Her Royal Highness Princes Louise, the Duchess of Argyll, defrayed the cost of the purchase of the leasehold of this charming Home. The lady-Officer in charge informed me that the object of the establishment is to take in women who have or are about to have illegitimate children. It is not, however, a lying-in Home, the mothers being sent to the Ivy House Hospital for their confinements. After these are over they are kept for four or sometimes for six months at Lorne House. At the expiration of this period situations are found for most of them, and the babies are put out to nurse in the houses of carefully selected women with whom the mothers can keep in touch. These women are visited from time to time by Salvation Army Officers who make sure that the infants are well treated in every way.
All the cases in this Home are those of girls who have fallen into trouble for the first time. They belong to a better class than do those who are received in many of the Army Homes. The charge for their maintenance is supposed to be L1 a week, but some pay only 5s., and some nothing at all. As a matter of fact, out of the twelve cases which the Home will hold, at the time of my visit half were making no payment. If the Army averages a contribution of 7s. a week from them, it thinks itself fortunate.
I saw a number of the babies in cradles placed in an old greenhouse in the garden to protect them from the rain that was falling at the time. When it is at all fine they are kept as much as possible in the open air, and the results seem to justify this treatment, for it would be difficult to find healthier infants.
Five or six of the inmates sleep together in a room; for those with children a cot is provided beside each bed. I saw several of these young women, who all seemed to be as happy and contented as was possible under their somewhat depressing circumstances.
BRENT HOUSE, HACKNEY
This Home serves a somewhat similar purpose as that at Lorne House, but the young women taken in here while awaiting their confinement are not, as a rule, of so high a class.
In the garden at the back of the house about forty girls were seated in a kind of shelter which protected them from the rain, some of them working and some talking together, while others remained apart depressed and silent. Most of these young women were shortly expecting to become mothers. Certain of them, however, already had their infants, as there were seventeen babies in the Home who had been crowded out of the Central Maternity Hospital. Among these were some very sad cases, several of them being girls of gentle birth, taken in here because they could pay nothing. One, I remember, was a foreign young lady, whose sad history I will not relate. She was found running about the streets of a seaport town in a half-crazed condition and brought to this place by the Officers of the Salvation Army.