Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.

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

. (page 44 of 49)
Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 44 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

* THE IRISH LADIES' WORK SOCIETY. By Miss Hamilton and Miss
Banks. This Society was established, in 1874, to enable ladies of small
means to help themselves ; it is doing a good though unobtrusive work,
and is self-supporting. It has a depot in London.

IRISH PEASANT WOMEN'S WORK. By Mrs. Rogers. Unable to
obtain, in England, labour for knitting gloves of intricate patterns, Mrs.
Rogers visited Co. Donegal during the partial famine of 1880. Having
obtained an introduction to the parish priest of Carrick, the latter entered
warmly into her scheme for teaching the knitting required to the women
of the locality ; and, the day after he had addressed his congregation
from the altar on the subject, a thousand girls and women crowded and
surrounded the house secured for giving instruction. But after some
days' instruction, the crowd was reduced. Incentives to patience and
perseverance were offered in the shape of money rewards, and announced
by the warm-hearted priest in his " instruction " after Mass. A variety
of difficulties had to be overcome, but one by one they were surmounted,
and, in the year following the first six or nine months, Mrs. Rogers paid
away over ^1000 in wages. Since then, at the request of the late Father
Flannety (Father Tom of Carna) and Sir Henry Roscoe, a similar industry
has been established by Mrs. Rogers at Carna, Connemara. There is
not now so much demand as formerly for knitted gloves, but Mrs. Rogers
is still able to furnish a large amount of work for Irishwomen in these
districts, and to add to their slender means of subsistence.

* IRISH VILLAGE INDUSTRIES. By Mrs. Rogers. This paper
recapitulates the better known efforts of this character, and the writer
points out that they are really works of charity, inasmuch as the managing
ladies give their time and trouble, and pay the workers regularly when
the work is finished, taking upon themselves the risk of selling it or not.
Special reference is made to the work of Mrs. Bagwell, Miss Sturge,
Mrs. Ponsonby of Garry Hill, Mrs. Hall Dare of Newtonbarry, and others.

LACE-MAKING. By B. Lindsey. The revival of the lace-making
industry in Ireland is here traced, and the record is most interesting.
The ladies who have striven to effect this revival have promoted a truly
philanthropic work.

* LADIES' IRISH ASSOCIATION, Dublin. By Elizabeth Henrietta
Purcell. This Association, founded in 1821, provides Scripture-readers
and teachers, maintains and assists schools, and gives relief and clothing,
not only to the poor, but to distressed ladies and clergymen.

AND EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN, Dublin. By Miss Alice Croker. This
Association was formed, in 1883, for the purpose of providing technical
training for women, and so enable them to undertake remunerative
employment, which the Association endeavours to secure for them. Her
Majesty the Queen became its patroness in 1888, and the classes include

44 2 Appendix.

instruction in scrivenery, plain tracing, wood-carving, illuminating,,
typewriting, shorthand, etc. It may be mentioned that the carved oak
chest containing the Irishwomen's jubilee offering to her Majesty, and
the carved casket containing the Bible presented by the women of Great
Britain and Ireland to H.R.H. Princess Louise of Wales, on the occasion
of her marriage, were made by pupils of this Association.

Dora Hamilton. This district has long been an important centre of the
hand-embroidery industry, in which the children are trained and become
skilled hands from a very early age. Materials are supplied by the
" sprigging " agents of Belfast firms, who ultimately purchase the work.
Mrs. Hamilton introduced new methods and designs, by which she raised
the prices paid to the people. But improved machinery and hostile
tariffs have recently done serious injury to the trade.

This lady began the encouragement of cottage industries in Ireland
twenty-five years ago, with a view of assisting those to whom life was one
long struggle to keep the wolf from the door. The women suffered more
than the men, but the enforced idleness had a most demoralizing effect
on all. She began by teaching the women the simpler kinds of needle-
work, proceeding to fine knitting and embroidery, in which they soon
became quite skilful. The enterprise is placed on a business-like footing,
and Ballyardle is rapidly developing into a prosperous, little industrial
centre. This, perhaps, is one of the most remarkable instances of how
much one willing and ready, and knowing what to do, can do for others
whose hands are listlessly folded before them for want of energy and

BALTONY FRIEZE INDUSTRY, Co. Donegal. By Miss E. Alexander.
Mrs. Martin, who organized this enterprise, is a property owner in the
wildest part of Donegal. Five of her tenants now have looms, and some
get their wool from their own sheep. An excellent frieze, twenty-nine
inches wide, strong, serviceable, and well woven, is made by them and
sold at from 2s. 9</. to $s. 6d. per yard. Though on a small scale, this
effort has brought comfort and habits of industry to a few, and may, with
the increase of population, have important developments in the future.
In the mean time it has lifted a few to ease and usefulness.

SISTERS OF ST. Louis, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. Since the
year 1889] this community has had charge of the local Female National
School. Dressmaking, knitting, and the manufacture of Carrickmacross
lace are specially taught.

HAND-SEWING INDUSTRY, in Castlefinn, Co. Donegal. By Miss R.
Scott. This work was begun nearly fifty years ago by Miss Scott's
mother, whose husband and father were conducting a weaving factory,,
the last-named having introduced into Londonderry the hand-made shirt
industry, which now forms the staple trade of the Marden city. This
lady sought to provide work for the girls and women not required in the
factory. Having given them the necessary instruction, she obtained

Appendix. 443

needlework of every kind from English and Scotch firms. The industry
has proved of the greatest benefit, and thousands of pounds are now paid
weekly as wages by one London firm. Miss Scott refers to the difficulty
often experienced by the promoters of such enterprises of disposing of
their work. She suggests the employment of the much-abused middle-
man, in which I fully concur. The business of distribution is a special
one, requiring special knowledge and great experience. It cannot be
properly conducted by persons engaged in production without absorbing
an amount of time and attention which might be more advantageously
employed. This brightly written paper by Miss Scott gives a good idea of
the many benefits conferred upon Ireland by the innumerable organizations
of this kind so ably conducted upon sound business principles by women
with practical knowledge, among which the large and well-known work
generously carried on by Mrs. Hart, is one of the most remarkable.

Bagwell. This lady conducts a class for children, with special attention
to plain sewing and cutting out, in both of which the Irish poor are very
ignorant. Certificates are awarded when proficient. She also provides
embroidery work for women and girls in their own homes. One quarter
of the money so earned by a girl is placed in the Post-Office Savings
Bank, for her own benefit, and half the amount is available for the
assistance of the family.

THE FLOWER MISSION, Cork. By Mrs. Allman. The story of
this work is charmingly and simply told, and its short record will give
pleasure to read and to think of. The harmony which keeps it going, the
flowers, and the successful results, form a picture of philanthropic work
amongst women which cannot fade from the mind, and must effect an
amount of good beyond the Mission.

GIRLS' TRAINING-HOME, Cork Workhouse. By Mrs. Allman.
This Home is doing a useful and practical work. Eight years ago
twelve ladies banded themselves together to improve the condition of
workhouse children, who, at that time, at the age of thirteen, were drafted
from the schools into the body of the house. Over a hundred girls have
been trained in the Home, and sent out into the world as domestic servants,
etc. The paper also refers to philanthropic movements in the city of
Cork, including a flower mission, a creche, and a Roman Catholic mission
for visitation.

This industry was started, in 1889, by the joint efforts of Miss H. H.
Reeves, Tramore, Cork, and Miss Woodroffe, lady-superintendent of
the Girls' Industrial School. Silkworm- rearing and cocoon-reeling, as well
as woollen-spinning on the old Irish wheel, are combined with weaving.
The fabrics made are most creditable, and the success the industry has
met with has led to the development of a similar enterprise in Kinsale,
and to the establishment of looms in the convents of Skibbereen and

PENNY DINNERS, Cork. By Mrs. Allman. A few years ago some
ladies began this experiment with a view of seeing whether a more

444 Appendix.

nutritious diet than " inferior bread and bad tea " was not within the
reach even of the very poor. They found that good wholesome food
stewed meat, vegetables, and potatoes ; or soup and bread, or fish could
be supplied at a cost of id. per head. The dinners can be eaten in the
room or taken home.

CONVENT OF OUR LADY OF MERCY, St. Marie's of the Isle, Cork.
These sisters visit the hospitals and the homes of the poor. They also
manage an orphanage for seventy children, and a home where about forty
grown-up girls are trained for service, and taught both hand and machine
knitting. Attached to the convent are poor schools, including a kinder-
garten, with accommodation for a thousand children.

CALMORE (near Londonderry) GARDENING SOCIETY. By Miss
Margaret Gilliland. Most of the prizes given by this Society are awarded,
not for gardens proper, but for neat cottages and well-grown window plants,
the real object being to insert the thin end of a wedge that would open the
way to reform in the cottages themselves. " The ordinary cottage," says
the report, "consists of two apartments a kitchen and a bedroom, with
earthen floor in both, the fire burning on the hearth. One window, which
does not open, lights each room, and the only air-supply comes from the
open kitchen door. To persuade the owners to level the floors, grow
window plants (which must have air and light, or they will die and
produce no prizes), whitewash the walls, build an outside shelter for the
fowls or pig, remove the ' midden ' from before the door, put up spouting
and a water-barrel, and store potatoes in a ' pit ' and not under the bed,
may seem small affairs ; but they lessen materially the doctor's work, and
create a desire for cleanliness and order hitherto unknown." Most of the
active members of the Society are women. At the flower show each July
prizes are also given for various handicrafts, and the day is the gala-day of
the neighbourhood. The eager welcome given to this Society by the
cottagers is another proof of the intelligence of the Irish in perceiving the
value of well-meant suggestions made for their benefit, especially when
such are put before them intelligibly and straightforwardly.

An account of a work, begun forty-five years ago, similar to that conducted
by Miss Scott at Castlefinn. Mrs. Sinclair rightly insists that the object
of such schemes as this should be to increase the number of average good
workers, not to pick out and assist only the best in a locality. Like
many others, she is struck with the innate taste and skill of Irish girls,
which enable them to appreciate and imitate beautiful work when it is
shown to them.

INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL, Drogheda. By Sister F. Austin. This School
is carried on by the Sisters of Charity, who opened it at the suggestion of
Mr. McCreanor, the district Inspector. It was certified in October, 1870,
for seventy-two boys and girls, but in 1876 the girls were removed to the
Parsonstown Industrial School, managed by the sisters, leaving the boys
sole tenants of the Drogheda building, which has been enlarged and im-
proved in many respects since the School began. The boys at the age of

Appendix. 445

eleven are sent to senior schools to learn trades. Ninety-six is the
average number in attendance, and 446 have passed through the School.

This Mission was begun for the benefit of the poor and particularly of
the children, ill-clad and half-starved, in Dublin. The latter are taught
in the Ragged School, where a meal of cocoa and bread is provided for
them at a cost of id, a day. The following Homes have also been
opened : a Girls' Home, for sixty girls ; two Boys' Homes, for nearly 150
lads ; a Birds' Nest, for 230 girls and little boys ; Nead-le-Farrige, for
ninety girls and little boys ; Elliott Home, for a hundred little children ;
and " the Helping Hand," for twenty youths. The groundwork of the
teaching is the Word of God, and at the same time the children are fitted
for secular work. The children are passed from one school to the other,
according to age. Other mission organizations have been conducted
with great success, and many have been rescued from a dark and dreary

PENNY DINNERS IN DUBLIN. By Miss McDonnell. A description
of a movement begun, in 1887, for providing penny dinners for the poor.
Irish stew, or soup, and bread form the staple food provided, the Irish
having an objection to meal. Wages cost ,30, rent ^10, coal ^5, and
sundries \o a year ; this total of ^55, exclusive of the cost of food, being
the expense of providing about 250 dinners per day. It is pleasing to
think that this work was suggested by that of the same character con-
ducted at the London Docks. Similar dinners had, however, been
previously provided at the Catholic Boys' Home, in Cork.

SAINT JOSEPH'S ORPHANAGE, Dundalk, Ireland. There are about
120 children in this Orphanage and Industrial School, which was opened
in 1880. They are taught all kinds of household and laundry work,
cooking, dairy management, and the care of poultry, as well as sewing,
knitting, and embroidery. Some of the old pupils have emigrated, but
nearly all those who remain in Ireland correspond regularly with the

Mayo. By Mrs. M. Bernard. This is a useful work, which has been
carried on in one of the congested districts of the West of Ireland. Its
object is to teach Irish children to manufacture native wools into useful
home-made material for home wear. The first attempt was with an old
handloom, but subsequently Mrs. Bernard succeeded in establishing a
woollen mill. Children were gradually prepared for introduction to
"mill life." After being instructed in the knowledge of wool and the
technicalities of the woollen trade, they were received at the mill as
" half-timers," and there continued their education and training until
they could be sent out as skilled workers. Mr. Burdett-Coutts, M.P.,.
and Mr. F. Wrench opened the mill on St. Patrick's Day, March 17,
1892. A large number of persons are now employed in helping forward
the cause of Irish industry, the raw wool being brought from the grower,
and the finished article sent out to the consumer. The first bale of wool

446 Appendix.

was opened by Mr. Burdett-Coutts, who gave the first order for a length
of costume cloth for myself.

industry was started by Mrs. Ponsonby, in 1884,10 encourage artistic needle-
work among working women, many of whom have been greatly benefited,
and have been enabled to add substantially to the family income. Several
prizes have been awarded for exhibits, owing to the fineness and finish of
the work. Twenty women are employed.

CLARES, Kenmare, Co. Kerry. A lace-school is conducted by the ladies
of this convent, in addition to ordinary educational work. An art class,
in connection with the Science and Art Department, was also formed, in
1884, for the further development of the industry. Kenmare lace, point
lace, Irish crochet, and macrame, show the style of work done, though
vestments, altar lace, christening robes, handkerchiefs, plastrons, fichus,
and collarettes are sometimes made. Girls can earn from 10 to ^20
yearly in this way. One special feature of the work is that girls are
trained as teachers or governesses.

CONVENT OF OUR LADY OF MERCY, Holy Cross, Killarney. The
Irish needle point lace is here taught, besides machine-work, crochet, and
knitting. Other girls are taught laundry, dairy and house work, and

* THE BIRDS' NEST, Kingston, Dublin. By Miss E. S. Smyly
Nearly two hundred girls and little boys are fed, clothed, and taught in
this Birds' Nest, and fitted to become honest and industrious men and
women. Sea air, bathing, and country walks transform puny, stunted
weaklings into strong, sturdy boys and well-grown, rosy-cheeked girls.
The Home. its objects and its inmates, are at once described by the title.
The nestlings are the sad offspring of unhappy parents unhappy some-
times from drunkenness and vice; sometimes from misfortune and sickness;
sometimes from those sad seasons of famine which have so often afflicted
Ireland ; and sometimes from hard times due to scarcity of work. As a
substitute for the natural nest, often broken up by causes such as these,
Dublin has provided this one, in which neglected children may be
watched and tended, feathered for flight when the time comes, taught in
which direction to wing their course, and to look for help when in
difficulty and distress to their heavenly Father, who knows even when
a sparrow falls. To reckon the number of similar Homes throughout the
empire would be difficult ; to estimate the good work they have done and
are doing, impossible.

CONNEMARA BASKET INDUSTRY, at Letterfrack. Six years ago
an English lady, Miss Sturge, visiting Connemara, noticed the hunger-
pinched, helpless appearance of the people. Having first learnt the art
of basket-making in France, she eventually established herself at Letter-
frack, where she opened a technical school for boys and girls. With
infinite patience she taught them habits of steady industry, and this

Appendix. 447

pretty and useful handicraft. Some of the work now turned out by these
rough Connemara peasant children has quite a delicate beauty of its
own. A remarkable improvement in the moral and social condition of
the people has attended the success of this work, and it is hoped that
Letterfrack may develop into an important industrial centre. It was
a curious chance which brought into the wilds of Connemara the lady
who was to do so much for its benefit, and who was in no way bound
to the district. Nothing but its poverty was its recommendation to her
care, and great must have been her energy in contending with the
depressing helplessness which is the usual accompaniment of habitual
poverty. Feeling that all depended upon personal influence, she deter-
mined to reside at Letterfrack, and brought about the improved condition
described in her paper, her success being such that her only anxiety is
to find markets enough. There is no reason to doubt either the material
or moral success of her effort.

LIMERICK LACE SCHOOL. By Miss Btmbury, About ten years ago
Mrs. Robert Vere O'Brien, the niece of Matthew Arnold, and adopted
daughter of William Forster, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, sought to
revive the old Limerick lace industry. She collected new designs from
France and Spain, brought fine net from Brussels, and sought out the
best of the few remaining workers who could trace a wired-out line,
darn finely, and who remembered "stitches." She succeeded in pro-
ducing again work as delicate, as well-designed, and as beautiful as that
of our grandmothers' days. A Training-School has been established, and
is now attended by about twenty girls, with whom must rest the future of
the effort. Several designs from the various schools of art are now worked.

CARVING-CLASS, at Lisnagry, Co. Limerick. By Miss Bourke. A
very successful Wood-carving Class is held here, and, if more voluntary
teachers could be obtained, it might be greatly enlarged, for many boys
have now to be refused admission, as each teacher is allowed to take
only six pupils. The Class is self-supporting. After a year's training,
most of the boys can show very creditable work, and the President of
the Royal Academy, Sir Frederick Leighton, was so pleased with a
specimen shown to him, that he afterwards sent an order for similar work
by the same hand. An interesting story is told of a cripple who had
long passed his days listlessly by the fireside or at the cottage door.
When he began wood-carving, a new light and life were brought to his
mind. His perceptions were quickened ; nature was more observed, for
everything told indirectly on his work the veining of the oak leaves, the
growth of the branch, the beautiful curves of the blackberry spray in
the hedge. People noticed the different expression his face wore, and
that the weary, sad look had gone. The paper is one of great interest,
showing a practical knowledge of the work, and a sympathetic interest
in the character of the boys.

DIOCESE OF DERRY AND RAPHOE. By Miss E. Alexander. American,
or Jumble Sales : These sales are organized by ladies, and the proceeds
sent to some local charity. In many parishes Mothers' Meetings are

44 8 Appendix.

very successful ; whilst District Visitors and Sunday School Teachers,
consisting almost entirely of women, are doing admirable work.

RAPHOE. By Miss E. Alexander. In this diocese the G.F.S. has 1193
names on its roll. An endeavour is made " to work on the lines of com-
mon sense without noise or self-advertisement ; not to multiply rules
and regulations, not to substitute fuss for energy." A diocesan library
supplies parishes where there is none attached to the local branch of
the G.F.S. Good healthy literature, including wholesome and interesting
novels, is supplied. Bible, singing, and sewing classes are held, and
musical drill is very popular. Lectures are given on nursing, cooking,
and hygiene.

RAPHOE. By Mrs. Boyd. This Association began its operations in
Ireland, in 1860, and has since spread all over the country. This report
deals only with its work in the diocese mentioned, which includes the
counties of Londonderry and Donegal, and a small part of Tyrone. In
Londonderry there are seven branches and 516 members ; in Donegal,
twelve branches and about 550 members (of whom 480 are total
abstainers) ; and in Tyrone are three branches and 296 members.
There is a great deal of emigration from this district, and many former
members, now abroad, gladly receive and assist new arrivals. One of
the Deny branches is connected with an institute where members of the
Association passing through the place are hospitably entertained. One
branch supports a zenana missionary, and the others support a baby
and two orphan girls in Chinese schools.

GIRLS' EVENING HOME, Londonderry. By Gretta Campbell. In
1886 a few educated girls in Londonderry opened an Evening Home for
factory-girls. Over a hundred were enrolled as members, and meetings are
held three evenings a week, when music, games, needlework, and musical
drill fill up the time. Usually, too, one of the girls gathers a group
round her and reads aloud ; for some are too tired to do anything more
than sit and rest. Occasionally, entertainments, addresses, and lectures
are given. The annual expenditure is about ^40, towards which the
girls contribute \d. per week.

By Mrs. Alexander. This Home, established about the year 1830,
provides a refuge for twenty-one fallen women and girls. It is unsectarian
and partly self-supporting. Inmates, after two years' probation, are
encouraged to emigrate. This is especially a work of women for women.

The establishment by Queen Victoria, in the fiftieth year of her reign, of
the Jubilee Institution of Trained Nurses for the Sick Poor, led to the
formation of this Society, which began its actual work in February, 1891,

Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 44 of 49)