EAST-END LADS AND POOR MOTHERS.
[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."]
SIR,—Will you allow me to plead in your paper for two objects worthy of support in this large East-End parish ?
First, the " Working Lads' Industries," where boys from the ages of fourteen to twenty, in work or out of work, can spend their evenings quietly and happily over artistic handiwork, instead of in the London streets, full of temptation and noise.
These workshops have been open for more than four years, and each year the Industries have become more self-sup- porting. Many of the lads, quite of the roughest class, have become teachers in London and country places, and in many of the London missions supported by Public Schools. They have also taught ladies in and near Oxford ; and some of the boys at Radley College have had lessons from one of these East-End teachers. This in itself has been an education to many a rough lad, refining and enlarging his mind as be took his place as teacher to those more cultivated than himself.
More than a hundred lads have learned to make artistic articles in iron, wood, and brass; and yet they can laugh, talk, and enjoy themselves over this work, as over a billiard-table or bagatelle-board. Their handiwork was sold last year to the amount of 2375, either at drawing-room sales or by private orders; but we sadly want a small "working capital," to be used when drawing-room sales fail us, or private orders fall off for a time. The rent of the workshops is a heavy burden, and rates and taxes add to our anxieties.
May I ask your readers kindly to help me to place these industries on a firmer footing, so that our classes, dear to many Bethnal Green lads, may be carried on still more suc- cessfully, and so that in times of " no work " and scanty wages, they can earn a little to help those at home, without being pauperised by gifts of charity?
Secondly, may I plead for a little help to enable me to take a group of poor toilworn mothers into the country for a day's fresh air and happiness ? We have six mothers' meetings in the parish, and I think all the others have now secured for them the longed-for summer excursion. I am very anxious that this one group should not be left out in the cold. But our resources are exhausted, and if these mothers are not to lose their day of refreshing joy, we must get a little help from friends beyond the parish. I am sure that some of those looking forward to their own holiday will gladly spare us a little gift, and a little gift will make all the difference, to enable us to take these fifty poor women away from the London heat and glare, to spend their one day in the pleasant air and amid. beautiful sights and sounds.—I am, Sir, &c.,
GERTR TIDE BROMBY.
St. John's Vicarage, Bethnal Green, E., June 20th.