Friday, March 25, 2011

Lost and found children 1827

Friday, March 25, 2011
Loretta reports:

The Gresham committee having humanely provided a means of leading to the discovery of lost or strayed children, the following is a copy of the bill, issued in consequence of their regulation : —

If persons who may have lost a child, or found one, in the streets, will go with a written notice to the Royal Exchange, they will find boards fixed up near the medicine shop, for the purpose of posting up such notices, (free of expense.) By fixing their notice at this place, it is probable the child will be restored to its afflicted parents on the same day it may have been missed. The children, of course, are to be taken care of in the parish where they are found until their homes are discovered.

From the success which has, within a short time, been found to result from the immediate posting up notices of this sort, there can be little doubt, when the knowledge of the above-mentioned boards is general, but that many children will be speedily restored. It is recommended that a bellman be sent round the neighbourhood, as heretofore has been usually done.

Persons on receiving this paper are requested to fix it up in their shop-window, or other conspicuous place.
The managers of Spa -fields chapel improving upon the above hint, caused a board to be placed in front of their chapel for the same purpose, and printed bills which can be very soon filled up, describing the child lost or found, in the following forms:—

CHILD LOST                                                               CHILD FOUND
Sex                         Age                                                  Sex                  Age
Name                                                                              Name
Residence                                                                      May be heard of at
Further particulars                                                      Further particulars

The severe affliction many parents suffer by the loss of young children, should induce parish officers, and others, in populous neighborhoods, to adopt a plan so well devised to facilitate the restoration of strayed children.
—William Hone, The every-day book and table book, or Everlasting calendar of popular amusements, sports, pastimes, ceremonies, manners, customs, and events incident to each of the three hundred and sixty-five days in past and present times...Volume 3

Illustration of children dancing, 1820s, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Anonymous said...

Makes one wonder if missing and abandoned children were so very common then.
I wonder if there is a correlation between such a practice and all the stories of children stolen away to be chimney sweeps and such. never did see why any one woulod steal the child when the work houses and founding hospitals were full of children no one wanted.
You have some interesting blogs.

Anonymous said...

Given the London crowd scenes in earlier posts, it's not hard to see how a child could get lost. I'm sure a missing child was as terrifying then as it is today.

Meg McNulty said...

I suppose it was way more common for children to be unaccompanied - it was even in the 1970s compared to now. I was exchanging anecdotes with a friend the other day, who remembered her mum leaving her asleep in the house age 2 or 3 and nipping out to the shops an hour away. When she got back my friend had woken and wandered out into the street to find her mum and been found by a neighbour who had looked after her. It wasn't viewed as odd or uncommon in the relatively rural part of the world they were in. A footballer recently got taken to court for leaving his child in his car whilst he nipped into a shop. My mum used to leave us in the car whilst she did a full supermarket shop!

I can imagine a couple of hundred years ago, if you had to work or do something it wasn't uncommon to leave pretty young children to look after themselves, or each other - or send them to run errands, but so much more difficult to raise the alarm if they were lost. Posts like these really bring history to life - thank you!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This site is a great find! I came by way of Rosi Hollinbeck's site. I write historical MG's and need a lot of info re: Great Britain in the 19th Century. I never would have suspected that they had their own version of the Mild Carton postings.

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