10: Soup and coal: philanthropic changes

Podcast Ten: Soul and coal
00:00 / 05:34

Address: On the wide pavement, next to some bike racks, in-front of The Astronomer Pub, 125-129 Middlesex St, Spitalfields, London E1 7JF.

Directions from the previous stop: Walk northwest up Middlesex Street for three minutes, passing on your right Wentworth Street, Cobb Street and Strype Street. Take the left-hand fork at the Y-junction of Middlesex Street with Sandy’s Row, continuing up Middlesex Street. Walk past University House on your left, and head for the phone box on the pedestrian island outside The Astronomer Pub.

Russian Jews being examined by a doctor

Russian Jews being examined by a doctor before emigration from Liverpool to the United States. Wood engraving, 1891

Jews emigrating from Russia often stopped off in Britain on their journeys westward. Here, the emigrants are depicted leaving from Liverpool, but the funders and organisers of their despatch could have been the ‘Mansion House Relief Fund’, based in London. Despite support from Anglo-Jewish, French-Jewish and sometimes non-Jewish charitable funds for the refugees, they usually travelled as ‘steerage’ passengers, housed in cramped, unsanitary conditions; hence many preferred to stay on deck, subject to the cold and wet of an Atlantic Crossing, rather than go beneath. Credit: Wellcome Collection, used under Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 4.0)

An article, ‘BOARD OF GUARDIANS’, Jewish Chronicle of 16 February 1883, p6

“The monthly meeting of the Board of Guardians was held on Monday last at the offices of the Board. There were present: Mr. LIONEL L. COHEN, President, in the Chair; Messrs. L. L. Alexander, D. Benjamin, M. Boas, Neville D. Cohen, H. A. Israel, A. L. Lazarus, E. M. Leon, H. G. Lousada, F. A. Lucas, A. Rosenfeld, C. Samuel, Stuart M. Samuel, S. Schloss, I. Seligman, S. Simons, A. E. Sydney.

“The CHAIRMAN reported that Mr. Leopold de Rothschild had accepted the post of Trustee in the place of the late Mr. Ephraim Alex, and that tickets to the value of £15 had been placed at the disposal of the Board by the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Society.

“A vote of thanks was passed to the Tradesmen’s Society for its gift.

“A letter was read from the Jews’ Hospital and Orphan Asylum, enclosing a communication from the Local Government Board, with respect to the subventions for pauper children. The communication from the Local Government Board stated that in acompliance with an application received from the Committee of the Jews’ Hospital and Orphan Asylum, the Board sanctioned the payment of six shillings a week in respect of the maintenance, &c., of each pauper child sent by Boards of Guardians to the institution at Lower Norwood, for the education and employment of children in the Jewish faith.

“A report was brought up by Mr. Lionel L. Alexander, Honrary Secretary of the Mansion House and Board of Guardians Conjoint Committee, relative to the work performed by that Committee in the year 1882 in relieving the Russo-Jewish fugitives who came to London during that year. (The facts and statistics contained in this report have from time to time been published in this journal.)

“On the motion of Mr. E. M. LEON, chairman of the Conjoint Committee, a vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Lionel L. Alexander, for the important services he had rendered to that Committee in his capacity of Honorary Secretary and also for his report on the Committee’s work.

“The CHAIRMAN, in moving that the report be entered on the minutes, observed that it was an historical document which would be of great interest at a future time, as it related to an organization and a vast amount of work which reflected the greatest credit on those concerned, as well as to a movement which had been initiated by the late Lord Mayor of London and had been welcomed by the entire body of citizens of the metropolis. It was the duty of the Board to acknowledge the services of the gentlemen represented on that Committee, especially Mr. Alexander, Mr. David Benjamin and Mr. Boas, as also the co-operation of the Delegates from the Mansion House Committee, who frequently attended at the office of the Board.”

“The motion of the Chairman was adopted.

“Mr. F. A. LUCAS (one of the Treasurers brought up the balance-sheet for 1882. The financial statement was passed, and votes of thanks were passed to the Treasurers and the Auditors.

“Reports were submitted from the Loan, Industrial, Workrooms, Visiting, Investigating and Emigration Committee of their work during 1882. The reports were adopted and ordered to be embodied in the Annual Report of the Board. Votes of thanks were passed to the Chairman and Honorary Secretaries of the several Committees.”

“Mr. CHARLES SAMUEL, Chairman of the Industrial Committee, moved, in accordance with previous notice, that the sum of £500 be voted to that committee towards carrying on the apprenticing of youths. In support of the motion, Mr. Samuel observed that there could be no work so beneficial to the rising generation as that which was performed by the Industrial Committee, since that work was the best means of checking pauperism by enabling the future heads of families to gain their own living. During the past year the Committee had apprenticed 105 boys and girls, whilst since 1879 it had apprentice in all 213 children to 65 different trades.

“Mr. A. E. SYDNEY seconded the motion, and warmly advocated the claims of the Industrial Committee on the consideration of the Board.

“MR. F. A. LUCAS, whilst sympathising with the application made by Mr. Samuel, moved, in consideration of the financial position of the Board, that it be recommended to the Industrial Committee to appropriate £250 from the special Rothschild Fund, and that efforts should be made to raise the remaining £250 from private sources.

“Mr. LIONEL L. ALEXANDER seconded the amendment.

“After some remarks from Messrs. D. BENJAMIN, I. SELIGMAN, S. SIMONS, A. ROSENFELD and the CHAIRMAN, the original motion was adopted.

“Mr. F. A. LUCAS submitted the financial statement for the past month, which showed a balance of £960 against £1,891 in the corresponding month of the previous year.

“The annual meeting of the board was fixed for Sunday, the 4th of March.

“The meeting terminated with a vote of thanks to the Chair.”

(Extract from an article, ‘BOARD OF GUARDIANS’ in The Jewish Chronicle, 16 February 1883)