HC Deb 13 November 1884 vol 293 cc1581-2

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether his attention has been called to the manner in which Penny Dinners have been provided for the children of Rousden School, Devon; and, whether, in view of the evidence recently given as to the insufficient nourishment of many thousands of the children of the poorer classes who are compelled to go through great mental strain, the Education Department will bring all the details of the Rousden system under the notice of the Elementary Schools and recommend its adoption?


The hon. Gentleman asks me whether my attention has been called to the excellent experiment of Sir Henry Peek at Rousden School in providing penny dinners for the children of that school, and whether I will recommend it for general adoption? In making my annual Statement in July last year, I especially called the attention of the House to the remarkable success which had attended the Rousden experiment, as well as that which has been carried on for many years at the Jews' Free School in Spitalfields. The hon. Member for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell) also gave the House full details of a similar successful experiment in Scotland. All these statements, together with the most explicit information as to the cost and composition of the dinners, have been collected and published in a pamphlet which I hold in my hand, which has passed through several editions, and of which 18,000 copies have already been sold. The result is that in many towns and villages throughout the Kingdom the system has been adopted, and in London a single organization has started penny dinners in about 13 centres, and more are about to be added. School Boards have no power to expend money in the feeding of children; but I have the fullest confidence that voluntary effort will supply all that is needful.