St George's Mission

from the Churchman's Companion 1860

If there is one part of Church work more than another which we do hope and trust will be well supported by all, it is the Penitentiary for the East of London in connection with the Church Penitentiary Association, and worked by the Clergy and Sisters of the S. George's Mission. We need not add one line to their own address which we reprint below, hut we must express our hearty thankfulness that in the face of the fearful scenes still enacted in the parish church, and as it were, to confound this and all other devices of Satan against the Church, GOD'S blessing on this work has been abundantly poured out, and a harvest of souls are rescued, and this even in the midst of a persecution such as had certainly no equal in the annals of our country for centuries. Long may the prayers and alms of all faithful members of our Church enable it to prosper.

"The Penitentiary at Sutton in Surrey has been blessed in the recovery of many fallen women and girls in the East of London, especially from the neighbourhood of Ratcliff Highway, Whitechapel, Wapping, Stepney, &c. Commenced as a Refuge in Calvert Street, Old Gravel Lane, in October, 1857, it soon grew into a Penitentiary, and was moved in July, 1858, to Sutton, where it increased in numbers from 17 to 30. The house, however, has been found inconvenient; arranged for so many, and the want of water and smallness of the laundry has interfered with the washing, and seriously limited the prospects of support by such work. More suitable premises have therefore been taken at Hendon, near Hampstead, where it is hoped that these difficulties will be obviated, and the work make steady progress.

A debt, however, has been already incurred of £150, and a farther sum of £600 will be required for furnishing, alterations, and fitting up the laundry on a scale suited to meet a large order for work, which has been promised as soon as it can be undertaken. To raise this sum of £750, the present appeal is made, that the Institution may start in its new premises free from all incumbrance.
The crying and flagrant sin of this District of London is alas too notorious, abounding in infamous houses, penny theatres, low public houses, and various dens of wickedness; so that in a survey of a block of 733 houses, and these not in the worst locality, made by the East London Association, 27 were found to be public houses, 13 beer-shops, and 154 brothels.

When, therefore, we see, in little more than two years, 130 to 140 poor girls and women rescued from the very jaws of this death, and of these a large proportion giving good proof of repentance and a new life, some in respectable service, some restored to their friends, others in this or other Penitentiaries, we may surely ask for liberal help towards so truly Christian an object, that it may not languish or droop for the want of the necessary funds for its maintenance. And at this time especially, when so much liberal aid has been given to endeavours for remedying the great Social Evil in the West End of London, it is well that the wealthy, and above all our commercial men, should be reminded of the still more flagrant evil, which the very extent of our commerce creates in the neighbourhood of the Docks, and so assist in all sincere attempts to provide a remedy.

A subjoined extract from the letter of an impartial observer, the Rev. W. H. Vernon, Curate of the parish of Sutton, who has kindly visited the House every week, in order to assist in the religious instruction of the inmates, will best show how far this institution deserves the liberal support which it now asks.
The recent movement will be doubly valuable if it direct the public attention to the self-denying efforts, and the actual amount of good, which this work has already effected. In my weekly visits to the House of Mercy, situated in my parish here, I have been deeply impressed with the vast importance of the female agency employed for reclaiming this unhappy class. As far as I have been enabled to judge, everything is so conducted in the care and treatment of the inmates there, as to encourage the hope that by the Divine blessing increasing good will result. Their attention and deportment at the afternoon weekly service, wherein I feel it a privilege to declare to them the simple truths of the Gospel of CHRIST, are highly gratifying and full of promise. May it please GOD to put it into the hearts of the wealthy and influential to assist liberally in this opening for setting forth GOD'S glory and the salvation of this hitherto neglected class of our fellow creatures.'
Accordingly, on Thursday the 21st, the new house at Hendon was opened in that religious order and spirit, in which all works for GOD'S honour should be commenced, with Holy Communion, with prayers and psalms. The Dean of Westminster preached in most touching and earnest terms on the subject for which the Home is founded. The Home is a large one, fitted up in the most useful way, and well adapted for its purpose: work-rooms, class-rooms, laundries, dormitories, all well ventilated and fitted up. A room has been fitted up neatly and yet worthily for the Chapel, and was decorated with flowers and evergreens on the occasion. May this day be the commencement of many years of prosperity and success to this Home for their great work of bringing back to GOD'S mercy and favour those who have so sadly fallen from it.

Donations towards the special Fund or Annual Subscriptions, will he thankfully received by Thomas Charrington, Esq , Ratcliff, E.; by the Secretary, Rev. C. F. Lowder, 44, Wellclose Square, E.; or to the Account of the East London Penitentiary, at Messrs. Barnett, Hoare and Co., 62, Lombard Street."

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