnest thread; somehow or another the project was on the point of being abandoned sine die, in the hope of its promoters being able to take it up again when public opinion on the matter had become more matured. A member of the Vestry then made a promising remark, and, I, being in the chair, asked him if he would like to put it into the shape of an amendment. He did, and it was carried. Then a committee, including our two churchwardens and myself, was appointed to go more fully into the matter. We took considerable pains, and at last brought up to the Vestry an enlarged and well-considered scheme, with estimates, down to the provision of a lawn-mower.

After much discussion this was unanimously adopted, with the understanding that no steps should be taken to acquire the Chapel burial-ground till an answer to a memorial had been returned by the Metropolitan Board of Works, who, we imagine, will help us with some £2,000, the half of the money needed to carry out the scheme. I am pleased to see that the decision of the Vestry, adopting the report of the committee, has met with the decided support of the leading local papers, both Liberal and Conservative; and I cannot resist the utterance of the feeling that, if the parish finally carries out this scheme, much will be done not only to make a desirable improvement in its midst, but to show that St. George's in the East is not behindhand in public spirit, and its appreciation of 'sweetness and light'.

At present the matter awaits the concurrence of the Metropolitan Board of Works. It was laid before them at the close of their session this year, and — I write in August — will probably be decided one way or another not very long after they meet again in October. Let us hope that the long escape which the members of the Board have it in their power to make from the dust and crowd of London, will help them to hear with kindly ears, the prayer of those who, having had through the hot autumn months little or no relief from the monotony of the streets, will then crave help in the provision of an accessible and shady garden by such time as the summer again makes grass and flowers precious to the Londoner. Our garden, if judiciously furnished and laid out, will bring into our midst just one of those touches of refinement which the East, and especially this part cf the East, needs, and in which it contrasts most unfavourably with the the West and other suburbs of the metropolis.
More detail about Harry Jones' vision for turning the former churchyard and neighbouring sites into a public garden can be found here, with archive material here.

It will moreover, if made, fit in opportunely with the improved streets and dwellings which must eventually replace those which stood on, or now partly skirt, the ground that has been broken up in the formation of the East London Railway. The importance of a more commodious passage through this part of the parish is becoming more distinct as the large steam-ferry across the Thames at Wapping seems likely to be established. This ferry will involve a very great increase of traffic through St. George's— for Wapping is a mere strip, a few yards wide, between us and the river — and a broad street, parallel to Cannon Street Road, will be needed towards the more eastern districts of these parts. Facilities for making this obviously appear in the demolition of houses caused by the East London Railway. Indeed the whole question of the reconstruction of this part of the parish is radically affected by this projected ferry. There seems to be every prospect of its success, and it will have much the same effect on us as a new bridge. Vehicles will converge to it from the whole district east of the London Docks, as well as from the surroundings of Rotherhithe on the other side of the river. Now there are forests of masts for miles in the Docks on either bank of the Thames, representing ships laden with merchandise which must mainly reach or be forwarded towards its destination by wheel and axle; but at present there is no such communication between these stores of goods and adjacent manufactories except by London Bridge. A waggon must turn at least three miles out of its way if it wants to pass from us to our very close neighbours whom we can see walking about on the Surrey side of the Thames. It is indeed impossible to calculate the effect which a large steam-ferry will have upon the traffic of these parts, for it will not only relieve that which is now imperatively compelled to go round by the bridge, but probably create much which it has hitherto not been worth while to attempt. The real need of an improvement, especially of one which promotes facility of intercourse between sections of busy people, cannot be known till it is made.

The Thames Steam Ferry ran from 1875 (with an official opening the following year) until 1886, between Tunnel (formerly Middleton) Wharf next to Wapping Dock Stairs and Rotherhithe Church Stairs - more or less above the route of the Thames tunnel. It was serviced by two near-rectangular iron paddle boats, 82' long with decks 42' wide, with rudders at either end, the Jessy May and the Pearl. There were problems designing a landing stage to meet the rise and fall of the spring tide while complying with the planners' requirements; eventually a large lifting platform at the landing stage with winding drum with heavy chains and a 120hp steam engine was used. It ran daily, except Sundays, from 8am to 6pm. Fares were 1d. for passengers, 6d. a head for cattle, a cab with fare 8d. (returning empty free) and between 8d. and 2/6d. for other vehicles, depending on the number of horses. The estimated building cost was £53,369, with annual running costs of £11,330 and expected earnings of £30,000. But it was not successful in attracting traffic away from the London Bridge detour; service were cut to one vessel, and when Tower Bridge was opened the steam ferry was bought out. (In 1892 another ferry, from Rotherhithe to Ratcliffe, was mooted, but plans were later abandoned; and in 1905 the London County Council ran 'penny steamers' - 30 paddle boats plying between Hammersmith and Greenwich, with a stop at Tunnel Pier - but despite carrying 10 million passengers in the first three years it was declared uneconomic and closed; the pier was finally removed in 1948.)

In looking at the social, moral, and religious prospects of St. George's, it is plain that such an advance in the provision of decent dwellings for the working classes as is rendered possible by the present railway clearance must raise many who are now depressed. Though the poorest and least reputable court anywhere has generally some witness for God and order among its inhabitants or households, a better house generally makes a better home. It brings such as live under its roof within the reach of, or nearer to, those influences which descend. It lifts, or helps to lift them, into that stratum of the community that respects itself. How can we expect a poor uneducated man, strained with toil and surrounded by such depressing facts as foul walls, rotten floors, a leaky roof, and stinking drains, to have energy and moral courage enough to keep himself and his belongings clean?

The family which, in despite of adverse circumstances, raises itself, or accepts higher influences, inevitably moves into a better house, or renovates that in which it is compelled to live. But put even a decent family into a pigsty, and it will most likely contract some of the habits of pigs. Compel a man to wear rags, and he will be exceptionally strong if his moral character does not become tainted with squalor. Now a ragged and dirty house is a sort of family suit, or livery of ill fame, and has something of the same effect on the household as a compulsory foul dress would have on the individual.

What chance have the ministers of righteousness and order in their efforts to raise those who are thus weighted and degraded? Here and there one may be lifted out of the slough, but the real righteous work is to do away with the slough; and every step in the improvement of the poorer sort of dwellings is one in this hopeful direction. I desire to do all honour to the efforts which are made by outdoor services and sermons in 'low' neighbourhoods to reach and revive the degraded; but, after all, the most practical street preaching is a pulling down of foul degrading habitations.

In respect to our pastoral work at St. George's I have little more to say. We have the usual machinery. Our mothers'-meetings are well attended. Our infant-nursery, which has been established and is supported by one kind Lady, meets with growing acceptance, and I think helps to set up here and there a wholesomer domestic action among those for whom it is intended. We have moreover, a kitchen, whence we aid some sick who need the assistance of the cook as well as that of the doctor; and we are fortunate in being furnished, owing mainly to the liberality of one person, through the London Nursing Society, with a trained nurse, whose business is mainly to go about and show people how the sick may be best tended, lending a hand here and there, looking in to see that the sanitary direction has been attended to, the medicine punctually given, the bandage, blister, or poultice properly applied. It is a homely, but most useful labour; and if any one likes to take part in a distinctly good work, he or she may send a donation to the London Nursing Society. We are fortunate, too, in the kind services of several ladies, who not only look after the details of the kitchen, the mothers'-meetings, &c, &c, but, going about, help to cheer many a poor soul. Along with the machinery and these ministrations we have a weekly meeting of a branch of the Charity Organisation Society, held in St. George's, and, in co-operation with it, are strenuously anxious to avoid giving such aid as rends to pauperise the receiver. We try as far as we can to help people to help themselves.

There is one branch, however, of pastoral work which we have hitherto been unable to see established. I mean a retreat or provision for such of the poor harlots who haunt some of our streets as desire to forsake the life they lead. It is of little use holding midnight meetings for them, and urging them to repent, if no means are provided for their exit from the vicious circle in which they move. There ought to be some main Refuge or Home for these poor women in this part of the East of London, and divers small accessible receiving houses which would act as first doors of escape. These should be simply equipped, but there should be some known roof under which a harlot, touched with weariness of or shame at her condition, might be sure to find a Christian motherly woman who would take her in without reproaches, and give her lodging till she could be moved on to the Chief Refuge, whence she might be, perhaps, restored to her own home, or put in the way of a respectable start in life. In time past some unfortunates have sought an escape from life in death. There is a bridge in our Docks over deep water, whose surface is greasy with droppings of tar, and where dirty chips float lazily about, from which some have leaped in a spasm of disgust and despair. On the outer wall of the riverside police stations may be seen occasionally some such dry printed announcement as this :—'Found, the body of a woman, unknown; age apparently 25; linen marked "Mary"'.

We ought to do something more than we do for possible penitents; and I, for one, should be glad to take part in a well-organized scheme for their reception and recovery, and I know of several who would join us in the attempt. But such a scheme would need careful preparation. The experience of those who have had much to do with penitentiaries establishes the fact that there is deplorable weakness of purpose and perversity of action even amongst such as have had moral courage enough to apply for protection and deliverance. In many instances they seem to have lost the commonest sense of truth, and the influences which should be brought to bear upon them must be not only pure, but strong. They need, especially at first, the closest and firmest supervision. Thus in divers cases it has seemed best to the good people who seek their salvation to subject them to severe ecclesiastical discipline. I am inclined, however, to think that a homely and natural treatment is more likely to recover them of their sin, and rekindle a life that has been marred by habits of drunken sensuality. A kind, firm manner, which does not display the Christian spirit that underlies it by insistance on minute ascetic regulations, would, I think, judging by the broad experience of humanity, be more likely to heal the weak and wounded soul than the sudden and severe subjection of the penitent to an importunate routine of religious services. The treatment employed should of course not be marked by mere human pitying good-nature; it should be, and claim to be, deeply divine; but there is danger lest the recovery of the sinner should be checked by very strenuous demands for her frequent use of stated devotional exercises.

If we ever see our way towards the provision of a Refuge for this part of the East of London, I trust that it will be managed with the deepest Christian tenderness and the firmest Christian strength, but without a prominent display of ecclesiastical machinery. The establishment and conduct of such an institution demands, indeed, the most delicate and persevering care, but I do not see why, by the combined action of those in these parts who mourn over iniquity of the kind I mean, something effectual could not be done to provide an escape for such as may be willing to seek deliverance from the evil they are beset by, and the grievous state into which they have fallen.
In the event, Harry Jones befriended Mary Steers and was an active supporter of her non-denominational Bridge of Hope Mission in Betts Street, chairing its committee, and continuing to send her his Easter offering even after he had left the parish.

It would lead my pen on over too many sheets of paper if I were to pursue thoughts which arise in considering what better means could be devised for the good of those who suffer in any way, and how the means now existing could be better used. Throughout the land there is, however, obviously a growing belief that any attempts to heal the sores of society must be based more on an enlarged perception and combined use of the great laws of life which God reveals than on the most manifold and strenuous but scattered individual charity. The action which has of late years been set up, and which characterizes the Social science, Christian Philanthropy, and Religious Enthusiasm of the day, is marked by a tendency to rest upon deep principles and adopt wide schemes. Educational, sanitary, and ecclesiastical measures all go to show this, and when such as are of an age to do so compare the state of things with what they can recollect of it, even so lately as two-and-twenty years ago, they must, I think, be cheered by the thought that in these respects at least a better day is dawning upon East and West London.


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