In the early days, however, the headquarters of the settlement, 44, Nelson Square, Blackfriars, only accommodated the head and four residents. Additional premises were secured, however, thanks to the kindness of a friend, and in 1895, eight years after the foundation of the settlement, three houses, including 44, Nelson Square, were thrown into one, and provided accommodation for sixteen residents, together with sitting and working rooms.
As illustrating the courage of the workers, it might be mentioned that, finding that, in spite of large donations, they were in want of funds, they raised a loan of £3,000. At the same time, considerable assistance was derived from a sum of money paid to them by the trustees of the Pfeiffer bequest, the larger part of which was for the foundation of a scholarship tenable at the settlement, while £500 was granted to the building fund. A tablet in the entrance hall records the benefaction.
Much of the success of the early work of the settlement was due to Miss Gruner, who was followed by Miss Edith Argles, of Lady Margaret Hall. Upon her resignation, Miss Margaret Sewell, of Newnham, was appointed as warden, and held the position until Christmas, 1900, when, after a year's leave of absence on account of ill-health, she was obliged to give up the work. Under her wise and large-minded guidance, the work of the settlement developed and extended in various directions. Miss Sewell was ultimately succeeded by Miss Helen Gladstone, the youngest daughter of the great Liberal statesman, who held the post until the end of 1906, after which she continued to live in the neighbourhood until 1910, giving the settlement much help in many ways. She was followed in January, 1907, by Miss M. Mcn. Sharpley, also of Newnham, who had acted as sub-warden since 1902, taking charge of much of the work and of the students' training.
A Great Statesman's Daughter
Miss Gladstone greatly endeared herself to hundreds of poor people in Southwark. For eight years she worked among them, and in all the movements she took the greatest interest and worked with rare enthusiasm. She was ardently interested in the children and their schools, girls and young men with their evening classes and employment, women and their homes and work. She concerned herself with their holiday arrangements, their thrift, or want of thrift, pensions for the old people, apprenticeship for the young, rent collecting, and entertainments.
She went in and out amongst the people as far as possible, sharing their joys and sorrows, helping to lift them out of the ruts of selfishness and slovenliness, and, perhaps, degradation, and in many ways contriving, with her sisters of the settlement, to show a brighter vision of life to the people around that part of Southwark.
Miss M. Mcn. Sharpley, Miss Gladstone's successor, is an untiring worker, and yet this somewhat frail, delicate-looking gentlewoman scarcely seems, from a physical point of view, fitted for the task of superintending such a vast and important work. It is when she speaks, however, that Miss Sharpley betrays the secret of her strength - enthusiasm. And that enthusiasm is characteristic of all the other workers.
While some specialise in a particular line of work in which they are keenly interested, we find other workers serving on half a dozen committees at the same time.
Although, however, they deal with distress of all sorts in Southwark, perhaps the movement which is most dear to the hearts of the ladies of the settlement is that which has for its object the sending of children into the country for a holiday. Last year nearly 900 children were sent away for a fortnight. The plan is for the teachers of the various schools in the district to recommend to the settlement visitors the children most in need of a holiday, although, whenever possible, parents contribute to the expense ; in certain distressing cases the children are sent away free.
" We always congratulate ourselves," the report of the settlement says, " when the holidays are over and all has gone well. Where so large a number of young children are concerned, there might so easily be many accidents and much illness ; but we have only to record a mishap to one little boy, who fell over a stile and broke his arm.
A Small Adventurer
"It is wonderful how seldom children go astray on their way to their country quarters, which says much for the excellence of the arrangements made both by the central and local committees. This year, however, one small boy of seven years arrived too late, and, finding that his party had already gone, started for London Bridge by himself. He had not had the label attached with his destination, but when he missed his way he was taken by a friendly policeman to Liverpool Street Station, where he was fortunately seen by the secretary of the central. He remembered that the school the child attended was in our district, so sent him back to us. The child returned, calm and collected, and cheerfully sat down in the office to eat, while waiting, the large lunch provided by his mother for the journey, and was safely despatched later in the day none the worse for his adventure."
Another excellent scheme inaugurated by the settlement was the foundation, in
1897, of a workshop for crippled boys. This was quite a new venture on the part members of the settlement, and the success achieved has quite justified the experiment. The boys are taught ordinary and surgical bootmaking, and are bound apprentices to the trade. The St. Crispin's Workshop, it is called, is established in the Camberwell Road, in association with Cambridge Hoot and last year the boys turned out over three hundred pairs of boots, and repaired five hundred other pairs. Attached to the workroom is a clubroom equipped with a miniature billiard-table, while the garden is from time to time the scene of football, for crippledom would appear to be amazingly little of a disqualification for this vigorous pastime.
Another settlement movement which in its time has done excellent work among children is the Invalid Children's Class. In the year 1893-4 a little school or class was opened for such of those children as we: unfit for an ordinary school, but able to attend one adapted to their requirements ; and in 1902 the School Board showed its appreciation of the experiment by themselves providing centres with proper appliances in various parts of London for these children. The settlement provides active managers, and gives some practical help besides.
Then, in 1894, was opened the provident dispensary for women and children under the care of a qualified medical woman. This was almost entirely the work of one member of the settlement, who also bore the expense of it, while last year saw a steady increase in the work of the Southwark Health Society, This, it might be mentioned, is almost entirely settlement work, as the offices are at No. 44, Nelson Square, and the honorary secretaries are two of the residents. This society acts in maternity cases, and works in conjunction with the various hospitals specialising in phthisical cases. The phthisical work increases very rapidly, but it becomes more hopeful, as it is not so difficult now as formerly to obtain sanatorium treatment for the patients. The conditions in the houses are also distinctly improving, as windows are more often kept open, and some precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infection.
Not content with working in all these different directions, it might be mentioned, that during the last few years of the great development of State and municipal work in relief and other social matters, the settle-ment has adopted the method of co-opera ing and of trying to strengthen official organisations by voluntary and personal assistance. For instance, in 1903-4 the first winter machinery was set up for dealing with the unemployed, and in varying forms special committees have been at work each winter. The settlement has supplied two members to the local distress committee, and one of these, the warden, has also been a member of the central unemployed body
Miss May Mukle it one of the most talented of women 'cellists, and amongst the first of her sex to adopt the 'cello as an instrument for professional purposes
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