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Archive -> 1888-1895 -> ‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 17 Page 51-52



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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 17 Page 51-52

First days as a social worker in London

The first morning after my arrival I was given a book and told to go to a street off Poland Street, visit every house and every room, for there was a family in almost every room of houses that were large and which had once been inhabited by well-to-do families. I was told to make friends, to find out their conditions, see what could be done for them/
and invite them to the services at the Mission Hall in Wardour Street. I was absolutely ignorant and had not the remotest idea what could be done in the way of alleviation for the conditions into which I was plunged.
Dire poverty, filth, unspeakably insanitary conditions, immorality brazen and subtle, met me at every turn. Not a glimmer of light, not a ray of hope. I have often come out of a room into the street holding my throat tight to prevent myself from being sick with the stench and horror of the condition of those I had seen in the room.

We began by giving quite indiscriminate charity as there was no trained worker to instruct us and no precedent as a guide. If the Mission Hall was full in the evening that was all that our efforts aimed at.


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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 17 Page 51-52