Victorian London - Charities - The Society for the Rescue of Young Women and Children


Sir, - By your able advocacy of the claims of the Refuges last year this society received about 400l., and was by this means enabled to receive about forty young women, who, but for this timely aid, might otherwise have remained slaves to vice and crime. Our wants now are just as great, and we therefore implore your permission to make them known through your extensively-read paper.
    In the brief space of 11 years this society has admitted to its Homes (12 in number) 3,940 destitute females - sheltering, clothing, feeding and training them to earn their own livelihood, and then placing them out in situations. Of these, 1,792 have been placed in domestic service, 664 restored to friends, 41 sent out as emigrant, 541 otherwise assisted, leaving 679 as unsatisfactory, and 224 in the Homes.
    Out of the 676 who were under the society's care during the past year, 479 had lost one or both parents. Although rescued from the streets and dens of London, only 193 were natives of London; the others, 483, being from the country. Hence their destitution and friendlessness.
But the ages at which they fell into evil almost exceeds credibility, and claims for them the deepest sympathy. Out of 472 of the fallen class, two were eight years of age, 4 were 9, 9 were 10, 10 were 11, 37 were 12, 28 were 13, 53 were 14, 52 were 15, 80 were 16, 47 were 17, 56 were 18, 36 were 19, 13 were 20, 12 were 21, 10 were 22, 7 were 23, 7 were 24, 4 were 25, 1 was 26, 1 was 27, 2 were 28 and 1 was 30.
    It will be perceived that only 33 fell after arriving at the age of 21, while double the number were victimized when under 13 years of age.
The number of children driven to the streets of London is almost beyond belief. Recent returns quoted in The Times show that the number of "unfortunate" girls under 16 years of age was eight times as many in England as in Ireland, according to population, and we fear evil increases. This society is rescuing them by hundreds from the streets of London, and earnestly begs for help from the public.
    No fewer than 455 during the year have been sent away from want of funds, making a total of 3,087 who have been rejected from want of funds during the last five years. The sad circumstances of the history of each of these 3,087 rejected one has been preserved. During the past few months the applications have been very numerous and while the society has received to the utmost of its means, many have been sent away from lack of funds, and many are at present time being sent away from the same cause. Therefore we plead for immediate assistance.
    Yours most obediently,
        D. COOPER, Sec.
Office, 85, Queen-street, Cheapside, E.C. Dec 22.

source: The Times, Dec 23, 1864