HC Deb 23 March 1908 vol 186 cc1081-2
MR. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can state the number of boys returned as gone to sea from industrial and reformatory schools respectively in 1906 and 1907; whether he is able to say how many of these boys were permanently started upon a bona-fide seafaring life, and how many were merely sent on small coasting vessels; and, if such information is not to hand, whether he will cause instructions to be given for an annual Return to be made by the reformatory and industrial schools showing the number of boys who have definitely entered either the Royal Navy or the mercantile marine.


The number of boys returned as gone to sea in 1906 from industrial schools was 403, the number from reformatory schools, 128. The corresponding Returns for 1907 are not yet completed. In these Returns no distinction is made between the Royal Navy and the mercantile marine, or between coasting and other vessels; but an indication of the degree of permanence of the employment is furnished by the figures on pages 43, 57, and 116, of the Inspector's fiftieth Report. These show that during the three years 1903–1905, 1,878 boys were discharged or licensed to sea, and that at the end of the year 1906, 325 of these boys were serving in the Royal Navy, 934 in the mercantile marine, while 108 were fishermen—a total of 1,367. I will consider the suggestion made in the last sentence of my hon. friend's Question.