Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/205

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household occupations, was introduced. In order that the public grants for educational purposes might reach small schools in remote rural as well as in neglected urban parishes, Miss Coutts worked out a plan for bringing them under Government inspection by means of travelling or ambulatory inspecting schoolmasters, and it was adopted by the authorities. Miss Coutts's exertions, in the cause of reformation, as well as in that of education, have been no less successful. For young women who had lapsed out of well-doing, she provided a shelter and a means of reform, in a "Home" at Shepherd's Bush. Nearly half the cases which passed through her reformatory during the seven years it existed resulted in new and prosperous lives in the colonies. Again, when Spitalfields became a mass of destitution, Miss Coutts began a sewing-school there for adult women, not only to be taught, but to be fed and provided with work; for which object Government contracts are undertaken and successfully executed. Nurses are sent daily from this unpretending charity in Brown's Lane, Spitalfields, amongst the sick, who are provided with medical comforts; while outfits are distributed to poor servants, and clothing to deserving women. In 1859 hundreds of destitute boys were fitted out for the Royal Navy, or placed in various industrial homes. As a preliminary test of their fitness and characters, she had them first tried in a shoe-black brigade, which she established for the purpose. Many of these boys go into the army, and are in request as temporary porters at goods railway stations. In the terrible winter of 1861 the frozen-out tanners of Bermondsey were aided, and at the same time she suggested the formation of the East London Weavers' Aid Association, by whose assistance many of the sufferers from decaying trade were able to remove to Queensland. One of the black spots of London in that neighbourhood, once known to and dreaded by the police as Nova Scotia Gardens, was bought by Miss Coutts, and, upon that area of squalor and refuse, she erected the model dwellings called Columbia Square, consisting of separate tenements let at low weekly rentals to about two hundred families. Close to it is Columbia Market, one of the handsomest architectural ornaments of North-Eastern London. In Victoria Park stands one of the handsomest drinking fountains in London; a similar work of art for the use of both man and beast adorns the entrance to the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park; and a third stands near Columbia Market itself. These, with a fourth presented to the City of Manchester, and at the opening of which the citizens gave her ladyship a most enthusiastic reception, are all gifts to the public from the same munificent donor. The Baroness takes great interest in judicious emigration. When a sharp cry of distress arose some years ago in the town of Girvan, in Scotland, she advanced a large sum to enable the starving families to seek better fortune in Australia. Again, the people of Cape Clear, Shirkin, close to Skibbereen, in Ireland, when dying of starvation, were relieved from the same source, by emigration, and by the establishment of a store of food and clothing; by efficient tackle, and by a vessel to help them in their chief means of livelihood—fishing. Miss Coutts materially assisted Sir James Brooke in improving the condition of the Dyaks of Saráwak, and a model farm is still entirely supported by her, from which the natives have learnt such valuable lessons in agriculture that the productiveness of their country has been materially improved. Taking a warm interest in the reverent preservation and ornamental improvement of our town churchyards, and having, as the possessor of the