Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/72

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HOMES OF THE LONDON POOR.

it is tentative, and has not as yet been in operation more than one year. If the scheme succeeds and spreads, we may fairly hope much from it. It is as yet in its infancy, and no formal opinion as to its working has been pronounced by the Marylebone Board of Guardians; but individual members of that Board have expressed their warm approval, the clerk and the relieving officer appear much pleased with the plan, and at present there are no signs of failure, nor does any modification even appear necessary.

I proceed, therefore, to give an account of the system as at present in operation, and will show afterwards its resemblance to the Elberfeld plan, its chief difference from it, and the reason such marked difference is necessary here and now.

At the end of 1872 it came under the notice of the Guardians of St. Marylebone that there existed in a part of their parish—the division known as St. Mary's, Bryanston Square,—a body of district visitors differing in some measure from any to be found in other parts of London. Their special training was due to the fact that soon after the Charity Organization Society was founded, the rector of St. Mary's had determined to reform his system of distributing the funds entrusted to him for charitable purposes, whilst still using the district visitors as his agents. To this end he made over the whole of these funds to a small committee, the St. Mary's Relief Committee, composed of men of various classes, who had given special attention to the wise administration of aid to the poor. Every applicant for help throughout St. Mary's had henceforth to appear before this committee, who were guided in their decision as to his case both by a report from the Marylebone branch of the Charity Organization Society, and by one from the visitor in whose district he resided. Thus a thorough and efficient inquiry was secured. They also aimed at making relief more adequate than formerly; refusing small grants, which would only give