Liverpool Mercury, Feb 20th 1852

In brief:-


The Liverpool Industrial Ragged Schools have now been established for 3yrs, on no former occasion have the committee, felt greater satisfaction in reporting the progress of the institution than at present. Every years experience shows clearly that such establishments, when worked aright, succeed in the object for which they were intended, to rescue young persons from a state of destitution, incipient vice, and thus prevent them from becoming criminals.

Before proceeding the committee deem it right to acknowledge the following donations, William BROWN Esq, £80, J. K. ROUNTHWAITE Esq and friends £21, John HUDDLESTONE Esq, £10, sums sent to the treasurer in consequence of a letter the secretary addressed to the late lamented, Edward RUSHTON Esq.

History of the school during 1851 ;-

Table 1

Number on the roll Dec 31st 1850, 86 boys, 37 girls total 133

Number admitted in 1851, 95 boys, 50 girls, total 145

Born in Liverpool, 98 boys, 56 girls, total 154

Born in Ireland, 55 boys, 31 girls, total 86

Born in other places, 28 boys, 10, girls, total 38

Above 12yrs old, 77 boys, 32 girls, total 109

Under 12yrs old, 104 boys, 65 girls, total 169

Average number on the roll throughout the year, 76 boys, 41 girls, total 117

Average daily attendance, 65 boys, 37 girls, total 102

Number on the roll 31st Dec 1851, 69 boys, 42 girls, total 111

Removed during the year, 112 boys, 55 girls, total 167

Overall total, 181 boys, 97 girls, total 278.

Table 11

Children with both parents dead, 27 boys, 10 girls

Children with mothers only alive, 51 boys, 35 girls

Children with father only alive, 9 boys, 5 girls

Deserted by parents, 13 boys, 6 girls

With worthless parents, 47 boys, 19 girls

Parents alive but sick and disabled, 11 boys, 10 girls

Motherless with drunken or worthless fathers alive, 8 boys, 2 girls

Fatherless with drunken or worthless Mothers alive, 5 boys, 4 girls

Motherless, father in prison, 2 boys

Mother worthless father in prison, 1 boy

Sent by the parish authorities, 2 boys

Sent from the police courts, 1 boy, 1 girl

Parents living, child had been in prison, 1 boy

Fatherless, mother in gaol, 1 girl

Mother only alive but blind, 2 girls

Mother only alive but a lunatic, 2 girls

Average number who have slept in the house, 15 boys 10 girls.

A lengthened report might be written on this distressing table. A few memoranda taken from the admission, will, however, illustrate the subject.


M.V, aged 9, father dead, mother worthless, sells matches. Was sent from the police court, one brother had been in prison 7 times, another boy in the workhouse, and a girl hawking with the mother.

J. C, aged 10, father dead, mother a beggar, boy a beggar, had been sleeping at the night sheds.

J. W, aged 14, both parents dead, slept in outhouses, lived by begging.

T. M, aged 11, father dead mother a shoe binder, but hardly able to earn a living, boy a beggar slept at the night sheds.


M. M, and C. M, aged 11, father broke his arm, mother died of cholera.

C. R, aged 11, father dead, mother in gaol.

A. K, aged 14, found begging, deserted by father, whole family, five in number got their living by begging. Mother in prison.

M. S, and L. S, aged 14 and 9, father dead, had been very respectable, mother in the lunatic asylum through intemperance, children left destitute.




When admitted, unable to read 39, read a little, 28, read well 2.

Present date, unable to read 7, read a little, 26, read well 36.

When admitted, unable to write 58, write a little, 9, write well 2.

Present date, unable to write 39, write a little, 20, write well 10

Could do nothing in arithmetic 56, could do a little11, proficient in elementary rules 2

Present date, could do nothing in arithmetic 38, could do a little7, proficient in elementary rules 28



When admitted, unable to read 24, read a little, 16, read well 2.

Present date, unable to read 6, read a little, 20, read well 16.

When admitted, unable to write 40, write a little, 2.

Present date, unable to write 20, write a little, 22.

Could do nothing in arithmetic 40, could do a little 2.

Present date, could do nothing in arithmetic 22, could do a little 20.


This department has carried on with energy, the good results arising from it manifold, not the least among them the creation of industrial habits, which tend to root out the spirit of contented pamperism, so rife among the class from which these children are drawn, these habits Implant a spirit of hopeful independence, the best security against sloth and dishonesty.

How the children are employed

Number of boys employed in the printing room 6, making paper bags 24, tailor’s room 8, shoemaker’s room 6, sorting bristles 19, assistants to the cook 3, doorkeepers and messengers 3. The older boys are engaged in mostly all these occupations in turn, the figures show how all are employed at present.

Number of girls employed in making up clothing to be sold at a reduced price 10, making corn sample bags 9, sorting bristles 12, washing and household work 8, knitting 3. The older girls are engaged in mostly all these occupations in turn, the figures show how all are employed at present.

No less than a net sum of £117-10s-7d has been obtained from the work done in the school, besides earning this amount the children are also employed in making and mending their own clothes, cleaning and washing.

278 children have been in the school during the past year, of these 111 are at present on the roll, leaving 167 to be accounted for, what has become of these 167.

Have gone to situations, 29 boys 21 girls, total 50

Sent to the parish on they were found to have a claim, 10 boys, 1 girl, total 11

Gone to other schools their condition and that of their parents improved, 5 boys, 3 girls, total 8

Left Liverpool, 2 boys, 1 girl, total 3

Left the school of their own accord and would not return, 54 boys, 27 girls, total 81.

Died, 1 boy

Left sick, 9 boys, 1 girl, total 10

Dismissed for violent conduct, 2 boys, 1 girl, total 3

Children who have gained employment since the school opened, 1849, 23 boys, 1850, 32 boys, 7 girls, total 39, 1851, 29 boys, 21 girls, total 50.

*school not opened till July 1850

This is a most gratifying table and that to which the committee would direct to the supports of the institution. In less than 3yrs no fewer than 112 beings, who, but for the timely aid afforded to them, must have continued wretched and destitute, have been rescued from degradation and misery, the majority would probably become, but for the schools, pests and plunderers of society. Now after being education and trained they are put in a fair way of gaining an honest livelihood.

Manner in which some of the children have been provided for, as well as their condition before being admitted to school :-


M. M. aged 15, father died, mother not having a claim upon the parish, herself and 2 children reduced to starvation, they had parted with all the clothing they could spare. The lad proving himself industrious was well behaved, obtained a situation in 6mths, has since assisted to keep his mother.

P. F, aged 13, left with a brother and 2 sisters younger than himself, mother died, father deserted them, they slept in the night asylum and begged during the day. After a short time the older sister took charge of the little ones, he remained in the school for 18mths, was then taken as an indoor apprentice to a respectable tradesman and is doing well.

W. C, aged 15, this lad was brought by one of the town missionaries, who, thought “it an extraordinary case”. The lad had not slept in a bed for 3yrs, both parents were dead and he had not a relative or friend that he knew of. He soon became attached to the school and was well liked by his companions, being of a quiet and kind disposition, At the end of three months he was apprentice on board ship, having made one voyage and landing he visited the school and was scarcely recognisable, for his great improvement.

M. Q, aged 12, father in gaol for coining. This lad was so sad in his general appearance, that all hope of doing him any good were despaired of, but after a regular course of food and cleanliness his features appeared to alter. After 9mths he situation was obtained for him and he is doing well.

M. M, aged 10, father dead mother a beggar as well as the boy. Admitted 3rd April 1849, obtained a situation April 1850, in a public institution in the town, where he has given great satisfaction, A few weeks ago having intimated he wished to leave for a better place, the superintendent of the establishment said , he was sorry for this. At which the lad replied, “Oh there are plenty more nice lads at the ragged school in Soho St.”


B. F, aged 11, deserted by father, mother a long time ill, now in a dying state. Admitted July 1850, recommended to a situation October 1851. This girl left her first situation through illness and returned to the school, she was found another situation in the country. Her mistress thus writes, “ I feel pleased to have to inform you that B. F, is a very quiet and industrious girl. We are very fond of her, and think she is of us. I hope you will accept my heartfelt gratitude for sending such a girl to us.”

B. W, aged 12, deserted by father, mother indolent and worthless. Admitted July 1850, obtained a situation August 1851. Her mistress writes thus, “I am happy and glad to let you know that Betsy is a good girl and reflects great credit on your kind care.”

M. C, aged 14, found begging. Admitted December 1850, found a situation November 1851, a nursemaid. The family is attached to her and hope she continues.

A. Q, aged 11, father dead, deserted by her mother. Admitted September 1850, found a situation June 1851. The poor girl, through neglect has passed through many hardships, but still perseveres and is doing well.

The committee feel that the following remarks made in the report of last year, are so applicable to the circumstances still existing, that they deem it advisable to repeat them ;-

“However much the committee have to rejoice in their labours, the root of the evil sought to be removed will never be totally eradicated until some effective legal enactment is introduced. As the law at present exists, that no child, unless committed for felony, can be removed from the evil example of its parents, without there consent, however vicious those parents may be. It is well known that there are many abandoned parents, who, even when earning a tolerable subsistence, spend the whole in licentiousness, and leave their children to misery and want, and others, again, who not only neglect, but systematically corrupt, their unhappy offspring, endeavouring through them, to obtain means for the indulgence of their own evil propensities. A measure is therefore required, by which the real culprit could be reached. While, wandering the streets, begging is so profitable, as, by the mistaken kindness of some persons it is allowed to be, there will always be numbers of children who will prefer it to submitting to the confinement and discipline of school, and numbers of parents depraved enough to send out their children to beg or steal, in order they might share the booty. This may account, in a great measure, for the apparently large proportion of children who, during the last year have left of their own accord, Instead of allowing such children to carry on training, as it were, for the prison house, how much better would it be, were power given to the magistrates to send them to an industrial school, and compel the parents, if able, to pay the expense of their maintenance there.

In the course of the past year the convictions expressed in these remarks have been deepening and widening in the public mind. The late conference in Birmingham on the subject of preventative and reformatory schools, and in the movement, still in agitation, which that conference has produced, abundantly proves this

The committee then call attention to the fact that the treasurer’s account shows a deficiency of the past year of £272-15s-2d, they trust however, that the necessity of such institutions and the benefits of this one already existing, be brought more prominently before the Liverpool public to ensure for it constant support. It must always be borne in mind that the schools are open for those children on the very verge of crime or suffering from extreme destitution. Statistics show that such children can be rescued, at a cost comparatively small at not more than about £5 to £6 per head, per annum, whilst if they were allowed to go on in their dangerous career as criminals the expense to the public would be from £60 to £200 per head, besides an amount of depredations that cannot be estimated. Besides the actual money paid for the maintenance and punishment of criminals, there is a much greater and incalculable loss to society, if a human being is suffered to perish rather than being humanised, christianised, industriously trained, and educated to become a self-supporting member of the community, we are equally bound to come forward and assist in this work Our judicial calendars whether in reference to adult or juvenile crime, are a standing disgrace to the country. To remove this blot every imaginable plan has been tried except this one of the Industrial Ragged Schools. It has been remarked that the country has spent millions on experiments, what we ask is that the public will venture on a few thousands upon the principle of prevention.

Although the committees duties are arduous, and the difficulties attending the right performances of them manifold, they shrink not from the task, still they must seek increased encouragement and support from the public Their earnest desire is to fulfil the command of God, “Train up a child in the way that he should go,” they therefore look confidently to the fulfilment of the promise, “when he is old he will not depart from it.” Thus they are satisfied their labour cannot be in vain.

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