HC Deb 02 July 1897 vol 50 c970
SIR SAMUEL MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)

; I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the pauper children belonging to the South Metropolitan School at Sutton were so arranged as to solicit alms from the persons going to and from the races on Derby Day; that they received £197 or some such sum on that day; and that the school bands were playing to attract notice; whether similar practices have occurred before; and whether steps have been or will be taken to prevent children from being officially allowed to beg in future.


I am informed that the children in the District Schools at Sutton are permitted to assemble in the field belonging to the school, which abuts on the road to Epsom Downs, to see the people passing on their way to and from the races. They are prohibited from asking from money, but money is often voluntarily given by good-natured passers-by throwing coins to children in the field. The sum thus received in the recent Epsom week is correctly stated in the question, and the money is applied to defraying the expenses of an annual outing to the Crystal Palace or the seaside and otherwise in providing recreation for the children. The School bands played, but not, it is said, for the purpose of attracting attention. The practice referred to has existed for more than 20 years. It would be a great disappointment to the children if it were prohibited, and I see no reason for interfering.

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