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Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.

Woman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers online

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means of bringing together those who would otherwise be
utterly separated in all relations outside of business, to their
great mutual loss. We need (I again quote Dr. Westcott) " to
hallow large means by the sense of large responsibility,"
" to provide that labour in every form may be made the
discipline of noble character."

Limits of space only permit me to illustrate, and not to
enumerate, the various agencies at work in this direction.
Dealing with them according to an ascending scale of human
needs, let us take first those that aim at imparting skill, at
making the hand cunning, as regards the food we eat,
looking at efforts in an English city and an English rural
district ; the clothing we wear, looking at an effort in the
Scottish Highlands ; the appliances we use in our daily life,
looking at London, a Scottish and an English village, and
two English provincial towns. We then pass to schemes
combining all three aims or two of them together, again
drawing our illustrations from both Scotland and England.

It is the public-house that fills the workhouse and the
prison ; and the public-house is too often filled by the
mismanaged home, the badly chosen and worse cooked meal.
When, therefore, a girl acquires practical skill in cookery, she
not only fits herself for the comfortable and well-paid
calling of a first-class domestic servant instead of the
comfortless and ill-paid calling of an unskilled factory hand,
but she diminishes her risk of becoming the hapless wife of a
drunkard. Board Schools had, however, been in existence
more than ten years before the Government recognized that
cookery should be regularly taught in them. Private enter-
prise preceded Government action, in training teachers for this
subject and in forming schools of cookery in London, Leeds,
Edinburgh, and Glasgow. To Miss Fanny Calder's initiative
is owing the Liverpool Training School of Cookery and
the Northern Union of Schools of Cookery, and Government



Serving One Another. 303



recognition both of cookery and laundry-work is due to
her vigorous and victorious struggle with the Education
Department. Private enterprise must supplement Govern-
ment action also, in continuing the training when school
is over, or giving it then to those who have attended
schools for which teachers of cookery could not be provided.

Classes for cookery and domestic economy in Wiltshire
and Dorsetshire were founded by Mrs. Bell in 1889. The
Bishop of Salisbury suggested this scheme, which works
through the organization of the Girls' Friendly Society. It
began with a grant of 10, and gave during the next two
years between fifty and sixty courses of lessons in cookery
and laundry-work to girls fresh from school. Eventually it
was affiliated to the Northern Union of Schools of Cookery.

In days of old every woman, as the term "spinster" still
indicates, "sought wool and flax and worked willingly with her
hands," and no part of the world produced more characteristic
and interesting fabrics than the Scottish Highlands. But
when the machine-made goods of our great centres of
industry were distributed by road, and especially by railroad,
to the remotest corners of the kingdom, native homespun was
in danger of being altogether discarded for cheaper but less
durable and becoming raiment. The insight to recognize
the value of these native industries, the sympathy to under-
stand their usefulness and profitableness to the peasants, and
the skill and patience to initiate and perpetuate a scheme for
their resuscitation ere it was too late, were found in three
successive Duchesses of Sutherland. Forty-four years ago,
Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, the beautiful daughter of
the Earl of Carlisle, and Queen Victoria's chosen friend,
organized an Industrial Society at Golspie, a little town on
the south-east coast of Sutherlandshire, close to her High-
land home, Dunrobin Castle. Four hundred people attended
its first exhibition in September, 1850, and prizes to the
value of ;io were awarded to the fancy tartans, tweeds,
plaids, blankets, and hose exhibited. For several years, a
similar annual exhibition was held in a pavilion erected for
the purpose, until it was no longer in the Duchess's power to
give such active evidence of her regard for the welfare of the
Highlands. But the Scottish wife of her eldest son who



304 Womatis Mission.



was Countess of Cromartie in her own right became the
patron of a second series of exhibitions, of which the first was
held in August, 1886. The sales realized over 200, and
30 was given in prizes. The present Duke of Sutherland,
then Marquis of Stafford, had recently married Lady Millicent
St. Clair Erskine, daughter of the Earl of Rosslyn, and she,
supported by many other ladies well-known in Scotland, and
aided by Miss Joass, the indefatigable secretary of the High-
land Home Industries, has from the first thrown her whole
heart into this work. In 1887, the exhibition at Golspie repre-
sented the whole of Sutherland, and men's carvings were added
to women's spinnings, sales and prizes bringing the exhibitors
over ^377. In 1888, it was transferred to the Town Hall of
Inverness, and not only the number and variety, but the
quality of the articles exhibited, indicated the progress made.
The exhibitors gained about 400, and received orders enough
to keep them busy throughout the following winter. Two
months later, on November 25th, Anne, Duchess of Suther-
land, to whose patriotic zeal and untiring effort this success
was largely due, entered into rest. The 1889 Exhibition was
held in the Earl of Dudley's London house, opened by
Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lome, and presided over
by the Countess of Rosebery. Over 600 was realized, the
exhibits coming from many parts of Scotland, and equally
successful sales were held at Inverness and London in 1890
and 1891. Out of this pioneer scheme in Sutherlandshire,
other schemes have grown, such as those at Beaufort and
Gairloch, and Lady Dunmore's work in Harris. The time-
honoured distaff and spinning-wheel reject altogether the
inferior materials which undiscriminating machines turn into
shoddy, and amply vindicate both the artistic and the useful
qualities of hand-work.

That civilization means more, even for the poorest, than
mere " creature comfort," was the thought that led a woman
to organize, in 1885, the Home Arts and Industries Associa-
tion. Its fourfold aim is to train eye and hand, and thus
fit for many callings ; to fill the idle hours of working people
happily ; to foster sympathetic intercourse between rich and
poor ; and to revive good old handicrafts. Its classes, to
the number of between four and five hundred, are held all



Serving One Another. 305

over the country for lads and girls and men, chiefly by lady
volunteers, and the London central office, which is managed
by a female staff, supplies these classes with suitable designs,
and organizes instruction for their teachers. Their pupils
are drawn from the ranks of unskilled as well as of skilled
labour, and are always forthcoming in large numbers. The
street-Arab who came at first "just for a lark," comes again
and yet again for the growing interest of the work, and it has
its own quiet influence in civilizing him. Moreover, this
unostentatious work must develop some of the latent artistic
talent that here as elsewhere only waits to be called out, and
do something to remove the reproach that in matters artistic
we are an uneducated nation, a reproach justified not only
by the vulgar delights of " the masses," but by the prevalent
drawing-room " art criticism " of " the classes."

A wood-carving class for working lads, in Ratcliff, one
of the poorest parts of East London, was organized in 1884
by the Hon. Beatrice de Grey, and is now carried on by the
Hon. Odeyne de Grey, her sister, and Miss Gertrude D.
Pennant. The class meets for two hours one evening a week,
from November or December till July every year. Four out
of the six lads who originally formed it are now working in
it as men.

From eleven to seventeen men have availed themselves of
a class which Lady Grisell Baillie Hamilton and her sister
have, during three years, held in Scotland for two hours twice
a week, throughout the four winter months. They pay a
small fee to cover expense of warming and lighting the barn
in which they meet, and gladly buy their own tools. The
picture-frames, hanging cupboards, bookcases, etc., which they
make they prefer to keep rather than to sell. Apart from
the technical skill gained, they benefit by the awakening of
interest and effort in connection with something quite outside
the ordinary routine of their lives.

In 1889 Miss A. E. Maude formed a class for the villagers
of Drayton, Somerset, in order to provide them with profitable
occupation when the weather forbids outdoor work. Observ-
ing that most of the other Home Arts and Industries Classes
chose wood-carving, she was enterprising enough to take up
ironwork instead. The zest with which the men and boys,

x



306 Woman s Mission.

whom she teaches every Wednesday evening during the
winter, handle the pliers, and labour at the forge and
the anvil, and the ready sale found for the lamps, kettles,
screens, brackets, and candlesticks produced have amply
justified her choice. Gifts from the Baroness Burdett-Coutts,
the Somerset County Council, and the Ironmongers Company
enabled them to furnish their workshop in the first instance,
and it is now open every evening all the year round. Over
400 articles made by her pupils have been sold since the
class was formed, and they have won the bronze medal of the
Recreative Evening Schools Association, and the "Gold
Star" of the Home Arts and Industries Exhibition in
London.

The Working Lads' Institute at Torquay, Devonshire,
founded about 1886, offers to lads between twelve and
eighteen years of age recreation and education, brightens
their lives by human kindness, and brings them under moral
and religious influence. Its bent iron and repousse classes
are self-supporting. Their products are sold at industrial
exhibitions and privately ; half the profits pay all expenses,
the other half is a welcome addition to the lads' earnings,
and Miss G. Phillpotts states that the classes also form a
training school of good manners.

In 1890 a class for brass repousse work was formed at
Bournemouth by Miss Edith H. G. Wingfield Digby. A
higher motive than either love of art or love of gain led eight
men there, chiefly artisans, to give some ten hours a week to
brass-work. Missionary zeal had been kindled at the Bible
class they attended, and the proceeds of their work, whose
high artistic merit may be judged from the specimens sent
to Chicago, redeemed a little Chinese girl from slavery, and
afterwards helped to pay for her maintenance and Christian
education in the Jubilee School of the Church Missionary
Society at Hong Kong. Certificates of merit have been
awarded to three members of Miss Wingfield Digby's class
by the Home Arts and Industries Association.

We turn to three schemes which combine cookery with
the work of the loom and the needle, and the carving-tool,
hitherto dealt with separately, and four others nearly as
comprehensive.



Serving One Another. 307

That it was founded by the Princess of Wales is not our
only reason for naming the Technical School at Sandringham
first Her Royal Highness's desire to train the sons and
daughters of the Sandringham labourers bore fruit some years
before technical education had gained its present hold upon
the public mind. The school began in an old schoolroom, with
evening classes instructed by an artisan from a neighbouring
town. The interest aroused was so great that the Princess
determined to make the whole scheme larger and more lasting.
She sent Fraulein Nodel, formerly German governess to the
young Princesses, to study the subject in London and the great
Continental centres of technical education, and then
appointed her lady superintendent of the School. In the
enlarged schoolroom men and lads meet to learn carpentry,
joinery, wood-carving, brass and copper repousse, and bent
iron work. Meanwhile, the girls of the village are taught
cooking, sewing, dressmaking, the making of baby clothes,
and general domestic management, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The
Norfolk County Council inspected and highly commended
the school, but the Princess of Wales declined their offer to
undertake its supervision and cost, preferring to maintain it
at her own expense and keep it under her personal control.
Her medical attendant, Dr. Manby, lately gave the elder girls
a course of lectures for the St. John's Ambulance Association,
and all who attended gained certificates. The school has
gained many prizes at exhibitions held in London and
different provincial centres, and the sale of the articles pro-
duced increases steadily.

In 1629, Baptist, Viscount Campden, bequeathed 200,
and in 1643 his widow likewise bequeathed 200, "to be
yearly employed for the good and benefit of the poor of
Kensington for ever." Two acres abutting on the High Street
of Netting Hill, London, are reputed to have been given for
a similar purpose by Oliver Cromwell. The money was
invested in land, and thanks to " unearned increment," this
modest capital of .400 and two acres now yields an annual
income of almost ^"4400. Of this sum, ^"1300 is annually
expended in pensions to the aged and deserving, and nearly
,900 more goes to hospitals, provident clubs, and special



;o8 Woman 's Mission.



relief of special cases of need. With this aid to the aged,
sick, and distressed we are not here concerned. The remain-
ing sum of about .1800 is laid out for the young of Ken-
sington in apprenticeships, premiums, exhibitions, and scholar-
ships for pupils of public elementary schools, and finally in
providing the Campden Trust lectures and evening classes
formed in 1888, whereby they may continue their education
on leaving school. The classes during last session were
attended by 196 boys, who learned carpentry, wood-carving,
and mechanical drawing; and by 148 girls, who learned
cookery, dressmaking, and drawing. Their success is, in no
small degree, due to the untiring energy of the honorary
secretary, Miss Catherine Hamilton. The voluntary help of
other ladies and gentlemen has supplemented the instruction
given by the various teachers, and the examiners' reports,
and the large proportion of pupils who went up for examina-
tion and obtained prizes and certificates, testify to the ex-
cellence of the work done. Some of the best was sent to
the exhibition of the Recreative Evening Schools Association.
Out of ^484 spent on these classes, ,22 gs. was contributed
by pupils' fees. The recent founding of the Kensington
Polytechnic by the Marquis of Lome and others, promises to
extend and develop the scheme still further, as this building
has been assigned to the Campden Trustees, of whom the
Vicar of Kensington is chairman.

The Recreative Evening Schools Association, of which
H.R.H. Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lome, is an active
President, is little more than seven years old. Its object is
to provide further instruction and healthful occupation for
girls and boys who have left our elementary day schools.
Careful inquiry showed that not more than four per cent,
of these continued their education in any systematic way ;
while it was obvious that they were sent forth into the work
of life unfitted for its duties, and exposed, at the most critical
age, to the perils of the streets at all hours. The secret of the
great success of the association lies in the fact that the even-
ing classes have been made bright and attractive. Instead of
the dreary book-lessons in the three R's and English, which
were formerly almost the only attraction for evening scholars,
they introduced lantern illustrations of geography and travel.



Serving One Another. 309

history, and simple science. Among other subjects taught
were book-keeping, shorthand, musical drill, gymnastics,
clay modelling, metal-work, wood-carving, dress cutting, and
cookery, for which no Government grants were then available.
Ladies and gentlemen of culture and leisure were secured as
voluntary teachers, and as managers of savings banks for the
scholars, whom they also took for Saturday rambles and
visits to public buildings and places of interest. The asso-
ciation soon worked wonders. New pupils flocked into
schools which had been almost empty. In London the
centres aided increased from 29 in 1886 to 232 in 1892, while
the estimated average attendances grew from 4350 in 1887
to 12,500 in 1892. Public opinion was gradually aroused,
and by means of meetings and wide circulation of informa-
tion, evening schools were at length established throughout
the land. The principles and methods of the association won
hearty approval wherever they became known, so that to-day
the idea of the continuation school is a perfectly familiar
one, at least in all large centres of population, and the
average attendance throughout the country, which in 1885
was 24,233, had risen in 1892 to 65,000. Annual industrial
exhibitions of the work of evening scholars in various places
have emphasized the technical side of the enterprise during
the last five years. Girls' evening homes and social institutes
for working youths and men have also grown up, and we may
hope that, eventually, in every town and village an evening
school, recreative and practical, will be as much a matter of
course as a day school.

The Broomloan Halls Classes for Cookery and Sewing
were founded at Govan, Glasgow, by Mrs. John Elder, in 1 885.
They form a technical school for the wives and daughters of
artisans, and are in the midst of a large ship-building popula-
tion. All their incidental expenses are paid by the generous
founder. The cookery demonstration class, attended by
some two hundred women and girls, is the most popular. It
is supplemented by the cookery practice class, at which
their clever teacher, Miss Gordon, shows her pupils how to
turn out the best possible Sunday dinner from the materials
they bring on Saturday night. Eighty to a hundred women
attend the Monday evening sewing and mending class ;



3io Woman s Mission.

a large number also appreciate that the starching and
ironing class will fit them for a useful calling ; and lastly,
forty-two girls are carefully trained to be kitchenmaids, and
never fail to find good places. During the summer months,
housewives who choose to enter their names on a list, are
visited by intelligent and specially trained women of their
own class, and shown how to cook and clean and arrange
their houses. This kind of help is most eagerly sought.

The Little Servants' Home, in connection with Brownshill
House School, Stroud, was founded by Miss Winscombe.
This attempt to prepare young girls for domestic service by
training them under upper servants, might be imitated in
other large households, for every effort that tends to raise the
status of domestic servants, and the standard of qualification
for domestic service, is a real benefit to girls in humble homes.
For the third time, a village in Scotland claims our atten-
tion. The Misses Fergusson, with the occasional help of
their own servants, have, since 1881, organized and carried
on most successful evening classes for joinery, basket-work,
fretwork, carving, and drawing, among the men ; and for
knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc., among the women of West
Linton, Peebleshire. Their last sale realized 105, all profit
to the workers.

In Cumberland, the loveliest district of England, under
the fostering care of Mrs. Hardwicke Rawnsley, wife of the
Vicar of Crosthwaite (that picturesque vale, or thwaite, where
St. Kentigern reared the cross in the earliest age of England's
religious history), has grown up, since 1883, the Keswick
Industrial School of Art, and a Linen Industry, which has
Mr. Ruskin's leave to bear his name. Both are endeavours
to reduce to practice his characteristic teaching, that a
love of the beautiful lies hidden in every human soul, and
that things made by hand, and bearing the impress of human
individuality, are incomparably more beautiful than those
which can be turned out by machinery. There is some-
thing quite mediaeval about the whole undertaking, so little
trace can be found in it of the modern commercial spirit, and
so lovingly do these northern peasants linger over the details
of their work. From seventy to eighty men now belong
to the carving and brass-work classes. The Linen Industry



Serving One Another. 311

was started by Miss Twelves ; the spinning is all done with
the old-fashioned wheels, and the weaving is all by hand.
These earnest and artistic workers in the land of two Nine-
teenth Century Laureates, lately had the satisfaction of doing
honour to a third, by weaving a pall of wondrous beauty for
Lord Tennyson's coffin.

We turn now to schemes that aim at imparting knowledge,
at informing the head, and according to our threefold being
of body, soul, and spirit, take these as they successively deal
with physical, mental, and moral welfare of mankind.

Canon Kingsley, Bishop Wilberforce, and others have
taught our generation the whole meaning of the old phrase,
mens sana in corpore sano. Two societies, both dwelling in
Berners Street, London, and both owing their existence to*
the insight and energy of women, are waging successful war,,
not with flourish of trumpets, but by quiet persistent work,
against the arch-enemy ignorance, and teaching rich and poor
that the essentials of wholesome life are pure water, nourishing
food, daily bathing, and daily exercise ; that our homes must
stand on high ground and dry soil, give abundant entrance
to light and air, and be thoroughly cleansed, not only above,
but below ground. The Ladies' Sanitary Association, founded
in 1857, grew, so Lady Knightley of Fawsley tells us, out of
a suggestion made by Dr. Roth, and has now about four
hundred members. Countless lectures have been given
through it to all sorts and conditions of women ; it has
organized loan libraries of books on health, and distributed
over a million and a half of tracts on hygiene for the people.
Much of the technical teaching of which we have already
spoken may be traced to its influence, as well as dinners for
destitute children, nurseries for motherless babes, and many
coal and clothing clubs and temperance associations. From
its "park parties" have sprung the Children's Country
Holidays scheme for city boys and girls, to whom an uncaged
singing-bird, a growing wild-flower, an expanse of blue sky,
a field of scented hay or waving corn, or the rippling of water
or whispering of leaves in a wood, are things as new and
wonderful as they are joy-inspiring. Its secretary is Miss
Rose Adams.



,12 Woman 's Mission.



The National Health Society, founded in 1873, began
with a modest scheme of lectures by ladies at men's clubs
and mothers' meetings. It now has three Princesses of
Great Britain for Patronesses, the Duke of Westminster for
President, and over four hundred and fifty members. Its
aims are well summed up in its motto, " Prevention is better
than cure." Free lectures are given throughout the country
to the poor, subsidised now in many places by the County
Councils ; while distinguished medical men and eminent
lady nurses instruct drawing-room audiences, who need
teaching, scarcely less, in the laws of health. A diploma of
honour was awarded to its literature by the Council of the
International Health Exhibition, and among the varied
matters that claim its aid and interest are hygienic dress,
smoke abatement, open spaces, and boarding-out of children.
Its secretary is Miss Ray Lankester.

The Ladies' Association for Useful Work at Birmingham,
which was founded in 1874, is a local association, rather
younger than these two national societies. It was originally
as comprehensive as its title, but since Mason College was
opened it no longer labours for higher education, but is
chiefly active in giving eight or nine courses of lectures on
hygiene to working women ; keeping up a recreation-room
for business girls, and organizing country holidays for
children. Its useful work is almost wholly carried on by
voluntary helpers.

Education, in the narrower popular sense, next concerns
us. This is not the place for speaking generally of the
system that has supplemented girls' schools by women's
colleges, and thrown open to the women of this generation



Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 29 of 49)