The Neglected Children of Exeter
It is very gratifying to us to observe that this subject, which, as our readers know, we have much to heart, is making way in the provinces. A largely and influentially attended public meeting has been held in the council chamber, at the Guildhall, Exeter, convened by the mayor, by circular, "to consider the best means of employing the poor and destitute children of the city during the winter evenings." The good attendance of the clergy and citizens shows that the mayor of Exeter has taken up a subject which the public generally will feel a warm interest in, and be willing to help forward by pecuniary support and personal effort.
Let a judicious scheme be devised for rescuing neglected children from the contamination of the streets, and for providing instruction and employment for boys and girls whose parents either cannot or will not care for them aright, and it will not lack assistance. Police reports afford sufficient proof of the existence of a shocking amount of juvenile criminality; the large numbers of young people who infest the thoroughfares at night, supplies evidence of the fact that hundreds are lapsing into evil courses for want of proper direction and restraint. With these the mayor and those who are acting with him wish to deal, and so to deal that many who would otherwise acquire vicious habits may be made honest and virtuous, and many who are left to the bad training of the streets may be brought under influences calculated to render the idle industrious and the rude and immoral well-behaves and respectable.
On the motion of the Dean, it was resolved :- "That in the opinion of this meeting it is most desirable that measures should be adopted immediately for the purpose of providing additional instruction and well-devised amusement for the juvenile population of the city during the winter evenings" Many gentlemen spoke, and it was resolved afterwards :- "That a committee be appointed to report to an adjourned meeting what steps it may be in their opinion desirable to take to give effect to the foregoing resolution." The Committee was then named and appointed, It included the Mayor (Mr. Ellis), the dean, the ex-mayor, and several other influential men.
The Builder 1869 Vol XXVII pp091, 30th January 1869
Submitted by Alan Longbottom.
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