26 December 1888
In reply to our appeal to the Government for help towards providing food and shelter for the poorest classes of workpeople at this trying season, and of helping fallen women to return to lives of honesty and virtue, the Home Secretary writes - "that, whilst fully sensible of the meritorious purpose which the Salvation Army have in view, and of the energy with which they have pursued it, he is unable to accede to the petition that the Government should assist a charitable work conducted by private persons with grants of money, buildings, or stores." We can, therefore, only cry for the immediate and large hearted help of our fellow citizens to meet an emergency which we contend demands more than private effort. The important point to be borne in mind is that we do not propose any giving of doles or a placing of persons in a dependent position. We think that anything of the kind would not only fail to meet the vast need that exists, but would even aggravate the ills we complain of. What we do propose is this:
1) To enable all the poor creatures who by dint of odd jobs can scrape together a few pence per day, to obtain for fourpence food and lodging of such a character as will keep them in health and strength until they are able to get more remunerative work.
2) To enable fallen women to escape from their dreadful life, and by honest toil, to a great extent at least, to meet the cost of their own restoration to the paths of virtue. Just such an establishment as we have in the West India Dock road should be within the reach of all the mostly unemployed men and women we have described. Here during the last ten months over 500,000 meals have been purchased at prices varying from one farthing to a penny, and 25,000 nights' lodgings have also been paid for. The entire cost of all this to the benevolent public (after meeting the first cost of alterations and fittings, £800) is only about £150 per annum. In this building we can only accommodate 120 sleepers per night; but what multitudes there are who cannot at present find such shelter anywhere, and must pay 3d or 4d for even the wretched demoralising cover of the common lodging house.
Hitherto we have done nothing in the way of shelter for the daytime; but there are many thousands who can get no work to do except during the early or late hours of each day, and who must needs lounge about the streets, lodging, or public houses if no friendly door be opened to them. How many lives might be preserved, how many hospital infirmary beds left free, if men and women had somewhere to go, where they could be warm in the daytime; what a difference it would make to some of the victims of "sweating" if they could leave their fireless rooms to spend even part of the day in such a common room as this? For the fallen women we propose at once to open ten additional rescue Homes, similar to the twelve we have at present. In these we can absolutely count upon rescuing at least 1,000 more girls during the next twelve months in addition to the 1,000 per annum we are now enabled, by God's help, to restore to honest and virtuous lives. Seven out of every ten girls we receive became good hardworking members of the community. There is no doubt whatever as to the enormous numbers of these women who are ready to hail any real way of escape from the dreadful life they are living. As many as forty have had recently to be refused by our officers in one day, simply because our Homes were full. With tearful eyes they plead to be allowed to sleep in the passages or upon a floor until a bed is available, and quite recently one poor woman waited outside during the night, so as to get the first chance in the morning. Such a hold has been gained upon the confidence of these poor creatures by the loving sympathy of our officers that on any given night 50 fresh cases could be brought in of women and girls earnestly desirous of returning to a life of honesty and virtue. At the funeral of a lass who died recently in our Home several unfortunates who attended knelt upon the ground at the graveside, cried, and kissed the hands of our women officers, thus showing their appreciation of the kindness shown to their poor sister:- "Several of them came back to the Rescue Home, but only one could be taken in."
Confident that, whatever Government might do, we should find many private friends ready to help us, four large buildings have already been secured in the following localities, viz. - A shelter for women and children only, to accommodate 250 per night (thus supplying 91,000 beds per annum) in the immediate neighbourhood of the late Hanbury street tragedy; a shelter for men at Clerkenwell, with similar capacity; a food and shelter depot at Whitechapel, capable of supplying 36,300 meals per week (or at the rate of 1,687,600 meals per annum) and of providing shelter for 150 men per night (62,500 beds per annum); a food depot at Marylebone, to supply 4,000 meals per day, or 1,248,000 per year. Similar buildings are now being negotiated for at Shadwell, Bow and Bermondsey.
In connection with the rescue work, 30 more beds have been provided and a new home is about to be opened which will enable 30 more girls in addition to be taken in. For every £1,000 subscribed towards food and shelter work we will undertake to establish and maintain a depot capable of supplying 54,750 beds and over 1,000,000 meals per annum. For every £1,000 contributed towards rescue work we will fit up and maintain two homes, each containing 30 beds. One hundred girls per annum can be rescued in connection with each home. We deeply regret the view held in official circles upon this subject at present, but we trust that a little more vigorous action will convince anyone that the persons whom alone we propose to help - namely, those who are ready to make earnest efforts to maintain themselves honestly - deserve State assistance. However, in the meanwhile we believe that if by the aid of the Press we are enabled to put the matter properly before the whole nation we shall not merely be enabled to meet the expenditure we have already incurred, but to complete the entire scheme as above set forth.
Amongst those gentlemen who have already expressed their sympathy with and approval of the objects we have in view are the following:-
Right Hon. H.H. Fowler, M.P., Lord Charles Beresford, M.P., Lord Blantyre, Sir John Lubbock, F.R.S., Bart., M.P., Sir Edward Clarke, Q.C., M.P., (Solicitor General), Sir P.J. Dorington, Bart., M.P., Prof. W.J. Stuart, M.P., Hon. Philip Stanhope, M.P., H.J. Atkinson, Esq., M.P., John Ellis, Esq., M.P., Walter M'Laren. Esq., M.P., Miles M'Innes, Esq., M.P., George Newnes, Esq., M.P., Samuel Smith, Esq., M.P., Benjamin Scott, Esq., F.R.A.S. (City Chamberlain), Rev. Dr. Clifford, M.A., Rev. Joseph Parker, D.D., S. Gurney Sheppard, Esq., T.A. Denny, Esq., Septimus R. Scott, Esq., J.W. Janson, Esq., Francis Peek, Esq.
The following gentlemen have also kindly consented to receive contributions towards the fund for carrying out this scheme: Right Hon. H.H. Fowler, M.P., 9 Clement's lane, E.C., Professor Stuart, M.P., Queen Anne's mansions, S.W., Miles McInnes, Esq., M.P., Oxford and Cambridge Club, S.W., Rev. Dr. Clifford, M.A., 21 Castellain road, Maida vale, W., Septimus R. Scott, Esq., 9 Draper's gardens, E.C., S Gurney Sheppard, Esq., 57 Old Broad street, E.C. - London Stock Exchange, J.W. Jackson, Esq., The Close, Croydon, Lloyd's, E.C.
the fullest information can be obtained upon application to the financial secretary, 101 Queen Victoria street, London, E.C., to whom subscriptions should be sent (cheques and postal orders being crossed "City bank.")
I am, dear Sir, yours, on behalf of outcast London,
101 Queen Victoria street, London, E.C.
Mr. Booth, the General of the Salvation Army, has certainly chose a most appropriate time for making the appeal which we publish today. Whatever fault may be found with our methods of celebrating Christmas in these scientific times, men of all opinions agree in regarding it as a fit season for remembering the poor. There has probably been more goodwill in the shape of charity at the present season than at any former Christmas in history. Society is waking more and more every year to a sense of its duty to the outcasts of civilization, and all it wants is to know what to do for them and how to do it. The existing machinery is large, and doubt exists in some minds as to the wisdom of further adding to it. General Booth's scheme, however, has received the sanction of so many persons in whom the public may safely trust that we have no hesitation in giving publicity to his appeal. We agree entirely with the Home Secretary that it is not for the Government to assist a charitable work carried on by private persons. Public money must always carry with it public control. But when Mr. Booth asked for "the immediate and large hearted help" of private persons he is on form ground. How far any contribution to his scheme for outcast London involves approval of the general methods and teaching of the Salvation Army it is difficult to say; but on the face of Mr. Booth's letter the present effort seems to be purely and simply one of rescue and self help. The two objects in view will command general sympathy. They are, in General Booth's words, "To enable all poor creatures who by dint of odd jobs can scrape together a few pence a day to obtain for fourpence food and lodging of such a character as will keep them in health and strength until they are able to get more remunerative work," and to offer a ready way to escape for the unfortunate class among whom the victims of the Whitechapel murderer were found. This work is already being carried on, and it is almost astounding to read that during the last ten months half a million of meals have been served at one institution at prices varying from a farthing to a penny, and 25,000 nights' lodgings have been paid for, the entire cost, after fitting up the rooms, being about £150 a year. This really means that the kind of institutions the Army provides are almost self supporting. The proposal now is to extend this method of help very largely by opening buildings in the East end, in Clerkenwell, in Marylebone, and in Shadwell, Bow, and Bermondsey. We trust that enough money will be forthcoming to enable the whole plan to be completely and efficiently carried out.
The police have, we are informed, at last succeeded in establishing the identity of the unfortunate woman supposed to have been murdered in Clarke's yard, High street, Poplar, but they have been unsuccessful in tracing anything like a connected chain of the deceased's antecedents. It will be seen from the already numerous list of soubriquets under which she was known, that she was one of those unfortunates lost in London. The first person to give the police any clue regarding the deceased's identity was Mrs. Hill, of Simpson's row, Poplar, who recognised her as Alice Downey, or Downe, others knowing her in the neighbourhood as "Fair Clara,£ and "Drunken Liz," while Alice Graves recognised her as Lizzie Davis. It would appear from this conflicting testimony that the murdered woman was known in Poplar by the name of Downey or Downe, and in Whitechapel, which it has been discovered was the last neighbourhood in which she resided, by the name of Davis. Both these names have, however, been discovered to be assumed, and would appear to be conclusive evidence that the victim is one of the many unfortunates in the metropolis who, having absconded from their friends, perhaps in the provinces, are lost to them for ever for reasons which are obvious. Beyond Mrs. Hill. no one appears to know the deceased in the district where she was found murdered, but in Whitechapel she is well known, but only by the of Davis or "Drunken Liz." The police, after some considerable difficulty, secured the attendance at the Poplar Mortuary yesterday of Elizabeth Usher, the head nurse at the Bromley Sick Asylum, where the deceased was stated to have been an inmate. Miss Usher immediately recognised the woman as Rose Milett or Mylett, who had been an inmate in that institution on several occasions. There can be but little doubt that the name under which Miss Usher recognised her is her real name, for the books of the asylum were referred to, and it was discovered that she last entered the asylum on the 20th of January, 1888, and discharged herself on the 14th of March last. On each occasion she went in under the same name and for treatment of the same disease. It appears that the deceased had informed most of her acquaintance that she had a mother living in Baker's row, Old Montague street, Spitalfields. The police have, however, failed to discover any relatives in this neighbourhood, but have found that the deceased resided in a common lodging house in George street, a thoroughfare in Spitalfields made notorious by the recent attempt to murder a woman in a similar establishment. Mary Smith, the deputy at this house, was somewhat reticent regarding the affair, but described the deceased as being "a very respectable person, although she was an 'unfortunate.'" In answer to some questions put by a reporter, Mrs. Smith said the deceased had lodged with her for about three months, and had until within the last fortnight had a male companion in a man named Goodson; but this man, she stated, had not seen the unfortunate victim for the past two weeks. The last time she saw the deceased alive was on Wednesday night last, when, between six and seven o'clock, Rose Milett left for Poplar, Mrs. Smith giving her twopence to pay her train fare to the district in which she met her death. She had always known the deceased by the name of Davis, and no other. She believed that her mother lived in Baker's row, but she had never seen her, only having heard the deceased say that her mother lived there.
The last returns to the Local Government Board from the various parishes and unions of the metropolis show the number of indoor poor to be 59,801, and outdoor poor 24,589 adults, 15,521 children under the ages of 16 years, or a gross total of 99,831, exclusive of lunatics, imbeciles, and inmates of various hospitals and institutions or of vagrants. The number at the corresponding period of last year was 102,559, being a decrease in pauperism of no less than 2,728.