Monuments and Dust

Monuments and Dust

London Times: 10 May 1851

A Letter and Article Concerning the Welfare of Young Londoners.


Sir, -- The insertion of the following infamous case in your widely circulated journal for the information of parents will, I have no doubt, be attended with good, and prevent the dreadful pain and anxiety which it has been our lot to experience. We have six boys. The two eldest were returning from school, near Leicester-square, about half-past 4 on Wednesday afternoon, May 7. When near the fire station, Chandos-street, the youngest, 7 years, left his brother and went towards the fountains, Trafalgar-square. When near St. Martin's church a shabbily dressed woman asked him to go with her into St. James's-park, and she would give him a halfpenny. The little fellow consented, and she afterwards promised him a penny if he would go as far she wanted him, and took him through the park, over Westminster-bridge, and then over Blackfriars or London-bridge to Shoreditch church. The evening prayers were being read, and only a few people were there round the pulpit. She led him unobserved into a high pew at the end of the church and stripped him of nearly all his clothes, telling him she was going to take him to a lady's house, and would go and shake the dust off in the passage, and he must wait very quiet and she would bring him a bun. Of course she did not return, and the boy remained quiet as he was told. The people left and the church was locked. He was left all night in the church, and lay down on the cushion of the seat to sleep. The next morning the sexton and his wife, about 7 or half-past, went to the church to some duty, and he called out "If you please, will you open the door?" They asked him how it was he was there; he said he was waiting for his clothes. They wrapped him in a shawl and took him to their house in a cold shivering state, and gave him some breakfast. He gave his address, and the sexton immediately came by the omnibus and relieved us from our anxiety.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


418, Strand.

LONDON' RAGGED DORMITORY. -- The second anniversary meeting of the friends and patrons of the "London Ragged dormitory and Colonial Training School of Industry" was held last night at the Queen's Concert Rooms, Hanover-square; Lord Ashley in the chair. The proceedings were opened by the chairman, who explained the peculiar nature of the institution, and the principles by which it sought to attain its charitable object of reclaiming those among the vagrant and convict population of the metropolis who desired to mend their ways, but whose poverty urged them on to the perpetration of fresh crimes. It was the object of the society to give a chance of a better life to those who, being abandoned, and having been depraved, were sincere in their desire for reformation. It had been said that there were many who would gladly work, learn, and emigrate, whose lives were comparatively pure, and who had stronger claims on the assistance of their fellow men than those for whose welfare this institution proposed to proved. In the face of these accusations he could only express his charity, and that their reformation was not only a Christian, but also a prudential object. Mr. Nash's report was then read, and showed that the loss which had been occasioned to society at large by the 44 persons who at present are inmates of the institution amounts to no less than 21,120l., and that the depredations of the Liverpool thieves equalled in one year the enormous sum of 700,000l. With these facts before it the public could not but see that a still increasing population of criminals was a matter of the most serious consideration, even in a financial point of view, and that the institution deserved that support which it claimed at the hands of the public, and of which, according to the treasurer's report, it stands in much need. It appears from the statement of Mr. C. Wood, the treasurer, that the income of last year (solely derived from voluntary contributions) was only 464l., while the expenditure amounted to 603l. These limited resources restricted the action of the charity, and it was necessary to refuse admittance to vast numbers of repentant applicants. It was necessary to build a larger house for the reception of those who desired to reform; and for this purpose the sum of 2,000l. was required, 280l. of which had been contributed by two charitable donations. Lord Ashley's plan is to extend the benefits of the training school to 100 persons who have passed the order prescribed by the laws of the institutions; and in behalf of the sum required for this purpose (400l. ) and the building fund the meeting was further addressed by Sir. J. Warrender, Mr. Ernest Bunson, Mr. S. Gurney, and Mr. Payne, after which the proceedings terminated.