David Harris.

A plea for industrial brigades, as adjuncts to ragged schools (Volume Talbot Collection of British Pamphlets) online

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kindred subjects. Amongst the other boys he bears the nick-name
of " Philosopher." When ill, and m the Infirmary, he was deserted
by his father.

No. 6 is another case where the father deserted the boy whilst he
was in the Infirmary, supposed to be at death's door. This cold-
hearted desertion of boys, when ill, is quite common among this class
of persons.

No. 7. This boy was lying in the fever ward of the Infinnar\',
supposed to be dying. His father, who came to see him, caught the
infection and died. The boy, to the wonder of all, got better; but,
on coming out, was friendless and homeless. He found shelter in
the Brigade, and has been apprenticed to a trade, and is doing


No. 8 was perhaps the most wretched of all the boys when first
laid hold of. He had been accustomed to sleep in out-of-the-way
places night after night, and was starving. The Directors had the
pleasure of restoring him to his father. On his appearance on the
street some hours afterwards, when the father had given him a new
suit of clothes and pair of boots, it was amusing to see one of his
late companions polishing his boots, and receiving his penny for
doing so.

No 9 is an illustration that "truth is stranger than fiction."
Happening to hear the boy in the next bed to him speak of a regi-
ment just returned from India, he asked him if he knew a man of such
and such a name belonging to the regiment. Being answered in the
affirmative, he said, " I wish you'd tak me tae him." The next day
'twas done, and the boy was introduced to his own father, whom he
had not seen for twelve years, and who had not the least idea, up to
this time, whether his son was alive, or if alive, where he was. He
bought the boy clothing, and relieved the Brigade of any further
charge on his behalf.

No. II. I have been running about the streets for nearly six years
now, except the year and a half I was in the Industrial School. I have
a mother, but I don't know where she is. I ran away from her when
she was in Glasgow because of her terwble cruelty to me, and went
to the police office for a night's protection, and I remained there for
five nights. They then made inquiries about my friends, but I kept
quiet about my mother, as I was so afraid of her, but told them
about my grandmother, and that she lived in Edinburgh. So I was
brought to Edinburgh by a sheriff's officer ; and when he came to my
grandmother's door she happened to be out ; he then went into the
neighbour who lived next door, and she told him that I had a
mother, but that she was in Glasgow. He put me into the poor-
house till Monday (for this was Saturday night), but I determined to
escape. I climbed the wall of the poorhouse, and ran off. I then
commenced my street life. I used to hang about the railway station
night and day, and never got my clothes changed, except when bits
fell off me in rags. A gentleman put me into the Industrial School,
but I could not get on with the confinement, so I ran away from it
and got into a low lodging-house in the High Street, and was there
as message-boy for a considerable time, in return for which I got my


victuals. At last I got into the Brigade, and have now been in it
for nearly eighteen months.

No. 15. Was bom in Edinburgh, and am sixteen years of age.
My mother was very kind to me, but my father killed her, for he
■was always dnmk : and one night when he came home drunk he
threw the tea-pot at her, and struck her on the forehead some place,
and it was such a temble wound she had to be put to bed, and she
grew worse and worse, till at last she became insane, and was taken
away to Morningside Asylum. I was then sent to the poorhouse,
and then sent away to an aunt far away from Edinburgh. I couldn't
stay with her, for I wearied to see my mother, so I left and came to
Edinburgh. But my father was no better, and he used to beat me
every night he came the worse of drink, which was almost every
night. This I couldn't stand long, so I ran away and took to a
street life, and sometimes earned eight shillings a week. I went to
the Asylum to ask if my mother was any better yet, but no one
would tell me, and I had to leave as I went. At last, after I had
been twelve months living in the streets, I was informed that mother
was dead, which put an end to all my hopes, and I could see nothing
for it but to remain a daucer (sleeping out) all my life. I had twelve
months of it already, and it was twelve months longer before I heard
of the Brigade, so I was tivo years and nei'er was in a bed, nor had
my clothes changed ; and I was not long before I joined the Brigade

after A K— ^ told me that some gentlemen had opened a

Home for poor boys. He was my chum, and we slept in stairs, or
any place we could get.

No. 1 9. ISIy father died seven years ago, and my mother had no
one to help her. She lives by going out w^ashing to people, and had
to leave me at home, and I was always getting into mischief while
she was away at her work. She didn't know what to do with me,
when somebody told her about the Brigade, and I was taken in and
got into regular emplo}anent, and I intend to work, and perhaps be
able to help mother.

No. 20. My mother died a long time ago, and my sister came to
keep our house, but she was not like mother. My father used to
punish my brother Charlie terribly, and a lady thought he would be
better of in the Brigade, so she got him into it ; and as my father


was not able to keep me, he sent my sister up to the Brigade with
me to try and get me into it, and I am very glad I got in, for I get
a great deal more meat than I ever did with my fatlier.

No. 28. I have both a father and mother; but my father says "I
am no his," and will not allow me to call him my father, I don't
know what this means. He lives with my grandmother; he could
not live with my mother, she drinks and is so wild. He works very
little himself, for he is in bad health. When he left mother he would
not take me with him, and I had a terrible time of it while I was
with mother, suffering from want of meat and clothes. I thought
myself well of if I got a biscuit to serve for my breakfast and dinner.
I never got any supper. At last my grandmother took compassion
on me, and took me away from my mother, and put some clothes on
me. Some time afterwards my mother got me in the streets, took
me up a lane, and took all my clothes off me, and sent me home to
my grandmother almost naked. I got clothes again, and again she
waylaid me, and stripped me almost naked. She did this four times ;
and when I saw her in the street the other day I ran for my life, and
hid myself, for I knew she would take the clothes off me if she once
got hold of me. This is the reason why my grandmother brought
me up to the Brigade. But I don't know why my father won't
allow me to speak to him ; if it was because my mother was a
drunkard, I surely couldn't help this ; but he doesn't need now to
punish me for calling him father, for I very seldom go near him now
that I have got so good a home in the Brigade.

No. 29. My father is dead, and my mother is terribly given to
drink. This is the third time I have been in the Brigade, for she
will neither let me stay out of it nor in it. I have had little chance
to do well. She got me away from the Brigade, but she will not
come round me so easily any more, as I am getting too old for her.
I don't think she will give up the drink, she has tried it too often
and failed.


The following Regulations and Rules for the Home were ap-
proved by the Directors of the Edinburgh Industrial Brigade, and
may be found useful elsewhere : —

Time to be signed by each boy, after being read over and fully

Having been admitted to the Brigade on my own application, I
aoree to obey the directions of the Superintendent in all matters re-
lating to the proper administration of the Institution, and specially
I agree to rise in the morning when called, to wash and dress myself,
and make up my bed neatly and cleverly ; to attend morning and
evening worship when not necessarily prevented ; to conduct myself
at meals, at worship, and in school, in an orderly and becoming
manner ; to abstain from all swearing and indecent language ; to do
my utmost to satisfy my employers ; to account for all the wages I
receive, and not to leave my service without previously informing the
Superintendent ; to attend the week-day and Sunday evening school,
and church or chapel once a day at least on Sunday; and, lastly, I
agree not to leave the Brigade on any account, without a day's pre-
vious notice to the Superintendent ; — all which, for the good of the
Institution, I promise faithfully and honestly to perform.

Bofs ?iatne signed here.



1, Every boy on entering shall have the admission line read over
to him, and shall be made to understand its import, and shall then
sign it.

2. Every boy shall treat the Superintendent with respect, and give
implicit obedience to his orders, and shall also behave in a proper and
kindly manner to the other inmates,


3- The boys shall be called in time to get ready for their work ;
and when called they shall immediately rise, wash and dress, and
make up their beds neatly and tidily.

4. All the boys shall attend the week-day evening classes, unless
when prevented by out-door employment, or specially excused by the

5. No boy shall be excused for leaving his employment, Avithout
having previously informed the Superintendent, and given a satisfac-
tory reason for his intention to do so.

6. Every boy must return to the Home immediately on leaving
his work, and at all times give a faithful account of his earnings.

7. The greatest propriety of conduct shall be required in the
Home (especially at meals), in the school, and during divine worship
— all being made clearly to understand that it is only by such con-
duct that there can be either real usefulness or happiness in the

8. Every boy shall be present at fiimily worship, unless when ex-
cused by the Superintendent Every boy shall attend a place of
public worship on Sunday forenoon, and be present at the Home
service in the afternoon at two o'clock (the best thanks of the Direc-
tors are due to those ladies who have so kindly volunteered to ])lay
the hamionium at this service) and evening at eight.

9. Any boy staying out all night may be dismissed ; and any boy
leaving the Home, without leave asked and given, shall not be
allowed to come back without the consent of the Superintendent.

10. Any boy who is guilty of the wilful breach of any of the above
rules, and continues to offend after being warned by the Superinten-
dent, shall be brought before the Judicial Committee, for admonition
or dismissal.

1 1 Any boy who has been admonished, and again offends in the
like manner, shall be dismissed.

H ■


\2. Any boy who commits any criminal offence shall be conveyed
before the sitting magistrate, with the view of getting him sent for
five }ears to a Reformator)-.

13. The Superintendent is authorized to punish any boy who dis-
obeys an order, behaves in a riotous and disorderly manner, stays
out late at night, by confinement in the cell for any period not ex-
ceeding two days.






Case of-


I. Place of birth, anr*
tered, state '

IS regis-

2. Agi.

3. Length of time resident dinburgh.

4. Are parep
tiieir '

what was
has taken
death. ...

5. Give names of parents, and of all the
family, and state how employed, and
the amount of their weekly earnings.

5. Are they in receipt of parochial relief?
If so, state the amount. If applied for
and refused, state the reason.

Reference for inquiry.

8. Has the applicant ever been at work,
at what, and amount of wages .'

5. What school has applicant attended
(if any) and for how long? ...

10. Can applicant read and write?

1 1 . Contributions, if any, from whom,
and at what rate ? ...

Note.— It is computed that the Society will lose upon each boy [^^ per annum
beyond the amount of his wages. It is to be hoped that friends taking an interest in
a particular boy may subscribe or othenvise raise the amount.


^ be

cleanly, kind to the other boys, ob ^rs,

and be at all times careful to maintain the good characte. o. the
Brigade. "~

Case refused on account of_

Case admitted on

Left on on accOu t of_^


hereby declare that_

enters the Edinburgh Industrial Brigade with our full approval and
consent, and we pledge ourselves not to interfere with his manage-
ment, nor to remove the boy without the consent of the Directors, or
paying up the loss the Institution may have sustained through his
wages being inadequate to meet his expenses, as shouTi by the books
kept by the Superintendent. And we promise to give every assist-
ance in our power to the Directors in their efforts for the boy's good.

Signed ___



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Online LibraryDavid HarrisA plea for industrial brigades, as adjuncts to ragged schools (Volume Talbot Collection of British Pamphlets) → online text (page 6 of 6)