24 AUGUST 1912, Page 14


[To WE ED/TOR OP THE "SPECTATOR."] Sin, —So varied and numerous were the benevolent schemes of Miss Octavia Hill, and so unobtrusively did she prefer to do her work, that perhaps few outside her intimate friends were aware of the full range of her interests. May I be per- mitted to place on record the active part she took as a pioneer in the Cadet movement in London P Early in 1889, in con- junction with Rev. Ingham Brooke, the late Colonel Salmond, and others interested in London working boys, she assisted in founding the Southwark Cadet Corps, and, through the late General Sir F. Maurice, obtained the support of Lord Wolseley, who presided at the inaugural meeting. The Corps proved popular with the boys of South London, and, ae recruits applied to join from considerable distances, new com panics were formed nearer their home. Miss Hill lived to see it grow into the 1st Cadet Battalion of the London Regiment, " The Queen's," with eight companies spread over London. The object of the Corps—to inculcate patriotism, discipline, and habits of obedience to authority, self-reliance, and regularity—appealed to Miss Hill strongly, and the oppor- tunities provided for healthy physical exercise and rational amusement in the Cadet Club and gymnasium fitted in with her general scheme for improving the welfare of her poorer neighbours. Moreover, she hoped, and it has been amply verified, that the working boy would cultivate, by means of these cadet companies, the spirit of comradeship and esprit de corps which is so marked a trait in his more fortunate public-school brother. In 1889 working boys' clubs were comparatively rare, Boys' Brigades and Scouts were unknown, and the street corner was the usual playground where the boy too often learnt bad habits from his elders or worked of his superfluous energy by making himself a nuisance to all. The Cadets retained her warm and hearty support to the end, and for twenty-three years, as treasurer or chairman, she seldom missed a committee meeting, and unceasingly promoted their interests. Her grasp of detail and business capacity were invaluable, and with Miss Octavia Hill as support and reserve, the financial anxieties of the officers were reduced to a

minimum.—I am, Sir, &c., LANCELOT W. BENNETT. 31 Union Street, Southwark.