Distinguished Churchmen and Phases of Church Work/Harry Wilson
|←William Marlborough Carter||Distinguished Churchmen and Phases of Church Work by
|John Cox Edghill→|
THE REV. HARRY WILSON, M.A.
THE REV. HARRY WILSON, M.A.
Vicar of St Augustine’s, Stepney, E.
AMONG THE EAST END SLUMS.
“’Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after.”—Timon of Athens.
Bishop of London and Rev. Harry Wilson in the Work—Mid-Century Attitude towards the East End—A Pluralist in Oxfordshire—Petitions Bishop Walsham How for Work among the Masses—Exchange of Livings—Financial Difficulties to start with—Callousness and Indifference of East Enders—Lack of Housing Accommodation a Big Social Evil—Small Incomes and Improvidence—Rescue Work among the Hooligans—Gangs, turned into Social and Football Clubs, win Moral Victories—Novel Use of German Band: Paves the Way for the Preacher in the Slums—Unique Working Class Congregation—A Good Story: Cheap Beer expected through the School Board—Curing Drunkenness, especially among Women—Encouraging Providence and Thrift—Penny Banks and Sharing Clubs—The “Red House”: “A Good Pull-up for Bishops”—“Blue House” for Women in Contemplation.
Not long ago, two laymen were discussing the need of lay help in London. One was keen on the work in the East End and, in this respect, differed from his companion. “We ought to be careful,” observed this second party, “not to fly too readily 302 DISTINGUISHED CHURCHMEN
to the East End, lest it be to the disadvantage of some of the other populous districts of London and the suburbs, where evangelistic and social work is required nearly as much. The East End, so long regarded as the 4 black spot of the Metropolis, has evoked a continual rush of helpers to its aid ; mean while, these other parts stand practically neglected." There may, or may not, be some truth at the root of such an argument ; but, at any rate, the picture is overdrawn. The speaker had evidently forgotten that in most of the populous districts even there are many men and women, educated and otherwise equipped, capable of performing the work required in their immediate neighbourhoods, if they will only rise to their duty as Christians. That there is, however, an annually increasing number of what may be termed " local workers " is a matter of sincere gratification.
But if there is anything at all in this so-called " rush to the East End," it is seen in the fact that there are thoughtful ones living in the better and healthier localities who realise the different conditions existing in places like Whitechapel, Stepney and the Docks most of all, the almost entire absence of the upper, middle and educated classes from the residential population and, possessed of the means and the leisure, they go forth somewhat in the role of missionaries to supply what is lacking in the way of encouragement, teaching and example, which, after all, are so essential for the raising of the less
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fortunate of the human race in the spiritual and social scales. One of the remotest possibilities of our time is the over-doing of Christian and social work in East London, where are still congregated, in an odd, entangled mass of life, the weak, the poor and the lost of many lands, surrounded by some of the worst influences that go to make up the sum of human misery. No ; there is certainly no fear of over-doing the thing ; nor, indeed, is there anything to justify the term, "rush to the East End." The energetic work we behold going on in that quarter to-day is notable only because it is in strong con trast with the stagnant state of things a quarter of a century ago in times when poverty, vice and irreligion were left unchecked and pretty much alone, and when there lay not heavily upon the hearts of people in comfortable positions in life a feeling of responsibility with regard to the spiritual, the moral and the social welfare of the multitude.
The Bishop of London, of course, stands pre eminently distinguished in connection with the Church in East London ; and next to him, in the reckoning of most people, would come the Rev. Harry Wilson, M.A., the Vicar of St Augustine s, Stepney, and the founder of many useful institutions, including the " Red House," which Dr Ingram has wittily popularised as " a good pull-up for Bishops ! " For rather less than twenty years Mr Wilson has successfully laboured among the workers of the East End. To-day he is almost as well known as an
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advanced High Churchman as he is as the friend of the poor, and this is not a little remarkable, seeing that he comes of a well-known Evangelical family, prominent among the members of which was the Rev. Daniel Wilson, the famous Vicar of Islington. His early education was received at Brighton Col lege, whence in due course he proceeded to Jesus College, Cambridge, in the days when Jesus, repre sented by men like Hockin, Fairbairn, Hoskins and others, enjoyed a reputation for turning out first- class rowing men. Mr Wilson himself indulged in aquatic exercise, but, finding the impulse to study irresistible, never entered for any big events.
To his friends he has before now told the story how, while at Cambridge, he paid a visit to London as the guest of the Bishop of Winchester, the father of a college chum. At breakfast the day s programme came up for discussion, and on the guest suggesting that they should explore East London, the others of the company held up their hands in horror, declar ing it would be unsafe ! The incident gives point to the narrative, as indicating the attitude towards the East End thirty or forty years ago, even on the part of a Bishop s family.
Although Mr Wilson had a strong liking for mathematics, he decided on taking Orders, and in this connection it is interesting to mention that he was the first man who went to Ely Theological College, which, erected in memory of Bishop Woodford, of Ely, was then under the charge of
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Canon Luckock, the present Dean of Lichfield. For five years he was curate of St Andrew s, Rugby. Then he became a pluralist, being ap pointed Rector of Over Worton and Vicar of Nether Worton, in Oxfordshire. The total number of inhabitants in the former place was sixty, and in Nether Worton forty. There used to be morning service in one church and afternoon service in the other, and the people being good churchgoers as country people go, used for the most part to attend both churches.
The way in which Mr Wilson came to make the radical change from two country parishes to an East-End Vicarage he, on one occasion, told the people of St Augustine s in these terms : "When I had been at Worton some nine months I happened to go to the Church Congress, which was held that year in Derby. There I met Bishop Walsham How, then Bishop of Bedford. He had been an old friend of my father s, and he knew Worton and all about it. We met at a street corner, and we talked, perhaps, for two minutes. I told him I wanted to come and work under him in East London. I had not the most remote idea of what East London was like. He told me to write to him as soon as it was practicable and he would try to arrange an exchange. He spoke to me in the kindest manner, as the son of his old friend, and that was all that passed. Six
months later I wrote to him to say that my way
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was clear to leave Worton. He replied, naming St Augustine s, and asking me to exchange, if possible. The then Vicar of St Augustine s paid a visit to Worton, and took a fancy to the place, and the whole affair was practically settled within four days."
It was a change, indeed, for St Augustine s, destined, as it was, to stand out prominently in the heart of East London in the very district, in fact, where the horrible Whitechapel murders occurred, and where sin and crime of every de scription had long been rampant. Here was opened up, with vigour from the first, a phase of Church work full of meaning and full of pathos without a rival of its kind in importance and it is pleasant now to reflect that for a period of close on twenty years Mr Wilson and his de voted staff have braved endless discouragements often wondering where the money, the workers and the accommodation were to come from to help sustain the effort, but never without hope mindful only of their responsibility to the Master for the souls of those in the midst of whom they found themselves planted, and of the crying need to rescue them from the benighted conditions under which they lived.
��Lest the reader, like the author, should lose his way in the confusing sameness of East-End
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thoroughfares, it is well, perhaps, to state the official directions for reaching Mr Wilson s sphere of labour. " St Augustine s, Stepney, is a little more than a mile due east of the Bank of England ; it is about the same distance north-east of the Tower of London, and about three-quarters of a mile due north of the London Docks. It is next door to Whitechapel. The easiest way is by underground to Aldgate and yellow tram to Settles Street ; or, easier still, ten minutes in a cab from the Bank." And to these directions there is a sort of postscript "Visitors are always welcome, and we only wish they would come oftener."
The author accepted the invitation, and found Mr Wilson, as usual, much occupied in attending to callers and assistants, and in superintending the varied work of his crowded and peculiar parish. Of this latter he was not unwilling to speak, and nothing would please him better as the attendant result than an increased exchequer with which to meet the needs of his people.
"When I first came here," said Mr Wilson, " the question of finances was a serious one. My predecessor told me that he had to raise ^100 a year in order to keep the place going. I had no private means, and, looking to my relations and friends, I thought to raise ^150. Things turned out very different to what I expected. As a matter of fact, the expenses of the first seven
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months amounted to .350. The following year they exceeded ,1,200, and you will see how vast have been the growing needs of the parish when I tell you that for many years now our regular expenditure has been at least ^3,000, and we could find use for a good deal more if it were sent to us. Some of the help, I may tell you, has been forthcoming from the East London Church Fund, and the Additional Curate Society. Becken- ham assisted us liberally at one time. St Aug ustine s, Queen s Gate, has several times sent us offertories ; Brighton College used to keep up a Lads Club and help to pay for a curate, and some other churches sent us offertories. Alto gether, the income from these sources is about .400. The remainder of the .3,000 odd is made up of subscriptions and donations, principally from personal friends and friends of St Augustine s."
Of the subscribers the Vicar has told a story almost as curious as the one told by Dr Barnardo about a mysterious lady visitor who, at a time when the Doctor was most anxious to get away from his office to attend to other important en gagements, asked all sorts of matter-of-fact questions in relation to the Barnardo Homes, and then, without giving her name even, took her departure, leaving behind a gift of no less than .3,000 as the Doctor afterwards discovered to his surprise. Perhaps Mr Wilson s greatest financial supporter was Lady Elizabeth Clements, whose acquaintance
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he made when he, too, was more than usually busy some fifteen years ago. " I was seeing a children s excursion off to the country," Mr Wilson observed in telling the story, " when I saw an ancient carriage draw up at the church door. I went up to it and helped an elderly lady to alight. She wanted to see the church. Oh ! are you Mr Wilson ? she said. * I wanted so much to make your acquaint ance. So we went into the church and sat down. I wanted to talk to you about the Men s Club you are building. I thought I should like to help in it. Not that I can do it all for you, Mr Wilson, for you want so much ! I expressed my pleasure at receiving anything she liked to give. 1 I thought I should like to give ^"300. I opened my eyes. But then, you know, you want money for Mission expenses, and I should like to help you there, too. I suggested that I should call upon her and talk it over. Certainly, the day after to-morrow at two o clock. At two o clock I was there, and found that she had written out a cheque for ^600 ^500 for the club and .100 for the Mission work. From that time she helped us continuously. She helped everything. She started the Church Shop. At a critical time, when we had just made up our minds that we could not build the Clergy House, and must wait another year, she sent for me and gave me a tract, and let out casually, in conversation, that she intended to give me ;i,ooo. For the last three years of her
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life we corresponded almost every week, for she took the liveliest interest in every detail of the parish work, and in all sorts of people whom she knew only by name, and she remembered all about them and asked after them continually. And in money matters well, she would manage to find out when we were going to be badly off and send us ;ioo or 200. When she died some years ago, at the age of eighty-nine, I felt I had lost the best friend I ever had in my life."
" But what did you find the people in the East End most in need of?"
" Well, they really stood in need of many things, but the strange part about it was that they were quite indifferent indifferent to religion, indifferent to most things of interest to people in better surroundings. If we began our morning service at St Augustine s with six people and ended up with twelve we thought it rather well. There would be about fifty present in the evening. The services, when I came, consisted of matins, sermon and celebration at n a.m., evensong and sermon at seven, on Sundays ; and on Wednesdays, even song and sermon at eight o clock, followed by baptisms and a short choir practice. The rest of the week the church was locked. There had also been an early celebration on the first Sunday in the month. The first alterations, of course, were to have an early celebration every Sunday, and to say matins and evensong every day, and
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to keep the church open for private prayer all day long. But, oh ! the Sunday services ! Let me try to describe them. There were four-and- twenty boys in the choir, voices utterly untrained, and boys as undisciplined as their voices. And the music ! Well, Jackson s Te Deum was the favourite piece of music, and I do not think even Jackson himself would have thought much of his Te Deum if he had heard our boys sing it ! Then there were three men who came sometimes or did not, as the case may be. There was seldom more than one there at a time. I was full of hope in those days, and thought that a few years hard work would easily fill the church, but I did not know how tough a job I had got. At the end of six months the prospect was far from hopeful. There used to be a general East London Mission in the autumn, and we began to work for it in earnest. After the Mission the number of our communi cants rose considerably, and from that time have continued to do so, till now the church is crowded. Our difficulty now is to find seats for our congre gation. It was slow work at first. In East London, as you perhaps know, there is a terrible indifference and sin all round, and to become religious involves, in most cases, the giving up of all old friends and making a new and most difficult start in life. To go to church is the outward expression of this religion, so that it means a great deal. Curiously enough there are two
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occasions in the year when the world, so to speak, gives dispensation to anyone to attend church without being considered religious on the Harvest Thanksgiving and the Midnight Service on New Year s Eve. On these occasions anyone may come without being jeered at, and also when there is a wedding or a funeral. Our object has been and is the conversion and sanctification of souls. We are loyal members of the Church of England, being firmly convinced that she is the catholic Church in this country. We preach and teach the catholic faith in all its fulness and in all its power, and we have the blessing of seeing before our eyes the constant witness of the power of the Holy Spirit on the conversion of souls from a life of sin and wickedness to a life lived in and by the strength and power of the Holy Ghost."
" What sort of accommodation had you when you first came?"
"It was very poor. One thing I early dis covered, and that was that if people were to work in East London they must live in East London, and they must have decent houses to live in or else their health would surely suffer. It was these considerations that made a proper Clergy House and a Mission House imperative necessities. When I came the only building was the church, with a large hall underneath. Some wretched dwellings on the site reserved for the parsonage served for the Mission House, and that was all.
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I took three rooms in Settles Street and fur nished them. They consisted of parlour and bedroom, and underground kitchen and a back yard. I moved after a bit, as the rooms had too many surroundings. On one side was a Board School with 1,200 children; at the back a rag-picking yard, where large quantities of rags imported fresh from Egypt were sorted, and over head resided three families, not always sober, consequently I was glad to get the chance of moving to a little house of three rooms behind the Mission House. There some of my staff lived for five years, when we shifted into the Clergy House which had been built at a cost of ^4,000. We had previously built the Mission House for the lady workers, costing .3,000. The next thing we did was to build a Club House at a cost of ^"3,000 ; then to improve the appear ance of the church, then the large hall under the church ; to erect a mortuary ; and, lastly, the Red House, which cost ^"10,000."
"And how did you find East London was the population greater or less than it is to day?"
" East London then, as it is now, was as crowded as ever it could be. There were 7,500 people or more in the parish, and that is the case to-day. The Jewish immigration has, of course, been a great nuisance. And then there has always been difficulty with regard to housing.
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People have often been turned adrift because of the raising of the rents. The need of houses is bad enough in all truth ; but the story one so often hears about five families living in one room, and one of the said families keeping a lodger, is an invention. Things have never been quite so bad as that. You may, however, take it that a large number of families, consisting of man, wife, and as many as three children, have to be content with one room for their home. The reasons are not far to seek. In the first place, mind, the rents are high. We will take the case of a man earning say 253. per week as carman. He marries, and very likely he and his wife take two rooms for something like 73. 6d. per week. They can do that all right until two or three children come along, when the expenses they entail render them unable to afford the two rooms. The whole family then lives in the one room. There you have the larger family but reduced accommodation. That may be taken as a typical case. Then there is extreme difficulty in getting any place at all. It often happens that a man and wife with two or three children can afford to live in two rooms but cannot find them, and they have to dwell in but the one room. When we get the trams electrically equipped some of the people may be induced to go farther out to the less thickly-populated parts. There we have a pressing need. What is wanted
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most urgently is cheap and rapid communication with the outskirts of London."
" You get among these people, Mr Wilson, and learn a good deal about them. How do you think the wage-earning capacity of the East- ender to-day compares with that of twenty years ago ? "
"On the whole, the number out of work is much less than I have known. An enormous number live on the wool trade, finding employ ment at the many large wool warehouses about here. I should say about 5,000 annually are so employed. But there is a lot of intermittent work. Many of the men get periods of five or six weeks employment say five times a year. After each spell of employment they may get five or six weeks out, waiting for the cargoes of wool to come along. Then, again, a lot of men about here are employed as carmen, receiving from 253. to 305. per week."
"Take the case of those in intermittent em ployment. Are they provident do they save when in work ? "
"In most cases no. The men are very improvident indeed."
" Then how do they get along when out of employment ? "
" That is just what I cannot find out," observed Mr Wilson. " I have often tried. In some cases the wife will go out to work. I know that. But,
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I ought to add, for the most part the men in the East End are hard-working fellows. Of course, there are some ne er-do-wells and there are some known as Hooligans. My brother (the Rev. Richard Wilson) devotes special attention to the latter. What he does is to capture the whole gang and then turn it into a club. The first gang he captured thus was jeeringly called the Saints, the next lot got called the Angels, and the third lot the Archangels. Now they are divided up into football teams and win moral victories ! "
" Do you find the East End folk resent the visits of the clergy to their homes ? "
" No ; there is hardly ever the slightest difficulty. Generally, the people, are only too pleased to see us."
" You have already hinted at the discourage ments which had to be overcome in your early days, and how reluctant the people were to attend church. How did you manage to attract them ? "
" Well, when I first came there was a regular nest of slums about St Augustine s parish, a good many of which have now been cleared away. I was puzzled somewhat how to get to know the people. One day an idea struck me that I might utilise a German band which turned up every Tues day evening. So I took the band into the slums, and by the payment of a shilling got it to discourse music for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.
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The whole populace turned out to listen. Having thus drawn a congregation, I proceeded to preach to them. This happened over and over again, and with results increasingly encouraging."
" And thus you built up your congregation, which to-day overtaxes the seating accommodation of St Augustine s. But your congregation must be of a very uncommon type ? "
" Ah ! First, we have more communicants than we can seat in the church ; and it may surprise people to know that we have a great many more confessionists than we have communicants. Yes ; we have a mixed population around here ; but the people polish up wonderfully when they become religious and dress decently. Our aristocracy is fairly represented by the city clerk, the young woman who waits in the A. B.C. shop, and the policeman ! Here is a list of the trades to which some of our communicants belong : carmen, dray men, dock labourers, shoe-blacks, slipper makers, cobblers, sweeps, bricklayer s labourers, carpenters, tailors, policemen, postmen, compositors, envelope cutters and folders, waitresses, lamplighters, lighter men, shopmen, washing-up maids, tailoresses, cigar makers, feather curlers, office cleaners, manglers, laundry workers, ironers, skin dressers, dressmakers, bookfolders, corset makers, fried-fish sellers, um brella makers, railwaymen, clerks and book- finishers. It may interest you to know that my two churchwardens one year were Truman, Han-
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bury & Buxton s tallest, broadest and heaviest drayman and a cigar-maker s foreman, who was once Mr Bradlaugh s right-hand man. Under them we had a staff of twenty-three sidesmen, all of whom had been at least three years com municants, and had taken a keen interest in the welfare of the Church. For their positions in life, we find the people give to the collections very well hardly ever less than 6 per week. "
" Presumably you make temperance among the people one of your chief objects ? "
" Yes ; there are eight or nine temperance societies carried on in connection with the Church for men, for women, for young men, and several for young women and children. In this district there is a great deal, I will not say, of active infidelity, but of general callousness about any thing. The question of temperance reminds me of a little incident which occurred some years ago. Mr Buxton, I remember, was standing as one of the candidates at the School Board election, and I was a good deal interested in that election.
"One of the electors, with a party of others going up to the poll, observing me, remarked, We are going to vote for Buxton and cheap beer ! I don t know quite how he expected to get cheap beer through the medium of the School Board ! But that just shows how some of the people look at things. Yes, you are right ; we take up a
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strong position in advocacy of temperance. In temperance is one of our greatest difficulties. Public-houses abound hard drinking abounds drunkenness, among males and females, abounds. In fact, drinking in all too many cases is con sidered highly respectable. To my mind, one of the most piteous sights in the world is to see young women and girls hopelessly intoxicated. A lot of the East- End girls work in factories, and it is a common practice with many of them to stand each other drinks going home. There is, I believe, a general impression that it is im possible to cure drunkenness among women. Experience tells us it is just as curable as anything else. But, mind, there must be no playing with the matter. For our erstwhile drunkard there can be no safety but in total abstinence. As regards children, surely the best thing of all is that they should grow up without tasting alcohol. Both in rescuing the intemperate and protecting the tem perate from temptation our branches of the Church of England Temperance Society are doing first-rate work."
" It would be interesting to know more of your special efforts."
" I have already told you that improvidence was, and is still, rife in this quarter. One of the first things started after my arrival in the parish was a penny bank. That was not a natural way of saving among the people ; but it goes on still,
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^150 or so being banked in people s pence in the course of the year.
" A greater effort in this direction was com menced seven years ago, in a Sharing Club, the principle of which does represent the people s own way of saving. Sharing Clubs had long been held in public-houses, and people owned one or more shares, paying sixpence a week on each share for fifty weeks, with the privilege of borrowing i on a share, for which they paid back 2 is. in weekly instalments. That sounds a very moderate rate of interest, does it not ? Well, if you work it out, paying due regard to the life of the loan, you will find that it represents about 25 per cent. ! At the end of the fifty weeks the total amount was shared out among the members. That, as I have said, was the natural way of saving, and the business was usually conducted in a public-house. The club was managed by four stewards, and there was a suspicion that before a loan was obtained the person requiring it would be expected to treat those stewards, and do something for the benefit of the house in the way of drinking. As the sharing out took place three or four days before Christmas, there was also risk of the capital sum of a shareholder being squandered in drink at a time when it would be more than usually acceptable in the home. We therefore set to work to run Sharing Clubs on what we thought better lines. There are four stewards, as in the
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other case ; I am myself treasurer, and the people take shares at will. The whole business is con ducted in a quiet and orderly fashion. The loans are to be obtained on good security at a lower rate of interest, and instead of the sharing out taking place immediately before Christmas, it is arranged for the end of November or the beginning of December, when the money is more likely to go in new clothes than in drink during the festive season. You may be surprised to hear that our turnover last year (1901) was ,8,000. A few weeks ago we shared out among these poor people ,3,500, the rest of the larger sum men tioned being made up of loans, made and returned."
" And you find these poor people honest as to the repayment of loans ? "
" Ah ! the engine that ensures that is public opinion. The man who does not pay up loses caste. You see, before he obtains a loan he must produce security, and he invariably calls upon three or four fellow-members of the Sharing Club for this purpose. If he does not pay up the guarantors know of it. Now, if I, personally, were to lend a sovereign, I should never get it back ; but the Sharing Club does ! "
" And what are the other features of the work at St Augustine s ? "
"In a very poor district like this we have constant calls upon our purse for the relief of the
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poor. These are so well visited chiefly by our excellent staff of ladies and their needs so well- known that we are able to avoid pauperising, and give only where we know it will do good and not harm. The most deserving cases, we find, are those who never beg or complain, and who are only discovered by diligent visiting. The best way of relieving the poor is to make them good Christians. When they have learnt the love of God, and are really trying to serve Him, they become sober and industrious, and, in most cases, can earn their own living. You see, while we centre all our efforts on religious work, we are, at the same time, doing our utmost for the social elevation of the people. Not a day or night passes but meetings of one sort or another take place in connection with societies attached to the Church times being arranged for temperance gatherings, social gatherings, etc. Healthy recrea tions are encouraged, particularly among the young people, and everything done to help to make their existence bright and cheerful. And please don t omit to say that I think the secret of the success of the work is to be found in the devoted and untiring staff of workers around me. My brother (the Rev. Richard Wilson) joined me a year after I came, in 1883, and he and a succession of curates have thrown themselves heart and soul into the work. The lay workers and lady workers have been unfailing in their efforts, too. The
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ladies, by the way, are particularly helpful in the social sense, and have achieved signal success in winning the men from drink and in bringing them into the temperance societies. They get on better with the men than we clergy do, the men showing themselves more ready to be persuaded by the ladies to amend."
"You said early in the interview it was patent from the outset that in order to work in the East End you must live in the East End. Do you really find it unhealthy living in these gloomy surroundings ? "
" You may take it for granted that East London is not healthy. My own practice, and it is the practice I encourage as much as possible among all my workers, is to go away right out of town for twenty-four hours every week, and have a night s sleep in the country. Life in the East End is un doubtedly very lowering. When I first came all the clergy were down-hearted and despondent ; now there are some of the keenest workers in existence to be found in East London, and the more effec tive and visible results of their labours keep them in good heart, and spur them on to greater exertions."
" Now, something about the origin of the Red House the public-house without beer Mr Wilson. The announcement has just been made that her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to send signed portraits of herself and the
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King, which is emphatic proof of Royal interest in the establishment."
Mr Wilson invited inspection, and in every corner the " Red House " was found equipped with up-to-date appliances, and presented an inviting aspect. The idea, it was gathered, is to conduct the house under similar conditions to those pre vailing in Miss Agnes Weston s homes for sailors at Devonport and Portsmouth. The " Red House " was erected at a cost of 10,000. Like most things, it had small beginnings, and this is how Mr Wilson tells the story: "A lady" (Miss Hawksley, sister of the well-known solicitor) "came to St Augustine s to start a Bible class for men. She was offered a room twelve feet by ten feet in a house in one of the streets near, and got a dozen men to join. To distinguish the house from the others for the guidance of the class members, a red window blind was put up. The class very soon outgrew the accommodation, and larger temporary premises were secured. In these there was a coffee-room downstairs and larger rooms above, where the class was held on Tuesday night. The general idea of the place seemed capable of development, and the need for a larger institution was manifest. Well, the Red House was the outcome of the exertions put forth. There is a large coffee-bar on the ground floor, dining-room in the basement, recreation-room on the first floor, and the red room for the Bible class on the
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second floor. Above this floor there are eighteen bedrooms for single men lodgers, for the use of which we make a weekly charge of 43. or 45. 6d. per head. The same men can feed downstairs, and altogether they can live very comfortably here for about i2s. per week. The Red House is open from five o clock in the morning till twelve at night, and the meals are served at very moderate rates, 6d. purchasing a plate of meat and two vegetables, or meat, one vegetable and sweet. The coffee-bar and dining-rooms are open to both classes male and female in fact, to all and sundry.
" Then you will be interested to know that we have in contemplation a similar institution for young women to be known as the * Blue House. In this we propose to have a large gymnasium in the basement and a roof-garden on the top of the house, the whole to cost some .7,000. But as
- i,ooo are still needed to pay for the Red House,
the Blue House must be a thing of the future. We are waiting for a millionaire or some other good soul to come along with the necessary financial help."
Mr Wilson takes a philosophical view of the situation ; he is confident the Blue House will come in time. The principle he has held to firmly throughout his useful connection with the East End is that He who sent him and his colleagues to East London, and gave them work to do, will also
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send the wherewithal to carry it on. He holds to that principle with greater faith to-day, because of the abundant justification it has received in the past.