Monday, 31 October 2011


A brief article on firemen from All the Year Round. More on London firemen and firefighting here.

THE fire-engines of London, including the puffing Billies which make such a ferment of steam and smoke along the streets, now belong to the public, or at least will do so as soon as the recent statute comes into operation. Strange it may appear to continental nations that these invaluable aids to the security of our dwellings have hitherto been absolutely unrecognised by the government, the municipality, or any public body.
    For a period of ninety years there has really been only one statute in operation containing compulsory rules as to fire-engines; and this refers only to the little half-pint, squirts known to us as parish engines. It is to the effect that every parish must keep one large engine and one small, one leathern pipe, and a certain number of ladders. What the parishes might have done if no other organisation had sprung up, we do not know; but the insurance companies having taken up the matter, the parishes backed out, doing only just as little as the law actually compelled, and doing that little about as ineffectively as possible. It used to be fine fun to see the magnificent beadle and his troop of young leather-breeches drag the parish engine to a fire, and profess to pump upon the flames. But that fun has sadly waned; some of the engines have died from asthma or rickets, or have been laid up with rheumatism in the joints ; while others are so rusty and dusty, and the key of the engine-house is so likely to be lost, that we can afford to forget them altogether.
    No ; it is to the insurance offices, and not to any governing or official body whatever, that we are indebted for our capital fire-engines, and the small army of brave fellows who attend them. The system was a self-interested one, of course, in the first instance; seeing that the companies were not bound to take care of any property save that in which they were directly concerned. But the curious part of the matter is, that the companies have long ceased to feel that kind of interest, and have actually kept up the engines and the brigade-men at a loss, until the public authorities should fill up the gap. In the first instance, the fire insurance companies thought fire-engines an essential part of their establishments; seeing that the less damage was inflicted on the property for which they had granted policies, the less they would have to pay to the persons insured. They bought, each company for itself, as many fire-engines as they chose, and paid for as many men as they chose to manage them. When a fire occurred, out rushed these engines, with no paucity of heroic daring on the part of the men. But then two evils arose. Each corps cared only for such houses as were insured in one particular office, and deemed it no matter of duty to save adjacent property. The other evil was, that the men quarrelled with each other as to precedent claims for reward, and sometimes fought while the flames were blazing. To lessen if not re- move these evils, was the purpose of a very useful arrangement made about forty years ago. The managing director of the Sun Fire Office proposed that, without interfering with the independent action of the companies in other ways, they should place all their fire-engines in one common stock, to be managed by one superintendent, under a code of laws applicable to all the firemen; the system to be administered with due impartiality to all the partners, and paid for out of a common purse, to which all should contribute. It was a sagacious suggestion, proper to come from the largest of the companies. As some minds move more slowly than others, so do some companies fall in more readily than others with a new and bold scheme. At first the Sun, the Union, and the Royal Exchange were the only companies which entered cordially into the scheme; the others "didn't see it." Then the Atlas and the Phoenix joined. This limited partnership lasted till the year eighteen hundred and thirty-three, when all the companies assisted in the formation of the London Fire-Engine Establishment. Mr. Braidwood threw his energies into its organisation, and gallantly headed the brigade-men in their dangerous duties for some thirty years; but he fell in the great fire at Tooley-street four years ago a brave man dying at his post.
    The arrangement of this fire establishment is peculiar. Any insurance company may belong to it, on paying a fair quota of expenses; and the total number has gradually risen to about thirty. Each board of directors sends one or more delegates to represent it, and the delegates form a committee for managing the system. All the engines and apparatus, floating engines, and engine-houses, belong to the committee ; and out of the funds provided by the several companies, the committee pays the salaries of the superintendent, inspectors, and firemen. The metropolis has been divided into a certain number of districts, convenient as to size and relative position ; and each district has a station at which the engines are kept, with firemen always ready to dash out when their services are needed. These head-quarters of districts, to which the boys "run to fetch the engines," are at Watling-street, Tooley-street, Southwark Bridge-road, Wellclose-square, Jeffrey's-square, Shadwell, Rotherhithe, Whitecross-street, Farringdon-street, Holborn, Chandos-street, Crown-street, Waterloo-road, Wells-street, Baker-street, King'-street, and Horseferry-road. Captain Shaw, the present commander-in-chief of the brigade, pitches his camp at Watling-street. These stations have engines and men ready day and night. The general allowance is three engines, four horses, and about nine men to each station. Electric wires extend from station to station, affording means for communicating the news of a fire very quickly ; and the men pride themselves on the rapidity with which they can horse their engines and start off. The most prominent novelty in the organisation of the system is the steam fire-engine, which drives the water forth in a jet such as no engine worked by hand power can equal. During the International Exhibition, there was a grand field-day of steam fire-engines in Hyde Park, at which Marshals Shand and Mason, General Merryweather, and other steam magnates, showed what they could do. One engine shot forth three hundred gallons of water in a minute ; and another sent up a jet to a prodigious height, showing how useful such a power would be when a lofty building is on fire. In some of the steam-engines, such is the arrangement of the boiler and flues, the water can be raised from the freezing temperature to the boiling point in ten or twelve minutes. The attendant genii have not to wait for steam before they start ; they fill the boiler with water, light the fire, gallop away, frighten all the old women, delight all the boys, and nearly madden all the dogs ; and by the time they arrive at the scene of conflagration, the water boils and the steam is ready for working. Captain Shaw speaks highly of these steam fire-engines ; and more and more of them are to be seen rattling through the metropolis. All the engines, steam and hand, have their regular quota of apparatus stowed in and around them scaling-ladders, canvas sheets, lengths of hose, lengths of rope, nose-pipes, rose-jets, hooks, saws, shovels, pole-axes, crow-bars, wrenches, &c.
    Fires are multiplying quite as fast as the population, despite the tact that fire-proof construction of buildings is more adopted than ever. London heads the list with fourteen hundred fires annually ; Liverpool follows with three hundred, Manchester with about two hundred and fifty, and Glasgow with over two hundred. In America, New York and Philadelphia both range between three and four hundred ; Paris about equals Liverpool; Berlin and Hamburg each about equals Manchester. The difference between any one year and the next is never very considerable ; for a sort of law of human carelessness prevails, leading us to a pretty steady aggregate of mishaps. Captain Shaw will not include "chimneys" or "false alarms" among his fourteen hundred. In one of the recent years there were sixteen days with no fire, one day with nine fires ; but the average is between three and four fires per day. The late Mr. Braidwood tried to ascertain whether the social and industrial habits of the people lead to a predominance of fires at particular seasons, days, and hours. In one year, August was most disastrous, October least; Tuesday the most disastrous day, Wednesday the least. There is no reason traceable for this ; and as the disastrous months and days differed in other years, we may pass the matter by. There are reasons, however, connected with the social habits of Londoners in respect to fire and light, which render intelligible the statement that more fires break out about ten or eleven in the evening, and fewer at six or seven in the morning, than at any other periods of the day. As to the causes of fire, one out of every six or seven is set down either as "wilful," "suspicious," or "unknown." The known causes, besides the more obvious connected with flues, ovens, boilers, gas explosions, include "cinders laid by hot," "poker left in the fire," "reading in bed," " playing with lucifers," "cigar-ends and pipe-lights thrown down carelessly," "sun set fire to fusees," "cat upset linen-horse," "cat ignite lucifers," in fact, we are inclined to think that puss is made responsible for more sins than she really commits, in this as in other kinds of wickedness. The terrible crime of arson terrible in relation to the peril to innocent life it brings with it we say nothing of here ; the insurance companies suspect more than they openly accuse.
    In France, the system is military ; the sappers and miners, or sapeurs-pompiers, are the firemen when on home-duty, in whatever town it may be. The fire-engines are small, but very numerous ; and as Paris houses have more complete and lofty party walls than those of London, rendering the spread of fire from house to house less likely, the engines and the sapeurs suffice. In Germany, many of the larger towns empower the police to demand the assistance of the inhabitants in case of fire. A night-watch man is perched upon some high place; when he sees a fire he fires a gun, and telegraphs with lanterns ; the inhabitants then drag the fire-engines in the direction shown by him. In America, the volunteer system is adopted. New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburg, San Francisco, and most of the large towns, have their respective volunteer fire-brigades. At New York there are no less than two thousand of these volunteers, grouped into eight, brigades ; and a dashing sight it seems to be when they have their annual procession through the city. Captain Leonard says that San Francisco is divided into a number of wards, each of which has its quota of engines, firemen, and hook-and-ladder men. A tocsin bell at the station of each ward gives the sound of alarm to the neighbouring wards, and the alarm of fire is thus speedily disseminated through the city. The firemen are a fine body of young men, in a smart yet suitable working dress, consisting of a red shirt and trousers, a belt, and a helmet, the latter indicating which corps the fireman belongs to, such as the First or Second Tigers. The fire-engines are generally beautiful models of their kind, very light, and in some cases deco- rated with silver ornaments. The larger engines are worked by steam, and send forth an immense body of water. By the rules of the several corps, a volunteer fireman, however engaged, is bound when the fire tocsin rings to don his helmet and red shirt and appear at his post. The hook-and-ladder men attend the firemen, and render service like that rendered by our admirable fire-escape brigade. The example of America is not wholly lost upon us here in England. The dock companies mostly possess private engines ; so do many of our large public establishments, and many large mansions. But the voluntary system, properly so called, is that which is intended to serve others as much as ourselves. Hodges's Distillery certainly takes the lead among such, so far as London is concerned. Well-appointed fire-engines, for steam as well as manual power, firemen clothed and accoutred at all points, an observatory whence a look-out is maintained all night, fire bells at the residence and the distillery, half a mile of hose or leathern water-pipe, horses and harness kept in such readiness that an engine can be sent off to the scene of a fire within three minutes after the fire-bell is heard, a lieutenant to command the men under the proprietor as captain there is something very gallant about this, and we touch hat to Mr. Hodges. This brigade has gone out to attend more than a hundred fires in twelve months, and not simply on the Lambeth side of the water. The example is spreading. Early in the present year it was stated that there were at that time forty-three Volunteer Fire Brigades in Great Britain, possessing seventy manual and steam fire-engines.
    There is something catching, not only in fire, but in the exciting enthusiasm connected with a large conflagration in London. One of our noble dukes has had a telegraphic wire laid from the nearest engine-station to his own bed- room, in order that he may jump up and go out to a house on fire, if so disposed ; and, not many weeks ago, the same nobleman gave an afternoon fete to all the firemen, on the lawn attached to his mansion. Nay, even the heir to the throne has donned the fireman's helmet, and ridden on the engine to the scene of a conflagration. In a recent fire on a small scale at Marlborough House, the royal fireman mounted on the roof, and did his duty. A fire levels all distinctions. More than one despotic king and emperor on the Continent has shown a relish for this kind of volunteer service, lending a hand, ordering the lazy, encouraging the timid, rewarding the brave, and doing hot battle to save a cottage.
    The insurance companies, we have said, wish to get rid of the cost and responsibility of maintaining the engines and the brigade. It is known that there is twice as much uninsured as insured property in the metropolis. The engine- men direct their gallant services equally to all houses and buildings, small and great, insured and uninsured. What is the consequence ? The companies do their best to extinguish fires in twice as many buildings with which they have no interest, as in those which are properly insured. If the brigade-men allowed a fire to blaze away because the house was not insured, what a public commotion there would be ! And yet the companies get no thanks for their unpaid service. There is no official recognition whatever of the brigade by any governmental, parliamentary, municipal, or parochial authorities.
    The London Brigade has received only a few augmentations in its strength during many years past, and is now too weak for the requirements of so vast a city. The companies refuse to strengthen it, because the non-insurers would get the lion's share of the benefit. Three years ago they addressed the Home Secretary on the subject ; they pointed out that there is no such anomaly in any other city in Europe or America, announced their intention of discontinuing their fire-engine establishment as soon as it could be done without public inconvenience, offered to transfer their establishment to some well-constituted public body on easy terms, suggested a small house-rate of a farthing or a halfpenny in the pound to defray the annual expenses, and expressed their willingness to render aid in every way towards the development of the new scheme. A committee of the House of Commons, in the same year, supported these recommendations, and named the Commissioners of Police as a fitting body to be entrusted with the work. In the years 'sixty-three and 'sixty- four the matter was well talked over ; and now we have an act (lately passed) which defines what is to be done. The Metropolitan Board of Works, and not the Commissioners of Police, are to have the management. On the first day of next year the new order of things will begin. The board are to build or buy new fire- engines and fire-escapes, or to buy up those now existing, whether from companies or societies, at their discretion. They will form a brigade of their own, and will pension off such of the brigade-men (if any) as they do not want. They may establish fire-engine stations at as many parts of the metropolis as they choose, and may make all necessary contracts with water companies and telegraph companies. They may draw up a scale of salaries, gratuities, and pensions for those employed by them in these duties. They may make arrangements with parishes for a transfer of parish engines and men. The government is to contribute ten thousand a year, on account of so many of the government, establishments being in the metropolis. The fire insurance companies are to contribute thirty-five pounds for every million sterling of property insured by them, as an honorarium for the new brigade's extinguishing of fires in insured property. The remaining expenses are to be defrayed by an additional halfpenny in the pound on the poor-rates. For the good working of the statute, intimate relations are to exist between the new brigade, the police, and the insurance companies, in all that relates to property under fire. Lastly a hint to those who neglect the chimney-sweeper a chimney on fire will entail a penalty of twenty shillings on the owner or occupier of the room to which the chimney may belong.

All the Year Round, September 2 1865

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Women's Work

Here's in what occupations women said they were employed for the 1881 census. Servants, milliners, dressmakers, laundresses are perhaps quite predictable. See if you can find how many miners, and how many doctors ...

7167412 Returned by Property, Rank and not by Special Occupation
1763207 Children under five years of age

1,230,406 Indoor Servant
357,995 Milliner, Dressmaker, Staymaker
302,367 Cotton Manufacture
176,670 Washing and Bathing Service
94,241 Schoolmistresses
92,474 Charwoman
81,865 Shirtmaker, Seamstress
63,801 Worsted Manufacture
58,501 Woollen Cloth Manufacture
52,980 Tailor
40,346 Agricultural Labourer or Farm Servant
39,695 Silk Goods Manufacture
35,672 Shoemaker or Dealer
35,175 Sub-Medical Service or sick Nursing
32,890 Lodging or Boarding House Keeper
32,785 Lace Manufacturer, Dealer
28,781 Draper, Mercer
28,605 Teacher, or Professor and Lecturer
27,983 Straw Manufacture
26,487 Inn or Hotel servant
26,422 Grocer
25,772 General Shopkeeper
21,510 Hosiery Manufacture
20,614 Farmer and Grazier
17,877 Earthenware
17,660 Costermonger
13,261 Glove Maker
13,051 Confectioner
12,709 Inn or Hotel Keeper, Publican
11,526 Hospital and Institution Service
11,376 Musician and Music Teacher
10,592 Bookbinders
9,138 Nail Manufacture
9,072 Hat Manufacture (not straw)
8,718 Paper Box and Bag maker
8,575 Tobacco, Tobacconist
8,277 Paper – Manufacture
7,985 Cabinet Maker, Upholsterer
7,853 Flax, Linen Manufacturer
7,817 Factory hand (undefined)
7,633 Baker
7,524 Machinist
6,855 Greengrocer
6,185 Fancy Goods (Textile)
5,989 Commercial Clerk
5,329 Provision, Curer, Dealer
5,261 Stationer
5,190 Carpet
5,176 Fustian Manufacturer, Dealer
4,888 Trimmings
4,686 Hosier, Haberdasher
4,461 Artificial Flower Maker
4,443 Milkseller
4,351 Tin goods
4,301 Office Keeper (not Gov.)
4,238 Factory Labourer (undefined)
4,185 Brush Maker
4,179 Warehousewoman (Not Manchester)
4,121 Button Maker
4,112 Umbrellas, Sticks, &c
3,932 Cotton, Calico Printer &c.
3,795 Nun, or Sister of Charity
3,753 Goldsmith and Jeweller
3,728 Beer, &c. Dealer
3,496 Butcher
3,465 Skins – Furrier
3,216 Civil Service (officers and clerks)
3,099 Miners – Coal
3,017 Municipal Parish Union or District Officers
2,893 General Labourer
2,738 Brick maker or Dealer
2,664 Coffee or Eating House
2,646 Midwife
2,611 Mixed Materials – Weaver
2,595 Turner, Box Maker
2,525 Cane, Straw – Basket Maker
2,520 Embroiderer and others
2,503 Steel Pen, Maker or Dealer
2,368 Actor
2,364 Gardener (not Domestic)
2,344 Bolt, Nut, Screw Maker
2,297 Hemp, Jute, Manufacture
2,255 Artisan (undefined)
2,228 Telegraph and Telephone Service
2,209 Metal Burnisher, Lacquerer
2,202 Printers
2,093 Rope, Cord Maker, Dealer
2,089 Quill, Feather Dresser
2,074 Needle, Maker or Dealer
2,035 Saddler
2,029 French Polisher
1,977 Others [?unclear, comes after Goldsmith, Lapidary]
1,933 Envelope Maker
1,921 China or Glass Dealer
1,903 Miners – Tin
1,891 Other Iron and Steel
1,887 Fireworks
1,880 Painter
1,840 Dyer, Bleacher &c.
1,777 Sacking, Bag, Maker and others
1,753 Cook (not Domestic)
1,743 Hair – Bristle worker
1,707 Church, Chapel, Cemetery, Officer or Servant
1,692 Glass Manufacture
1,672 Thread Manufacturer, Dealer
1,663 Old Clothes Dealer and others
1,660 Missionary Scripture Reader, Minister, Itinerant Preacher
1,610 Messenger, Porter, or Watchman (not Gov.)
1,583 Cutler, Maker or Dealer
1,539 Japanner
1,481 Net Maker
1,448 India Rubber Worker
1,439 Salesman, Buyer
1,438 Publisher, Bookseller, Librarian
1403 Rag Dealer
1,374 Blanket Manufacture
1,346 Portmanteau, Bag, Strap, &c.
1,309 Photographer
1,278 Pawnbroker
1,233 Tackle, Toymaker or Dealer
1,206 File, Maker or Dealer
1,186 Ribbon Manufacture
1,168 Coal Merchant or Dealer
1,159 Tape Manufacturer, Dealer
1,149 School service, and otherwise engaged in teaching
1,129 Newspaper Agent, News Room Keeper
1,128 Manufacturing Chemist
1,059 Art Student
1,006 Crape, Gauze Manufacture
991 Anchor and Chain Manufacture
982 Brass, Bronze
978 Timber – Dealer
955 Furniture Broker
906 Ironmonger, Hardware Dealer
838 Pewterer, &c.
801 Fancy Chain or Toy Maker, and others
783 Corn Flour, Seed Dealer
775 Watch and Clock Maker
768 Wigmaker, Hairdresser
759 Apprentice
748 Lodge, Gate or Park Keeper
738 Pipes, Snuffbox, &c
734 Nurserywoman, Seedswoman, Florist
731 Carman, Carrier and Carter
725 Ticket, Label Writer, and others
687 Spinning and Weaving Machine Maker
684 Mustard, Spices &c. Dealer
668 Poulterer
650 Cloth, Stuff, Dealer and others
631 Chemist, Druggist
599 College or Club Service
584 Prison Officers &c
563 Fishing rods, &c.
560 Currier
553 Civil Service (messengers &c)
525 Manufacturer Superintendent (undefined)
521 Wire Worker
520 Performers
511 Broker, Agent, and Factor
503 Lamp, Candlestick
495 Pin, Maker or Dealer
479 Mat Maker
479 Clasp, Buckle
477 Other Railway Servants
470 Flannel Manufacture
454 Painter and Glazier
452 Author, Editor, Journalist
445 Paper Stainer
440 Card maker
422 Wine or Spirit Merchant, or Agent
408 Shawl Manufacture
389 Dye, Paint Manufacture
387 Roads. Turnpike Gate Keeper
386 Ship Steward or Cook
381 Oil and Colour
379 Calico Dealer
378 Waterproof Goods and others
371 Brewer
353 Bargewoman or Waterwoman
353 Cheesemonger
352 Locksmith and Bellhanger
347 Blacksmith
337 Ginger Beer Manufacturer and Dealer
330 Surgical Instrument Maker
330 Carver and Gilder
304 Vegetable substances, Others
301 Engine Machine Maker
300 Corn Miller
300 Metal (undefined) Worker, Dealer
294 Fisherwoman
293 Other Service
286 Cellarwoman
281 Art, Music, Theatre Service
280 Lapidary
279 Soap Boiler
274 Canvas, Sailcloth
267 Miners – Copper
266 Comb Maker and others
255 Accountrement Maker
247 Persons occupied in Insurance
245 Miners – Lead and undefined
241 Musical Instrument Maker or Dealer
240 Omnibus and Cab owner, Livery Stables
240 Plumber
234 Music Publishers
231 Miners – Ironstone
227 Cork Cutter and Dealer and others
222 Chandler
220 Philosophical Instrument Optician
219 Gunsmith
216 Carpenter or Joiner
216 Coachmaker
212 Dog or Bird Dealer
206 House and Shop Fittings
195 Weighing Apparatus Maker
192 Undertaker, and others
191 Tools, Maker or Dealer
174 Crossing Sweeper
171 Railway. Pointswoman, Level Crossing
166 Map and Print Colourer and Seller
159 Animal or Bird Preserver
159 Salt. Maker or Dealer
158 Glue, Isinglass, &c. Maker
157 Ink, Blacking
155 Bone, Ivory &c. Worker
147 Gasfitter
142 Charcoal Burner or Dealer
141 Lead Goods
135 Lithographer
135 Builder
133 Literary or Scientific Service
122 Gunpowder, Explosives Manufacture
122 Clay, Sand &c. Dealer
119 Sugar Refiner
118 Silk Dyer
118 Silk Dealer
109 Dealer in Works of Art
108 Mason
103 Other Gamers, Maker or Dealer
103 Cooper
102 Oil Miller, Oil Cake
100 Law Clerks, or otherwise connected with
100 Saw, Maker or Dealer
97 Wheelwright
97 Drysalter
95 Paperhanger
91 Navigation service (on shore)
91 Tanner, Fellmonger
89 Accountant
85 Catsmeat Dealer, &c.
85 Bricklayer
84 Bank Service
77 Refuse Matters. Chimney Sweep
76 Bicycle Maker and others
75 Others, agricultural
74 Patten Maker
73 Pencil, Wood, Maker or Dealer
70 Harbour Dock or Lighthouse Service
64 Medical Student, or Assistant
64 Engraver
59 Auctioneer, Appraiser, House Agent
58 Railway Carriage maker
58 Maltster
55 Manure Manufacture
53 Agricultural Machine Maker
53 Die, Seal or Medal Maker
50 Inland Navigation
50 Hay, Astraw (not plait)
50 Copper Goods Manufacture or Dealer
49 Horse Proprietor and Horse Breaker
47 Sail Maker
46 Billiards, &c.
46 Plaster Manufacture
45 Gardener
45 Felt Manufacture
44 Wool, Dyer, Printer
41 Plasterer and Whitewasher
41 Whitesmith
39 Ships, Ship Builder
39 Lime Burner
38 Proprietor or Attendant, Agricultural Machine
33 Navy
33 Image Maker or Dealer
32 Type Cutter
32 Slate – Worker
30 Mine Service
28 Wood Carver
28 Woolstaper
27 Ship Rigger
27 Contractor
26 Electrical Apparatus Maker
25 Physician, or General Practitioner
25 Cattle or Sheep Dealer
24 Parchment Maker or Dealer
24 Zinc Goods
22 Floor Cloth Manufacture
21 Domestic Machinery, Maker and Dealer
20 Waterworks’ Service and others
19 Fossil Dealer
18 Lath, Hurdle Maker
17 Army Pensioners
17 Fuller
16 Sculptor
16 Manchester Warehousewoman
15 Reporter or Shorthand writer
14 Wheel Chair Proprietor
14 Slater
12 Copper and Steel Plate Printer
10 Hop Merchant
7 Alkali Manufacture
5 Merchants
5 Banker
4 Sword or Bayonet Maker

list of women's employments based on the 1881 census, taken from
The Englishwoman's Review February 15, 1884

A Night Out in Victorian Soho

Caldwell's 'dancing-rooms' (essentially a night-club) was a Soho club of the 1860s, less flashy than the Holborn or Argyll Rooms, patronised by the working/lower-middle classes. It was at 32 Dean Street (the corner of Bateman Street, if the numbering still holds good).

Like most dance-halls, it was accused of being a haunt of prostitutes/women looking for unattached amusement - much the same thing, according to nineteenth century moralisers. You can find some more stuff about it on my site here where it generally comes out rather well, as opposed to the 'better class' establishments, such as the Holborn Casino, which does seem to have been a notorious pick-up joint.

This is what reminded me of it - a great account I've just stumbled upon, from its declining years:

If you have ever lost yourself in Soho, or been to the Royalty Theatre, you have probably seen this somewhat seedy-looking academy - and what it looked outside, it was in - for it was, without exception, I should think, the seediest, shabbiest, dirtiest, "tumble-downiest" place of amusement you could find in London. The price of admission stamped it in my mind. Fancy, eightpence. What a miserable sum! Sixpence sounds much more respectable. Once inside the turnstile, at which a melancholy man, who always had a glass of rum and water before him, presided, and up the staircase, where a spotted mirror or two, and some dirty, cracked, plaster statues kept up the seedy idea, you came to the dancing-room, a large bare apartment with everything in it in the way of decoration utterly gone to the bad. One end of it was a gallery where the "music" sat. Ye gods! What a band was that. "Seedy" to its very core - with its cornet always cracked and its other instruments either imbecile or drunk. There were two seedy waiters, too, most weak-kneed and flat-footed of their race; who - no liquor licence being attached to the place - were kept running to and fro, between it and the proximate public at the next turning. As to the usual audience, it well matched its surroundings. There was none of the flaunt and glare of the Argyll or the Holborn about it. Caldwell was largely supposed by that class of girl called, I believe, in select circles, "dolly-mops"; a sort of uninteresting and seedy edition of the Parisian grisette. Ballet girls out of an engagement and "slaveys" out for the night also patronised it; and the men who went there were almost, without exception, snobs or cads. Such is my idea of a place the Observer saw fit to gush about in a most sickening way last Sunday. The Holborn is at any rate lively, and you get good music, and something pretty to look at - but Caldwell's, faugh! the place was as dreary as a gospel-hall. I think it a good job is has gone.
    What the young men who used to go there in the day and take private lessons in dancing will do without Caldwell's  I don't know, and don't care; though I believe Mr. Bland and his daughters and Miss Leonora Geary are still ready to take them in hand if they like. At Caldwell's, I understand, the mysteries of the trois temps and the galop were imparted by a superannuated ballet mistress, who was too old and fat to arouse amongst her pupils anything like a wish to intersperse the learning of their steps with amatory amusement, and the ballet girls provided as "lady partners" for the more proficient were, I believe, always very lean and ugly, for obvious reasons. Poor girls! what they must have suffered. I can fancy nothing worse than to be the partner of an awkward clumsy lout who is learning to waltz, unless indeed it is to be the wife of a man like Mr. Ruskin, who is wholly wedded to his art. It is cruelty to allow girls to be roughly and hardly used. Idiots who cannot dance should buy a sixpenny "Guide to the Ball Room" and practice at home with a chair, then they can hurt no one but thermselves.
Sporting Times, September 30, 1871

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

How the Other Half Lives

A nice piece of satire from Punch which reminds us that the Victorians themselves pondered the social and moral consequences of the gross inequalities between rich and poor in the ninteenth century:

Friday, 14 October 2011


Following on from the last post, I have created a 'top trump' style game using some of the pics, like one does ...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Heads of the People

Some beautiful Victorian 'characters' from the great cartoonist, Kenny Meadows (1790-1874):

Islington Peep Shows

Another example of why Upper Street, Islington, was known as 'The Devil's Mile' in the 1880s and 1890s:

At Clerkenwell, George Reid, described as a purveyor, living at Harrow-road, who had been apprehended on a warrant, was charged on remand with having, on the premises, 24, Upper-street, Islington, carried on an exhibition of pictures of a depraved and indecent charavter, contrary to public morals. Mr. C.F.Gill appeared for the prosecution on behalf of a society called the National Vigilance Society; and Mr. Westcott, solicitor, appeared for the defence. Evidence had been given by detectives of the N Division that in consequence of complaints they visited the premises in question, the shop of which was used as a cheap show, admission being one penny. The exhibition was a sort of peep-show, photographs being shown through lenses, which enlarged them. The magistrate, having inspected some photographs produced as samples of those at the show in question, said that, under all the circumstances, he felt bound to decide that the exhibition was of an indecent character, and fined the prisoner £20, or two month's imprisonment in default.

Times, 29 August 1892

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Slangy Girls

A guide to office etiquette for Edwardian office girls (London Journal, 1909):


No business man wants a secretary whom he cannot trust to see his business callers in his absences. A knowledge of good English and a courteous way of speaking are the things he wants in his representative.
    There are other little details of office manners which every business girl should know. In the first place, when you come to work in the morning. say good morning, individually or collectively, to your fellow workers. There is no need to be effusive about it, but it is a simple courtesy which is well worth while. If you are late, don't come hurrying in with "Gracious! Isn't this awful?"  but say simply and frankly, to the head of the office, "Good morning, Mr. Mr. Blank. I'm sorry to be late, and I will make up the time this evening ." For it is office manners, and the best sort of  office manners, to give your employers honestly all the time which they are paying you for. You owe them the ten minutes which you lost in the morning. You owe them the ten minutes you stayed out over your lunchtime. They will appreciate your honesty it you make it a point to see that their interests are protected.
    Don't be familiar either with your superiors or inferiors on the office staff. Familiarity leads to gossip and office gossip is always bad for those taking part to it.
    You are not paid to make friendships or to chat with the rest of the office. Guard your opinions as to office conditions. The girl who sits at the desk next to yours, and who thinks the office manager a mean, partial thing, always giving the easiest work to someone else, may, if you agree with her, and let her know it, be unscrupulous enough to repeat your words to the office manager himself, or to someone else who can injure your prospects.
    You can be pleasant and polite to every one, but keep your own counsel—or you will be sure to wish you had.
    Don't get into the habit of criticising your superiors, even to yourself. Maybe the head of the firm is cranky and inconsiderate of you, but you must remember that you are only a small piece of a big mechanism, and that it is this mechanism which he is working with all his strength to keep mowing,
    He is struggling with problems of the gravest weight and importance, and when you misspell words and get figures wrong you are putting most trying little obstacles in the way of his success, and when he flies out at you and calls you inattentive and incompetent, he is only telling you the truth. Try to concentrate and make your work the big thing during work time.
    All girls should remember, too, that the office is not the place for manicuring, hair-dressing, or general 'prinking'. All that sort of thing should be done at home. How many business girls, during a lull in work, may he seen giving attention to their nails or readjusting their side-combs, and the like. Some girls even have little mirrors into which they may be seen looking anxiously whenever they get a chance.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Victorian Schooling

If you're a teacher, or have kids, I strongly recommend that you read this - Extracts from the Diary of a Master of a London Ragged School, published in The English Journal of Education, Vol.IV, 1850.

[We insert this paper, which was not written for publication, because we hope that the simple narrative will convince some who need to be instructed of the great work to be done before the education of the people is effected.-ED.]

OCT. 29th 1849.-0n the way to the school this morning in company with —, who has been appointed to act as my assistant, we were saluted by women and boys as we went along in a most singular manner. I cannot say that the exclamations and gestures of these people were significant of disapprobation, but rather the reverse; however, their coarse and brutal manners had a most disheartening influence on me. I looked in vain for some manifestation of feeling that would enable me to "thank God and take courage." . . .  It was a dismal scene . . .  no appearance of thrift or industry . . .  nothing but squalid wretchedness and dirt and idleness — the lanes leading to the school were full of men, women, and children: shouting, gossipping, swearing, and laughing, in a most discordant and unnatural manner. The whole population seemed to be on the eve of a great outbreak of some kind or another: ready for anything but work.  . . . .  These lanes are a moral hell. The place and the people beggar description. . . . .  We prepared the school by placing benches in situations for the division of the scholars into four classes, and as they came tumbling and bawling up the stairs, we directed them to seats. Shortly after ten o'clock I spoke to them kindly, and then asked them to join with me in prayer. They knelt and followed me in the Lord's Prayer, with some few exceptions, in a not very improper manner. The decent behaviour to be met with in almost any school could not be expected here. I proceeded to read a collect, but the noise obliged me to stop.
* * * * *
Most of the children can read very well indeed. Some of them can write, and almost all of the first class can say the multiplication table well; they all promise to be expert at figures. In mere schooling they are not behindhand; but in decency of behaviour or in respect for the teacher, or in discipline of any kind, they are totally unparalleled. No school can be possibly worse than this. It were an easy task to get attention from savages: a white man's appearance would ensure him some sort of regard: but here the very appearance of one's coat is to them the badge of class and respectability:- for although they may not know the meaning of the word, they know very well, or at least feel, that we are the representatives of beings with whom they have ever considered themselves at war. This is not theory, but fact.
* * * * *
We were almost stifled several times by half-a-dozen of the neighbours congregating on the stairs and puffing tobacco smoke in volumes into the school. How the lungs of such emaciated youths could work so effectively is to me a mystery. One miserable boy, with scarcely a hair on his head, was somewhat puzzled to get out the letter of the alphabet to which my companion pointed, so he knowingly pulled out his tobacco-box and helped himself to a quid in a grave and veteran-like manner.
    Their craving for stimulants is most saddening. Two of the biggest boys were complimented by me on the way in which they did a sum in compound addition. "Give us some coppers for a pint of beer," was the ready response.
* * * * *
In Scripture history I got a series of answers that are above the average in point of information of those which could be obtained in some national schools. But of what use that kind of knowledge can possibly be, unless it is brought to bear on the moral training and conduct of the possessor, I am at a loss to determine. It is a very easy thing to stuff these boys with Scripture history, or with anything indeed which is or can be made interesting; but it is a sad desecration of the subject and a sinful waste of time to give them mere facts. Be the result then what it may, I shall introduce the Church Catechism and teach them their duty from that. The system hitherto pursued has been worthless and criminal. If I do not succeed in teaching the catechism properly, I shall at least have the satisfaction that the boys know the words in which the ten commandments are given, and their duty towards God and their neighbour shall be so impressed on their memories that the day may come when these words, perhaps got off by mere rate, may bear good fruit. A school without a catechism is like a church without a creed.
* * * * *
I had occasion to punish a boy slightly this morning: he swore and blasphemed most horribly, and rushed from the school. I took little notice of this display, and sat down calmly to hear the class with which I was engaged read the Acts of the Apostles. I was suddenly startled by a large stone passing my ear. If it had struck me on the head, I must have been severely hurt. I got out of the reach of stones thrown through the window, and continued the lesson. Several followed-half-a-dozen at least. He was ready in the court with a brick in his hand, to have his revenge when I came out. With some difficulty I got out of the lane without being obliged to run.  . . . .  I walked some time in — —, and having thought over the matter, I considered it best to call at the police station, and ask for a convoy. This was readily granted; and followed at a short distance by the policeman, I returned to the school.
    Without one exception, these boys are precocious. They require more training than teaching. The great city has been their book, and they have read men as such boys alone can do.
 * * * * *
A child began to scream dreadfully. I said to his elder brother. "Pray take out the child." "Child," said he, "he aint no child; he's a man — look at him, for your own satisfaction, gentlemen," (bowing in a droll way to the class).
    Several clergymen called in the afternoon, and they had scarcely left when a most distressing scene occurred. Two girls of twelve or thirteen years of age quarrelled, as it would appear, about a remark which one of the clergymen had made concerning a new frock which one of them wore. The first notice I had of this was to see the pair boxing most viciously: before I could get at them, they had hold of each other's hair, and were yelling most fearfully: they fought like furies. — took hold of one, and myself the other: but before we could separate them, one had received a severe, and I fear a lasting injury in the eye, and her nose bled profusely. I sent her home, and went again to work: but I had not been quiet for ten minutes, when a fearful outbreak took place. Seven women rushed into the school: the stairs were full besides: and outside, at least fifty women had collected. These were the mothers and friends of the girls who had fought. Having abused me in no measured terms — and if I mistake not, they collared me — they proceeded to fight. — remonstrated with one woman, and I with the other; so we stopped their battle. Our boys cheered most tremendously. The women swore and shrieked. Those outside (several men amongst them) responded. Never, surely, was such a noise heard before. 1 did not believe that human beings resident in this most Christian metropolis, could so behave. . . . .  — held up his hands, and if he said anything I did not hear. We got our visitors out at last, and we could see they held an important meeting on the subject of their visit in the court below. But not being interested, we shut the windows to exclude the noise, and proceeded with our work. . . . .  To compose the children, if possible, I proposed that we should have a little music, and — sang very sweetly the first verse of the Evening Hymn. We then invited the children to follow us, and we got through the first line or two very well — but a blackguard youth thought proper to set up on his own account, and he led off a long in this strain:- "O, Susannah, don't cry for me, I'm off to Alabama, With a banjo on my knee!"   I need scarcely add that every boy followed this leader, ay, girl. and all, and I could not check them

* * * * *
After some time I spoke to them very gently and sadly, and having gained attention to some degree, I ventured to close the school with a very short prayer. I did so. Fearful to relate, in the midst of the Lord's Prayer, several shrill cries of  "Cat's meat!" and "Mew, mew," added another fact to the history of this school.
    So by the help of God we must both work harder. It is a post of honour. It is a forlorn hope.
30th Oct. 1849. — If possible the scholars were more unruly to-day than they were yesterday, but no serious outbreak took place. Before I got  out of the locality I managed to empty my pockets, "Give, give," is the cry — I gave a lesson to-day on the duty of labour, and I pointed out the colonies as a good market. This was the first lesson which arrested their attention.
* * * * *
I had occasion to remark to a poor old woman who looks after the sewing, that I thought the girls were employed more at sampler work than was necessary. She tells me that they will not work cheerfully at anything else. They have no notions of thrift or of useful work. It is difficult to get them to make a shirt. I gave notice that in future I should expect to see more of them making and mending stocking. and shirts, and none of them who could not do such work well were to be allowed to waste their time in samplers. I mean to speak on this subject to some lady visitor should one appear, as I am not well-informed, perhaps, in the importance of. samplers. I think marking-ink would do the work better, and save time. At least, a shirt ought to be made before it is marked. May God help us! What a solemn charge is this!
    All our copy-books have been stolen, and proofs exist that the school is used at night as a sleeping-room. We must get a stronger door to it. I must also get a tub to stand by the pump in the court, and a piece of coarse towelling and soap. My duties must resolve themselves into —
First - To see the boys and girls well washed and scrubbed,
Secondly.-To try to get prayers said decently.
Thirdly.-To give them a lesson in their duties and privileges, for they have many, and know none.
Fourthly.- Some religious .instruction.
31st Oct. 1849.-Great noise, turbulence, and confusion, but no serious outbreak. The rev. the rector called and left without saying anything. A lady visited us this afternoon and waited for some time. I am at a loss to ascertain the motives which induce ladies to visit such a place, unless one is uncharitable enough to attribute them to mere curiosity, or to that morbid feeling, which makes such places as the Old Bailey, or the Chamber of Horrors, in Baker Street, attractive. We should get on much better without visitors. The children are so accustomed to be shown off, that they bristle up for the occasion, and fire their witticisms with more impudence than when no strangers are present. These boys and girls require to be sobered: all exciting influences should be avoided, and therefore I mean, if possible, to discountenance visitors. I gave a lesson this afternoon in geography in presence of some clergymen; I was attempting to get out the fact that we lived on an island called Great Britain. We spoke of England and Scotland and Wales as being countries close to each other. I got out that an island was a portion of land surrounded by water. Then I asked, "What do we live on?" — " On food, when we gets it," was the ready answer.
    I bought some calico and asked the girls to make boys' shirts, which may be given away if they are ever finished. The material for three cost 2s. 6d., just tenpence a piece! The fact is being constantly forced on my notice, that these children are not so deficient in mere religious wordiness, if that is the word, as might be supposed. They have had a great deal of good schooling in a certain sense, or rather much labour has been expended in teaching them to read, write and cipher well. But I cannot believe that any attention has been bestowed in making this knowledge useful. They are utterly destitute of feeling or propriety; and their technical education, such as it has been, has not made them more civilized or better children. After all, the school must be looked upon as secondary to home teaching. It is apparently worse than useless to expect a man to be made better by merely learning to read and write. Those of our scholars who can do so best are decidedly the most depraved. One boy, who is quite as well schooled as the average number of boys at his age are schooled — (say twelve years of age) —  said to me to-day,  "Please sir, I'll go down on my knees and say The Lord Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, for a halfpenny." Another, as we went along the lanes from school, called after us, "Glory be to the Father," &c. All this is very monstrous, and I am puzzled to find the cause for such impiety  — there must be a cause —  and until I can come to some conclusion on the subject I am at a loss to apply a remedy. I have prohibited the use of the words, "Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!" which they were very fond of shouting, and I have resolved to make their religious lessons as impressive as I can. I use the Lord's Prayer only in opening or closing school; and in the lessons generally I have attempted to introduce a sober solemn tone for that flippant, irreverent, thoughtless, gabbling manner to which they are very prone.
    We almost shed tears to-day when we pondered over our work. — Sursum corda!
1st Nov. 1849.-Wrote to the curate, asking him to get us a tub to be placed near the pump and about the door of the school, &c. Being All Saints Day, we were bothered by many boys from the Romish school in the neighbourhood, as they had a holiday.
2nd Nov. 1849.-More confusion and excitement. Two lady visitors, who sat nearly the whole afternoon, without helping in the least but apparently enjoying the sad spectacle which our debased scholars presented. I am sorry for these ladies, as I cannot allow ourselves to be sport for them at such a sacrifice to the children under our charge. This making of our school a kind of public exhibition is most detrimental to its discipline and progress. It must be stopped. Are these ladies writing a novel? Surely they are not preparing themselves to be present at a public execution!
 A boy, D—, called another boy a thief, on which the latter replied by a few cuffs; I separated them, and let the business of the school proceed. The mother of D— came into the school, to retaliate on the boy who had punished her son. I objected to this, and insisted that I would not have interference from without. The woman raged very much, and called me a blackguard. She declared that my bread was at an end; the authorities would turn me out, &c. N.B. —Avoid violent scenes in the school.
5th Nov. 1849.-Scarcely a boy to be found in the lanes, or near the school. They are off picking up pence by the exhibition of effigies, or Guys. Many of these have had a Roman Catholic training. Their fear of the priest seems very trifling. Kept the school open all the morning, and mustered about twenty; might have doubled that number had we admitted all that came, but I declined the honour of the National schoolboys' visits, and politely requested them to enjoy their holiday. Called on Mrs. P— as the name is pronounced — to ask kindly after her girl, who received the box in the eye last week. Mrs. P— is a highly respectable, judicious, and God-fearing woman-at least, she says so herself. She says that she is well known to the aristocracy, and despises the acquaintance of anyone who is not a lady. She gave the names of several persons of distinction with whom she is intimate. Mrs. P— is determined to keep her position, and preserve the fine feelings of her daughter, which have been carefully developed by a course of maternal training. Certainly, her daughter can box very well indeed; and the manner in which she tore her antagonist's hair the other day gives proof that she will keep her place amongst her compeers. Mrs. P— is not only disposed to be reserved towards her neighbours, and to move in a select circle: she is also very much inclined to be exacting. Kitty B— is no companion for her daughter, nor is widow —'s family fit to associate, or even to sit in the same school, with her child. Oh no ! Before Miss P— can return to my seminary, all the children of the families who are obnoxious to Mrs. P— must be expelled. "Don't the rector know Miss P—? in course he does; didn't he examine her eye? Don't the clargy respect Mrs. P— and her family; and Mr. P—, who never drinks his beer at the public-house, but has it brought home in his own jug, and drinks of a Sunday like a jintilman? Mrs. P— is not bigoted, nor is Mr. P—. God forbid. Don't he read the Bible, ay, does he; not like the tight-laced people upstairs, who hate the Bible as the Devil does holy wather." Here Mrs. P— produced a pocket Bible out of a drawer, in proof of her assertion. According to Mrs. P—, the widow D— who gave me the scolding on Friday, is a very bad character, and it also appears that the widow was very drunk on Saturday, and got put IN for six hours. What this means I cannot say, unless it be that she was taken to the police station for being disorderly. From another authority —  our female assistant — I learn that  — gave Mrs. D— fiye shillings on Friday. . . . The rector and his curates are sadly deceived by these people. I have no pretensions on the score of reading character, but I defy anyone who takes the least trouble to observe and compare what he hears from Mrs. P—'s own mouth to remain ignorant of the fact that her family make a very good business out of their respectability. The fight before alluded to was occasioned by some remarks respecting a frock which Miss P— wore. I was not quite unprepared for this development of Mrs. P—'s character; for, the last time my predecessor visited the school, he said to me when leaving, "I am going to visit Mrs. P—," "Then," answered loudly one of my hopeful children, "he is going to visit a sneak."
* * * * *
We could not make a school this afternoon: at three o'clock four boys and six girls of the first division alone were present. The attractions outside were overpowering. In addition to the lucrative employment afforded by the carrying about of effigies, or Guys, there were three funerals from the court, which were accompanied by the inhabitants. The deaths were occasioned by black fever, scarlatina, and measles. From what I hear, the locality is very sickly at present — no drainage-no water. Perhaps I should have given a holiday to-day,. but I wished to respect the feelings of the Romish population-a wish which they evidently did not understand. In short, they seem to have no feelings: they have fallen so low, that they derive a kind of happiness and independence from their very degradation. "Fears and sorrows," says Campbell, " fan the fire of joy," and this is true in a sense of which he did not dream. It seems as if the excitement caused by an excess of fear and sorrow produced happiness! More of this when I have time. I shall think over the assertion, and I cannot see why it should not be so. "An excess of modesty;" said the elder D'Israeli, "is an excess of pride." That paradox will do for a text. Any careful observer would come to another conclusion; and that is, that these people do not require the schoolmaster so much as they need some municipal act for the regulation of lodging-houses and dwelling-houses generally. The Society for Improving the Dwellings of the Lower Classes is one which, if properly supported and carried out, would work wonders. Preaching and teaching can never fructify in the heart or mind of a man who is never alone. It is almost cruelty to talk of virtue or decency to a being who is doomed to sleep and do everything else in a crowd.
    Let anyone visit a lodging-house in this neighbourbood and he will never forget it. The woman who live in the room under our school (which has no strong door), tells me that she hears people moving about at night — houseless wanderers, who come there to sleep. They have not as yet stolen anything! It is thus they pay for their lodgings. We did lose some copy-books a short time ago; but I have a notion that they were not stolen, they were taken. I have a notion why.
* * * * *
Got on very well to-day, but I cannot say that the school improves. The scholars are always out of their element when no strangers are present; and I am glad we had none to-day. Had a conversation with Mr—, the district visitor, and having explained, or rather described to him the difficulty we encountered every morning and afternoon in getting the scholars together, and the very great trouble we had to get them OUT again, we determined to keep the school open all day, (that is, without having any recess at dinnertime). These people have no regular hours for meals, and our school resembles a club for poor children more than anything else. To-morrow, then, we shall assemble at ten, and keep school till three. The Romish school adopts this plan, and I have no doubt it will be found better than our present mode of breaking up the school from twelve till two.
* * * * *
The children have been sadly neglected. How could it be otherwise? From the system pursued, only two hours a day have been given, practically speaking, to teaching. It takes an hour to get the school together. Then a grand effort was made to swell the numbers present every afternoon between three and four, because the school was usually visited at that hour by the clergy and the curious. It was easy to do this with smart children too, for the Romish school having closed at three, many flocked in to witness, or be parties in the daily exhibition, and to get probably a present of money — a most injurious system this. By keeping the school open between twelve and two, and by closing at three, we may manage to do some good, and only one inconvenience will result from it; not an inconvenience to the teachers or the scholar., but to the ladies who drop in of an afternoon to get (I am grieved to say so) a little amusement after luncheon. Better far that these people should stop at home, or amuse themselves elsewhere.
• • • • •
It is a pity that our slates have no frames; as, apart from the slate when protected by a frame being kept from scratches, frames are useful in other respects. If one happened to be thrown at a person's head — as is sometimes threatened — a framed slate would not be so dangerous. I was threatened with some such thing to-day, and I slightly punished the offender; he contented himself by reserving his revenge for the present, at least he said so, but he dashed his slate on the floor and broke it to pieces, and having indulged in some foul invective — calling me, amongst other things, "a gallows Frenchman," he went again sullenly to work. Another told me to-day that the Catholic religion was a b—y sight better than mine. I expended five shillings to-day of my own money in having some black board put up. This will give us much ease, as the black boards speak well and effectively.
Had fires to-day, which was a source of great attraction. It is cruelty to turn these poor lads out in the middle of the day to shiver in some corner, for their parents are seldom at home until the afternoon. Few of them have a meal in the middle of the day, and that can easily be despatched in five minutes. Henceforward the — — school ought to be styled the — — Club House; and why should we not try to civilize them by a sort of club?
    An old lady called to ask me to visit her along with my boys, that we might sing over the corpse of her child. She says that she prefers singing very much to "dthrinking," — and one or the other ceremony she considers as absolutely necessary. I declined — not because I disapproved of her request, for some benefit might have accrued by acceding to it, — but for the very good and unanswerable reason that my pupils were not skilled in singing. I could not ask — to leave the school  class to perform this odd duty. . . . .  I spoke kindly and tenderly to the poor woman, and she left quite pleased with her reception. . . . . All our coals were stolen last night. The plan of keeping the school open all day answers remarkably well. When I told the children that it was twelve o'clock, and that those who had their dinner at twelve might go, several moved, but the majority returned in a few minutes: thirty-five of the scholars did not stir: this fact speaks volumes. The Romish clergy understand the natural history of these people better than we do. It is this management that will save our school. They must be allowed to go out and come in when they like. At prayers this afternoon we had better behaviour than usual. I closed the school without any uneasiness, and the boys left in a decent manner. Things are improving. It is the peep of day. We masters had the best of it to-day. I tried to teach the first division of my first class the use of arithmetical signs, and we wrought several questions from the black board in a very methodical and proper manner.
    It is a sad thing to turn anyone out, but I have reluctantly determined to get rid for the present of three or four of the most unruly boys. . . . .  I used the cane for the first time to-day, with effect. These children cannot be managed well without some use of it. They do not form attachments readily, and their mode of' thinking is the reverse of amiable. What then is to be done? Am I to wait for order until they are capable of appreciating kindness? If so, I must wait a very long time. One other source of influence we have, but I have no heart to use it, although it has been resorted to by my predecessors; that is, to stop the allowance of bread which the rector's bounty awards. This begets a mean, selfish, and beggarly spirit, the very spirit which it is my mission to eradicate. I will not stop their bread. After all that may be said, Solomon was right — a little touch of the cane is the least injurious mode of punishment that can be adopted. It is over at once, and boy and master are not the worse friends for it. Were this a regular, well-appointed school, then my punishments, if needed, would be rare, but severe. Here no system can be adopted. Were I to punish some boy as he deserved, for the advantage of the rest, then my life would not be safe. Every boy, therefore, must stand alone. It is not a school, but a collection of poor ignorant outcasts, and they must be treated accordingly. When I speak of punishments, I would not be considered as using that term in the sense which it bears in a good public school, for anything so severe could not be attempted here. They would rebel at once, and we could not get over the storm. The first man who does his duty in this respect must resign in consequence. They will not be managed by sheer force nor by kindness — a mixture of all kinds of legitimate expedients must be used. A Miss — called this morning, and seemed to think that we had but a poor school.  . . . . .  No clergyman has visited us for the three last days.
     The school at — — has assumed a somewhat different character. I was obliged to expel two of the — (a family of gipsy extraction), Master —,and a most troublesome scrofulous boy (for the present), and being rid of them I insisted on order and decency of behaviour  —  the attempt has been successful. I make this remark without qualification; thank God, a great improvement has taken place. A better proof of this could not be adduced than the fact that the whole school can be kept quiet and attentive at a Bible lesson. Mr. — gave a lesson this afternoon, which lasted nearly an  hour, and the children remained still and orderly throughout. A person of less tact or ability might not be able to do this, but the circumstance is worthy of record. In opening and closing the school, a wonderful change for the better has taken place. The children can now sing the doxology very nicely, and with much propriety of demeanour. They also get through their drill in a creditable manner, and I get perfect order, when necessary. at a given signal. How has all this been accomplished? I cannot boast of the means adopted —they have been frightened into subjection.
    Our school now numbers fifty scholars, who attend regularly. I begin to understand something of the natural history of them and their families, and what with the influence acquired over them by somewhat severe discipline I have those fifty under perfect subjection. More than this I cannot say.