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Title: The Feeding of School Children
Author: Bulkley, M. E. (Mildred Emily)
Language: English
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The Ratan Tata Foundation
(University Of London)




With An Introductory Note By R. H. Tawney
Director of the Ratan Tata Foundation

G. Bell And Sons, Ltd.

                       The Ratan Tata Foundation

_Honorary Director_: PROFESSOR L. T. Hobhouse, M.A., D.LIT. _Honorary
Secretary_: PROFESSOR E. J. Urwick, M.A. _Director_: MR. R. H. Tawney,
B.A. _Secretary_: MISS M. E. Bulkley, B.SC.

The Ratan Tata Foundation has been instituted in order to promote the
study and further the knowledge of methods of preventing and relieving
poverty and destitution. For the furtherance of this purpose the
Foundation conducts inquiries into wages and the cost of living, methods
of preventing and diminishing unemployment, measures affecting the
health and well-being of workers, public and private agencies for the
relief of destitution, and kindred matters. The results of its principal
researches will be published in pamphlet or book form; it will also
issue occasional notes on questions of the day under the heading of
"Memoranda on Problems of Poverty." In addition to these methods of
publishing information, the Officers of the Foundation will, as far as
is in their power, send replies to individual inquiries relating to
questions of poverty and destitution, their causes, prevention and
relief, whether at home or abroad. Such inquiries should be addressed to
the Secretary of the Ratan Tata Foundation, School of Economics, Clare
Market, Kingsway, W.C. The Officers are also prepared to supervise the
work of students wishing to engage in research in connection with
problems of poverty. Courses of Lectures will also be given from time to
time, which will be open to the Public.

Already Published.

"_Some Notes on the Incidence of Taxation on the Working-class Family._"

BY F. W. Kolthammer, M.A. 6d.

"_The Health and Physique of School Children._"

BY Arthur Greenwood, B.Sc. 1s.

"_Poverty as an Industrial Problem_": _an Inaugural Lecture_.

BY R. H. Tawney, B.A. 6d.

"_Studies in the Minimum Wage._"

No. 1. The Establishment of Minimum Rates in the Chain-making Industry
under the Trade Boards Act of 1909.

BY R. H. Tawney, B.A. 1s. 6d. net.

"_The Feeding of School Children._"

BY MISS M. E. Bulkley, B.A., B.Sc. 3s. 6d. net.

To Appear Shortly

"_Studies in the Minimum Wage._"

No. 2. The Establishment of Minimum Rates in the Tailoring Trade.



In the collection of the material on which the following pages are based
I have received assistance from so many persons that it is impossible to
thank them all individually. I gratefully acknowledge the unfailing
courtesy of officials of Local Education Authorities, School Medical
Officers, secretaries of Care Committees and many others, who have
always been most ready to supply me with information as to the working
of the Provision of Meals Act, and to show me the Feeding Centres. My
thanks are due especially to the students of the Social Science
Department of the School of Economics, who have assisted in collecting
and arranging the material, especially to Miss Ruth Giles, Miss A. L.
Hargrove, and Miss P. M. Bisgood, the first chapter being very largely
the work of Miss Giles; Mrs. Leslie Mackenzie, Mr. I. H. Cunningham,
Miss Cecil Young and Mrs. F. H. Spencer have also kindly collected local
information. I am greatly indebted to Mr. R. H. Tawney for much valuable
advice and co-operation, and to Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb and Dr. Kerr
for reading through the proofs. I should add that the enquiry was made
during the course of the year 1913 and the account of the provision made
refers to that date.

M. E. Bulkley.


 Preface                                                             vii

 Introduction BY R. H. TAWNEY                                         xi

 Chapter I. The History of the Movement for the Provision of
 School Meals                                                          1

 Provision by Voluntary Agencies--The Organisation of the
 Voluntary Agencies--The demand for State
 provision--Provision by the Guardians--The Education
 (Provision of Meals) Act.

 Chapter II. The Administration of the Education (Provision
 of Meals) Act                                                        50

 The adoption of the Act--Canteen Committees, their
 constitution and functions--The selection of the
 children--The preparation and service of the meals--The
 provision of meals during the holidays--The provision for
 paying children and recovery of the cost--Overlapping
 between the Poor Law and the Education Authorities--The
 provision of meals at Day Industrial Schools and at Special
 Schools--The underfed child in rural schools--Conclusions.

 Chapter III. The Provision of Meals in London                       131

 The organisation of Voluntary Agencies--The assumption of
 responsibility by the County Council--The extent of the
 provision--The Care Committee--The provision for paying
 children--The service of the meals--Overlapping with the
 Poor Law Authority--Appendix (Examples of feeding centres).

 Chapter IV. The Extent and Causes of Malnutrition                   170

 Chapter V. The Effect of School Meals on the Children               184

 Chapter VI. The Effect on the Parents                               202

 Chapter VII. Conclusions                                            219

 Appendix I.--Examples of Menus                                      231

 Appendix II.--The Provision of Meals in Scotland                    237

 Appendix III.--The Provision of Meals Abroad                        249


The Provision of Meals for School Children, which is the subject of the
following pages, is still undergoing that process of tentative
transformation from a private charity to a public service by which we
are accustomed to disguise the assumption of new responsibilities by the
State. Begun in the 'sixties of the nineteenth century as a form of
philanthropic effort, and denounced from time to time as socialistic and
subversive of family life, it first attracted serious public attention
when the South African war made the physical defects caused by
starvation, which had been regarded with tolerance in citizens, appear
intolerable in soldiers, and was canvassed at some length in the
well-known reports of the Royal Commission on Physical Training in
Scotland and of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical
Deterioration. The first disposition of the authorities was, as usual,
to recur to that maid-of-all-work, the Poor Law, and in April, 1905, the
Relief (School Children) Order empowered the Guardians to grant relief
to the child of an able-bodied man without requiring him to enter the
workhouse or to perform the outdoor labour test, provided that they took
steps to recover the cost. The Guardians, however, perhaps happily, had
little sympathy for this deviation from the principle of deterrence,
with the result that the new Order was in most places either not applied
or applied with insignificant results. The consequence was that the
attempt to make the provision of meals for school children part of the
Poor Law was abandoned. In 1906 the Education (Provision of Meals) Act
was passed empowering Local Education Authorities to provide food,
either in co-operation with voluntary agencies or out of public funds,
up to the limit of a half-penny rate. In the year 1911-12, out of 322
authorities, 131 were returned as making some provision for the feeding
of school children.

The object of Miss Bulkley's monograph is to describe what that
provision is, how adequate or inadequate, how systematic or haphazard,
and to examine its effect on the welfare both of the children concerned,
and of the general community. The present work is, therefore,
complementary to Mr. Greenwood's _Health and Physique of School
Children_, which was recently published by the Ratan Tata Foundation,
and which gave an exhaustive description of the conditions of school
children in respect of health as revealed by the reports of School
Medical Officers. That the subject with which Miss Bulkley deals is one
of the first importance, few, whatever views may be held as to the Act
of 1906, will be found to deny. Almost all the medical authorities who
have made a study of the health and physique of school children are
unanimous that a capital cause of ill-health among them is lack of the
right kind of food. "Defective nutrition," states Sir George Newman,
"stands in the forefront as the most important of all physical defects
from which school children suffer.... From a purely scientific point of
view, if there was one thing he was allowed to do for the six million
children if he wanted to rear an imperial race, it would be to feed
them.... The great, urgent, pressing need was nutrition. With that they
could get better brains and a better race." "Apart from infectious
diseases," said Dr. Collie before the Inter-Departmental Committee on
Physical Deterioration, "malnutrition is accountable for nine-tenths of
child sickness." "Food," Dr. Eichholz told the same body, "is at the
base of all the evils of child degeneracy." "The sufficient feeding of
children," declared Dr. Niven, the Medical Officer of Health for
Manchester, "is by far the most important thing to attend to." "To
educate underfed children," said Dr. Leslie Mackenzie, "is to promote
deterioration of physique by exhausting the nervous system. Education of
the underfed is a positive evil." What doctors understand by
malnutrition is what the plain man calls starvation; and while it is, of
course, due to other causes besides actual inability to procure
sufficient food, the experience of those authorities which have
undertaken the provision of meals in a thorough and systematic manner
suggests that these statements as to the prevalence of malnutrition or
starvation are by no means exaggerations. To say, as has recently been
said by a writer of repute in the _Economic Journal_, "already 40,000
children are fed weekly at the schools without appreciably improving the
situation," is a ridiculous misstatement of the facts. On the contrary,
there is every reason to believe that in those areas where suitable and
sufficient meals have been provided, there has been a marked improvement
in the health of the children receiving them. The tentative conclusions
on this point given for a single city by Mr. Greenwood (_Health and
Physique of School Children_, pp. 62-67), are substantiated by the
fuller evidence which Miss Bulkley sets out in Chapter V. of the present
work. "As far as the children are concerned, indeed, whether we consider
the improvement in physique, mental capacity or manners, there is no
doubt that the provision of school meals has proved of the greatest

But while there is little doubt that the authorities which have made
determined attempts to use to the full their powers under the Act of
1906 have been rewarded by an improvement in the health of the children
attending school, Miss Bulkley's enquiries show that the Act itself is
open to criticism, that many local authorities who ought to have
welcomed the new powers conferred by the Act have been deterred by a
mean and short-sighted parsimony from adopting it, and that in many
areas where it has been adopted its administration leaves much to be
desired. The limitation to a halfpenny rate of the amount which a local
authority may spend, has resulted in more than one authority stopping
meals in spite of the existence of urgent need for them. By
deciding--contrary, it would appear, to the intention of
Parliament--that local authorities cannot legally spend money on
providing meals except when the children are actually in school, the
Local Government Board has made impossible, except at the risk of a
surcharge or at the cost of private charity, the provision of meals
during holidays. To those who regard the whole policy of the Act of 1906
as a mistake, these limitations upon it will appear, of course, to be an
advantage. But the assumption on which the Act is based is that it is in
the public interest that provision should be made for children who would
otherwise be underfed, and, granted this premise, the wisdom of
intervening to protect ratepayers against their own too logical
deductions from it would appear to be as questionable as it is
unnecessary. The bad precedent of authorities such as Leicester, which
has refused to adopt the Act, and which leaves the feeding of school
children to be carried out by a voluntary organisation under whose
management the application for meals is in effect discouraged, does not,
unfortunately, stand alone. Of more than 200 authorities who have made
no use of their statutory powers, how many are justified in their
inaction by the absence of distress among the school children in their
area? How many have even taken steps to ascertain whether such distress
exists or not? If it is the case, as is stated by high medical
authorities, that "the education of the underfed is a positive evil,"
would not the natural corollary appear to be that, now that the
experimental stage has been passed, the Act should be made obligatory
and the provision of meals should become a normal part of the school

Apart from these larger questions of policy, it will be agreed that, if
local authorities are to feed children at all, it is desirable that they
should do so in the way calculated to produce the beneficial results
upon the health of school children which it is the object of the Act to
secure. That certain authorities have been strikingly successful in
providing good food under humanising conditions appears from the account
of the effects of school meals given by Miss Bulkley. But the methods
pursued in the selection of the children and in the arrangements made
for feeding them vary infinitely from place to place, and the standards
of efficiency with which many authorities are content appear to be
lamentably low. It is evident that in many places a large number of
children who need food are overlooked, either because the conditions are
such as to deter parents from applying for meals, or because no attempt
is made to use the medical service to discover the needs of children
whose parents have not applied, or for both reasons (pp. 59-75). It is
evident also that many authorities do not give sufficient attention to
the character of the meals provided (pp. 79-83), or to the conditions
under which they are served (pp. 83-101), with the result that "most
diets ... are probably wanting in value for the children," and that
little attempt is made to secure the "directly educational effect ... in
respect of manners and conduct," which was emphasised as a _desideratum_
by the Board of Education. London, in particular, where the necessity
for the provision of meals is conspicuous, has won a bad pre-eminence by
sinning against light. Reluctant, in the first place, to use its powers
at all--"the whole question," said the chairman of the Sub-Committee on
Underfed Children in 1908, "of deciding which children are underfed, and
of making special provision for such children, should really be one for
the Poor Law Authority"--the Education Committee of the London County
Council has taken little pains to ensure that the food provided should
always be suitable, or that the meals should be served under civilising
conditions. That these defects can be removed by care and forethought is
shown by the example set by such towns as Bradford, and now that eight
years have elapsed since the Education (Provision of Meals) Act was
passed, they should cease to receive the toleration which may reasonably
be extended to new experiments. Miss Bulkley's monograph will have
served its purpose if it makes it somewhat easier for the administrator,
whether on Education Authorities or Care Committees, in Public Offices
or in Parliament itself, to apply the varied experience of the last
eight years to a problem whose solution is an indispensable condition of
the progress of elementary education.

R. H. Tawney.

Heights and Weights of 366 Children from Secondary Schools and 2,111
from Elementary Schools in Liverpool.


         Age        Secondary  Council A  Council B  Council C

                    ft. in.    ft. in.    ft. in.    ft. in.

         7          3 11·4     3 9·33     3 8·8      3 8

         7-1/2      4  1·83    3 10·7     3 8·17     3 10

         8          4  2·61    3 11·67    3 10       3 8·37

         8-1/2      4  2·5     3 11·62    3 11·33    3 9·2

         9          4  4·03    4  1·76    4  0·8     3 11

         9-1/2      4  4·37    4  1·75    4  1·61    4  0

         10         4  6·41    4  3·3     4  1·7     4  0·5

         10-1/2     4  6·83    4  3·7     4  3·04    4  0·75

         11         4  7·5     4   5·11   4  3·8     4  1·75

         11-1/2     4  8·87    4  6·25    4  4·57    4  2·3

         12         4  10      4   6·9    4   5·6    4   3·6

         12-1/2     4   9·4    4   7·5    4   6·34   4   4·16

         13         5   0·55   4   9·05   4   5·9    4   5·61

         13-1/2     4  11·77   4   8·62   4   7·23   4   6·5

         14         5   1·75   4  10·2    4   8·25   4   7·25


              Age        Council A  Council B  Council C
                         ft. in.    ft. in.    ft. in.
              7          3  10·75   3   8·25   3   9·12
              7-1/2      3  10·13   3   9·77   3   8·75
              8          3  11·5    3  10·73   3   8·87
              8-1/2      4   0·25   3  10·57   3   9·5
              9          4   2·62   4   0·25   3  11·16
              9-1/2      4   2·25   4   1·2    4   0
              10         4   3·25   4   1·76   4   0·17
              10-1/2     4   2·75   4   3·35   4   0·3
              11         4   5      4   4·12   4   1·06
              11-1/2     4   4·75   4   4·25   4   2·7
              12         4   7·25   4   5·7    4   4·16
              12-1/2     4   9      4   6·14   4   5·16
              13         4   8·3    4   7·3    4   7·5
              13-1/2     4  10·75   4   8·87   4   7
              14         5   0·5    4   5·7    4   8·5


         Age        Secondary  Council A  Council B  Council C

                    st. lb.    st. lb.    st. lb.    st. lb.

         7          3  7·3     3  2·1     3  1       3  1

         7-1/2      4  0·7     3  6·77    3  0·11    3  4

                    4  0·7     3  4·44    3  3·64    3  1·87

         8-1/2      3 10·5     3  5       3  5·2     3  3·3

                    4  3·5     3 11·33    3  8·85    3  6·38

         9-1/2      4  5·4     3  9·35    3 11·16    3  9·5

                    4 10·03    3 13·1     3 11       --

         10-1/2     4 12·76    4  0·43    4  0·6     3 12·37

         11         5  0·27    4  5·45    4  3·05    3 13·5

         11-1/2     5  4·75    4  6·8     4  4·79    4  2·3

         12         5  7·05    4 10·6     4  7·92    4  6·05

         12-1/2     5  4       4 13       4 11·5     4  7·73

         13         6  4·25    5  3·42    4 12·75    4 13·33

         13-1/2     6  1·72    5  4·26    4 12·5     5  0·63

         14         6 10·5     5  5·82    5  5·87    5  1·14


              Age        Council A  Council B  Council C
                         st. lb.    st. lb.    st. lb.
              7          3  1       2 13·1     3  5
              7-1/2      3  2·6     3  3       3  8
                         3  6·85    3  3·9     3  2·16
              8-1/2      3  8       3  5·5     3  4·7
                         3 10       3  7·9     3  6·5
              9-1/2      3 10·85    3 10·5     3  8·05
                         4  1·5     3 12·3     3 10·75
              10-1/2     3 13·46    4  3·57    3 11·2
              11         4  5·28    4  6·5     4  0·25
              11-1/2     4  4·7     4  5·2     4  4·57
              12         5  1·31    4 11·07    4 11·7
              12-1/2     5  7·3     4 11·7     4 13·12
              13         5  0·3     5  3·16    5  3·3
              13-1/2     5 10·5     5  5·8     5  4
              14         6  9·3     5  4·57    5 12

A is a school where the parents were comparatively well-to-do and the
children mostly had comfortable homes.

B is a school where the parents were mostly small shopkeepers or
labourers in constant employment.

C is a school where the parents were mostly unemployed or casually

                               CHAPTER I

The latter half of the nineteenth century was remarkable for the birth
of a new social conscience manifesting itself in every kind of social
movement. Some were mere outbursts of sentimentality, pauperising and
patronising, others indicated real care and sympathy for the weaker
members of society, others again a love of scientific method and order.
Thus in the early 'sixties there was an enormous growth in the amount
spent in charity, leading to hopeless confusion. An attempt to introduce
some order into this chaos and to stem the tide of indiscriminate
almsgiving was made in 1868 by the formation of the "Society for the
Prevention of Pauperism and Crime," which split the following year into
the Industrial Employment Association and the better known Charity
Organisation Society. In the 'eighties "slumming" became a fashionable
occupation, while 1884 saw the beginning of the Settlement movement in
the foundation of Toynbee Hall. Meanwhile the working classes were
becoming articulate, learning more self-reliance and mutual dependence.
The growth of Trade Unions, of Co-operative and Friendly societies,
showed how the working people were beginning to work out their own
salvation. Towards the close of the century methods of improvement were
nearly all on collectivist lines--in sanitary reform, in free education,
in the agitation for a legal limitation of labour to eight hours a day,
for a minimum wage and for Old Age Pensions.

Amongst the most characteristic of these activities was the movement for
the feeding of poor school children. In the early years of the movement
the motives were chiefly philanthropic. The establishment of the Ragged
and other schools had brought under the notice of teachers and others
large numbers of children, underfed and ill-clothed. Still more was this
the case when education was made compulsory under the Education Act of
1870. It was impossible for humanitarians to attempt to educate these
children without at the same time trying to alleviate their distress.
Education, in fact, proved useless if the child was starving; more, it
might be positively detrimental, since the effort to learn placed on the
child's brain a task greater than it could bear. All these early
endeavours to provide meals were undertaken by voluntary agencies. Their
operations were spasmodic and proved totally inadequate to cope with the
evil. Towards the end of the century we find a growing insistence on the
doctrine that it was the duty of the State to ensure that the children
for whom it provided education should not be incapable, through lack of
food, of profiting by that education. On the one hand some socialists
demanded that the State ought itself to provide food for all its
elementary school children. Another school of reformers urged that
voluntary agencies might in many areas deal with the question, but that
where their resources proved inadequate the State must step in and
supplement them. Others again objected to any public provision of meals
on the ground that it would undermine parental responsibility. The
demand that the State must take some action was strengthened by the
alarm excited during the South African war by the difficulty experienced
in securing recruits of the requisite physique. The importance of the
physical condition of the masses of the population was thus forced upon
public attention. It was urged that the child was the material for the
future generation, and that a healthy race could not be reared if the
children were chronically underfed. In the result Parliament yielded to
the popular demand, and by the Education (Provision of Meals) Act of
1906 gave power to the Local Education Authorities to assist voluntary
agencies in the work of providing meals, and if necessary themselves to
provide food out of the rates.

                 (a)--Provision by Voluntary Agencies.

The first experiments in the provision of free or cheap dinners for
school children appear to date from the early 'sixties.[1] One of the
earliest and most important of the London societies was the Destitute
Children's Dinner Society, founded in February, 1864, in connection with
a Ragged School in Westminster.[2] This Society quickly grew and,
between October 1869 and April 1870, fifty-eight dining rooms were
opened for longer or shorter periods.[3] The motive, though largely
sentimental, was from the first supported by educational considerations.
"Their almost constant destitution of food," write the Committee in
their appeal for funds, "is not only laying the foundation of permanent
disease in their debilitated constitutions, but reduces them to so low a
state that they have not vigour of body or energy of mind sufficient to
derive any profit from the exertions of their teachers."[4] The
influence of the newly-formed Charity Organisation Society is seen in
the nervous anxiety of the promoters to avoid the charge of pauperising.
"Our object is not the indiscriminate relief of the multitude of poor
children to be found in the lowest parts of the metropolis. Our efforts
are limited to those in attendance at ragged or other schools so as to
encourage and assist the moral and religious training thus afforded."[5]
The dinners were not self-supporting,[6] but a great point was made of
the fact that a penny was charged towards paying the cost. Nevertheless
the promoters admitted that "it has been found impossible in some
localities to obtain any payment from the children."[7]

Footnote 1:

  "Many of our own [Roman Catholic] schools ... fed the children even in
  the 'sixties." (Report of Select Committee on Education (Provision of
  Meals) Bills (England and Scotland), 1906, Evidence of Monsignor
  Brown, Q. 1038.)

Footnote 2:

  It is interesting to note that the impulse for the formation of this
  society came indirectly from France. In 1848 a commission of medical
  and scientific men had been appointed by the French Government to
  enquire into the causes of diseases, such as scrofula, rickets, and
  impoverishment of blood, to which children of the poor were exposed,
  and which produced so much mortality. The Committee reported that in
  their opinion the diseases were caused by children not having animal
  food, and might be checked by their having a meal of fresh meat once a
  month. Owing to political events no action was taken on this report,
  but it made a great impression on Victor Hugo, and some fourteen years
  later (in 1862) he started the experiment of giving dinners of fresh
  meat and a small glass of wine, once a fortnight, to forty of the most
  necessitous young children of Guernsey. This experiment was declared
  to be very successful. Many children suffering from the above diseases
  had been cured, "and the physical constitution of nearly the whole of
  them sensibly improved" (_Punch_, January 16, 1864). This description
  concluded with a suggestion that a similar scheme might be initiated
  in London. The Destitute Children's Dinner Society was the result.
  (_Charity Organisation Review_, January, 1885, p. 23.)

Footnote 3:

  Report on Metropolitan Soup Kitchens and Dinner Tables, by the Society
  for Organising Charitable Relief, 1871, p. 57.

Footnote 4:

  _The Times_, December 5, 1867.

Footnote 5:

  _Ibid._, November 1, 1870. The following year the Charity Organisation
  Society reports approvingly that the Destitute Children's Dinner
  Society "cordially accepts and endeavours to act up to the principle
  that 'to relieve destitution belongs to the Poor Law, while to prevent
  destitution is the peculiar function of charity.'" (Report on
  Metropolitan Soup Kitchens and Dinner Tables, 1871, p. 57.)

Footnote 6:

  The cost of a meal was generally 4d., 5d. or 6d.

Footnote 7:

  _The Times_, April 15, 1868.

The methods adopted by other societies were very similar. A common
feature of all was the infrequency of the meal. As a rule a child would
receive a dinner once a week, at the most twice a week.[8] It is true
that the dinners, unlike those supplied at the end of the century, when
the predominant feature was soup, seem always to have been substantial
and to have consisted of hot meat.[9] But making all allowance for the
nutritive value of the meal, its infrequency prevents us from placing
much confidence in the enthusiastic reports of the various societies as
to the beneficial result upon the children. "Experience has proved,"
writes the Destitute Children's Dinner Society in 1867, "that one
substantial meat dinner per week has a marked effect on the health and
powers of the children."[10] "Not only is there a marked improvement in
their physical condition," reports the same society two years later,
"but their teachers affirm that they are now enabled to exert their
mental powers in a degree which was formerly impossible."[11] The Ragged
School Union in 1870 reports to the same effect. "The physical benefit
of these dinners to the children is great; but it is not the body only
that is benefited; the teachers agree in their opinion that those who
are thus fed become more docile and teachable."[12]

Footnote 8:

  We have only found one case where the dinner was given as often as
  three times a week. (See letter from John Palmer, Hon. Sec. of the
  Clare Market Ragged Schools, _ibid._, October 16, 1871.)

Footnote 9:

  Thus a dinner given by the Refuge for Homeless and Destitute Children
  to pupils of St. Giles and St. George, Bloomsbury, consisted of boiled
  and roast beef, plenty of potatoes, and a thick slice of bread, the
  portion given to each child being abundant. (_Ibid._, November 27,

Footnote 10:

  _Ibid._, December 5, 1867.

Footnote 11:

  _Ibid._, March 26, 1869.

Footnote 12:

  Report of Ragged School Union for 1870, quoted in Report on
  Metropolitan Soup Kitchens and Dinner Tables, 1871, p. 58.

Meals were given only during the winter, though one society at any rate,
the Destitute Children's Dinner Society, realised the importance of
continuing the work throughout the year--an importance even now not
universally appreciated--their object being "not to relieve temporary
distress only, but by an additional weekly meal of good quality and
quantity, to improve the general health and moral condition of the half
starved and neglected children who swarm throughout the poor districts
of London."[13] Funds apparently did not permit of their achieving this

Footnote 13:

  Letter from the Treasurer of the Destitute Children's Dinner Society,
  _The Times_, April 15, 1868.

Footnote 14:

  In that year (1868) dinners were given during nine months, being
  discontinued only from July to September, but in subsequent years they
  appear to have been provided during the winter months only.

After the passing of the Education Act of 1870, educational
considerations became the dominant motive for feeding. Teachers and
school managers as well as philanthropists found themselves increasingly
compelled to deal with the problem. It was not only that compulsory
education brought into notice hundreds of needy children who had before
been hidden away in courts and back alleys,[15] but the effect of
education on a starving child proved useless.

Footnote 15:

  "At the present season, when the energy of the School Board visitors
  is filling the schools with all the poorest of the poor street Arabs,
  the need of such a society as this is more than ever felt." (Letter
  from the Committee of the Destitute Children's Dinner Society, _The
  Times_, December 12, 1872.)

The _Referee_ Fund, started in 1874, was the result of Mrs. Burgwin's
experience when head teacher of Orange Street School, Southwark. She
found the children in a deplorable condition and on appealing to a
medical man for advice was told that they were simply starving. With the
help of her assistant teachers she provided tea, coffee or warm milk for
the most needy. Soon a small local organisation was started, and a year
or two after Mr. G. R. Sims drew public attention to the question by his
articles on "How the Poor Live," and appealed for funds through the
_Referee_.[16] The operations of the fund thus established were at first
confined to West Southwark--"in that area," Mrs. Burgwin triumphantly
declared, "there was not a hungry school child"[17]--but were gradually
extended to other districts. As a result of the meals thus provided it
was said that the children looked healthier and attended school better
in the winter when they were being fed than they did in the summer.[18]

Footnote 16:

  London School Board, Report of Special Committee on Underfed Children,
  1895, Appendix 1, p. 5.

Footnote 17:

  Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Inspection and
  Feeding, 1905, Vol. II., Q. 304.

Footnote 18:

  London School Board, Report of Special Committee on Underfed Children,
  1895, Appendix 1, p. 6.

The standard example, however, constantly quoted as evidence of the
value of school meals, was the experiment started by Sir Henry Peek at
Rousdon in 1876. The children in that district had to walk long
distances to school, "bringing with them wretched morsels of food for
dinner," with, naturally, most unsatisfactory results. Sir Henry Peek
provided one good meal a day for five days, charging one penny a day.
The system was practically self-supporting. The experiment was declared
by the Inspector to have "turned out a very great success. What strikes
one at once on coming into the school is the healthy vigorous look of
the children, and that their vigour is not merely bodily, but comes out
in the course of examination. There is a marked contrast between their
appearance and their work on the day of inspection, and those of the
children in many of the neighbouring schools. The midday meal is good
and without stint. It acts as an attraction, and induces regularity of
attendance.... Before the school was started the education of the
children of the neighbourhood was as low as in any part of the

Footnote 19:

  Mr. Mundella in the House of Commons, _Hansard_, July 26, 1883, 3rd
  Series, Vol. 282, pp. 577-9. "The effect on the health of the
  children," writes the Rector of Rousdon in January, 1885, "may be well
  exemplified by the most recent illustration--viz., that in the third
  week of December, though whooping-cough had been, and still was,
  prevalent among them, and the weather was damp and raw, the entry on
  the master's weekly report was, absentees, 0--that is, _every_ child
  on the register had appeared on the Monday morning and paid for its
  week's dinners. Probably such a circumstance in a rural school
  district (with radius of a mile and a half at least) in the height of
  winter is unprecedented." (_Sanitary Record_, January 15, 1885.)

About 1880 another motive for school meals emerges. Public opinion began
to be aroused on the subject of over-pressure. It was said that far too
many subjects were taught and that the system of "payment by results"
forced the teachers to overwork the children for the sake of the grant.
It was pointed out that not only was it useless to try to educate a
starving child, but the results might be positively harmful. Numerous
letters from school managers, doctors and others appeared in _The
Times_. "In dispensary practice," writes Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, "I have
lately seen several cases of habitual headache and other cerebral
affections among children of all ages attending our Board Schools, and
have traced their origin to overstrain caused by the ordinary school
work, which the ill-nourished physical frames are often quite unfit to
bear. I have spoken repeatedly on the subject to members of the School
Boards, and also to teachers in the schools, and have again and again
been assured by them that they were quite alive to the danger, and
heartily wished that it was in their power to avert it, but that the
constantly advancing requirements of the Education Code left them no
option in the matter."[20]

Footnote 20:

  _The Times_, April 15, 1880. Speaking of the children at London
  Hospitals, Dr. Robert Farquharson writes: "Ill-fed and badly housed
  and clothed, exposed to depressing sanitary and domestic conditions,
  these poor creatures are frequently expected to do an amount of school
  work of which their badly-nourished brains are utterly incapable. I
  have long been familiar with the pale, dejected look, the chronic
  headache, the sleeplessness, the loss of appetite, the general want of
  tone, caused undoubtedly by the undue exercise of nervous tissues
  unprovided with their proper allowance of healthy food." Such children
  "are by no means inclined to shirk their lessons; they are frequently
  much interested in them; but, feeling the responsibility of class and
  examinations keenly ... they become sleepless and restless, and
  rapidly lose flesh and strength." (_Ibid._, April 19, 1880.)

_The Lancet_ spoke strongly on the subject[21] and in 1883 it was hotly
discussed in Parliament. Mr. Mundella spoke in warm praise of Sir Henry
Peek's experiment, while Mr. S. Smith, the member for Liverpool, went so
far as to say that "if Parliament compelled persons by force of law to
send their children to school, and the little ones were to be forced to
undergo such a grinding system, they ought not to injure them in so
doing, but should provide them, in cases of proved necessity, with
sufficient nourishment to enable them to stand the pressure."[22] Such a
proposition sounds "advanced" for the year 1883, but he added the still
more modern suggestion--"that not only should we have a medical
inspection of schools, but that the grants should be partly dependent
upon the physical health of the children.... We were applying sanitary
science to our great towns, and we should apply the same science also to
the educational system of the country."[23] At last Mr. Mundella
instigated Dr. Crichton Browne to undertake a private enquiry into the
subject. The report was somewhat vague and rhetorical, and Dr. Browne's
judgments were said to be based on insufficient data, so that little
fresh light was thrown on the question. It is, however, noteworthy that
he too recommended medical inspection and also that a record of the
height, weight and chest girth of the children should be kept.[24]

Footnote 21:

  "That good feeding is necessary for brain nutrition does not need to
  be demonstrated or even argued at length ... it must be evident that
  the position in which education places the brains of underfed children
  is that of a highly-exercised organ urgently requiring food, and
  finding none or very little. These children are _growing_, and all or
  nearly all the food they can get is appropriated by the grosser and
  bulkier parts of the body to the starvation of the brain.... It is
  cruel to educate a growing child unless you are also prepared to feed
  him." (Leading Article, _The Lancet_, August 4, 1883, Vol. II., pp.

Footnote 22:

  _Hansard_, July 26, 1883, 3rd Series, Vol. 282, p. 597.

Footnote 23:

  _Ibid._, p. 598.

Footnote 24:

  _The Times_, September 16, 1884.

In spite of conflicting opinions, one point became increasingly clear.
Whether the amount of mental strain necessitated by the Educational
Code was exaggerated or not, there was no doubt that good educational
results were dependent upon health and could not be attained where the
children were seriously underfed. The situation was summed up by Mr.
Sydney Buxton during a conference of Managers and Teachers of London
Board Schools in 1884. The School Boards, he said, had by their
compulsory powers been "year by year tapping a lower stratum of
society, bringing to light the distress, destitution and underfeeding
which formerly had escaped their notice. The cry of over-pressure had
drawn public attention to the children attending elementary schools,
and he thought it was now becoming more and more recognised that
'over-pressure' in a very large number of cases was only another word
for 'underfeeding.'"[25]

Footnote 25:

  _School Board Chronicle_, December 13, 1884, pp. 628-9.

The principle that compulsory education involved some provision of food
being thus generally admitted,[26] the question remained how was this to
be done? Should the meals be provided free or should they be
self-supporting? A keen controversy ensued as to the merits of penny
dinners. _The Times_ quoted with apparent astonishment and alarm the
view of the Minister of Education that it would not be enough to provide
meals for those who could pay for them, and that whatever might be the
vices of the parents the children ought not to suffer.[27] The Charity
Organisation Society held more than one conference on the subject and
emphatically contended that the only means of avoiding "pauperisation"
was to insist on payment for the meals. Indeed some members felt so
strongly that penny dinners were bound to be converted into halfpenny or
free dinners, that they were reluctant to give the movement any support
at all.[28] The attitude of the society was, as _The Times_ said, "one
of watchful criticism."[29] Yet there were some, at any rate, who
recognised that the obligation on the part of the parent to send his
children to school involved a very real pecuniary sacrifice which might
often more than counterbalance any advantage to be obtained from free
meals. "We must not teach poor children or poor parents to lean upon
charity," says the School Board Chronicle in 1884. "But, on the other
hand, it ought never to be forgotten that this new law of compulsory
attendance at school, in the making whereof the poorest classes of the
people had no hand whatever, exacts greater sacrifices from that class
than from any other. We hear a good deal sometimes ... of the grumbling
of the ratepayers ... as to the burden of the school rate.... But do
these grumblers ever reflect that the very poor of whom we are speaking
never asked to have education provided for their children, never wanted
it, have practically nothing to gain by it and much to lose, and that
this law of compulsory education is forced on them, not for their good
or for their pleasure, but for the safety and progress of society and
for the sake of economy in the administration of the laws in the matter
of poor relief and crime."[30] Amidst all the discussion on the needs
and morals of the poor from the standpoint of the superior person, it is
refreshing to find so honest and sympathetic a criticism.

Footnote 26:

  "It is now admitted that children cannot be expected to learn their
  lessons unless they are properly fed." (_The Times_, Leading Article,
  December 13, 1884.)

Footnote 27:


Footnote 28:

  _Charity Organisation Review_, January, 1885, p. 25. As we shall see
  (post, p. 19), their fears in this respect were realised.

Footnote 29:

  _The Times_, Leading Article, January 20, 1885.

Footnote 30:

  _The School Board Chronicle_, December 13, 1884, p. 627.

The outcome of this lengthy public discussion was a great increase in
voluntary feeding agencies all over the country about the year 1884.[31]
At the Conference of Board School Managers and Teachers in that year,
Mr. Mundella stated that, since he referred in the House of Commons to
the Rousdon experiment, provision for school meals was being made in
rural districts to an extent which he could hardly believe.[32] In
London the Council for Promoting Self-supporting Penny Dinners was
established and the movement spread rapidly. In August, 1884, there were
only two centres where penny dinners on a self-supporting basis were
provided. By December such dinners had been started in thirteen other

Footnote 31:

  Such voluntary agencies were established, for instance, at Hastings
  (about 1882), at Birmingham and Gateshead (in 1884), at Carlisle (in

Footnote 32:

  _School Board Chronicle_, December 13, 1884, pp. 629-630.

Footnote 33:

  _Ibid._, p. 628.

Meanwhile the promoters of free meals continued their work unabashed.
The Board School Children's Free Dinner Fund declared in 1885, "our work
does not cross the lines of the penny dinner movement. It was started
before that movement and has been in some cases carried on side by side
with it, its object being to feed those children whose parents have
neither pennies nor half-pennies to pay for their dinners. Free dinners
are restricted to the children of widows, and to those whose parents are
ill or out of work."[34] The _Referee_ Fund now supplied schools over a
large part of South London and had always given free meals. In most
provincial towns, whether the dinners were nominally self-supporting or
not, necessitous children were seldom refused food on account of
inability to pay. Private philanthropists saw the suffering and tried to
alleviate it, not enquiring too closely into the consequences.

Footnote 34:

  _The Times_, December 16, 1885.

It was generally taken for granted that the meals, whether free or
self-supporting, should be provided by voluntary agencies. The Local
Education Authorities sometimes granted the use of rooms and plant,[35]
but seldom took any further action. It is remarkable that the Guardians,
whose duty it was to relieve the destitution existing, seem to have paid
but the scantiest attention to it. Even where they attempted to deal
with it by granting relief to the family, this relief was generally
inadequate and the children were consequently underfed, with the result
that they were given meals by the voluntary feeding agencies.[36] There
seems indeed to have been no co-operation whatever between the various
voluntary agencies established all over the country and the Boards of
Guardians.[37] By an Act of Parliament passed in 1868 it was enacted
that where any parent wilfully neglected to provide adequate food for
his child the Board of Guardians should institute proceedings.[38] This
Act seems to have remained almost a dead letter. In giving evidence
before the House of Lords Select Committee on Poor Law Relief in 1888,
Mr. Benjamin Waugh, Director of the National Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children, in speaking of the Act, stated, "first, that the
Guardians do not act upon it to any very great extent; secondly, that
the police know that it is not their business, and they do not act upon
it; and, thirdly, the public have an impression that they are excluded
from taking cognisance of starvation cases because the term used is 'the
Guardians shall' do it." "There are cases in which they are habitually
doing it, chiefly where ladies are upon the board, but in a very small
number of cases indeed throughout the country."[39] The part taken by
the State in the matter of relieving the wants of underfed children was
thus as yet a small one.[40]

Footnote 35:

  Thus at Liverpool, about 1885, the Council of Education resolved to
  offer grants to School Managers for the supply of needful appliances
  for penny dinners, provided that "the payment of a penny should
  absolutely cover the cost of each dinner, so as not only to avoid
  pauperising the recipient, but also to render the scheme entirely
  self-supporting." (Report of Special Sub-Committee on Meals for School
  Children, in Minutes of London School Board, July 25, 1889, p. 383.)
  At Birmingham the School Board allowed a voluntary committee to erect
  kitchens on the school premises. (London School Board, Report of
  General Purposes Committee on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 253.) At Gateshead, in 1884, the School Board arranged for a
  supply of dinners in the schools in the poorest parts of the town.
  (Report of Select Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Bills (England and Scotland), 1906, Q. 4101.) In London, the School
  Board in 1885 resolved "that the Board grant facilities to local
  managers and to other responsible persons for the provision on the
  school premises of penny dinners on self-supporting principles for
  elementary school children, where it can be done without interference
  with school work or injury to the school buildings." (Report of
  Special Committee on Meals for School Children, in Minutes of London
  School Board, July 25, 1889, p. 374.) At Manchester, as early as 1879,
  the School Board initiated a scheme for providing meals. The chairman,
  Mr. Herbert Birley, had been in the habit of supplying breakfasts to
  poor children in some of the schools, and on these schools being
  transferred to the School Board, he induced it to continue the work.
  (Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Inspection and
  Feeding, 1905, Vol. II., Qs. 2745A, 2754, evidence of Mr. C. H.

Footnote 36:

  In Manchester there had been a serious attempt to meet the difficulty.
  There the Board of Guardians maintained a "Day Feeding School" and
  gave three meals a day to its out-door relief children for some years
  between 1856 and 1866. (Report of Royal Commission on the Poor Laws,
  1909, 8vo Edition, Vol. III., p. 148 n.)

Footnote 37:

  See for instance the evidence given before the London School Board in
  1895. (See post, p. 17.)

Footnote 38:

  31 and 32 Vict. c. 122, sec. 37.

Footnote 39:

  House of Lords Select Committee on Poor Law Relief, 1888, Qs. 5857,

Footnote 40:

  By an Act of 1876, the Local Education Authority might establish Day
  Industrial Schools at which one or more meals were provided, towards
  the cost of which the parents should contribute. (39 and 40 Vict., c.
  79, sec. 16.) Very few such schools were established. (See post, p.

            (b)--The Organisation of the Voluntary Agencies.

The history of the movement for the next ten years or so is mainly
concerned with organisation. In London, with the number of feeding
centres growing so rapidly, with many different agencies whose
principles and methods conflicted, some plan of organisation and
co-operation was the crying need. In May, 1887, at the instigation of
Sir Henry Peek, a committee, composed of representatives of the various
voluntary societies,[41] was formed to consider in what ways
co-operation was feasible. This Committee recommended that (i)
self-supporting dinner centres should be opened in as many districts as
possible in London, and the various societies for providing dinners for
children should be invited to make use of them; (ii) free dinners to
children attending public elementary schools should only be given on the
recommendation of the head teacher; (iii) when free dinners were given a
register should be kept of the circumstances of the family.[42]

Footnote 41:

  The Committee represented the Self-Supporting Penny Dinner Council,
  the Board School Children's Free Dinner Fund, the South London Schools
  Dinner Fund, Free Breakfasts and Dinners for the Poor Board School and
  other Children of Southwark (the _Referee_ Fund) and the Poor
  Children's Aid Association.

Footnote 42:

  _The Times_, November 16, 1887.

This attempt cannot have been very effective, for when, at last, the
London School Board took the matter in hand, feeding arrangements were
as chaotic as ever. In 1889 a special committee was appointed to enquire
into the whole question and report to the Board. The report shows that
the supply of food was extraordinarily badly distributed. "In some
districts there is an excess of charitable effort leading to a wasteful
and demoralising distribution of dinners to children who are not in
want, while in other places children are starving."[43] In most cases
the provision was insufficient to feed all the indigent children every
day, many getting a meal only once or twice a week.[44] Only a rough
estimate of the number of necessitous children could be obtained, but it
was calculated that 43,888 or 12·8 per cent. of the children attending
schools of the Board were habitually in want of food, and of these less
than half were provided for.[45] The Committee recommended that a
central organisation should be formed "to work with the existing
Associations with a view to a more economical and efficient system for
the provision of cheap or free meals."[46] As a result the London
Schools Dinner Association was founded. Most of the large societies were
merged into this body, one or two retaining their separate organisation,
but agreeing to work in harmony with it.[47]

Footnote 43:

  Report of Special Sub-Committee on Meals for School Children, in
  Minutes of London School Board, July 25, 1889, p. 373.

Footnote 44:


Footnote 45:

  _Ibid._, p. 372.

Footnote 46:

  _Ibid._, p. 377.

Footnote 47:

  Seven members of the School Board were placed on the Executive
  Committee as a kind of informal representation, but in 1899 this
  number had dwindled to three. (London School Board, Report of General
  Purposes Committee on Underfed Children, 1899, pp. v.-vi.) There was
  "no direct touch" between the two bodies, "except the accidental
  circumstance that Members of the Board might be on the Committee" of
  the Association. (_Ibid._, p. 6, evidence of Mr. T. A. Spalding.)

Another committee appointed by the School Board in December, 1894, was
just as emphatic as to the general inefficiency and want of uniformity.
The work of giving charitable meals, they found, was still in the
experimental stage, as was shown by the "extremely divergent views ...
both as to the nature and extent of the distress ... and as to the
efficiency of the methods employed in meeting it."[48] They were struck
by "the apparent want of co-ordination between the various agencies
which were dealing with distress in London" (_i.e._, the Poor Law, the
Labour Bureaux established by the London Vestries, etc.). "The local
committees in connection with the schools seem to have had no knowledge
whatsoever of what was being done by these other bodies, except in the
few cases where more or less permanent out-door relief was being given,
and where the children presented attendance cards to be filled up by
their teachers."[49] "Our work," remarked one witness, "is carried on
without paying heed to what may be done under the Poor Law
Authorities."[50] Relief was "often given without any connection with
the managers or teachers of Public Elementary Schools." In one instance
tickets for meals "were distributed without enquiry at the door of a
Music Hall ... the proprietor of which had been one of the chief
subscribers to the Fund."[51] In another case "tickets issued by an
evening paper fund were sold over and over again by the people to whom
they were given; sold in the streets and in the public-houses."[52] Even
when the arrangements were nominally controlled by the Education
Authorities the methods of selection were haphazard and the provision
often totally inadequate. A number of witnesses gave evidence of this.
"It was found that one child of a family was given fourteen tickets
during the season, whilst another child of the same family had only one
or two."[53] "It might have been well to have taken one or two children
in hand for the purpose of observations," remarked the head-master of a
Stepney school, "but I remember one of my instructions was that the same
child was not to be given a meal too often."[54] In one school the
number of children needing a dinner on any day was ascertained by a show
of hands. Each child was then called out before the teacher and asked
about its parents' circumstances.[55] In another case the teachers
merely asked the children in the morning which of them would not get any
dinner at home that day.[56] Of course there were seldom enough tickets
to go round. For the parents this haphazard method was most bewildering.
"No arrangement is made with the parents as to whether or not a child
will have a meal on any day .... In many cases the parents hardly know
whether the children are having a meal at school or not, as they
constantly come home for something more."[57]

Footnote 48:

  London School Board, Report of Special Committee on Underfed Children,
  1895, p. vii.

Footnote 49:


Footnote 50:

  _Ibid._, p. 11, evidence of Mr. W. H. Libby. "I am of opinion," said
  this witness, "that the children of parents who are in receipt of
  out-door relief are more in need of our help than others." (_Ibid._)
  "In my experience," said Mrs. Burgwin, "the greatest distress was
  amongst the children of parents who were in receipt of out-door
  relief, and free meals should certainly be given to them, for the
  amount allowed as out-door relief is so small that a family is left
  practically on the verge of starvation." (_Ibid._, p. 7.)

Footnote 51:

  _Ibid._, p. ii.

Footnote 52:

  _Ibid._, p. 24.

Footnote 53:

  _Ibid._, p. 30 (evidence of Mrs. Marion Leon, Manager of Vere Street
  School, Clare Market).

Footnote 54:

  _Ibid._, pp. 14-15 (evidence of Mr. J. Morgan).

Footnote 55:

  _Ibid._, p. 21 (evidence of Mr. C. H. Heller, Headmaster of Sayer
  Street School, Walworth).

Footnote 56:

  _Ibid._, p. 30 (evidence of Mrs. Marion Leon).

Footnote 57:

  _Ibid._, p. 41 (evidence of Miss L. P. Fowler).

In 1889 the self-supporting meal was still regarded as the normal type
although the number of free meals was on the increase. In 1895 the
committee recognised that self-supporting penny dinners were a failure.
Only 10 per cent. of the meals were paid for by the children.[58] This
had one rather curious effect. The meals were much more uniform in type
than in 1889, and this uniformity was distasteful if not harmful to the
children. The chief reason was perhaps that the need to attract the
children was not so great as when it was hoped to establish the meals on
a self-supporting basis. Another reason was that the National Food
Supply Association, which did most of the catering, desired to encourage
the use of vegetable soup as well as to relieve distress.[59]

Footnote 58:

  _Ibid._, p. iii. Even when the dinners were paid for, the payment
  rarely covered the cost. The same want of success was reported in the
  provinces. At Birmingham the experiment of giving penny dinners failed
  completely, and the meals had to be given free. (Report of
  Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, 1904, Qs.
  13238, 13240, evidence of Dr. Airy.) "The experience of all workers in
  this movement testifies," says Canon Moore Ede, "that the poorest of
  all--those who are least well nourished--are scarcely touched by the
  penny dinners." ("Cheap Meals for Poor School Children," by Rev. W.
  Moore Ede, in _Report of Conference on Education under Healthy
  Conditions at Manchester_, 1885, p. 81.)

Footnote 59:

  London School Board, Report of Special Committee on Underfed Children,
  1895, pp. iv., v. "Under the penny dinner system, we had to provide
  something to attract the children, as they would not come to the same
  meal every day and pay a penny for it; puddings and meat pies were
  provided and varied from day to day. Now they get soup." (_Ibid._,
  Appendix I., p. 39, evidence of Rev. R. Leach.) "The soup ... supplied
  by the National Food Association varies so very little from day to day
  that it is natural for the children to grow tired of it," (_Ibid._, p.
  22, evidence of Mr. C. H. Heller.)

Apart from the question of more efficient organisation, the
recommendations of this committee were somewhat indefinite. They urged
that, as a guide for future action, continuous records should be kept
of all children fed.[60] On the adequacy of the existing voluntary
organisations to cope with the distress the majority declined to
commit themselves. The minority asserted emphatically that these
charitable funds were amply sufficient. The Committee questioned how
far the supply of food was the right way of dealing with distress.
"Actual starvation," they said, "was undoubtedly at one time the chief
evil to be feared by the poor. But now that rent in London is so high
and food so cheap conditions have changed."[61] Other forms of help,
they felt, were possibly more needed, _e.g._, medical advice and
clothing. Indeed, during the last sixty years there had been such an
improvement in the economic conditions of the working classes as had
not been known at any other period of history. Comparisons between
conditions obtaining at the beginning and at the end of the nineteenth
century are to some extent vitiated by the fact that the former was a
period of extraordinary social misery. Nevertheless, the improvement
is striking. Sir Robert Giffen, speaking on "The Progress of the
Working Classes in the Last Half Century," in November, 1883, showed
that, while the wages of working men "have advanced, most articles he
consumes have rather diminished in price, the change in wheat being
especially remarkable, and significant of a complete revolution in the
conditions of the masses. The increased price in the case of one or
two articles--particularly meat and house rent--is insufficient to
neutralise the general advantages which the workman has gained."[62]
By further statistics he showed "a decline in the rate of mortality,
an increase of the consumption of articles in general use, an
improvement in general education, a diminution of crime and pauperism,
a vast increase in the number of depositors in savings banks, and
other evidences of general well-being."[63] Up to 1895 the cost of
living steadily declined, and in that year real wages were higher than
they had ever been before. This did not mean, as some urged, that
Society might slacken any of its efforts to improve the condition of
the poorer classes. Even from the most optimistic standpoint the
improvement was far too small, and there was still a residuum whose
deplorable condition demanded "something like a revolution for the
better."[64] But now that the more prosperous working men were
consciously striving to improve their own position, the community, or
the philanthropists among it, were more able to assist the submerged
remainder. The history of school feeding illustrates how "one of the
least noticed but most certain facts of social life is the fact that
Society very seldom awakes to the existence of an evil while that evil
is at its worst, but some time afterwards, when the evil is already in
process of healing itself.... Society can seldom be induced to bother
itself about any suffering, the removal of which requires really
revolutionary treatment. It only becomes sensitive, sympathetic and
eager for reform when reform is possible without too great an upheaval
of its settled way of life."[65] A higher standard of living was now
required and the real question was whether feeding the school child
was the right way to attain to it, or only a following of the line of
least resistance. If it was a healthy movement, then clearly it was
time to set about feeding in a more thorough fashion.

Footnote 60:

  _Ibid._, pp. v., viii.

Footnote 61:

  _Ibid._, p. vi.

Footnote 62:

  _Economic Enquiries and Studies_, by Sir Robert Giffen, 1904, Vol. I.,
  pp. 398-9.

Footnote 63:

  _Ibid._, p. 419.

Footnote 64:

  _Ibid._, p. 408.

Footnote 65:

  _A Philosophy of Social Progress_, by E. J. Urwick, 1912, pp. 88, 89.

In 1898 a third attempt was made by the London School Board to deal with
the question. It was referred to the General Purposes Committee to
enquire into the number of underfed children and to consider "how far
the present voluntary provision for school meals is, or is not,
effectual."[66] The evidence given before the committee shows the
prevalence of a state of affairs very similar to that of the earlier
years. There is the same complaint about "the want of any general plan,
the utter lack of uniformity ... the absence (except in a few places) of
any means of enquiring into doubtful cases, and above all the
non-existence of any sort of machinery for securing that where want
exists it shall be dealt with."[67] But the report and recommendations
of the majority of the Special Committee show an astonishing advance on
the views of the two former committees. The necessity for feeding was
not now denied, they thought, "even by those ... who are keenly anxious
to prevent the undermining of prudence or self-help by ill-advised or
unregulated generosity."[68] They were most emphatic as to the good
effects on the children when the meals were nicely served in the schools
under proper supervision, and they considered "that food provision and
training at meals should in particular form part of the work of all
Centres for Physically and Mentally Defective children, and that the
Government grant should be calculated accordingly."[69] One or two of
the members of the committee and some of the witnesses urged that meals
should be continued in the summer.[70] As to the effect on the parents,
"it appears to the sub-committee ... that its concern is with the
well-being of the children, and even if it were the case that it was, in
some way, better for the moral character of the parents to let the
children starve, the sub-committee would not be prepared to advise that
line of policy. The first duty of the community to the child ... is to
see that it has a proper chance as regards its equipment for life."[71]
"If they come to school underfed ... it would seem to be the duty of
those who have a care of the children to deal with it, and to see that
the underfeeding ceases. It is, of course, obvious, in any case, that
this, like all other social evils, may be gradually eliminated by the
general improvement, moral and material, of the community. But apart
from the fact that that is a slow process and that many generations of
actual school children will come and go in the meantime, it is obvious
that the prevention of underfeeding in school children (with its results
of under-education and increasing malnutrition) is itself one of the
potent means of forwarding the general improvement."[72] At the same
time the idea that school dinners pauperise the parents or destroy the
sense of parental responsibility "appears to the sub-committee to be a
mere theoretic fancy entirely unsupported by practical experience."[73]
Parents who could feed their children and would not should "simply be
summoned for 'cruelty.'"[74]

Footnote 66:

  London School Board, Report of General Purposes Committee on Underfed
  Children, 1899, p. ii., par. 1.

Footnote 67:

  _Ibid._, p. vi., par. 29.

Footnote 68:

  _Ibid._, p. iii., pars. 11, 12.

Footnote 69:

  _Ibid._, p. v., par. 25. "School dinners well managed may be made to
  have an admirable educative effect.... This makes me think that a
  proper part of the business of the School should be a common mid-day
  meal." (Evidence of Mrs. Despard, _ibid._, p. 3.) Mrs. Burgwin was of
  the same opinion. (_Ibid._, p. 14.)

Footnote 70:

  See, for instance, the suggestions made by Mr. Whiteley (_ibid._, p.
  ix.), and the evidence of Mrs. Burgwin and Mr. J. Morant (_ibid._, pp.
  14, 15).

Footnote 71:

  _Ibid._, p. iv., par. 20.

Footnote 72:

  _Ibid._, p. iv., par. 17.

Footnote 73:

  _Ibid._, p. iv., par. 19.

Footnote 74:

  _Ibid._, p. v., par. 21.

The majority of the committee declared themselves convinced "by the
consideration of the subject, and by the special information now
obtained from Paris and from other foreign countries,[75] that the whole
question of the feeding and health of children compulsorily attending
school requires to be dealt with as a matter of public concern."[76]
They therefore recommended that a Central Committee should be formed,
which should be authorised to call for reports and general assistance
from the Board's staff, facilities being granted for the use of rooms at
the schools for meals, and they made the following important statement
of principle:--"It should be deemed to be part of the duty of any
authority by law responsible for the compulsory attendance of children
at school to ascertain what children, if any, come to school in a state
unfit to get normal profit by the school work--whether by reason of
underfeeding, physical disability or otherwise--and there should be the
necessary inspection for that purpose; that where it is ascertained that
children are sent to school 'underfed' ... it should be part of the duty
of the authority to see that they are provided, under proper conditions,
with the necessary food;" that "the authority should co-operate in any
existing or future voluntary efforts to that end," and that, "in so far
as such voluntary efforts fail to cover the ground, the authority should
have the power and the duty to supplement them." Where dinners were
provided, it was desirable that they should be open to all children, and
that the parents should pay for them, unless they were unable by
misfortune to find the money, and that no distinction should be made
between the paying and the non-paying children. If the underfed
condition of the child was due to the culpable neglect of the parent,
the Board should prosecute the parent, and, if the offence was persisted
in, should have power to deal with the child under the Industrial
Schools Acts.[77]

Footnote 75:

  For some account of the "Cantines Scolaires" of Paris, and the
  provision of meals in other foreign towns, see Appendix III.

Footnote 76:

  London School Board, Report of General Purposes Committee on Underfed
  Children, 1899, p. vii., par. 35.

Footnote 77:

  _Ibid._, p. i.

The Board rejected these proposals and acted on the more cautious
recommendations of the minority, who were convinced that there was no
necessity for any public authority to undertake the work, the voluntary
associations being entirely capable of dealing effectively with the
need, if they were properly organised. They considered, therefore, that
the duties of the School Board should be confined to co-operation in the
organisation of these associations.[78] This decision was hailed with
relief by _The Times_, which rejoiced that "the attempt of the 'Fabian'
School of Socialists, assisted by some philanthropic dupes, to capture
the London School Board has been decisively repelled."[79]

Footnote 78:

  _Ibid._, p. xii. Minutes of the London School Board, November 30,
  1899, Vol. 51, pp. 1868-72. The Majority Report was rejected by 27
  votes to 12.

Footnote 79:

  _The Times_, December 1, 1899.

As a matter of fact the Fabian Society seems as yet to have paid little
attention to the question, and, in so far as these proposals had been
due to socialist influence, the agitation had come from the Social
Democratic Federation. This body had, since the early 'eighties, made
the provision of a free meal for all children attending elementary
schools one of the fundamental planks of its platform.[80] Several
memorials were sent to the School Board,[81] urging that all children
whose parents were unemployed should be fed and clothed out of the
rates, but this proposal was too sweeping to meet with a favourable

Footnote 80:

  _Justice_, March 29, September 13 and 27, December 6, 1884.

Footnote 81:

  See, for instance, the memorials presented in 1892, 1896, and 1899.
  (Minutes of the London School Board, November 17, 1892; February 20,
  1896; December 7, 1899.)

The recommendations, which were finally adopted in March, 1900, provided
for the establishment of a permanent committee, to be known as the
"Joint Committee on Underfed Children." This was composed partly of
members of the School Board, partly of representatives of various other
bodies. Sub-committees, consisting of managers, teachers, School Board
visitors and one or more co-opted outsiders, were to be appointed in
each Board School, or group of Schools, where the necessity for
providing meals for underfed children was felt, and these sub-committees
were to make all necessary arrangements for the provision of meals.[82]
The functions of the Joint Committee were limited. It was to receive
reports from the sub-committees, to draw their attention to any defect
which might appear in the selection of the children or the arrangements
made for providing relief, to give them assistance by placing them in
communication with a source of supply so as to enable them to obtain the
necessary funds, to communicate with the chief collecting agencies when
there was reason to fear that the funds might not be sufficient, and
"generally to keep the public informed of what is being done to provide
relief for underfed children, and to stimulate public interest in the
work."[83] How far this effort to meet the need was successful we shall
relate in a subsequent chapter.[84]

Footnote 82:

  Similar committees had been in existence in several schools for some

Footnote 83:

  Minutes of the London School Board, March 1, 1900, Vol. 52, pp. 854-5,

Footnote 84:

  See Chapter III.

                  (c)--The Demand for State Provision.

Soon after the beginning of the new century the agitation for some form
of State feeding grew urgent and widespread. There was no attempt to
deal with the matter in the Education Act of 1902, but from about this
date onwards the question constantly recurred in Parliamentary debates,
a sure indication that the question was interesting others besides the
expert and the philanthropist. And to the old motives of sentiment and
educational need was added a new motive, a motive specially
characteristic of the present century and one which in some other
directions threatens to become almost an obsession. This was the desire
for "race regeneration," the conviction of the supreme importance of
securing a physically efficient people. Formerly the tendency had been
to sacrifice the needs of the child to the supposed moral welfare of the
family, now the child was regarded primarily as the raw material for a
nation of healthy citizens.

The South African war had been partly instrumental in producing this
extreme anxiety about physical unfitness, and two public enquiries--the
Royal Commission on Physical Training in Scotland, and the
Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration--furnished
abundant proof of the harm which was being done in this direction by the
mal-nutrition of school children.

The report of the Royal Commission on Physical Training showed
indisputably the necessity for better feeding. On this point a large
number of important witnesses were unanimous.[85] The Commissioners
were, however, cautious in their recommendations. Though fully convinced
of the necessity for feeding, they were doubtful as to how far the
responsibility for dealing with the need should be placed upon the
Education Authorities. "It is matter for grave consideration," they
declared, "whether the valuable asset to the nation in the improved
moral and physical state of a large number of future citizens
counterbalances the evils of impaired parental responsibility, or
whether voluntary agencies may be trusted to do this work with more
discrimination and consequently less danger than a statutory
system."[86] On the other hand, they urged, "it must be remembered that,
with every desire to act up to their parental responsibility, and while
quite ready to contribute in proportion to their power, there are often
impediments in the way of the home provision of suitable food by the
parents."[87] They considered, therefore, that "accommodation and means
for enabling children to be properly fed should ... be provided either
in each school or in a centre; but, except a limited sum to provide the
necessary equipment, no part of the cost should be allowed to fall on
the rates."[88] The meal should be educational in character. "An
obligation for the proper supervision of the feeding of those who come
for instruction should be regarded as one of the duties of school

Footnote 85:

  Report of Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), 1903. Vol.
  I., p. 30, par. 162. "If we are going to develop the physical training
  of children we must be on our guard against overworking them," said
  one witness, "and, of course, underfed children would be positively
  injured by even light exercises." (_Ibid._, Vol. II., Q. 760, evidence
  of Mr. J. E. Legge, Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools.)
  "Children can exist, when doing no mental or physical work, on a bare
  subsistence diet," said Dr. Clement Dukes, "but ... a bare subsistence
  diet becomes a starvation diet when mental or bodily work is added."
  (_Ibid._, Q. 8140.)

Footnote 86:

  _Ibid._, Vol. I., p. 30, par. 165.

Footnote 87:

  _Ibid._, p. 30, par. 167.

Footnote 88:

  _Ibid._, p. 31, par. 172.

Footnote 89:

  _Ibid._, p. 30, par. 168.

The findings of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical
Deterioration were more definite and striking. To take first the
evidence as to the extent of underfeeding, Dr. Eichholz, after careful
investigation, estimated that the rough total of underfed children in
London was 122,000 or 16 per cent. of the elementary school population.
These figures were based on the assumption that all the children being
fed at schools and centres would otherwise have gone unfed; but,
considering the loose method of enquiry prevalent, this was
questionable. The London School Board put the number at 10,000, but this
seems to have been grossly understating the case.[90] In Manchester,
according to the estimate of the Education Committee and the Medical
Officer of Health, not less than 15 per cent. were underfed.[91] The
evidence given was, however, conflicting, and indeed little reliance can
be placed on these statistics.

Footnote 90:

  Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration,
  1904, p. 66, pars. 332-334; evidence of Dr. Eichholz, Qs. 471-476.

Footnote 91:

  _Ibid._, p. 67, par. 335; evidence of Dr. Eichholz, Q. 476.

With regard to the effect of underfeeding on the physique of the
children, the doctors gave striking testimony. Dr. Robert Hutchison was
of opinion that, if a child had not sufficient food during the period of
growth, that is during the school years, it would be permanently
stunted.[92] "Apart from infectious diseases," said Dr. Collie of the
London School Board, "malnutrition is accountable for nine-tenths of
child sickness."[93] Dr. Eichholz pointed out that at Leeds Dr. Hall had
found that fifty per cent. of the children in a poor school suffered
from rickets, the true cause of which was poor and unsuitable food,
whilst in a well-to-do school the proportion was only eight per
cent.[94] In the opinion of this witness, an opinion "shared by medical
men, members of Education Committees, managers, teachers and others
conversant with the condition of school children ... food is at the base
of all the evils of child degeneracy."[95] "The sufficient feeding of
children," declared Dr. Niven, Medical Officer of Health for Manchester,
"is by far the most important thing to attend to and ... specially
important in connection with the Army.... When trade is good," he
argued, "you will have to rely for the Army upon this very poor class,
and in order to get good soldiers you must rear good children, you must
see that children are adequately fed."[96]

Footnote 92:

  _Ibid._, Q. 9974. "The critical age," he considered, was "from 10 to
  15." Looking at the enormous improvement in children in the Navy and
  in Industrial Schools, where they were properly fed, he did not "share
  the pessimistic view that the mischief is hopelessly done by the time
  a child reaches school age." He felt certain that "the provision of
  meals would do a great deal to improve the health and growth and
  development of the children of the poorer classes." (_Ibid._, Qs.
  9973, 10047-8, 10051, 10006.)

Footnote 93:

  _Ibid._, Q. 3992.

Footnote 94:

  _Ibid._, Q. 452.

Footnote 95:

  _Ibid._, Q. 475.

Footnote 96:

  _Ibid._, Q. 6484. See also evidence of General Sir T. Maurice, Q. 278.

Such were the arguments on the negative side--on the positive side there
was ample proof of the good effects of a regular nutritious diet. Dr.
Eichholz referred to Dr. Hall's experiment in feeding poor children at
Leeds. "Taking sixty poor seven-year-old children, at the beginning of
the period they totalled 455 lbs., below normal weight.... They gained
in three months forty lbs. in addition to the normal increase in weight"
for that time, "and they looked less anæmic and more cheerful."[97] Too
much importance must not be attached to these figures since the data on
which they are based are not sufficiently known to gauge their value,
but that the improvement was very considerable cannot be doubted.
Moreover, in the special schools for mentally defective children where
meals were regularly provided, the results were astonishing. Dr. Collie
told how, "in a large number of instances after the careful individual
attention and midday dinner of the special schools," the children
"returned after from six to eighteen months to the elementary schools
with a new lease of mental vigour. These children are functionally
mentally defective.... Their brains are starved, and naturally fail to
react to the ordinary methods of elementary teaching."[98] "Bad
nutrition and normal brain development," he added, "are

Footnote 97:

  _Ibid._, evidence of Dr. Eichholz, Q. 486.

Footnote 98:

  _Ibid._, evidence of Dr. Collie, Q. 3938.

Footnote 99:

  _Ibid._, Q. 3973.

There was indeed, as the Committee pointed out, "a general consensus of
opinion that the time had come when the State should realise the
necessity of ensuring adequate nourishment to children in attendance at
school ... it was, further, the subject of general agreement that, as a
rule, no purely voluntary association could successfully cope with the
full extent of the evil."[100] In a large number of cases such voluntary
organisations would be sufficient for the purpose, "with the support and
oversight of the Local Authority," and, as long as this was so, the
Committee would "strongly deprecate recourse being had to direct
municipal assistance."[101] But in cases where "the extent or the
concentration of poverty might be too great for the resources of local
charity ... it might be expedient to permit the application of municipal
aid on a larger scale."[102] As a corollary to the exercise of such
powers on the part of the Local Authority, the law would have to be
altered to make it more possible to prosecute neglectful parents.[103]
The Committee were also in favour of establishing special schools of the
Day Industrial School type in which feeding would form an essential
feature. To these definitely "retarded" children might be sent.[104]
They recommended that the funds for these experiments should be found
through the machinery of the Poor Law,[105] for they were anxious to
guard the community from the consequences of "the somewhat dangerous
doctrine that free meals are the necessary concomitant of free

Footnote 100:

  _Ibid._, p. 69, par. 348.

Footnote 101:

  _Ibid._, p. 72, par. 359.

Footnote 102:

  _Ibid._, par. 362.

Footnote 103:


Footnote 104:

  _Ibid._, par. 363.

Footnote 105:

  _Ibid._, par. 364.

Footnote 106:

  _Ibid._, par. 365.

Following on these reports came a strenuous agitation in Parliament and
in the country. The National Labour Conference on the State Maintenance
of Children, held at the Guildhall in January, 1905, declared
unanimously in favour of State Maintenance "as a necessary corollary of
Universal Compulsory Education, and as a means of partially arresting
that physical deterioration of the industrial population of this
country, which is now generally recognised as a grave national danger.
As a step towards such State Maintenance," the conference called upon
the Government to introduce without further delay legislation enabling
Local Authorities to provide meals for school children, the cost to be
borne by the National Exchequer.[107] The National Union of Teachers, at
a largely attended conference at Llandudno in the same year, were agreed
as to the urgent need for legislation.[108]

Footnote 107:

  Report of the National Labour Conference on the State Maintenance of
  Children, at the Guildhall, January 20, 1905, p. 25.

Footnote 108:

  Report of Select Committee on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills
  (England and Scotland), 1906, Qs. 792, 924, 925. By a considerable
  majority the Conference defeated an amendment that the Board of
  Guardians should be substituted for the Local Education Authority as
  the authority for making the provision, but owing to a technical
  difficulty the main resolution was not put. See also the resolution
  passed at a conference of the School Attendance Officers' Association,
  quoted by Mr. Slack in the House of Commons (_Hansard_, April 18,
  1905, 4th Series, Vol. 145, p. 533).

In Parliament the agitation was led by Mr. Claude Hay, Sir John Gorst
and Dr. Macnamara. It was urged that a large part of the money spent on
education was wasted. To teach children who were physically quite unfit
to receive instruction, was, as Sir John Gorst pointed out, "the height
of absurdity."[109] Thirty years' compulsory education had, Mr. Claude
Hay declared, resulted in disappointment. "The gain in intelligence was,
to say the least of it, equivocal, while the physical deterioration of
the people was obvious. The reason was largely that we had taken
education as an isolated factor, whereas it was part of an absolutely
indivisible unit.... We had assumed that ... the intellect could act
independently of all other parts of the total human being. We had
ignored the body, the soul and the will, and the result had been a
fiasco."[110] Compulsory education involved free meals, but only for the
"necessitous child."[111] It was declared that many parents would gladly
pay if they were thereby assured that their children were adequately and
properly fed.[112]

Footnote 109:

  _Hansard_, July 9, 1903, Vol. 125, p. 194. See also _ibid._, February
  14, 1905, Vol. 141, p. 143.

Footnote 110:

  _Ibid._, April 20, 1904, Vol. 133, pp. 782-3.

Footnote 111:

  _Ibid._, p. 784.

Footnote 112:

  _Ibid._, p. 788; Sir John Gorst, _ibid._, July 9, 1903, Vol. 125, p.

For some time the Government remained obdurate, and declined to take any
action. At last, however, it became clear that something must be done.
The findings of the Royal Commission on Physical Training and the
Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration had created too
profound an impression to be ignored. Yet even now the Government were
not prepared for legislation. They were of opinion that there still
existed a wide divergence of views as to the extent of underfeeding and
the remedies to be applied. Accordingly, in March, 1905, another
Departmental Committee was appointed to collect further

Footnote 113:

  _Hansard_, March 13, 1905, Vol. 142, p. 1185.

The reference of this Committee made it clear that the Government had no
intention of allowing the rates to be utilised for the supply of food.
In the matter of feeding, the Committee were merely to enquire into the
relief given by the various voluntary agencies, and report "whether
relief of this character could be better organised, without any charge
upon public funds."[114] The Report was, therefore, mainly concerned
with questions of administration. A careful and elaborate account was
given of the existing agencies all over England, the methods employed,
the sums expended, and the kind of relief given. Evidence was received
from representatives of all the more important societies in London and
the provinces. It was found that outside London feeding agencies existed
in 55 out of the 71 county boroughs, in 38 out of the 137 boroughs and
in 22 out of the 55 large urban districts.[115] In addition to these
there were numerous efforts of a spasmodic character, school meals being
often started hastily during some special emergency. The Committee
estimated that the total amount spent on the provision of meals in
England and Wales was approximately £33,568, of which £10,299 was spent
in London.[116] But these figures were "very far from representing the
full amount of money spent out of charitable sources."[117] No account
was taken of the innumerable philanthropic agencies existing all over
the country, such as Soup Kitchens, District Visiting Societies and the
like, who were incidentally spending large sums on the provision of food
for school children. Moreover, the impracticability of obtaining returns
from all the feeding agencies and the varying methods in which their
accounts were made up, made any exact computation impossible.

Footnote 114:

  Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Inspection and
  Feeding, 1905, Vol. I., p. vii.

Footnote 115:

  _Ibid._, pp. 54, 55, pars. 182, 186, 189. The total number of these
  agencies was 140. Of these 71 were permanent (_i.e._, had been in
  existence over a year), 24 were new, and 45 were intermittent in their

Footnote 116:

  _Ibid._, pp. 78-80, pars. 290-293.

Footnote 117:

  _Ibid._, p. 79, par. 291.

In the evidence given before the Committee, we note the same evils
prevailing as had been discovered in former years. There is the same
diversity in the method of selection and the same inadequate provision.
We find still the practice of giving a child a meal two or three days a
week only.[118] In the great majority of cases the feeding was confined
to the winter months, though many witnesses were of opinion that meals
should be obtainable in the summer also.[119]

Footnote 118:

  "At present," declared one witness, "the funds are wasted through
  their being distributed over too large a number of children.... At one
  school ... the headmaster asked the boys whether they would like to
  have their ticket this week or next week." (_Ibid._, Vol. II., Q.
  1780, evidence of Mr. T. E. Harvey.) At Norwich, a child received a
  meal only once a week. "There was no system of feeding the children
  regularly. They had to take it in turns." (_Ibid._, Q. 4228, evidence
  of Mrs. Pillow.) At Hull it was "a rough rule given to the teacher"
  that a child should be fed every other day. (_Ibid._, Qs. 6157, 6158,
  evidence of Mr. G. F. Grant.) See also evidence given by Mrs. Adler
  (Qs. 135-136), Mrs. Burgwin (Q. 446), and the Rev. J. C. Mantle (Q.
  2452). It was even urged by Mr. Hookham, of Birmingham, that the
  insufficiency of the provision was a positive advantage. The fact
  "that there are more children wanting meals than can get them ... is
  the main safeguard against imposition." Without this safeguard, he
  declares, "you will lose the evidence which the children give against
  one another when imposition takes place, which I think is the most
  valuable of all evidence" (_Ibid._, Q. 1253.)

Footnote 119:

  _Ibid._, Vol. I., pp. 75-76, pars. 280-281. The meals given at
  Bradford were continued all through the year, and so were the
  breakfasts given by Mr. Hookham at Birmingham (_ibid._).

The Committee were convinced that, in all county boroughs and large
towns, no voluntary agency which extended beyond the limits of one or
two schools could be worked properly, except in intimate connection
with, if not directly organised by, the Local Education Authority. To
avoid overlapping and abuse it was essential that managers and school
teachers should be required to supply full information, and only the
Local Authority had power to insist on this being done.[120] The
Committee deprecated "the proneness for starting school meals hastily
upon some special emergency."[121] It was essential that any
organisation for feeding school children should be of a permanent
character and provision should be made for enabling meals to be given
where necessary throughout the year.[122] It was desirable that meals
should be obtainable on every school day, and it should be the object of
the feeding agency to feed the most destitute children regularly rather
than a larger number irregularly.[123] The Committee recognised the
valuable help which had been given by the teachers. Many of the systems
for feeding the children had in fact originated entirely with them,
whilst in many more the whole brunt of the work had fallen upon them.
But this work involved too great a strain upon the teachers and they
should not be required to supervise the meals unless their attendance
was indispensable.[124] Nor in the matter of the selection of the
children should the teachers be asked to do more than draw up the
preliminary list. They had no time for visiting the homes nor were they
always the most competent persons for making enquiries. The final
selection of the children should be in the hands of a Relief Committee,
which should be formed for each school or group of schools.[125] The
increasing attention paid to the medical side of the question is shown
by the recommendation that, wherever possible, the advice and guidance
of the school doctor should be obtained.[126] The Committee refer with
approval to the proposal that a system of school restaurants should be
established, at which meals could be supplied at cost price. "Not much
attempt," they say, "has yet been made through the medium of school
meals towards raising the standard of physical development among the
children and promoting a taste for wholesome and nourishing food."[127]
In view of the very divergent opinions expressed by witnesses, the
Committee were unable to come to a clear conclusion whether or not such
restaurants would succeed, but they would "welcome experiments made in
this direction."[128] The restaurants, they thought, would probably have
to be kept separate from any system of free dinners, for attempts to
combine free and cheap meals had always ended in failure. In country
districts, where the children often lived at a great distance from the
school, the need for school restaurants was distinctly felt. The lunches
brought by the children were generally of a most unsatisfactory nature.
The Committee were of opinion that the managers should arrange for the
provision of a hot dinner, or at any rate soup or cocoa, for those
children who were unable to go home at midday. A charge should be made
which should at least cover the cost of the food.[129]

Footnote 120:

  _Ibid._, p. 59, par. 208.

Footnote 121:

  _Ibid._, p. 75, par. 279.

Footnote 122:

  _Ibid._, pp. 84, 85, par. 306, secs. 3, 4.

Footnote 123:

  _Ibid._, p. 85, pars. 5, 6.

Footnote 124:

  _Ibid._, pp. 60, 61, pars. 210, 215.

Footnote 125:

  _Ibid._, pp. 62, 85, pars. 220, 306 (secs. 9, 10).

Footnote 126:

  _Ibid._, p. 66, par. 236. So far as the committee could discover, "the
  question of malnutrition and underfeeding has attracted very little
  attention in connection with medical inspection. There appears to be
  no area where the Medical Officer works in close touch with the
  organisations for the feeding of children." (_Ibid._, p. 25, par. 97.)

Footnote 127:

  _Ibid._, p. 68, par. 242.

Footnote 128:

  _Ibid._, p. 71, par. 258.

Footnote 129:

  _Ibid._, p. 58, par. 205. This was already being done in some rural
  schools. At Siddington, for instance, a hot dinner had been supplied
  for the last two years, the parents' payments more than covering the
  cost of the food. (_Ibid._, par. 202.) We have already alluded to the
  experiment at Rousdon, where dinners were provided throughout the year
  in a specially provided dining-room, as a part of the school
  organisation. Here the cost of the food was not quite covered by the
  parents' payments. (_Ibid._, par. 203.)

The report of the Committee was published late in 1905. Meanwhile the
Parliamentary agitation had continued. Two Bills were introduced in
March by Mr. Claude Hay and Mr. Arthur Henderson.[130] These were
withdrawn to make way for a resolution moved by Mr. (afterwards Sir
Bamford) Slack--"that in the opinion of this House, the Local Education
Authorities should be empowered (as unanimously recommended by the
Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, 1904) to make
provision, under such regulations and conditions as they may decide, for
ensuring that all the children at any public elementary school in their
area shall receive proper nourishment before being subjected to mental
or physical instruction, and for recovering the cost, where expedient,
from the parents or guardians."[131] This resolution marks an important
stage in the movement, for it received support from all sides of the
House, and was passed by a considerable majority.[132] One feature of
the debate was new. It was no longer said that the matter should be left
solely to private charity. The main point at issue now was whether the
money required should come from the Education rate or the Poor

Footnote 130:

  _Hansard_, March 27 and 29, 1905, Vol. 143, pp. 1307-9, 1543.

Footnote 131:

  _Ibid._, April 18, 1905, Vol. 145, p. 531.

Footnote 132:

  _Ibid._, March 2, 1906, Vol. 152, p. 1394.

Footnote 133:

  _Ibid._, April 18, 1905, Vol. 145, p. 554. The balance of opinion was
  at this date in favour of the latter. Sir John Gorst thought that
  where the parents could not pay for the meals "reference should be
  made to the Poor Law authority, and the natural consequences of the
  receipt of public relief would follow." (_Ibid._, July 9, 1903, Vol.
  125, p. 197.) In the Bill introduced by Mr. Claude Hay in March, 1905,
  provision was made for payment of the cost of meals by the Guardians,
  but any parent receiving such relief from the Guardians might apply to
  a court of summary jurisdiction and the court, "if satisfied that the
  parent's ... inability to pay is temporary and arises from no fault of
  his own," might make an order that he should not be disfranchised.
  (Elementary Education (Feeding of Children) Bill, 1905, clause 3.)

                    (d)--Provision by the Guardians.

Following on this resolution came an attempt to deal with the question
through the machinery of the Poor Law. By the Relief (School Children)
Order,[134] issued in April, 1905, the Guardians were empowered to grant
relief to the child of an able-bodied man without requiring him to enter
the workhouse or perform the outdoor labour test.[135] Any relief so
given was to be on loan if the case was one of habitual neglect, and
might be so given in any case at the discretion of the Guardians.[136]
Except with the special sanction of the Local Government Board
proceedings were always to be taken to recover the cost.[137] The
children of widows and of wives not living with their husbands were
expressly excluded from the scope of the order.[138] The reason for this
omission was that these children could already be dealt with by the
Guardians and that, therefore, no further sanction was needed, but this
was not clearly explained by the Local Government Board, and was indeed
not generally understood.[139] It was recommended that, where charitable
organisations existed, the Guardians should make arrangements with them
for the supply of food; in other cases an arrangement might be made with
a local shopkeeper.[140] A circular issued by the Board of Education to
the Local Education Authorities, explaining how these authorities could
co-operate with the Guardians in carrying out the order, classified
underfed children under three heads:--(1) those whose parents were
permanently impoverished; (2) those whose parents through illness, loss
of employment, or other unavoidable causes were temporarily unable to
provide for them; (3) those whose parents, though capable of making
provision, had neglected to do so. It was suggested that the second of
these groups of cases should be left to the voluntary agencies, the
first and third being dealt with by the Guardians.[141]

Footnote 134:

  For a description of the working of this order see the Report of the
  Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, 8vo. edition, Vol. III., pp.

Footnote 135:

  Relief (School Children) Order, 1905, Article V. (in 35th Report of
  Local Government Board, 1905-6, p. 322).

Footnote 136:

  _Ibid._, Article II., sec. 2.

Footnote 137:

  _Ibid._, Article VI. Whether the amount was recovered or not the
  parent became a pauper, and was disfranchised.

Footnote 138:

  _Ibid._, Article VII.

Footnote 139:

  "The whole Order," declared Mr. Wyatt, the Director of Elementary
  Education at Manchester, "was a most perplexing thing. Very early in
  the year there came down to Manchester a Poor Law Inspector who said
  that the construction of the Order was that the children of widows or
  deserted women should not come under the Order. That swept away a
  great many of those we had been feeding." (Report of Select Committee
  on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills (England and Scotland), 1906,
  Q. 1208.) Miss Margaret Frere was of opinion that the Order would be a
  dead letter in that it ruled out the two most difficult classes, one
  being widows and deserted wives. (Report of Inter-Departmental
  Committee on Medical Inspection and Feeding, 1905, Vol. II., Q. 483.)

Footnote 140:

  Circular of Local Government Board accompanying Relief (School
  Children) Order, in 35th Report of Local Government Board, 1905-6, p.

Footnote 141:

  Circular issued by the Board of Education to the Local Education
  Authorities re Relief (School Children) Order, April 28, 1905.

In a large number of Unions this order was entirely disregarded.[142] In
London the County Council, though ready to assist in carrying it out
where local authorities desired it, declined to initiate proceedings,
for they did not look upon the order as "materially helping the solution
of the problem."[143] Where the Local Education Authority and the
Guardians agreed on a scheme, there was constant friction. This was only
to be expected. The opposing views of the two bodies--the one actuated
by a desire to ensure that children should not be prevented by lack of
food from taking advantage of the education provided for them, the other
imbued with the spirit of deterrence--militated against any successful
co-operation. When the Local Education Authority sent in lists of
underfed children, the Guardians cut them down ruthlessly.[144] There
was no serious contention that these children did not need food, but
merely that their parents' circumstances were such that they could
afford to provide it. Undoubtedly under the voluntary feeding system
there had been much abuse, many parents obtaining the meals when they
were in receipt of good incomes.[145] But in these cases, with very few
exceptions,[146] no pressure was brought to bear by the Guardians on the
parents to force them to provide adequate food for their children, and
the children consequently remained unfed. In many cases the fathers of
the children indignantly refused to allow them to receive the meals when
they discovered that disfranchisement was entailed.

Footnote 142:

  The order "has been so far practically a dead letter in this district"
  [the counties of Bedford, Hertford, Huntingdon, etc.]. (35th Report of
  Local Government Board, 1905-6, p. 452.) Such seems to have been the
  case also in Yorkshire and the northern counties, in Wales, in Essex
  and in Surrey, for we find no mention of the Order in the reports of
  the Inspectors for these districts.

Footnote 143:

  Minutes of the London County Council, July 11, 1905, p. 297. The
  Council objected to the introduction of a dual authority in every
  district, which would cause delay and possibly friction; the absence
  of any provision for uniformity of rules in the different districts;
  and the radical error of allowing the cost to fall on the local
  authorities instead of on Government funds, or at least on the rates
  of London as a whole. The risk of fathers being disfranchised as a
  result of meals being supplied by the Guardians to their children
  without their knowledge, would militate against the usefulness of the
  scheme (_ibid._). As a matter of fact very few cases were relieved in
  London under the Order. (_Hansard_, July 31, 1906, Vol. 162, p. 680.)
  In two unions, Fulham and Wandsworth, where the Guardians offered to
  assist, the Council allowed lists to be sent from the schools, but the
  great majority of these children were reported by the Relieving
  Officers not to be underfed. (Report of Joint Committee on Underfed
  Children for 1905-6, p. 4.)

Footnote 144:

  At Bristol out of 129 applications from the Local Education Authority,
  the Guardians felt justified in giving relief in 12 cases only. (35th
  Report of Local Government Board, 1905-6, p. 480.) At Chorlton, relief
  was given in 219 cases out of 1,295 applications; at Salford in 175
  out of 1,086. (_Ibid._, p. 504.) At Stoke-on-Trent, out of 72 cases
  reported 4 were relieved, and at Ecclesall Bierlow 51 cases were
  reduced after careful investigation to one. (_Ibid._, pp. 488, 520.)
  At Kettering, on the other hand, practically all the cases referred to
  the Guardians were relieved. (Report of Royal Commission on the Poor
  Laws, 1909, Appendix, Vol. I., Q. 6443.) This, however, was

Footnote 145:

  At Birmingham it was found that many parents "were earning over 30s. a
  week, and in one case the parent was in constant employment with an
  average rate of £3 17s. 6d. a week." (35th Report of Local Government
  Board, 1905-6, p. 495.) At Bolton, some of the parents were receiving
  from £2 to £3 a week. (_Ibid._, p. 506.)

Footnote 146:

  In the Bolton Union, in cases where the father's income was considered
  sufficient to provide meals without assistance, "the children were
  specially watched and reported upon by the Cross Visitor each
  fortnight, until the Guardians were satisfied that the parents were
  carrying out their responsibility in this respect.... The Relieving
  Officer visits the home at meal time, or in the evening, to see what
  provision is made for feeding the children." (35th Report of Local
  Government Board, 1905-6, p. 503.) At Birmingham the head teachers
  were of opinion that the children were being better looked after by
  their parents than formerly owing to the way in which the Order was
  being carried out. (_Ibid._, p. 495.)

At Bradford, where the most systematic attempt was made to carry out the
order, the disputes and difficulties proved endless. "The principles
upon which the Guardians ... proceeded in selecting the children to be
fed were," declared Mr. F. W. Jowett, "such as made not for the feeding
of the children so much as for the saving of expense."[147] The quality
of the food and the conditions under which the meals were served[148]
were hotly criticised. The attempt on the part of the Guardians to
recover the cost from the parents raised a storm of protest.[149]
Finally, in May, 1907, the Guardians announced their intention of
discontinuing the provision of meals and the Local Education Authority
took over the work.[150] In no other town was the action of the
Guardians prolonged to so late a date. By the end of 1906, indeed, the
Order had become a dead letter. Meanwhile, the public having assumed
that everything necessary would be undertaken by the Poor Law
Authorities, voluntary contributions had declined.[151]

Footnote 147:

  Bradford City Council Proceedings, September 26, 1905.

Footnote 148:

  At the centres provided by the Guardians "the children were kept
  outside the doors until all was ready, and when they were allowed to
  enter they came in without any semblance of order, to tables without
  cloths, without seats." (_Bradford and its Children: How They are
  Fed_, by Councillor J. H. Palin, 1908, pp. 6-7.) Later the Guardians
  distributed the children among various little eating-houses in the
  town, where the food was better, though the conditions of serving were
  not much improved. (_Ibid._)

Footnote 149:

  _Hansard_, February 28, 1906, Vol. 152, p. 1129; Bradford City Council
  Proceedings, September 26, 1905; see also the local newspapers about
  this time. The prosecutions were apparently confined to those cases
  where the underfeeding of the children was due to neglect on the part
  of the parents. The charge fixed by the Guardians was, however, very
  high, 3d. per meal. Up to March 1, 1906, action had been taken in the
  County Court against 51 men and orders for payment obtained in each
  case. (A short account of the working of the Relief (School Children)
  Order, issued by the Bradford Poor Law Union, 1906; Report of Select
  Committee on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills (England and
  Scotland), 1906, Qs. 1702-05.) In other unions there seems to have
  been little or no attempt to recover the cost. At Birmingham, for
  instance, it was reported, "the process of recovery laid down by the
  Local Government Board was farcical in character and was dropped."
  (Report of Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, Appendix, Vol.
  IV., Q. 43626, par. 37.)

Footnote 150:

  Extracts from the Annual Reports of the Bradford Education Committee
  for the four years ended March 31, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910 in
  respect to the working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, p.

Footnote 151:

  At Birmingham the Free Dinner Society, after an existence of thirty
  years, ceased its operations when the Order came into force. (Report
  of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, Appendix, Vol. I., Q.
  8525.) "There was at first," declared Mr. Jenner Fust, a Local
  Government Board Inspector, "much misapprehension among the public as
  to the scope of the Order, the prevalent idea being that all school
  children requiring it would now be supplied with free meals at the
  public expense, and that there was no further occasion for voluntary
  efforts." (35th Report of the Local Government Board, 1905-6, p. 506.)

              (e)--The Education (Provision of Meals) Act.

The Relief (School Children) Order having proved a "relative failure,"
to use Mr. John Burns' moderate expression,[152] and the evidence given
before the Committee on Medical Inspection and Feeding of School
Children having demonstrated once more the inadequacy of existing
agencies to cope with the evil, it became imperative for Parliament to
take action. Early in 1906 the Education (Provision of Meals) Bill was
introduced.[153] The opposition to this Bill, both inside[154] and
outside[155] the House, rested mainly on the familiar arguments
respecting parental responsibility and the advisability of leaving all
questions connected with relief to the Poor Law Authorities. We hear
also the objection that free meals must lead to a reduction in
wages.[156] The strongest argument, to which, however, little attention
was paid, was that urged by the Edinburgh School Board before the Select
Committee of the House of Commons to which the Bill was referred. "The
Bill touches the fringe of very serious and comprehensive social
problems with which the Imperial Parliament should deal, and it [the
School Board] objects to so much power being placed upon a local
authority before Parliament has dealt with serious principles underlying
the questions involved."[157] "The causes of low physique and vitality,
and inability to profit by instruction" are "insanitation, overcrowding,
keeping the children out at night very late or all night, bad footwear,
and homes where they have no ventilation at night," irregular meals,
"uncleanliness and bad clothing and out-of-school employment."[158] This
was very true, but it did not convince the public that nothing should be
done. In the experience of Miss Horn, the secretary of the Westminster
Health Society, where continuous feeding was combined with regular
visits to the parents, there was a distinct improvement in the standard
of the homes.[159]

Footnote 152:

  _Hansard_, December 6, 1906, vol. 166, p. 1284.

Footnote 153:

  The Bill was introduced by a private member, Mr. W. T. Wilson. The
  Government decided to make the matter an open question with their
  followers. (_Ibid._, February 22 and March 2, 1906, vol. 152, pp. 525,

Footnote 154:

  For the debates on the Bill see _Hansard_, March 2, December 6, 7, 13,
  19, 20 and 21, 1906 (vol. 152, pp. 1390-1448; vol. 166, pp. 1273-1292,
  1315-1465; vol. 167, pp. 722-780, 1473-1482, 1629-1670, 1865-1881).

Footnote 155:

  See, for instance, the discussions at a conference of representatives
  of Charity Organisation Societies held in 1906. (_Charity Organisation
  Review_, July, 1906, pp. 30 _et seq._)

Footnote 156:

  Mr. Harold Cox, _Hansard_, March 2, 1906, vol. 152, pp. 1412, 1417.

Footnote 157:

  Report of the Select Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Bills (England and Scotland), 1906, evidence of Mr. Mill, Chairman of
  Edinburgh School Board, Q. 4194.

Footnote 158:

  _Ibid._, evidence of Mr. Scott, Head Teacher of Wood Close School,
  Bethnal Green, Q. 2641. _Cf._ evidence of Dr. Kerr (Q. 2984), Miss
  Horn (Qs. 1321-2), and Mr. Ferguson (Q. 2739).

Footnote 159:

  _Ibid._, Qs. 1287-1290.

During the Parliamentary debates, for the first time, much emphasis was
laid on the educational value of the meals if served under proper
conditions. Mr. Birrell "could conceive no greater service to posterity
than to raise the standard of living in the children of the present
day."[160] "It was desired that this work should be not a work of
relief, but a work of education," declared Mr. Lough, the Parliamentary
Secretary to the Board of Education. "They wanted wholesome food given
to the children and they wanted the children taught how to eat it, which
was a most useful lesson."[161] "This was not merely a question of
providing the meals," said Mr. John Burns, "it was also one of teaching
better habits and manners."[162] For this work the Local Education
Authorities were better fitted than the Guardians, for they "would
attract, in a way which Boards of Guardians would not, the services of
voluntary agencies, of leisured people ... and of managers and teachers,
whose assistance was absolutely essential."[163] For these reasons it
was essential that the Local Education Authorities should have power to
provide meals, not only for necessitous children but also, on receipt of
payment, for the children of all parents who desired it.[164]

Footnote 160:

  _Hansard_, March 2, 1906, Vol. 152, p. 1441.

Footnote 161:

  _Ibid._, December 6, 1906, Vol. 166, p. 1280.

Footnote 162:

  _Ibid._, p. 1285.

Footnote 163:

  _Ibid._ See also the speeches of Mr. Jowett (_ibid._, March 2, 1906,
  Vol. 152, p. 1412), Mr. Claude Hay (_ibid._, December 6, 1906, Vol.
  166, p. 1288) and the Earl of Crewe (_ibid._, December 19, 1906, Vol.
  167, p. 1478). An amendment to substitute the Poor Law Guardians for
  the Local Education Authority as the authority for the administration
  of the Act was defeated by an overwhelming majority, the voting being
  290 to 36. (_Ibid._, December 6, 1906, Vol. 166, pp. 1274-1288.) The
  Local Government Board did not, in fact, desire to have the duty
  imposed on them. (Mr. John Burns, _ibid._, p. 1285.)

Footnote 164:

  An amendment to limit the provision of meals to underfed children only
  was defeated by 230 votes to 39. Mr. Lough declared the amendment
  would strike at the root of one of the objects of the Bill. (_Ibid._,
  December 7, 1906, Vol. 166, pp. 1339-40, 1350.)

The new attitude of Society towards the child and the family was brought
out by Lord Grimthorpe during the debates in the House of Lords. "The
children are the paramount consideration.... In a great many cases the
parents are already demoralised owing to having themselves been
insufficiently nourished in their youth. Because they suffer from those
conditions there is no reason why we should inflict similar conditions
on the children.... Experience in this matter shows us that the sense of
parental responsibility will be increased rather than decreased. When
the parent sees that his child is regarded by the nation as a valuable
national asset he himself will think more of his child."[165]

Footnote 165:

  _Ibid._, December 20, 1906, Vol. 167, p. 1637.

The Bill received the Royal assent on December 21, 1906.[166] It
provided that the Local Education Authority might associate with
themselves any committee (called a School Canteen Committee) on which
the Authority was represented, who would undertake to provide food, and
might aid that committee by furnishing buildings and apparatus and the
officers and servants necessary for the organisation, preparation and
service of the meals.[167] The parents were to be charged such an amount
as might be determined by the Local Education Authority, and, in the
event of non-payment, the Local Authority, unless satisfied that the
parent was unable to pay, should recover the amount summarily as a civil
debt.[168] Failure on the part of the parent to pay was not, however, to
involve disfranchisement.[169] Where the Education Authority resolved
"that any of the children attending an elementary school within their
area are unable by reason of lack of food to take full advantage of the
education provided for them, and have ascertained that funds other than
public funds are not available or are insufficient in amount to defray
the cost of food," they might, with the sanction of the Board of
Education, provide for food out of the rates, the amount thus spent
being, however, limited to what would be produced by a halfpenny
rate.[170] The teachers might, if they desired, assist in the provision
of meals but they were not to be required as part of their duties to do

Footnote 166:

  6 Edward VII., c. 57.

Footnote 167:

  _Ibid._, clause 1.

Footnote 168:

  _Ibid._, clause 2. The Select Committee to which the Bill had been
  referred, while of opinion "that the local education authority ought
  to undertake the administration rather than the Boards of Guardians,"
  nevertheless recommended that it should be the duty of the Guardians
  to recover the cost from neglectful parents. (Report of Select
  Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals) Bills (England and
  Scotland), 1906, pp. viii., x.) They accordingly inserted a provision
  to this effect (_see_ the Education (Provision of Meals) Bill as
  amended by the Select Committee, No. 331 of 1906, clause 2). This was
  amended in the committee stage in the House of Commons. (_Hansard_,
  December 7, 1906, Vol. 166, pp. 1439-1444.

Footnote 169:

  6 Edward VII., c. 57, clause 4.

Footnote 170:

  _Ibid._, clause 3.

Footnote 171:

  _Ibid._, clause 6.

The Bill, when it left the Commons, applied to Scotland as well as
England and Wales. The Lords, however, struck out the clause extending
its application to Scotland.[172] The Commons, in view of the fact that
the session was so far advanced, agreed to this amendment, but under
protest.[173] It was not till two years later that the Scottish School
Boards, by the Education (Scotland) Act of 1908,[174] received power to
spend the rates on the provision of food.

Footnote 172:

  _Hansard_, December 20, 1906, Vol. 167, pp. 1662-1670.

Footnote 173:

  _Ibid._, December 21, 1906, pp. 1865-1881.

Footnote 174:

  8 Edward VII., c. 63 (December 21, 1908). A Bill was introduced by the
  Government in 1907, but was withdrawn. (_Hansard_, March 20, 1907,
  Vol. 171, pp. 880-883.) For an account of the provision made in
  Scotland see Appendix II.

The Provision of Meals Act marks an important point in the history of
school feeding. The experiments of forty years had amply demonstrated
the impossibility of dealing with the evils of underfeeding through
voluntary agencies alone. Parliament was indeed still convinced that
voluntary organisations were the best bodies to supply the necessary
food. The proposal that the duty of providing meals should be cast
entirely upon Local Education Authorities, relying only on public funds,
had indeed, as the Select Committee of the House of Commons declared,
not been "seriously suggested." Such a course would obviously result in
the extinction of all voluntary societies, a result "from every point of
view ... much to be deplored."[175] Only where voluntary subscriptions
failed might the Local Authority provide the necessary funds. Even in
this case there was no compulsion on the authority to take any action
whatsoever. Still, with all these limitations, the Act involved the
assumption, however partial and incomplete, by the State of the function
of securing to its children, by one means or another, the necessary
minimum, not only of education, but also of food.

Footnote 175:

  Report of Select Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals) Bills
  (England and Scotland), 1906, p. vi.

                               CHAPTER II

We propose in this chapter to describe the manner in which the Local
Education Authorities are administering the Act of 1906. We shall see
that the adoption of the Act has been by no means universal and that in
many towns provision is still made by voluntary agencies. Where the Act
has been put in force we shall find the greatest diversity of practice
in such matters as the selection of the children, the dietary provided
and the manner in which the meals are served. One Local Authority will
construe its duties under the Act in the narrowest sense, cutting down
the number of children to be fed to the minimum, and serving the meals
with the least possible expense. Another authority will look on the
school meal as a valuable means for improving the physique of its
scholars; it will endeavour to secure that all children who are underfed
shall be given school meals; the dietary will be carefully planned,
while, in the matter of the service of the meals, the aim will be to
make these in every way educational. We shall see that meals are as a
rule given only during term-time, holiday feeding out of rates being
held to be illegal, while many authorities limit their operations to the
winter months. Most authorities have confined their provision almost
entirely to necessitous children, the plan of providing meals as a
matter of convenience for children of parents who are at work all day or
are otherwise prevented from preparing a midday meal, and who would be
able and willing to pay for school dinners, finding but little favour.
We shall describe the arrangements made in the Special Schools for
defective children, where a dinner is provided either for all children
attending the school or for all those who care to stay, and in the Day
Industrial Schools, where the provision of three meals a day for all is
the rule. We shall discuss the extent to which the provision of meals by
the Local Education Authority overlaps the relief given by the Poor Law
Guardians. Finally we shall touch upon the question of underfeeding in
the rural districts, where the problem is little less urgent than in the

                     (a)--The Adoption of the Act.

The Provision of Meals Act came into force on December 21, 1906. As we
have seen, it was merely permissive and its adoption was, therefore,
only gradual.[176] Many Local Education Authorities contented themselves
with making arrangements with voluntary agencies, the Education
Committee continuing the already common practice of providing
accommodation and apparatus, and the voluntary society providing as
hitherto funds for the food. Thus, at Hull, the Education Authority
co-operated with the Hull School Children's Help Society, which had been
founded in 1885 for the provision of free meals. This arrangement was
continued till 1908, when the Society's funds were exhausted and
recourse was had to the rates.[177] At Scarborough, the Amicable
Society, which had been founded in 1729 "for clothing and educating the
children of the poor of Scarborough," arranged with the Education
Authority that the provision of meals should be organised through a
Joint Committee of the two bodies.[178] At Liverpool, where the
provision of meals had been undertaken since the early part of 1906,
before the Act was passed, by a voluntary committee consisting of
members of the Education Committee, the Central Relief Society, the
Guardians and others, this system was continued for some years. In spite
of strenuous opposition in 1908 from the Labour party and the local
Fabian Society, who complained that the numbers fed were far below the
number in need of food, and that no proper attempt was made to ascertain
the extent of the need, a special committee appointed by the Education
Committee to investigate the whole question reported that the existing
voluntary system was adequate. It was not till November, 1909, that the
Education Committee resolved that, "after full consideration of the
circumstances and after having regard to the fact that it has been
necessary to call upon the general public on two occasions during each
year for subscriptions to the funds, the Committee cannot but conclude
that the time has now come when the provisions of the Education
(Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, should be put into force, and,
therefore, _though with great reluctance_," they recommended that
application be made to the Board of Education for power to levy a

Footnote 176:

  Aston Manor was the first town to apply for authority to levy a rate.
  Bradford, Manchester, and other towns soon followed. During the year
  ended March 31, 1908, 40 authorities were authorised to levy a rate.
  During the two following years the number was increased to 85 and 96
  respectively. (Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of
  Meals) Act up to March 31, 1909, p. 8; Report of the Board of
  Education for 1908-9, p. 123; ditto for 1909-10, p. 62.)

Footnote 177:

  Appendix to Minutes of the Hull Education Committee, October 22, 1909.

Footnote 178:

  Report of the Scarborough Amicable Society for 1910, pp. 5, 8.

Footnote 179:

  "Feeding the Children," by H. Beswick, in the _Clarion_, October 11,

Leicester, perhaps, furnishes the most notable example of the survival
of the voluntary principle. In 1906, when the Provision of Meals Bill
was before Parliament, the Town Council appears to have been in favour
of it. After the Act was passed, however, the Leicester branch of the
Charity Organisation Society opposed its adoption. At a conference
between representatives of the Charity Organisation Society and the
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a scheme was
formulated for administering the Act from voluntary funds. The scheme
was accepted by the Town Council, and the formation of the Children's
Aid Association was the result.[180] This body consists chiefly of
members of the Charity Organisation Society and of the National Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, with a small minority
representing the Education Committee. In spite of considerable
opposition from the Labour party, who demand that the Act shall be put
into force, meals are still provided by this Association out of
voluntary funds.[181]

Footnote 180:

  First Annual Report of the Leicester Children's Aid Association,
  1907-8, p. 3.

Footnote 181:

  For a description of the methods adopted, see post, pp. 96-7. A
  somewhat similar system is in force at Chesterfield, where the
  arrangements for feeding are made by the Civic Guild, the expense
  being borne out of their funds. The Education Committee is represented
  on the General Council and Executive Committee of the Guild in a
  general sense, not in connection with feeding alone. Cases of children
  requiring food are reported by the Attendance Officers, and are fed at
  once by the Guild, investigation being made afterwards. If help is
  found necessary the whole family is adequately relieved. Arrangements
  are usually made for the children to be fed at eating-houses. The
  number of children so dealt with is very small.

This delay on the part of the Local Authorities in towns where, it was
asserted, it was notorious that children suffered from want of
food,[182] led to an attempt to make the School Medical Officer
responsible for determining whether or not it was necessary to put the
Act in force. In December, 1908, a Bill was introduced by the Labour
party with the object of providing that, when requested by the Education
Committee, by a majority of the managers, or by the head teachers, the
Local Authority should provide for the medical inspection of the
children for the purpose of determining whether they were suffering from
insufficient or improper food; if the medical inspector reported that
the children were so suffering, the Local Authority should be obliged to
provide food. The Bill was not proceeded with, and the same fate befell
four similar Bills introduced within the next five years.[183]

Footnote 182:

  _Hansard_, April 23, 1909, 5th Series, Vol. 3, p. 1797.

Footnote 183:

  Education (Administrative Provisions) Bill, December 8, 1908; February
  19, 1909; April 14, 1910; February 19, 1912; April 15, 1913.

In 1911-1912, out of 322 Local Education Authorities in England and
Wales, 131 were returned as making some provision for the feeding of
school children (_i.e._ 13 counties, including London, 57 County
Boroughs, 35 Boroughs and 26 Urban Districts).[184] Of these 95 were
spending rates on the provision of food; 19 were spending rates on
administrative charges only (accommodation, apparatus, etc.), the cost
of food being borne by voluntary funds; whilst in the remaining 17
areas[185] the cost of both food and administration was met by voluntary

Footnote 184:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, pp. 320-322, 329.

Footnote 185:

  The most important of these are Leicester, Sunderland, and Barnsley.

The steady decrease in the amount derived from voluntary contributions,
and the increase in rates are shown by the following table :--[186]

                Rates £    Voluntary    Miscellaneous sources   Total.
                         Contribution £  (contributions from
                                          parents, Poor Law
                                          Guardians, etc.) £

 For the year    67,524      17,831              335            85,690

 For the year   125,372      9,813               906            136,091

 For the year   140,875      7,537              1,370           149,782

 For the year   151,763      3,064              2,292           157,127

Footnote 186:

  See Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up
  to March 31, 1909, p. 30, and (for London) p. 24; ditto for the year
  ended March 31, 1910, p. 20; Report of the Chief Medical Officer of
  the Board of Education for 1910, p. 309; ditto for 1911, p. 332. The
  voluntary contributions are understated in the figures for 1908-9, and
  possibly throughout. The returns for 1908-9, for instance, do not
  include Liverpool, where the whole cost was defrayed by voluntary
  contributions, and no financial details were supplied to the Board.

  The discrepancy in the total for 1911-12 is due to the fact that the
  figures in the several columns are not given exactly, but to the
  nearest £.

The total number of children fed is given in the returns for 1911 as
124,685.[187] This, however, does not include a few counties and towns
which did not return the number fed during the year. In most of these
areas the number fed is very small, but at Barnsley the number attending
daily was about 2,917, and in London the highest number fed in any one
week during the year was 44,983. If we take these figures as
representing roughly between two-fifths and one half of the total number
of children who were fed at some time or other during the year, we get a
total of about 230,000,[188] out of a total school population of

Footnote 187:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, pp. 322-24, 330.

Footnote 188:

  This does not include children fed at Day Industrial Schools, Open Air
  Schools or, with one or two exceptions, Special Schools for Mentally
  or Physically Defective Children.

Footnote 189:

  This number represents the average attendance at the ordinary
  Elementary Schools, not the total number on the rolls. (Statistics of
  Public Education in England and Wales, 1911-12, Part I., pp. 27, 333.)

In most towns where the Act has been adopted the amount spent on food is
well within the limit of the halfpenny rate. In 1911-12, only Bradford
and Stoke-on-Trent exceeded the limit, the latter (by an inconsiderable
sum) owing to the coal strike. At Bradford the rate has almost from the
first been annually exceeded by a considerable amount.[190] This excess
is due partly to the numbers fed (a large proportion of the children
receiving breakfasts as well as dinners), partly to the fact that the
meals are continued throughout the holidays. The Local Government Board
Auditor has regularly surcharged the excess expenditure, but the Finance
Committee defrays it out of the Corporation trading profits, which are
not subject to the Local Government Board audit.

Footnote 190:

  In 1908-9, by £1,645; in 1909-10, by £2,370; in 1910-11, by £1,163,
  and in 1911-12, by £374. (Report on the Working of the Education
  (Provision of Meals) Act up to March 31, 1909, p. 26; Report of the
  Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1910, p. 304;
  ditto for 1911, p. 317.)

The limitation of the rate has in some towns undoubtedly restricted
operations. In 1909, for instance, the Workington Education Committee
were reluctantly obliged, owing to the exhaustion of the funds raised by
the halfpenny rate, to stop the meals at a time of great distress.[191]
At East Ham, the product of a halfpenny rate not being sufficient for a
whole year, meals can only be given during the winter months.[192]

Footnote 191:

  _Hansard_, April 23, 1909, 5th Series, Vol. 3, pp. 1862-1863. A
  similar complaint was received from Hartlepool. (_Ibid._)

Footnote 192:

  See Minutes of Kingston-on-Hull Provision of Meals Sub-Committee,
  March 24, 1911, Appendix, p. 16. The abortive Bills introduced in 1908
  and the following years by Labour members contained a clause that the
  limitation of the rate should be abolished.

We may note that the power of the Local Education Authorities to provide
food for necessitous children is not limited to their powers under the
Provision of Meals Act. By the Education Act of 1902 grants may be given
for the maintenance of children at Secondary Schools. At Bradford, at
any rate, in quite a number of cases this grant is earmarked for
providing school meals.[193] More important is the power to provide
three meals daily for all children attending Day Industrial Schools.
These children are drawn very largely from the class to whom free meals
would have to be given if they were attending the ordinary elementary
schools.[194] Again, necessitous children who are physically or mentally
defective can receive meals at the Special Schools, and the cost of the
food (and other expenses) can be charged to the Special Schools account.
Thus, at Liverpool, dinner is provided for all defective children, this
provision having been undertaken deliberately as part of the school
curriculum long before the Provision of Meals Act was passed. The class
of physically defective children for whom Special Schools can be
provided include not only cripples, but all children who are certified
by a doctor to be "by reason of ... physical defect ... incapable of
receiving proper benefit from the instruction in the ordinary public
elementary schools."[195] This wide definition enables the School
Medical Officer to send to the Open Air Schools, which several Local
Authorities have established, and at which one or more meals a day are
provided, not only children suffering from definite diseases, but also
those who are underfed, anæmic and generally debilitated, to whom the
fresh air, healthy life and regular, wholesome meals prove an
inestimable boon.

Footnote 193:

  "School Feeding," by Wm. Leach, in the _Crusade_, November, 1911 (Vol.
  2, p. 192).

Footnote 194:

  For a fuller account of the arrangements made for providing food at
  the Day Industrial Schools and the Special Schools see post, pp.

Footnote 195:

  Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act, 1899 (62
  and 63 Vict., c. 32, sec. 1 (1)).

       (b)--Canteen Committees, their constitution and functions.

The arrangements for carrying out the Provision of Meals Act are usually
in the hands of a Committee called variously the School Canteen
Committee, the Children's Care Committee, the Underfed Children's Meals
Committee, or, as at Leicester, the Children's Aid Association. The
constitution of this Committee varies in different towns. Sometimes it
is composed entirely of members of the Education Committee.[196]
Sometimes outside bodies, such as Boards of Guardians and voluntary
agencies, are represented upon it. Thus at Crewe the Children's Care
Committee consists of representatives of the Local Education Authority,
teachers, Guardians and various voluntary societies.[197] At Leicester
the members of the Education Committee are in the minority, the
Children's Aid Association being composed chiefly of members of the
Charity Organisation Society and the National Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children. Elsewhere the Committee may be composed
entirely, or almost entirely, of voluntary workers. Thus at Leeds, where
all the members are women, all, except the Chairman and Vice-chairman,
who are members of the Education Committee, are voluntary workers; two
Inspectors attend the meetings and carry recommendations to the
Education Committee, but they do not vote. At Bury St. Edmunds, where
the Committee is also composed of women members, the only representative
of the Education Committee is the official who holds the post of Borough
Treasurer and Secretary to the Education Committee. At Bournemouth the
schools are grouped under four District Care Committees, composed of
voluntary workers nominated by the School Managers, and of
representatives of the head teachers, the School Attendance Officers
being _ex officio_ members. These District Care Committees are
controlled by a Central Care Committee, composed partly of members of
the Education Committee, and partly of co-opted members. The School
Medical Officer here, as in some other towns, is an _ex officio_

Footnote 196:

  As at Birkenhead, Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Stoke,
  West Ham.

Footnote 197:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Crewe, 1911, p. 23.

Footnote 198:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Bournemouth for 1911, pp.

The functions of the Canteen Committee also vary in different towns.
Sometimes, as at Bradford, all the arrangements for the management of
the centres and the decision as to which children shall be fed are in
the hands of the Committee. At Leeds the Committee has no executive
power, its functions being limited to making recommendations to the
Education Committee as to the management of the dining centres. At Bury
St. Edmunds each member of the Committee is responsible for one school,
making arrangements with caterers for the feeding of the children and
visiting the homes. This visiting of the homes is rarely, if ever,
undertaken by members of the Canteen Committee, unless it is composed of
voluntary workers.

                  (c)--The Selection of the Children.

In the selection of the children who are to receive school meals two
methods may be adopted. The selection may be based either on the
physical condition of the child or on the economic circumstances of the
family. The majority of the children selected will, of course, be the
same whichever method is adopted, since the child will generally be
found to be under-nourished if the family income is inadequate, and vice
versa; but there are some children who, although the family income is
comparatively good, are yet, for some cause or other, underfed, and
these will be excluded if the "poverty test" is the only criterion used.
From the first the Board of Education has urged that the "physical test"
should be used as well as the "poverty test." The administration of the
Provision of Meals Act should be carried on in the closest co-operation
with the School Medical Service.[199] The School Medical Officer should
approve the dietary, he should supervise the quality, quantity, cooking
and service of the food and should inspect the feeding centres.[200] In
the selection of the children he should take an important part. Not only
should he recommend for school meals all cases of bad or insufficient
nutrition observed in the course of medical inspection. "The end to be
aimed at," writes Sir George Newman, "is that all children admitted to
the meals should be medically examined by the School Medical Officer
either before, or as soon as possible after, admission."[201] That is to
say, the Provision of Meals Act should not be considered primarily as a
measure for the relief of distress; "the physical and mental well-being
of [the] children ... should be regarded as the principal object to be
kept in view."[202]

Footnote 199:

  "When a system of medical inspection of school children such as
  already exists under several Local Education Authorities has been
  established, the School Canteen Committee, so far as its operations
  are concerned with underfed, ill-nourished or destitute children,
  should work in intimate connection with the school medical officer."
  (Circular issued by the Board of Education, January 1, 1907, in Report
  on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up to March
  31, 1909, p. 44.) "It is obviously desirable that any arrangements
  made by a Local Education Authority under the Education (Provision of
  Meals) Act, 1906 ... should be co-ordinated, as far as possible, with
  the arrangements for medical inspection under the Act of 1907." (Board
  of Education, Code of Regulations for Public Elementary Schools in
  England, 1908, p. ii.) The general supervision of the administration
  of the Act was placed in the hands of the Board's Medical Department.

Footnote 200:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1910, p. 254.

Footnote 201:

  _Ibid._ for 1911, p. 276. This course is strongly urged by the School
  Medical Officer for Portsmouth. "_All_ children, however selected,
  either by the physical or poverty test, _should be examined by the
  School Medical Officer_. This in many areas would involve a good deal
  of extra work on many medical men who find their time already fully
  occupied. Yet if any work is worth doing it is worth doing well, and
  here it is that the value of the School Medical Officer comes in, by
  culling and recording facts relating to the personal condition of the
  child, as well as the home conditions and surroundings of his or her
  life." ("The Importance of a Well-advised and Comprehensive Scheme in
  the Selection of Children ... under the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Act," by Victor J. Blake, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C.
  E. Hecht, 1913, pp. 22-23.)

Footnote 202:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 275.

Very few authorities have made any attempt to select the children
primarily or even to any great extent on the "physical test." In
Brighton the plan has perhaps been tried with more thoroughness than in
any other town. When, in 1907, the Education Committee undertook the
provision of meals in association with the Voluntary Canteen Committee,
it was resolved that "the term 'underfed' ... should be held to apply
distinctively to those scholars who, by reason of more or less
continuous antecedent underfeeding, are physically below a certain
specified standard of size and weight. These cases, which must of course
be the first consideration of any feeding scheme, can only be
scientifically detected by a detailed system of medical weighing and
examination, and when so detected should be dealt with in accordance
with medical advice."[203] Accordingly all the children for whom an
application for free meals is made are weighed and measured, and the
Canteen Committee, when deciding whether any particular child shall be
fed or not, has before it this report as to the child's physical
condition. Whether the meals are supplied free depends on the economic
circumstances of the family. If the child needs meals on medical grounds
but the income is adequate, a circular is sent to the parent warning him
of the child's condition. Sometimes the parent will be willing for meals
to be supplied on payment of the cost. If the parent refuses to pay,
meals are not granted, but the name of the child is placed on a special
list for observation.[204] Roughly about fifty per cent. of the children
are fed solely on economic grounds and fifty per cent. on medical

Footnote 203:

  Brighton Education Committee, Report of Canteen Joint Branch
  Sub-Committee, July 17, 1907. There were, of course, also the cases of
  "necessitous" children who did not appear on medical grounds to be
  suffering from malnutrition, but who, from the economic circumstances
  of the parents, were unable to obtain sufficient food. Children to
  whom the provision of a mid-day meal would be a convenience, and whose
  parents were able and willing to pay the cost, should also be provided
  for. (_Ibid._)

Footnote 204:

  We have not been able to ascertain exactly what happens to these
  children on the "watching" list. In 1910 the School Medical Officer
  reports that they "are examined at intervals by the school doctor, and
  their progress is noted, the [Canteen] Committee taking such action as
  is recommended. Enquiries are also carried out by the school nurse,
  under the supervision of the school doctor, as to the nature of the
  meals given at home in these cases." (Report on the Medical Inspection
  of School Children in Brighton for 1910, p. 134.) These home visits by
  the school nurse are no longer paid.

Footnote 205:

  In 1911, out of 1,050 children who received free meals, 54 were not
  examined, 550 were recommended by the school doctor on medical
  grounds, 446 were fed solely on economic grounds. (_Ibid._ for 1911,
  p. 119.) In 1912, out of 1,070 children fed, 69 were not examined, 422
  were recommended on medical and 579 on economic grounds. (_Ibid._ for
  1912, p. 122.)

At Heston and Isleworth, the Canteen Sub-Committee decided in 1911 to
obtain from the School Medical Officer a report on the state of each
child before determining whether it required school meals.[206] At
Lancaster also all children who are recommended for free meals are seen
by the School Medical Officer.[207]

Footnote 206:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 277.

Footnote 207:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Lancaster for 1911, p. 26.

But these cases are exceptional. In 1909 "the number of Local Education
Authorities who left the final selection in the hands of the School
Medical Officer, or acted exclusively upon his recommendation or
required every application to be endorsed by him," was, so far as the
information of the Board of Education extended, less than a dozen.[208]
In 1911 Sir George Newman writes, "it is true that in the majority of
cases the School Medical Officer takes some part ... in the work
connected with the provision of meals, but the number of cases in which
he exercises all the functions ... appropriately devolving upon him are
very few indeed."[209] In the great majority of towns, though the School
Medical Officer may recommend for school meals children whom he finds
suffering from malnutrition in the course of medical inspection, the
greater number of children are selected on the "poverty test."

Footnote 208:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, up to
  March 31, 1909, pp. 12-13.

Footnote 209:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 273.

As a rule the primary selection is made by the teachers, either on their
own initiative or on receiving requests from the parents. The School
Nurse, the Attendance Officer or perhaps a member of the local Guild of
Help may also recommend cases.

Sometimes a personal application by the parent at the Education Offices
or before the Canteen Committee is insisted on. Thus at Manchester the
parents have to make application either at the Education Offices or at
any of the district centres, of which there are twenty-four, situated in
different parts of the town, and open at convenient hours. The teachers
can advise children, whom they consider to be in need of food, to tell
their parents to apply, but they take no further part in the selection
of the children. At West Ham also the parents have to apply at the
Public Hall or Education Office. The section of the Act dealing with
repayment is read to the applicant, who then decides whether or not he
wishes his children to be fed.[210] On the parent's signing a form (by
which he agrees to repay the cost of meals when he gets into work[211]),
tickets are issued for a week, pending enquiry. The parent is expected
to send a note to the head teacher each day to say that he or she still
wishes the child to be fed.[212] This personal application has to be
renewed every month. The teachers are allowed to give urgency tickets
for three meals, but if the parents fail to apply the meals have to be
discontinued. At Erith "no breakfasts are supplied till the parents have
registered at the Distress Committee (if eligible), or have made
personal application there, or at the Education Office."[213] At
Leicester, again, the parent has to make personal application at the
office of the Canteen Committee, and this application has to be renewed
every month. At Birmingham, except in special cases, the parent has to
attend the meeting of the Committee; if he fails to appear, after being
given a second chance, the child, who has meanwhile been temporarily
receiving the meals, is removed from the feeding list.[214]

Footnote 210:

  Report of West Ham Education Committee for the year ending March 31,
  1910, p. 51. This is the procedure now in force.

Footnote 211:

  See post, p. 110.

Footnote 212:

  We were informed by the head teacher of an infants' department that
  she did not insist on a note being sent more than two or three times a

Footnote 213:

  Report of Erith Education Committee for the three years ending March
  31, 1911.

Footnote 214:

  _The Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D.
  Winder, 1913, p. 27.

The primary selection of the children having been made, by whatever
method, enquiry is then made into the home circumstances of the family.
The object of this enquiry is or should be twofold: to ascertain the
resources of the family, so as to determine whether the parents are able
to provide adequate food for the child or not, and to find out whether
help is needed in any other direction, and by friendly advice to improve
the conditions of the home. We shall discuss later the great advantages
to be obtained from the employment of voluntary workers for the purpose
of these friendly home visits, as distinct from the duty of making
enquiries.[215] Here it is sufficient to note that very few Education
Authorities have made use of their services at all.[216] The most
notable example is, of course, furnished by the London Care Committees.
A somewhat similar system has been adopted at Bournemouth. Here, as we
have seen, the schools have been divided into four groups, and a Care
Committee appointed for each. The members investigate the circumstances
of children who are alleged to be in want of food and report to their
Committee, which thereupon decides whether or not the children shall
receive free meals. At Liverpool a tentative effort has been made in the
same direction. Care Committees, managed by the different settlements,
have for some years been attached to some half-dozen schools, but their
position is rather indefinite. The enquiries are made by the School
Attendance Officers, but the Education Committee asks the Care Committee
for reports on special cases. At one school the Care Committee appears
to visit all the cases. A wider scheme for the establishment of a system
of Care Committees is at the present time (1913) under consideration. At
Brighton also, where Care Committees have been appointed, mainly for the
purpose of finding employment and generally supervising the children
when they leave school, a Care visitor is sometimes asked to supplement
the enquiries of the School Attendance Officers in doubtful cases where
further investigation is needed. At Leicester the enquiries are made by
a paid investigator appointed by the Children's Aid Association,
subsequent friendly visits being paid by voluntary workers.[217] In most
towns, however, the work of enquiry is undertaken solely by the School
Attendance Officers.[218]

Footnote 215:

  See post, pp. 145 _et seq._

Footnote 216:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1910, pp. 107-8; ditto for 1911, pp. 104-5. In several of the few
  towns where Care Committees have been appointed, they take no part in
  the work of feeding the children, their functions being confined to
  the "following up" of medical cases and perhaps the finding of
  employment for the children when they leave school.

Footnote 217:

  At Southend-on-Sea enquiry is made by the Civic Guild into many of the
  cases. (Report of the School Medical Officer for Southend-on-Sea for
  1911, p. 54.) At Bradford the Canteen Committee communicates to the
  Guild of Help the names of all the new cases which are put on the
  feeding list. The members of the Guild thereupon visit any cases in
  which other help besides the meals is needed.

Footnote 218:

  As at Birkenhead, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Salford, Sheffield,
  Stoke, etc. At Birkenhead an attendance officer has been specially
  appointed for this purpose. At Bradford a special constable has been
  told off to make enquiries in difficult cases.

The thoroughness of the investigation varies considerably in different
towns. The parent's statements as to the amount of wages earned are in
some cases checked by enquiries from the employers. At Birmingham the
wages are always thus verified where the worker is employed by one firm
regularly. At Bradford the wages are verified except when the applicants
are working on their own account, for instance hawking, when it is
clearly impossible. Generally enquiry is made from the employer as to
the wages of the head of the house only, but at Leeds and at Leicester
the wages of all earning members of the family are verified. At
Leicester in doubtful cases enquiries may be made from the employer as
often as once a week. In other towns, as at Stoke and York, where the
current rates of wages are well known, wages are only verified when
there is any doubt as to the parent's statement. At Bootle little
attempt is made to verify the information given by the parents. Here the
enquiries are made--so far as they can be said to be made at all--by the
teachers. The help of the Attendance Officer can be asked in difficult
cases, but this appears to be seldom done. The teachers naturally have
no time to visit the homes, and the enquiry generally resolves itself
into a form being given to the child for its parent to fill up. The
parents are asked to state the rent, the number in the family and the
total weekly income, taking the average for four weeks. When one
considers the difficulty normally experienced in filling up forms
correctly, one can readily imagine that the information thus obtained is
practically valueless. Where the answers are unintelligible--an
occurrence by no means rare to judge from the few specimens of case
papers which we have seen--the information may be supplemented by
questioning the children.

Often urgency tickets can be issued by the teachers, pending enquiries,
as at Bradford, Birmingham, Bootle and Liverpool. At Birkenhead the
teacher can only report the need for meals, but the enquiries only take
two or three days. At Leeds we were told that a week or ten days
generally elapses between the time of application and the child's being
placed on the list, with the result that in some cases the most urgent
need is passed. It is true that the head teachers can secure a child's
being placed immediately on the list by writing specially to the
Education Office, but to do this every time would involve a considerable
expenditure on postage, which is not refunded.

When investigation has been made into the home circumstances, the
decision as to whether or no the child shall be fed is made generally by
the Canteen Committee or by a small sub-committee of this Committee, or
perhaps by the Chairman.[219] Sometimes the responsibility rests with
the Secretary of the Education Committee or some other official, as at
Acton and Leeds. At Bournemouth the cases are decided by the District
Care Committees, which are composed of voluntary workers and teachers.
At Bootle the decision appears to rest entirely in the teachers' hands.

Footnote 219:

  Thus, at Birkenhead, where the Canteen Committee meets very seldom,
  the cases are decided by the Chairman.

The decision is based on a consideration of the family income. Many
authorities have adopted a scale. At Birmingham meals are granted if the
income per head, after rent is deducted, does not exceed 2s. 9d. in
winter or 2s. 6d. in summer.[220] In Bootle the income limit, in summer
and winter alike, is 3s. 6d. for an adult and 2s. 6d. for each child
under 14.[221] When we consider, however, the slipshod method of enquiry
pursued at Bootle, we cannot attach much importance to the existence on
paper of this scale. At Bradford dinners are given if the income does
not exceed 3s. per head; if the income is less than 2s., breakfasts also
are given. This scale is taken only as a rough criterion of the needs of
the family. Special circumstances are taken into account, such as the
size of the family, sickness, old debts, etc. And where the
circumstances of the family are slightly above the point at which free
meals may be given, the parents are often allowed to receive them on
paying 1/2d. or 1d. towards the cost. At Leeds, on the other hand, the
scale, which is a low one (2s. in winter and 1s. 6d. in summer) is, we
are informed, rigidly observed. No regard is paid to the circumstances
of the family. As a rule, directly the family income rises above the
limit, the child's dinners are stopped, no matter how much debt has to
be paid off. A delicate child who needed feeding or an underfed
neglected child would not be fed if the income was above the limit. At
Liverpool the scale is 2s. per head; at Stoke it is 2s. 6d.; at Brighton
it is 3s. per adult, two children being reckoned as one adult. In all
these towns the limit is not a hard and fast one, regard being paid to
any special circumstances. At Manchester a sliding scale has been
adopted. If there are five or more in the family the limit is 2s. 6d.
per head, if there are only three or four 2s. 9d. is allowed, while if
there are only one or two 3s. is allowed.[222] At Salford the limit is
10s. per week for two persons, and 2s. extra for each additional member
of the family, rent not being deducted. In other towns, as at
Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Leicester and West Ham, there is no fixed
scale, each case being decided on its merits.

Footnote 220:

  _The Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D.
  Winder, 1913, p. 26.

Footnote 221:

  Report of Bootle School Canteen Committee, 1911-12, p. 3.

Footnote 222:

  Report of the Manchester Education Committee, 1910-11, p. 221.

As a rule the cases are revised about once a month. Sometimes chronic
cases will be continued for two or three months at a time, as at
Liverpool. At York the cases are revised only twice a year. At the
beginning of the winter the head teachers send in lists of children whom
they consider to be necessitous. These children (if the Cases Selection
Sub-Committee decide to feed them) remain on the feeding list till the
following April, when the head teachers are asked to send in a list of
children who they consider need not receive meals during the summer. The
Attendance Officers visit again and the cases are revised by the
Committee. This method is said to be satisfactory as, though officially
the cases are revised so seldom, practically the circumstances are
known, since the Attendance Officers regularly visit the homes in the
course of their ordinary work and the Chairman of the Canteen Committee
knows many of the children intimately. At Bootle, where, as we have
seen, the decision as to which children shall be fed is practically in
the hands of the teachers, there seems to be no system of revising the
cases, and the tendency is for a child who is once put on the feeding
list to remain on it till the meals are discontinued in the summer,
unless the parents voluntarily withdraw the child on an improvement in
the home circumstances.

Without discussing here the question whether it is possible to devise
any system of selection which can be satisfactory, we may note some of
the disadvantages of the methods at present in use. In the first place,
since the selection is made in the main through the teachers, it
necessarily follows that the numbers fed in any particular school depend
very largely on the attitude taken by the head teachers. As a general
rule the teachers are keenly interested in the physical welfare of their
children, and anxious to do everything in their power which may promote
it; but some teachers are opposed to the provision of meals, feeling
that too much is done for the children; others, again, consider their
schools "superior," and do not like their children to go to free meals.
Constantly one finds an astonishing disproportion between the numbers
fed at two adjacent schools, drawing their children from the same
locality. It is true that the character of two schools, within a stone's
throw of each other, may vary in a curious way, one attracting a more
prosperous class of children--perhaps because of the personality of the
teacher, better buildings, or some other cause--but this would not
account for all the difference. At Bootle, for instance, it was
reported, "there is apparently an absence of uniformity in assessing the
needs of the children; for in the six schools of the poorest
neighbourhoods it is found that of the number on the rolls the
percentage of scheduled children varies from 6 per cent. to 34 per
cent., and that in two schools of almost identical character, in one
case 10 per cent. of the children are returned as needing daily
breakfasts, and in the other 34 per cent."[223] Where the teachers are
anxious to place all apparently underfed children on the feeding list,
pressure is not infrequently exercised by the Education Authority to
induce them to keep down the numbers.

Footnote 223:

  Report of the Bootle School Canteen Committee for 1910-11, p. 22. At
  Birkenhead, and probably in other towns, the percentage of children
  fed in the Church of England schools is very much higher than in the
  Council schools, whilst the Roman Catholic schools feed a larger
  number still than the Church schools. This is doubtless due partly to
  the character of the buildings, the non-provided schools being
  generally very much inferior, and the better-off children being
  consequently attracted to the Council schools; partly, of course, also
  to the fact that the Roman Catholic population is chiefly Irish and
  very poor.

When an application by the parent is obligatory, there is cause for very
grave doubt whether the provision of meals reaches all for whom it is
intended. Miss Winder has shown that, at Birmingham, out of 22,753
children for whom applications were received during the three years
1909-11, 4,700 were not fed because the parent failed to appear before
the Committee. She investigated the circumstances of twenty-eight of
these families and came to the conclusion that, "although the small
number of families investigated cannot justify an absolutely positive
assertion, I think it may fairly be concluded that, on the whole, they
are representative of most of the families whose applications are not
granted, and that the home circumstances of these families are much the
same as those of the families whose applications have been
granted."[224] This is the impression gained from enquiries at other
towns. At West Ham it is clear that there are children who need the
meals, but do not get them because their parents will not apply. The
number of "missed" cases does not appear to be large, for the Act is
administered in a sympathetic spirit, the Superintendent of Visitors
impressing on the Attendance Officers that they should bring to his
notice any case where the children appear to be suffering from lack of
food. But there are cases where the parents, though they will take the
urgency tickets for three meals which the teachers can give them, will
take no further action. At one school the headmaster pointed out two
boys who looked obviously in need of food and attention generally, but
whose father, though out of work, would not apply. In another case he
had used his discretion and kept two boys on the list for a month in
spite of their parents' failure to renew their application, but he felt
obliged at last to take them off though he considered that they still
needed the meals. In such cases the Attendance Officers are supposed to
visit the homes to find out the cause of the children's underfed
condition, and to urge the parents, if necessary, to make application
for school meals, but this course does not seem to be by any means
always pursued.

Footnote 224:

  _The Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D.
  Winder, 1913, pp. 27, 29, 59, 62.

At Leicester again, nothing appears to be done in those cases where the
child needs food but the parent refuses to apply. And such cases appear
to be frequent. We were told by the vicar of a very poor parish that
numbers of the parents would not make the necessary application. This
evidence seems to be borne out by a comparison of the numbers of cases
helped by the Distress Committee and the Canteen Committee. In 1910, for
instance, it was found that on September 30, 607 married men and
widowers, having 1,145 children wholly, and 214 partly, dependent upon
them, were registered at the Labour Bureau as unemployed.[225] These
numbers were, of course, not a complete index of the unemployment in the
town. But, turning to the report of the Canteen Committee, we find that
on the same date only 105 children were being helped.[226] The great
discrepancy between these figures seems to point to the fact that the
Canteen Committee had not discovered all the cases of children who were
suffering from want of food.

Footnote 225:

  _Leicester Pioneer_, October 29, 1910.

Footnote 226:

  Quarterly Report of the Leicester Children's Aid Association, July 1
  to September 30, 1910.

The failure of the parents to apply may in some cases be due to laziness
and disregard for their children's welfare. Or it may be that they are
too sensitive to ask for help. Or again it may be difficult or
impossible for them to attend at the time named. The hour is usually
fixed so as to be that most convenient for the parents, but it is
impossible, of course, to fix a time which will suit all. At Birmingham
cases have even occurred "where the father has been obliged to pay tram
fares in order to arrive in time to prove his inability to feed his

Footnote 227:

  _The Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D.
  Winder, 1913, p. 29.

But even if the parent is not obliged to appear in person, but may send
an application by note or verbal message to the teacher, there are still
"missed" cases. It is notorious that many parents are too proud to let
their need be known; in such cases, as teachers have frequently told us,
it may be a considerable time before it is discovered that the child is
suffering from want of food; and when the discovery is made there is
frequently difficulty in inducing the parents to send the child, or in
inducing the child itself to go, to the school meals. There still seems
to exist, in certain districts at any rate, an idea that the provision
of meals is Poor Law Relief, and parents consequently shrink from
applying. Moreover, it is not generally recognised that the provision of
school meals is by no means universally known to the parents. The School
Medical Officer for Leicester reports that "in certain cases it was a
matter for regret that the families had not received help earlier by
personally applying for assistance. Ignorance of the existence of the
Canteen Committee was given as the reason for non-application."[228] And
we have ourselves been told in other towns of cases where the children
were suffering from want of food, but were not receiving school meals
because the parents were unaware that they could be obtained.

Footnote 228:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Leicester for 1912, p. 36.

The enquiries into the home circumstances undoubtedly exercise a
deterrent influence--to what extent depends on the manner of the
particular individual who makes the enquiries--both with the more
independent parent who resents the investigator's visit, and with the
criminal and semi-criminal parent whose record does not bear close
investigation. Thus the headmaster of a school in one of the worst
districts of Liverpool told us that numbers of the boys were in need of
food but the parents would not submit to the necessary enquiries and
consequently meals were not granted. At Leicester, the searching
enquiries made by the Canteen Committee, which, it must be remembered,
is practically a department of the Charity Organisation Society, coupled
with the insistence on an application by the parent in person, result,
as we have seen, in numbers of underfed children remaining underfed.

Where the Education Authority has adopted a scale of income on which to
base the decision as to which children shall be fed, this scale is
frequently below, and in some cases very considerably below, the minimum
amount which has been shown to be necessary for expenditure on
food.[229] Where the scale is rigidly adhered to, two classes of
children are excluded altogether, those who are underfed through the
neglect of their parents to provide for them though able to do so, and
those cases where the family income may be sufficient to meet normal
calls but where, owing to illness or the delicacy of the children or
other special circumstances, extra nourishment is required.

Footnote 229:

  See note on page 205, _infra_.

To sum up, we find as between town and town, and even as between school
and school in the same town, a great want of uniformity in selecting the
children to be fed. Where the Education Authority has determined that
all its underfed children shall be provided for, the child's need being
the paramount consideration, undiscovered cases of underfeeding are
reduced to a minimum. Where, on the contrary, enquiries are carried out
in a deterrent manner, or the parent is made to apply in person for the
meals, or the selection is based on a rigid application of a scale,
there is reason to fear that considerable numbers of children are, and
remain, "unable by reason of lack of food to take full advantage of the
education provided for them."

             (d)--The Preparation and Service of the Meals.

                       (i) The Time of the Meal.

There are considerable differences of opinion as to what kind of meal
should be given. Many Local Authorities prefer breakfast. It is argued
that when no breakfast is forthcoming at home the interval between the
meal the previous evening and the midday dinner is too long, and that it
is cruel to expect the child to attend morning school, when the heaviest
work of the day is done, without a meal, especially in the cold winter
months. By midday the parents, especially in districts where there is
much casual labour, may have earned enough to provide some sort of a
meal. But the arguments in favour of breakfast--as the sole meal
provided--are largely based not so much on the child's physical needs as
on the moral effect produced both on the child and the parent. The
provision of breakfast furnishes a test of need. The meal is not so
popular as dinner, and will only attract those who are really
hungry.[230] Co-operation on the part of the mother is demanded, since
she must get up early to see the children are dressed in time. Moreover,
the provision of breakfast does not act as an inducement to the mother
to go out to work, as it is feared the provision of dinner may.

Footnote 230:

  Thus it was found at a school in Bethnal Green that, "in spite of the
  supervision of a most efficient Care Committee," the change from a
  porridge breakfast to a meat pie dinner doubled the number of children
  attending. ("The Feeding of Necessitous Children. A Symposium. I.,
  Experience in S. W. Bethnal Green," by A. W. Chute, in _Oxford House
  Magazine_, January, 1909, p. 37.)

The arguments seem to us overwhelmingly in favour of dinner. The
provision of a midday meal may possibly encourage mothers to go out to
work, though it is exceedingly difficult to trace such a result to any
great extent. But on the other hand there are numbers of cases already
where the mothers are forced, by stress of circumstances, to be the
breadwinners and are obliged to leave home all day, or, if they come
home for the dinner hour, have no time to prepare a proper meal. The
children will either get a piece of bread, or will be given coppers to
buy their own dinner; in either case the meal will be equally
unsatisfactory. Possibly the children will go dinnerless altogether, and
the afternoon's lessons will then be a serious tax on their brains. The
attendance at breakfasts is always less than at dinner.[231] The
breakfast acts, that is to say, as a successful "test." But this means
that many children, either because their mothers are too lazy to get
them dressed early, or because they are too lazy themselves, miss the
meals, _though they are admittedly in need of them_.

Footnote 231:

  At West Ham, for instance, where all the children on the feeding list
  receive both breakfast and dinner, the number of breakfasts given
  during the year 1911-12 was 247,233, and the number of dinners
  273,894; the attendance at breakfast was thus only ninety per cent. of
  the attendance at dinner. (Report of the West Ham Education Committee
  for the year ended March 31, 1912, pp. 175-77.)

We do not wish to under-estimate the importance of the moral aspect of
the question. It is essential that co-operation on the part of the
mother should be demanded. But the child's need must be the first
consideration. The laziness of the children, be it noted, is frequently
not entirely their own fault; the drowsiness in the morning may be due
to the fact that they have slept all night in a crowded room and stuffy
atmosphere. Till the deep-rooted objection to open windows at night can
be overcome, this will continue to be the case. For this reason too, the
children will often have little appetite for breakfast.

Physiologically, again, dinner appears to be the better meal since it
contains a greater quantity of the elements which are lacking in the
ordinary home dietary of the child. Thus in the feeding experiment at
Bradford in 1907,[232] the porridge breakfast, the most satisfactory
kind of breakfast that can be supplied from the food value point of
view, contained a proteid value of 19 grammes, and a fat value of 20
grammes. The dinners contained, on an average, 29 grammes of proteid and
18 grammes of fat. Thus the combined proteid and fat value of the
breakfasts and dinners was respectively 39 and 47 grammes.[233]
Moreover, the gain in point of cheapness to be derived from provision on
a large scale is much greater relatively in the case of dinners than in
the case of breakfasts.

Footnote 232:

  See post, pp. 184-6.

Footnote 233:

  Bradford Education Committee, Report on a Course of Meals given to
  Necessitous Children from April to July, 1907, p. 7.

About 27 per cent. of the Local Authorities give breakfasts only, and
about 45 per cent. dinners only, the remainder giving both meals.[234]
In the last-named case, dinners may be given in some schools and
breakfasts in others, as at Southampton and York. At Bradford dinner is
given to all the children on the feeding list, the most necessitous
receiving breakfast as well.[235] At West Ham all the children receive
both meals. At Bootle, where till a few years ago only breakfasts were
given, it was found that this provision was inadequate to meet the needs
of many necessitous children.[236] The expense and the practical
difficulties in the way of providing a proper dinner led the Education
Committee to adopt a simpler method, namely, that of increasing the
quantity of food supplied for breakfasts, any overplus being given at
midday at the discretion of the teachers as an extra meal to children
who would otherwise go dinnerless.[237]

Footnote 234:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, pp. 322-324.

Footnote 235:

  Roughly about half the children fed receive both meals (Bradford
  Education Committee, Return as to the Working of the Education
  (Provision of Meals) Act, for the year ended March 31, 1913.)

Footnote 236:

  Enquiries made by the head teachers showed that in the aggregate 295
  children received no mid-day meal or an insufficient meal. Since,
  presumably, these enquiries were made by the method of questioning the
  children, no particular value can be attached to the actual figures;
  the school attendance officers enquired into fifty-four of the cases
  taken at random and found that all but two showed undoubted poverty in
  the home. (Report of Bootle School Canteen Committee, 1910-11, pp.

Footnote 237:

  _Ibid._, p. 11. This is the plan still pursued (see post, pp. 86-87).

                           (ii) The Dietary.

Taking into consideration the fact that with a large number of
elementary school children bread and tea form the chief elements in the
home diet, it is of the greatest importance that the school meal should
be planned so as to contain a good proportion of the ingredients which
are lacking at home.

Whatever views may be held as to the amount of proteid food that is
necessary for adults, it is not disputed that in the case of children
the more expensive forms are necessary because the growth of the body
depends entirely upon the proteids. "It is impossible," declares the
School Medical Officer of the London County Council, "to cut down
proteids to the same extent in children as in adults without serious
results.... To set out, therefore, to relieve underfeeding by a single
meal a day, it is necessary to concentrate attention upon proteids and
fats ... and, therefore, a dinner for necessitous children must be
necessarily more costly than for those properly fed in institutions or
in their own homes. The want of clothing, which often accompanies
underfeeding, also necessitates more expensive feeding in relief, the
loss of bodily heat to be made up being greater than in the case of the
child in an industrial school or workhouse, who is warmly clad, and who,
moreover, spends much time in a properly heated playroom or

Footnote 238:

  London County Council, Report of the Medical Officer (Education) to
  Sub-Committee on Underfed Children, 1909. See also "School Feeding,"
  by Dr. John Lambert, in _Medical Examination of Schools and Scholars_,
  edited by T. N. Kelynack, M.D., 1910, pp. 240-242.

Few Local Authorities have so planned their dietary as to contain this
excess of proteid and fat over starchy food. "Judged by this standard,"
declared Dr. Kerr in 1908, and the same statement holds good to-day,
"most diets supplied by public funds are probably wanting in value for
the children, however useful they might be as a single meal for a normal

Footnote 239:

  Report of the Education Committee of the London County Council,
  submitting report of the Medical Officer (Education) for the
  twenty-one months ending December 31, 1908, p. 17.

It would naturally be expected that the School Medical Officer would be
consulted about the dietary as a matter of course,[240] but this is by
no means invariably the case. At Birkenhead, for instance, the School
Medical Officer has no voice in the planning of the menu. At
Stoke-on-Trent the School Medical Officer reports in 1911 that, "with
the exception of the Fenton district, the medical staff does not appear
to have even been consulted on the matter of dietary."[241]

Footnote 240:

  "The determination of the dietary of the children generally, and of
  individual children whose health or age renders it desirable that
  special arrangements should be made in their case" is, as the Chief
  Medical Officer of the Board of Education points out, a matter "on
  which the School Medical Officer is particularly competent to form an
  opinion, and on which, therefore, his opinion should be sought by the
  Authority." (Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
  Education for 1911, p. 275.)

Footnote 241:

  Annual Report of the School Medical Officer for Stoke-on-Trent for
  1911, p. 56.

Where the meals are given at restaurants, the dietary is almost
invariably unsatisfactory, adequate inspection being impossible.[242]

Footnote 242:

  See the descriptions of Stoke and Liverpool, post, pp. 89, 90-91.

The most elaborate dietary is probably that adopted by the Bradford
Education Committee. In 1907, after the Education Committee had adopted
the Provision of Meals Act, but before arrangements had been made to
feed the children out of the rates, an experiment was made in feeding
forty children for fourteen weeks. The dietary was carefully planned so
that, while containing the requisite amount of proteid and fat, it
should not be beyond the purse of the ordinary parent in normal
times.[243] This dietary is still in force, a few alterations having
been made which experience showed to be advisable. The menu is varied,
according to the season, winter, summer, and spring or autumn. The same
meal is not repeated for four weeks.[244] At Portsmouth again, where the
dietary is drawn up by the Medical Officer of Health and the School
Medical Officer, a different meal is given every day for three
weeks.[245] In most towns, however, the same menu is continued week
after week, with some slight variation in the summer. The same meal is
given on the same day in the week so that the children learn to know
what meal to expect, and in consequence the attendance is often
considerably smaller on days when the dish is unpopular. Sometimes the
food will vary very little even from day to day. Though served under
various names, soup, stew or hash, it is really almost precisely the
same. Some authorities supply only one course, others two. In some towns
a child is allowed to have as much as it wants, in reason; in other
towns only one helping is allowed as a rule, though, if there happens to
be any food over, this may be distributed among the children.[246]

Footnote 243:

  See Bradford Education Committee, Report on a Course of Meals given to
  Necessitous Children from April to July, 1907, p. 7.

Footnote 244:

  For Bradford and some other typical menus see Appendix I.]

Footnote 245:

  "The Importance of a Well-Advised and Comprehensive Scheme in the
  Selection of Children ... under the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Act," by Victor J. Blake, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C.
  E. Hecht, 1913, p. 24.

Footnote 246:

  At one centre that we visited, the second helping consisted only of
  what was left by some of the children on their plates! Those who
  wanted more were asked to hold up their hands, and the food was then
  handed to them, the recipients being apparently selected at random,
  since there was not enough for all.

Occasionally special provision is made for the infants. Thus, at York,
milk and bread is given in the middle of the morning to infants who are
on the feeding list, it having been found that they could not digest the
ordinary dinners. But as a rule, though in well managed centres the
infants are placed together at special tables, so that they can be
better supervised and taught how to eat, there is no separate dietary
for them.

Where only breakfasts are provided there is, of course, less room for
variation. Generally cocoa or coffee is given, with bread and butter,
margarine, dripping, jam or syrup. At Bootle pea soup is given one day a
week. In several towns porridge is provided, either alternately with the
cocoa or coffee breakfast, or every day. At Sheffield, where a cocoa
breakfast used to be given, porridge was substituted at one school as an
experiment; it was found that the boys who were fed on porridge
increased in weight at double the rate of the boys who received only the
cocoa breakfast; as a result porridge breakfasts were substituted in all
the schools.[247]

Footnote 247:

  Report of Chief School Medical Officer for Sheffield, for the year
  1910, pp. 26, 27. See post, p. 190.

            (iii) Preparation and Distribution of the Meals.

In a few cases the Local Education Authority has equipped a kitchen for
the preparation of the food, and makes arrangements for distributing it
to the various centres. At Bradford all the meals, with the exception of
those for schools in outlying districts where arrangements are made with
local caterers, are cooked at a central kitchen and distributed in
special heat-retaining boxes to the different dining centres by motor
vans. Manchester, Birkenhead and other towns also have their own central
kitchen. Sometimes, as at West Ham, a kitchen is attached to each of the
centres; or occasionally a cookery centre is utilised for the
preparation of the meals. Sometimes, as at Leeds and Portsmouth,[248]
the Local Education Authority provides the kitchen and a caterer
prepares the food. Frequently, however, all the arrangements for the
preparation and the distribution of the meals are in the hands of

Footnote 248:

  "The Importance of a Well-Advised and Comprehensive Scheme in the
  Selection of Children ... under the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Act," by Victor J. Blake, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C.
  E. Hecht, 1913, p. 25.

                     (iv) The Service of the Meals.

From the first great stress was laid by the Board of Education upon the
educational aspect of the meals. "The methods employed in the provision
of meals should be not merely such as will secure an improvement in the
physical condition of the children, but such as will have a directly
educational effect upon them in respect of manners and conduct."[249]
"The school dinner may ... be made to serve as a valuable object-lesson
and used to reinforce the practical instruction in hygiene, cookery and
domestic economy."[250]

Footnote 249:

  Board of Education, Code of Regulations for Public Elementary Schools
  in England, 1908, p. ii.

Footnote 250:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up to
  March 31, 1909, prefatory note by L. A. Selby-Bigge, p. 6.

In many cases this advice was totally disregarded. The second report on
the working of the Act contains many examples of the utter lack of
discipline prevailing in some centres. In one case "no attempt to teach
orderly eating was made; there was a certain amount of actual disorderly
conduct, throwing bits of food at each other and so forth." In another
case where the meals were served in a small outhouse in the playground,
the "table was a low locker.... On this a newspaper was spread, and
there was hardly room for more than six children to sit round it. Other
children sat on low benches where they could, holding their bowls on
their knees ... about fifty partake of the dinner, but there is not room
for more than twelve at a time, and then it is a scramble.... The food
(Irish stew and bread) was good but everything else was as bad as could
be." At another centre, we read, "the dinner is eaten in a perfect
pandemonium of noise. Nine charwomen of a rather low type attend to
about 470 children."[251]

Footnote 251:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act for
  the year ended March 31, 1910, pp. 8, 9.

It is encouraging to note that there has since been, generally speaking,
an improvement in the service of the meals. But "there are still areas
in which the educational possibilities of the meals have not been
realised, or, if realised, have not received the attention which they
deserve"[252]--a statement which we can amply corroborate.

Footnote 252:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, pp. 278, 279.

The different methods in vogue may be classified roughly under four
heads, according to the place in which the meal is served, _i.e._ (_a_)
in the school, (_b_) in eating-houses, (_c_) in "centres," or (_d_) in
the home.

(_a_) The ideal place for the meal is the school when a room is
specially set apart as a dining-room. The meal should be attended only
by the children from that particular school and should be served under
proper supervision. The tables should be nicely laid, regard being paid
to the æsthetic side of the meal, and table manners should be taught.
The children should themselves lay the tables and wait on one another.
We have found these ideal arrangements in some of the Special Schools
for Defective Children and in Open Air Schools,[253] but it is very rare
to find such provision made for the "necessitous" children in the
ordinary elementary schools. Many authorities, indeed, adopt the plan of
serving the meals in the schools, but too frequently class-rooms are
utilised. The objections to this course are obvious. Adequate
ventilation after a meal is often impossible, and the smell of food
pervades the atmosphere. It is frequently necessary to hurry over the
meal so that the room may be prepared in time for school. The food is
often served on the desks, an uncomfortable arrangement and one which
renders it very difficult to teach the children to eat nicely.

Footnote 253:

  We describe two or three of these schools later. (See post, pp.

The worst example of this utilisation of the school premises that we
have seen is that of Bootle. Here the arrangements made for supplying
the meals show a deplorable lack of appreciation, on the part of the
Education Authority, of the benefits which may be derived from the
Provision of Meals Act. The breakfasts are served sometimes in
class-rooms, sometimes in the cloak-rooms or the cellars! When we
visited Bootle (in April, 1913) the breakfasts had been stopped for the
summer, but we were shown one or two of these cellars. We were told that
they are made as inviting as possible--the walls are whitewashed,
sawdust is sprinkled on the floors, a table is placed for the children
to sit down to--but when all is done that can be done they remain
entirely unsuitable places for the purpose. The only point that is urged
in their favour is that the children enjoy the warmth from the heating
apparatus. In the cloak-rooms there is not always room for a table, and
the children sometimes have to sit along the walls, holding their mugs
of cocoa or their basins of soup on their knees. When the class-rooms
are utilised the food has to be placed on the desks; nothing in the
nature of table-cloths is provided, and the state of the desks after the
children, the infants especially, have eaten soup or bread and syrup,
can be well imagined. Often the breakfasts arrive late, and the children
have consequently to be hurried over the meal so that the class-rooms
may be got ready for school.[254] It must not be assumed that nothing in
the way of table manners is attempted; clean hands, for instance, can be
insisted on (though even this is difficult in some schools where there
is an insufficient supply of water), and at one school we were told that
the infants had learnt to eat without spilling their food; but it is
obvious that very little can be done. The method of serving the midday
meal is even less "educational." We have seen that the Education
Committee refused to make arrangements for the provision of a suitable
dinner, and decided instead that the teachers should distribute at
midday to the most necessitous children any surplus left over from
breakfast. The dinner thus consists usually of merely a piece of bread,
with perhaps some cocoa, if any remains from the morning meal. The bread
is given to the children to take away, and they eat it on their way
home. What renders the failure of the Education Authority to pay any
regard to the educational aspect of the meal more disastrous is that it
is the teachers who supervise the meals. Many of them bitterly resent
the way in which the meals are served; as one pointed out to us, the
girls are taught in the school how to set a table, but the practical
example which the teachers are forced to show will have much more weight
than any theoretical teaching. A year ago the head teachers presented a
memorial to the Education Committee, urging that the schools should no
longer be used. As "a temporary expedient," runs the communication, they
"have loyally endeavoured to work this imperfect system, but they now
feel that the time has arrived for the adoption of a scheme on a more
satisfactory and permanent basis.... The serving of meals in
cloak-rooms, cellars or basements, and other unsuitable places, calls
for immediate remedy. In some cases the children receive their meals
whilst sitting upon the floor; in all, the bread is of necessity placed
upon the dirty desks. In others, there is no adequate supply of hot
water and towels for use in cleansing the utensils. Under such
conditions there can be no training in habits of decency or
cleanliness.... When the meals are served in class-rooms, the desks and
floors are rendered unfit for immediate school use, and a smell of food
permeates the atmosphere. To combat this state of affairs as far as
possible, the teachers have, in many cases, to wash the desks and brush
the floors. In other cases, the children are hurried over their meals in
order that the necessary preparations for lessons may be made."[255] To
this the Education Committee replied that, while they agreed "that an
ideal system of feeding the children would be by properly equipped
centres quite apart from the school premises, the cost of such would be
prohibitory, and that quite possibly the pressing of such a change would
jeopardise the continuance of the exercise of the powers given by the
Provision of Meals Act, now so beneficially and economically
administered." The committee hoped "that the teachers will recognise the
Authority's financial difficulties in the way of the introduction of a
more desirable system, and, pending the arrival of the long-expected
parliamentary aid for this and other ameliorative work devolving upon
local education authorities, will continue their valuable co-operation
in meeting the needs of their hungry scholars by the existing practical
if not perfect system."[256] The teachers had apparently been
considering the advisability of withdrawing their services altogether,
but this threat of a possible cessation of the meals induced them to
continue their assistance.

Footnote 254:

  At Birmingham we note the same defect. "The children are quiet and
  well-behaved; but all the time is taken in serving the food, and there
  is no opportunity to teach individual children to eat slowly. The
  tendency, especially with the cocoa breakfast, is to gulp down the
  drink, eat part of the bread and jam, and carry the rest away." (_The
  Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D. Winder,
  1913, p. 42.)

Footnote 255:

  Report of Bootle School Canteen Committee, 1911-12, p. 10.

Footnote 256:

  _Ibid._, p. 11.

(_b_) A second method is the service of the meals at local restaurants.
This plan is strongly discouraged by the Chief Medical Officer of the
Board of Education, since it is impossible to secure adequate
supervision of the meals or proper control of the dietary; "the meals
are consequently of little, if any, value from an educational or even
nutritional point of view."[257] Any authority adopting this system is,
in fact, animated solely by the desire to get the children fed with the
least possible trouble.

Footnote 257:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 272.

Unfortunately the plan is still in favour with a considerable number of
local authorities,[258] even in some of the large towns.

Footnote 258:

  In many towns where meals are usually served at centres, local
  restaurants are utilised in outlying districts where the number of
  children is too small to allow of a centre being established.

Thus at Stoke-on-Trent the children for whom free meals are granted are
sent to eating-houses.[259] These houses are often, if not always, small
bakers' shops, not general restaurants. They are usually situated at an
easy distance from the school. The numbers attending each are small,
amounting to not more than twenty or so. At the one we visited[260] the
conditions seemed to be as good as could be expected under the
circumstances; the caterer was a motherly old woman who took an evident
interest in the children, and the food was hot and palatable. The
disadvantages inherent in the system, the impossibility of supervision
and the lack of control over the dietary, are, however, observable here
as elsewhere. Probably in few cases would the children get an
insufficiency of food. The difficulty lies rather in securing good
quality and the proper kind of meal. Thus it was found that one caterer
had substituted, for the regulation fish pie, bread and jam, because the
children preferred it. "I have inspected several of these
[eating-houses]," reports the School Medical Officer, "and although I
found one instance in which the children were treated on exactly the
same lines as the contractor's own children, in fact sat at the same
table, and were regarded quite as members of the family; in most
instances the surroundings, the manner of serving and the dietary left
much to be desired.... I would strongly urge the advisability of getting
the catering in all instances into our own hands. I do not think that
the full benefit of the Act can be secured in any other way; it is
doubtful, as things are, whether the intention of the Act, as a remedy
for malnutrition, can be carried out at all."[261]

Footnote 259:

  At one school, the children have the meal in the school, the food
  being sent in by a caterer, the head-mistress preferring that

Footnote 260:

  In April, 1913.

Footnote 261:

  Annual Report of the School Medical Officer for Stoke-on-Trent, 1912,
  p. 23.

At Acton the meals are given at a dingy eating-house which is intended
primarily to serve the needs of the women working at the laundries in
the district.[262] There is only one room, so that the children have to
have their meals with the other customers, and the hour at which the
children come in, between twelve and one, is, of course, the busy hour
for the restaurant. At one time a rota of ladies attended voluntarily to
supervise the meals, but this plan has been given up; the School
Attendance Officers now take it in turn to be present. The children come
and go as they please and there is no attempt to teach table manners.

Footnote 262:

  This eating-house is situated in the poorest part of Acton, where the
  great majority of the children who are on the dinner-list live. In a
  few cases, where the children live in other districts, arrangements
  are made for them to obtain food at the cookery centres; this food
  they take home with them. This plan, we were told, is only adopted in
  cases where the mother can be trusted to see that the dinners are
  really eaten by the children for whom they are intended.

At Liverpool, till quite recently, the same system was in force. The
children received coupons at the school, which they presented at various
cocoa rooms in the city.[263] The objections to this system were many.
The number of cocoa rooms, at which coupons were accepted, was limited,
and in some cases the nearest cocoa room was situated too far from the
school for the children to be sent there.[264] Though some managers
refused to supply unsuitable food, others gave whatever the children
asked for--frequently buns, jam puffs, or iced cakes.[265] Often the
children would take the food home to be shared among the other members
of the family.[266] At some cocoa rooms the children were served in the
general room, and were brought into contact with adult customers "of a
class not choice in language or manners." There was little or no
supervision--only occasional visits by the teachers--and consequently no
attempt "to influence the children in the direction of cleanliness and
orderliness at meals."[267] In spite of these revelations the system was
continued for several years, being only finally given up in August,
1912. The meals are now served in centres. The food is at present
supplied by caterers, but the Education Committee are considering the
advisability of providing their own kitchen.

Footnote 263:

  Some were sent to the depôts of the Food and Betterment Association.

Footnote 264:

  Interim Report of the Special Committee appointed to investigate the
  Insufficient or Improper Feeding of School Children, Liverpool City
  Council Proceedings, 1907-8, Vol. II., pp. 5, 15.

Footnote 265:

  _Ibid._, pp. 11, 12, 19.

Footnote 266:

  _Ibid._, pp. 17, 22, 23, 24. In one case where five coupons were given
  daily to five members of a family, it was found that the children took
  the coupons home every day, and at the end of the week these coupons
  were presented and value obtained. (_Ibid._, p. 21.)

Footnote 267:

  MS. Memorandum on the Feeding of School Children, by the Liverpool
  Fabian Society, 1908.

(_c_) The plan most usually adopted, and the one recommended by the
Board of Education, is the system of serving the meals at centres
attended by children from three or four neighbouring schools. For this
purpose some room belonging to the Corporation may be utilised, perhaps
a room attached to the Police Station, as often at Manchester, or a room
in some disused school; frequently the hall of a club or mission is
hired. The arrangements are often of a makeshift character, the room
being ill-adapted for the purpose and the surroundings dark and dreary.
Moreover, the assembling of large numbers of children from different
schools renders the work of supervision more difficult and detracts
considerably from the educational value of the meal.

The actual conditions vary widely from town to town, and even from
centre to centre in the same town. The best results are perhaps to be
seen at Bradford,[268] the town in which most attention has been paid to
the subject. Here the teachers supervise the meal, two or three being
present generally, one to apportion the food and the others to supervise
the table manners of the children. They are assisted by boy and girl
monitors. These are selected generally from the elder children on the
dinner list.[269] On arrival, about ten minutes before the meal, each
monitor puts on one of the blue overalls provided for them, sets the
table for which he or she is responsible and hands round the food. The
position of monitor is a much coveted one. The system provides a
valuable training for the children in doing things for themselves, and
in looking after one another. The results are most marked. In every
centre we visited the children were quiet and orderly, and in some cases
the behaviour was excellent. At one centre we were particularly struck
by the table manners of the boys, their consideration for one another,
and the quick and quiet way in which they collected all the plates and
spoons and packed them in the boxes for return to the cooking depot of
their own accord, without any instructions from the teacher in charge.
The results vary, of course, in different centres. For instance, with
regard to clean hands and faces, some teachers are very strict, each
child having to hold up his hands for inspection as he enters the
dining-room. In others only periodical inspection is made, and we
noticed several dirty hands, notably in the case of some of the boys who
were assisting to hand round the food. Infants are placed at separate
tables so that they can receive special attention. Each child is
expected to eat the first course, or at any rate to try to eat it,
before being given the second. When the child does not like the food, it
is given a small helping at first and coaxed to eat it. Over and over
again we were told that at first the children would hardly touch the
food, being accustomed to the home dietary of bread and tea and pickles;
but by the patient endeavours of the teachers this difficulty was
overcome and the children have learnt to appreciate nourishing food. The
importance of the æsthetic side of the meal is fully appreciated. Table
cloths are provided and often flowers. The meal, indeed, "from start to
finish is educational."[270]

Footnote 268:

  The centres at Bradford, Leeds, West Ham and Birkenhead were all
  visited in the spring of 1913 and the descriptions refer to that date.

Footnote 269:

  In the secondary schools, the poorer children are allowed to act as
  monitors, being given in return a 3d. dinner free.

Footnote 270:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Bradford, 1909, pp. 100-1. At
  Nottingham the conditions are very similar to those at Bradford, the
  Education Committee having, in fact, modelled their policy on that of

At Leeds it struck us that the chief aim was merely to feed the
children, the educational side receiving only secondary consideration.
As most of the centres are not large enough to accommodate all the
children at once (at any rate in winter time), two "sittings-down" are
necessary, and the meal is hurried through so as to allow the second
relay to come in as soon as possible. The children begin their meal as
soon as they enter, without waiting till the others have come in so that
all may begin together in an orderly manner. Grace is said halfway
through the meal. As soon as a child has finished the first course (of
which it is allowed to have a second helping, if desired), it is given a
piece of cake or bun which it eats outside in the street. The
supervision is undertaken by the teachers, but only for a day or two at
a time. This constant change of supervisors makes the teaching of table
manners more difficult. One of the regulations runs that "the supervisor
should see that no child is admitted who has not clean hands and
face,"[271] but to judge from the very dirty state of some of the hands
and faces we saw, this rule seems to be ignored, at any rate at some of
the centres. No special provision is made for the infants; they have the
same food and are placed at the same tables with the bigger children; in
some cases the tables are so high that they have to kneel on the forms
in order to reach their food, and the spoons provided are so large that
it is difficult for them to eat without spilling it.[272] The condition
of the rooms after the children have finished their dinner is anything
but desirable, soup being spilled on the table and pieces dropped on the
floor. Especially was this noticeable at one centre where the meal was
served on desks. These desks were covered with dirty and ragged
linoleum, and the whole surroundings were inexpressibly dreary, the
litter of food on the floor at the end of the meal adding to the general

Footnote 271:

  Leeds Education Committee, Rules for the Management of Dining Centres.

Footnote 272:

  Complaints on both these points had, we were told, been made to the
  Education Committee, but, on the score of expense, nothing had been

At West Ham some attempt is made to render the meal educational.[273]
Monitors and monitresses are appointed from among the elder children to
assist in waiting on the others. Table cloths are provided, and in some
cases flowers are placed on the tables. But here again the meal is
spoilt by the sense of rush. Since at each centre there may be twice or
even perhaps three times as many children as can be accommodated at
once, each child is given its dinner as soon as it comes in, and is
dispatched as soon as it has finished. "Table manners, personal
appearance, good behaviour, and punctuality," are indeed, as the
Superintendent of the Centres remarks, "not overlooked; but in these
respects, the results are not as satisfactory as one could desire. The
unusually large numbers of children attending the centres, and the
limited time in which to serve the meals to enable the children to
return in time for school, make it a difficult task to give the
necessary individual attention."[274] At one time school managers and
members of the Children's Care Committee took it in turn to attend the
different centres and supervise the children, but this plan has been
given up, and the supervision is now done solely by the women who
prepare the meals.

Footnote 273:

  The meals are served at the schools in some room which is no longer
  needed for teaching purposes; in some cases, we believe, in a room
  which was specially built as a dining-room. We have included this
  example in the third class rather than in the first, since in each
  case the school serves as a centre for children from neighbouring

Footnote 274:

  Report of the West Ham Education Committee for the year ended March
  31, 1912, p. 52.

Birkenhead affords a striking example of the varying conditions
prevailing in different centres in the same town. In one case a
dining-room has been specially built at the school, this dining-room
serving as a centre for several other schools. No table cloths are used,
but the tables are of white wood, well scrubbed; plants are sometimes
provided, and the whole surroundings are bright and cheerful. The
children were unfortunately allowed to come in as they liked, but in
other respects the discipline seemed good. Table manners were inculcated
and clean hands insisted on. Food had to be finished at table and might
not be taken away. At another centre the conditions were entirely
different. The meals were served in a corridor at the public baths. Two
long narrow tables were placed against each wall, with forms on one
side; on the other side, owing to the narrowness of the corridor, there
was no room for seats, so that some of the children had to stand. The
children entered and left as they liked, and were allowed to take away
food with them. Little effort was made to teach table manners, indeed it
would have been impossible to do much in this respect owing to the
unsuitable character of the premises. It would perhaps be unfair to
dwell too much on the conditions prevailing in this centre, since the
use of these premises was admittedly a temporary expedient (though we
understood they had been used for some time), but the conditions at a
third centre were not very much better. The hall was large, it is true,
and there was plenty of room for the children, but the surroundings were
very dreary. The tables, which were not covered with tablecloths, were
dark and dingy. Here again the children were allowed to straggle in as
they pleased, some as much as half an hour or forty minutes late. They
left as soon as they had finished, frequently carrying away food with
them unchecked. Little attention was paid to table manners and much of
the food was wasted.

(_d_) The three methods which we have described all present one feature
in common. The children, whether fed at the schools, at eating-houses or
at centres, all share with their schoolfellows in a common meal. There
remains one other method, the supply of food to the family for
consumption at home. This is the method adopted at Leicester and, so far
as we know, in this town only. As we have already pointed out, no rate
is levied at Leicester, voluntary funds being declared to be sufficient.
These funds are administered by the Children's Aid Association, a body
composed largely of members of the Charity Organisation Society and
imbued with its spirit. The Association proceeds on the theory that the
provision of meals is simply a form of relief; this being so, the relief
should be adequate, and the family as a whole should be dealt with. The
food is accordingly distributed in the homes,[275] sufficient being
supplied for all the family, not only for those attending school, and it
is given every day, including Sundays, throughout the year. Milk being
the chief article absent from the dietary of the poor, the food chosen
is bread and milk. This is delivered by the ordinary baker and milkman
so that the neighbours should not know that the family is receiving
relief (though as a matter of fact the "bread and milk" families appear
to be well known).

Footnote 275:

  Where the home conditions are extremely bad, provision is made for
  children to be fed at eating-houses, but such cases are very rare. At
  the time of our visit, in July, 1913, there was not one such case.

Certain advantages have undoubtedly accrued from this system. The
parents have learnt the value of milk, and the children have been taught
to take it. At first there was often much difficulty in this latter
respect, but by constant visitation the children's prejudice has been
broken down, and they now relish the food.[276] On the other hand, under
this method of distributing the food in the homes the advantages to be
derived from a common meal are totally ignored. No provision is made to
meet the case where the mother goes out to work all day, and where the
provision of a midday meal at school would be of great value. Moreover,
though frequent visits are paid to the homes at breakfast-time to see
that the children are actually getting the food intended for them, it is
impossible to ensure this in all cases.

Footnote 276:

  Second Quarterly Report of the Children's Aid Association, November,
  1907, to February, 1908, p. 3.

We have classified the different methods under the above four headings
according to the place where the meal is served, but, as will have been
seen by the examples given, the educational value of the meal is
determined even more by the character of the supervision than by the
nature of the surroundings.

The supervision is frequently undertaken by the teachers. In 1909, the
Board of Education reports that the "assistance of teachers has been the
rule rather than the exception."[277] This service is always rendered
voluntarily, though occasionally, as at Bradford, the teachers receive
some small remuneration.[278] The amount of service given varies widely
in different towns. At Bradford the same teacher will attend the centre
daily for months. In other towns his or her turn may come quite
infrequently, and may only amount to two or three days' service at a
time.[279] Sometimes School Managers, members of the Canteen Committee
or voluntary workers take it in turn to assist in the supervision, but
their attendance is generally spasmodic. At Portsmouth the centres are
entirely in charge of ladies who give their services voluntarily.[280]
As a rule, however, paid superintendents are appointed, too often women
of the caretaker type. In some towns the School Attendance Officer
attends to collect the tickets and helps to maintain order.

Footnote 277:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up to
  March 31, 1909, p. 17.

Footnote 278:

  The head teachers receive 5s. a week for supervising dinners, and 2s.
  6d. for breakfasts; the assistant teachers 4s. and 2s. respectively.
  At Derby also the teachers are paid. (Report of the School Medical
  Officer for Derby, 1911, p. 61.) This payment is very exceptional.

Footnote 279:

  At Leeds, for instance, the teacher will perhaps be called on for a
  day or two every two months. At Liverpool a teacher is supposed to
  attend once a fortnight, but often no teacher at all is present. At
  Bootle the turn may be one day a week or a fortnight, or perhaps a
  week at a time; here the teachers, we were informed, voluntarily give
  their services "under protest," a fact which, when one considers the
  conditions under which they are asked to serve the meals, is not

Footnote 280:

  "The Importance of a Well-Advised and Comprehensive Scheme in the
  Selection of Children ... under the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Act," by Victor J. Blake, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C.
  E. Hecht, 1913, p. 24.

The question how far the teachers should be asked to give their services
is a vexed one. On the one hand, where the teacher attends
regularly--and regular attendance is essential if the full benefit from
the meals is to be derived--this extra work involves a great strain.
Especially when the midday interval is only from 12 to 1.30, as in many
provincial towns, the time for rest is seriously curtailed. At Leeds "a
reasonable time is allowed the teachers in charge for their own midday
meal," and they are allowed to arrive late at afternoon school in
consequence of this,[281] but we were told that this permission is not
in practice taken advantage of, as their late arrival would dislocate
the work. Moreover, although the service is supposed to be always
entirely voluntary on the part of the teachers, there is always the
danger that they may feel under a moral obligation to offer their
services. In some cases, the burden seems to fall unduly on a few, only
a small minority offering to assist in the supervision, the others
taking no share.

Footnote 281:

  Leeds Education Committee, Rules for the Management of Dinner Centres.
  At Bradford it is noticeable that it is as a general rule the men
  teachers who supervise the meals; women teachers assist, but the
  responsibility for the management of the whole centre seems to involve
  too great a strain upon them.

On the other hand, "it is unquestionable that where the teachers are
willing to undertake the work, they are, generally speaking, the most
competent supervisors. The reason for this is not far to seek. The
children, being accustomed to obey the commands of their teachers, are
more ready to behave in an orderly and disciplined manner when under
their supervision than when a stranger is in charge. Moreover, the
teachers' acquaintance with the idiosyncrasies of individual children
enables them to keep an eye on those children who are specially in need
of food or who need persuasion to make them eat the wholesome food
provided."[282] Again, the fact that the teachers are present connects
the meal in the child's mind with the school, and so tends to make it
more a part of the school curriculum, a lesson in table manners. Without
the teacher, Miss McMillan points out, "the whole venture will fail
miserably on the educational side." But it is a mistake to ask the
teachers to serve the food and wait on the children. Their function
should be "to preside and to be the head, and as far as possible the
soul, of the daily gathering,"[283] just as at dinner in a secondary

Footnote 282:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 280.

Footnote 283:

  _London's Children: How to Feed Them and How not to Feed Them_, by
  Margaret McMillan and A. Cobden-Sanderson, 1909, p. 11. We have met
  with this ideal arrangement only at one school--a small "special"
  school for feeble-minded children at Bradford (see post, pp. 121-2.).

To sum up now the main characteristics of the present methods of serving
the meals, it will be seen that, generally speaking, the conditions are
very far from satisfactory. Even where the Local Education Authority
draws up elaborate regulations for the management of the dining-centres,
these regulations are frequently disregarded in practice by the
supervisors. Too often the object is to get the meal over as quickly as
possible, and inadequate attention is paid to the inculcation of table
manners and the little amenities of a civilised meal. To expedite the
service the food is frequently placed on the table before the children
come in, and it is nearly cold before they eat it. Sometimes the second
course is served and placed in front of the child before it has finished
the first course. The food is almost invariably such as can be eaten
with a spoon and fork, and the children are thus not taught the use of a
knife.[284] Sometimes only a spoon is provided and the help of fingers
is almost unavoidable. We have as a rule found the supply of utensils
fairly adequate, though where water is given it is not always the case
for each child to have a separate mug.[285] It is rare to find any
attempt at table decoration, and table-cloths are by no means universal.
It may be objected that table cloths are expensive and, if the tables
are kept thoroughly clean, unnecessary, but to keep the tables well
scrubbed costs as much as to provide table cloths and the necessity of
keeping the cloth clean is a useful lesson to the child. Sometimes the
food, if of the bread and jam nature, is placed on the table without
plates. In very few cases has the system of utilising the services of
the elder children been adopted with any thoroughness, and the valuable
opportunity of training thus offered is lost.

Footnote 284:

  Knives were used at Bradford for a time, but were given up, as it was
  found that the children hurt themselves. Their use demands, of course,
  much supervision, but they might be given to the elder children at any

Footnote 285:

  At Birmingham "in one school the same mugs [for cocoa] were used twice
  over for different children without being washed. The supply of
  utensils at several of the schools was too small for the numbers fed."
  (_The Public Feeding of Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D.
  Winder, 1913, p. 43.)

            (e)--The Provision of Meals during the Holidays.

At the time the Act of 1906 was passed, it appears to have been
generally taken for granted that it empowered Local Education
Authorities to provide meals during holidays as well as during school
time.[286] The circular issued by the Board of Education, asking the
Local Authorities for information as to the way in which the Act had
been administered, contained a question as to the number of children who
were fed during the school holidays, thus assuming that the meals would
be continued; nowhere was it pointed out that the cost of the meals so
provided could not be borne by the rates.[287] Moreover, during the next
two or three years, the accounts of several Local Authorities, who
continued the meals during the holidays, were certified by the Local
Government Board Auditors.[288] About 1909, however, the question was
raised whether Local Authorities could legally spend the rates on
providing meals when the children were not actually in school. The Local
Government Board, on being appealed to by the Newcastle-on-Tyne
Education Authority, replied that they could not concur in any
interpretation of the Act which would empower the authority to incur
expenditure when the closing of the schools precluded the children's
attendance.[289] In August, 1909, the cost of feeding children during
the previous Christmas holidays was disallowed by the Auditor in the
accounts of the West Ham Authority. The Local Government Board, on
appeal, confirmed the disallowance, though they remitted the

Footnote 286:

  See preamble to the Education (Provision of Meals) Act Amendment Bill,
  July 20, 1910. "This Bill introduces no new principle, but simply
  extends the Act to render permissible the continued operation of the
  Act during the holidays, a point which, when the original Act was
  passing through Parliament, it was generally thought was covered."

Footnote 287:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, up to
  March 31, 1909, p. 48.

Footnote 288:

  _Hansard_, July 12, 1910, 5th Series, Vol. 19, pp. 189-190. In 1910,
  out of the twenty-five or so Local Authorities who continued the meals
  during the holidays, about one-fifth paid for them out of the rates.
  (Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1910, p. 255.)

Footnote 289:

  _Ibid._, p. 254.

Footnote 290:

  _Ibid._, pp. 254-5; Report of West Ham Education Committee for the
  year ended March 31, 1910, pp. 45-6.

Since this date, in the great majority of towns where meals are
continued during the holidays,[291] the cost is met by voluntary funds.
Sometimes the Local Education Authority will issue a special appeal for
funds. Or the arrangements may be undertaken by some voluntary society
or by philanthropic individuals. Where no provision is made officially,
the teachers sometimes make arrangements privately for the most
necessitous children to be fed at shops. At Leeds it has become the
custom for the Lord Mayor to provide out of his own purse meals during
the Christmas holidays (the meals being discontinued during the other
holidays); the cost of this provision may amount to as much as £500.

Footnote 291:

  The first report which was issued on the Working of the Provision of
  Meals Act gave the number of authorities who continued the meals
  during the school holidays--at that date 3 out of the 7 counties, and
  32 out of the 105 county boroughs, boroughs and urban districts, who
  were making some provision under the Act (Report on the Working of the
  Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, up to March 31, 1909, pp.
  34-38). No figures are now available.

In one or two towns the charge has been met year after year out of
public funds. At Bradford, for example, the meals have from the first
been continued during school holidays.[292] The expenditure has been
surcharged regularly by the Local Government Board Auditor, but, as we
have said, it has been met out of a grant voted by the Finance Committee
from the trading profits of the Corporation. The Labour Councillors
maintain that when the Act was passed holiday feeding was considered
legal and the ratepayers generally seem to uphold them in this claim, in
spite of occasional protests.[293] At Nottingham the same plan is
pursued.[294] At Portsmouth a grant is made to the Mayor on the tacit
understanding that he will use it for the provision of meals during the
holidays. At West Ham, after the Local Government Board auditor had, in
1909, disallowed the charge for holiday feeding, the cost was for a year
or two borne by voluntary funds.[295] It became, however, increasingly
difficult to raise the necessary subscriptions, and during 1911 £494 was
charged to the rates, the voluntary subscriptions only amounting to
£74.[296] During the following year recourse was again had to the rates.
The Local Government Board Auditor surcharged the expenditure, but the
Board, on appeal, remitted the surcharge, though confirming the
Auditor's decision.[297] At Acton meals have been supplied regularly on
Saturdays[298] and during the school holidays for the past few years
without any question having been raised.

Footnote 292:

  Report of Bradford Education Committee for the year ended March 31,

Footnote 293:

  See letter from Bradford Ratepayers Association, in Bradford City
  Council Proceedings, August 10, 1909.

Footnote 294:

  In London, during the Christmas holidays, 1911-12, meals were provided
  out of a sum placed at the disposal of the Chairman of the Council by
  the General Purposes Committee, from the balance of the account in
  connection with the erection and management of the Coronation
  Procession stands. (Minutes of the London County Council, February 13,
  1912, p. 2791.)

Footnote 295:

  Report of the West Ham Education Committee for the year ended March
  31, 1910, p. 46; _Ibid._ for the year ended March 31, 1911, p. 39.

Footnote 296:

  _Ibid._ for the year ended March 31, 1912, pp. 50-1.

Footnote 297:

  The _East Ham Echo_, August 22, 1913.

Footnote 298:

  At Brighton meals were provided on Saturdays by the Local Education
  Authority out of the rates till January, 1909, when it was declared to
  be _ultra vires_. (Report on the Medical Inspection of School Children
  in Brighton for 1908, p. 99.)

The question of the legality of the provision of meals during the
holidays out of the rates is, indeed, an open one. The London County
Council took counsel's opinion on the point in 1909 and again in 1910,
each time receiving the reply that holiday feeding was illegal,[299] but
the question has never been settled by a case in the courts. On special
occasions the Local Government Board have relaxed their prohibition.
Thus, in 1911, Mr. John Burns stated in Parliament that though the Board
would not sanction in advance any expenditure incurred in providing
meals during the week the schools were closed on account of the
Coronation festivities, they would be prepared to consider each case on
its merits, and decide whether any surcharge that might be made should
be remitted or upheld.[300] And in the spring of 1912, during the
widespread distress caused by the coal strike, the Board sanctioned the
provision of meals during the Easter holidays.

Footnote 299:

  Minutes of the London County Council, February 2, 1909, p. 121;
  Minutes of the Education Committee, November 23, 1910, p. 991.

Footnote 300:

  _Hansard_, March 27, 1911, 5th Series, Vol. 23, pp. 1074-5.

On several occasions Bills have been brought in by the Labour party to
legalise the provision of meals during the holidays, the latest being in
April, 1913.[301] So far these efforts have met with no success, though
the Prime Minister declared in 1912 that the Government was favourable
to the principle,[302] but it has now been promised that the forthcoming
Education Bill shall contain a clause enabling Local Authorities to
provide meals on Sundays and during holidays.[303]

Footnote 301:

  See Education (Administrative Provisions) Bills, April 14, 1910 (No.
  128), February 19, 1912 (No. 18), April 15, 1913 (No. 101), which all
  contained a clause for provision of school meals during the holidays;
  Education (Provision of Meals) Act Amendment Bills, July 20, 1910 (No.
  265); April 19, 1911 (No. 181); March 13, 1912 (No. 82); April 16,
  1913 (No. 109).

Footnote 302:

  _Hansard_, March 28, 1912, 5th Series, Vol. 36, p. 598.

Footnote 303:

  _Hansard_, July 22, 1913, Vol. 55, pp. 1910-11.

There seems indeed to be a general consensus of opinion in favour of
holiday feeding. The experiments made by Dr. Crowley at Bradford in
1907, and by the Medical Officer of Health at Northampton in 1909, which
we shall describe later,[304] not to mention the testimony offered by
numbers of teachers as to the deterioration of the children physically
during the holidays, prove conclusively the need for the continuation of
the meals, if the children are not to lose much of the benefit which
they have derived during term time.

Footnote 304:

  See post, pp. 184-7.

In passing we may note that not only do many Local Authorities--how
many we are unable to ascertain, but the number must be
considerable--discontinue the meals during the holidays, but they stop
them entirely during the summer months.[305] In some towns, where
employment is good during the summer, there may be little need for
school meals, but in large towns, such as Bootle and Salford, which
contain a large population who rely on casual labour, it is obvious
that the cessation of the meals during the summer must cause
considerable hardship.

Footnote 305:

  This may be through lack of funds, as at East Ham (see ante, p. 56),
  but is not always due to this cause.

    (f)--The Provision for Paying Children and Recovery of the Cost.

When the Provision of Meals Act was passed it was assumed that a
considerable proportion of the cost of the meals would be borne by the
parents. It was confidently expected that large numbers of parents would
be willing to avail themselves of the provision of a midday meal at
school for their children and would gladly pay for it.[306] The circular
issued by the Board of Education to the Local Authorities pointed out
that the Act aimed at securing that suitable meals should be available
"just as much for those whose parents are in a position to pay as for
those to whom food must be given free of cost."[307] "There will
generally be no difficulty in providing, where it is so desired, a
school dinner at a fixed price in the middle of the day, attended by
children for whom, by reason of distance from the school or because the
mother's absence makes a home meal difficult, the parent prefers to take
advantage of an arrangement similar to that now in operation in most
secondary day schools."[308] Moreover, little difficulty was anticipated
in extracting payment from those parents who could afford to pay but
neglected to do so. These expectations have not been fulfilled. In the
year 1908-9 the sums received from the parents, either contributed
voluntarily by them or recovered after prosecution or threat of
prosecution, amounted to only £295, or .44 per cent. of the total
receipts.[309] In 1911-12 the amount so received had increased but was
still only 1 per cent.[310]

Footnote 306:

  See, for instance, _Hansard_, December 6, 1906, 4th Series, Vol. 166,
  p. 1283; December 7, 1906, pp. 1340, 1344. See also _ibid._, July 9,
  1903, Vol. 125, p. 196, and April 20, 1904, Vol. 133, p. 788.

Footnote 307:

  Report on Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up to
  March 31, 1909, p. 41.

Footnote 308:

  _Ibid._, p. 42.

Footnote 309:

  _Ibid._, p. 33.

Footnote 310:

  The amount was £1,570 out of a total of £157,127. (Report of the Chief
  Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1911, p. 332.)

The smallness of the sums voluntarily contributed by the parents is
largely due to the action of the Local Authorities. In the great
majority of towns in England[311] no serious attempt has been made to
establish "school restaurants"; the Local Education Authority, owing
perhaps to lack of accommodation, perhaps to the difficulty of providing
for a fluctuating number of children (a difficulty felt especially where
the meals are supplied through a caterer), perhaps to the feeling that
the provision of school meals as a matter of convenience would encourage
the mothers to go out to work, has limited the provision to necessitous
children. In 1911-12, out of 118 towns (apart from London) in which
provision was made for underfed children, in only twenty-two were any of
the meals paid for wholly by the parents. The number of children so paid
for was in most cases negligible, the total amounting to only a few
hundreds. And these figures include meals paid for under compulsion
(though without prosecution) as well as meals voluntarily paid for as a
matter of convenience.[312]

Footnote 311:

  For provision made for paying children in Scottish towns, see Appendix
  II., pp. 242, 245, 246.

Footnote 312:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, pp. 325-7, 331. In eleven other towns the parents in some cases
  paid part of the cost.

But even where the system of voluntary payment has been tried, it has
been a failure. At Bradford, where a large proportion of married women
work in the mills, it was felt that many parents would take advantage of
a system by which they could obtain a midday meal for their children at
cost price.[313] The Education Committee accordingly sent round a
circular to the head teachers asking them to announce to their scholars
that a good dinner could be obtained for 2d.[314] The response was
disappointing. Comparatively few of the mothers took advantage of the
offer, and the result, though the number of paying children[315] seems
to be larger than in any other provincial town,[316] can only be
described as a failure. This may be partly attributed to the cost. Where
there are several children a payment of 2d. per head may be more than
the parent can afford. But the main cause of failure is undoubtedly the
dislike of the independent type of parent who can afford to pay to
sending his children to meals the majority of which are being given
free. In fact any system which seeks to combine free and paying meals,
the free meals being the chief element, is fore-doomed to failure.[317]

Footnote 313:

  "The needs would be met of a host of children who never got a decent
  meal." (Councillor North, Bradford City Council Proceedings, February
  26, 1907, p. 233.)

Footnote 314:

  Extracts from the Annual Reports of the Bradford Education Committee
  for the four years ended March 31, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910, pp. 14,
  16. The charge is now 2-1/2d.

Footnote 315:

  The numbers given in the Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the
  Board of Education for 1911 (p. 325) are 182, but some of these were
  paid for by the Guardians. No record, we were told, is kept of the
  individual children who pay, but the amount received in 1912-13 from
  parents who voluntarily paid the whole cost was £169 19s. 8d. Thus
  only some 16,320 meals were wholly paid for, out of a total of
  782,979. (Bradford Education Committee, Return as to the Working of
  the Provision of Meals Act for the year ending March 31, 1913.)

Footnote 316:

  At Finchley as many as two-thirds of the meals are paid for, but the
  charge is very low, only 1/2d. per meal. We were informed that the
  price would not cover the cost of food if it were not for the fact
  that the meat used in connection with the dinners was provided as a
  voluntary gift.

Footnote 317:

  This was the opinion of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical
  Inspection and Feeding in 1905. (See ante, p. 37.) "If no distinction
  is made between the paying children and the non-paying children,"
  declared one witness, "I feel sure that the Birmingham artisan would
  not send his children. He would not let them go to receive a meal in
  regard to which it was not known whether it was given free or not."
  (Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Inspection and
  Feeding, 1905, Vol. II., Q. 1246, evidence of Mr. George Hookham.) See
  also the evidence given by Mr. F. Wilkinson, the Director of Education
  for Bolton. (_Ibid._, Qs. 3115-3119.)

In the Special Schools for mentally or physically defective children,
where the dinner is provided more as a part of the school curriculum
than as a "charity" meal, there is not, as we shall see, much difficulty
in inducing the parents to pay for the meals.[318] In rural districts
also, where the children are in many cases unable to go home at midday,
the system of paying dinners has more chance of success.[319]

Footnote 318:

  See post, p. 120.

Footnote 319:

  See post, pp. 123-5.

Turning now to the question of the recovery of the cost from unwilling
parents, the Provision of Meals Act, it will be remembered, laid down
that the Local Authorities should require payment unless satisfied that
the parents could not pay, and the cost might be recovered summarily as
a civil debt. In practice this has been found very difficult to
accomplish. It is impossible to tell from the returns how much of the
£1,570 received from parents in 1911-12 was contributed voluntarily, and
how much recovered after compulsion, but the amount recovered must
necessarily be very small.[320]

Footnote 320:

  The amount recovered _after prosecution_ in 1911-12 was £42 10s. 6d.
  for the whole of England and Wales, London accounting for more than
  half this sum. (Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
  Education for 1911, pp. 325-7.) To this we must add the amount
  recovered with more or less difficulty, but without prosecution.

Where the Local Education Authority confines the provision of meals
strictly to the cases where the family income is below a certain amount
per head, as at Leeds, there is of course little to be recovered,
attempts at recovery being limited to cases where the parents have made
an incorrect statement as to their income, and have therefore been
obtaining the meals under false pretences. At West Ham, indeed, the
Education Committee has interpreted the Provision of Meals Act to mean
that recovery must be attempted in every case where meals are supplied.
When a parent applies for meals for his children on the score of being
unable to provide for them himself--for only necessitous children are
fed, no provision being made for voluntary payment--he has to sign a
form by which he agrees to repay the cost of all meals which have been
supplied when he gets back into work and can afford to do so. Moreover,
he has to send a note every day saying that he still wishes his children
to be fed,[321] this being insisted on as a proof that meals have been
supplied in the event of an attempt at recovery. In any case the full
cost is rarely charged, the wage and the number of children being taken
into consideration, and a rebate of sometimes as much as 75 per cent.
being granted. But as a matter of fact very few accounts are sent to the
Borough Treasurer for collection, as the wages of nearly all the parents
of the children who are fed, even when they are in good work, are too
small to allow of their paying for meals supplied in the past.[322]

Footnote 321:

  See ante, p. 64.

Footnote 322:

  Report of the West Ham Education Committee for the year ending March
  31, 1912, p. 54.

When the Local Education Authority is determined to provide food for all
children who need it, for those who are underfed through the neglect of
their parents to provide for them as well as for those whose parents are
too poor to do so, a considerable amount ought to be recovered. The
difficulty lies in the impossibility in many cases of securing
sufficient evidence of the parent's ability to pay. Magistrates are
notoriously loth to convict. At Bradford we were told that in numbers of
cases magistrates' orders for payment had been served on the parents,
but these orders were frequently disregarded by parents who knew the
practical difficulties in the way of enforcing them.[323]

Footnote 323:

  In 1911 proceedings were taken against parents in only eight towns,
  including London. The number of cases was 219, of which 147 were in
  London. (Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education
  for 1911, pp. 325-327.)

Whether the amount due for meals which have been already supplied is
paid by the parent or not, the commonest result of sending a notice that
the Local Authority intends to recover the cost is that the parents
refuse to allow their children any longer to receive the meals. "In
practice it is found," says the Bootle School Canteen Committee, "that
when action is taken to enforce payment the children are withdrawn by
their parents from further participation in the meals, with the result
that the children revert to their former ill-fed condition."[324] At
York, too, we were told that when a child who is found to be underfed
through neglect is put on the feeding-list and a letter written to the
father that he will be charged the cost of the meals, he invariably
writes back demanding that his child shall be taken off the list.
Nothing more is done and the child remains underfed. The Local Education
Authorities are, indeed, "on the horns of a dilemma in dealing with such
cases, as the Act obliges them to make this attempt to recover the cost,
and they know that the only result of their doing so will be that the
children are withdrawn from the meals."[325] So much has the Bradford
Education Authority felt this difficulty that they have more than once
sought power, by inserting a clause in the local Bills promoted by the
Corporation, to compel the attendance of children at meals in all cases
in which the School Medical Officer certifies that the children are
underfed, and to recover the cost. These efforts have so far proved
useless, it being held that such a clause involves a new principle and
cannot therefore be included in a local Act.[326]

Footnote 324:

  Report on the work of the Bootle School Canteen Committee, 1910-11, p.
  21. Since this date the Committee have accordingly made no attempt to
  prosecute parents for repayment of the cost.

Footnote 325:

  Extracts from Annual Reports of Bradford Education Committee for the
  four years ended March 31, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910, p. 13.

Footnote 326:

  At Bradford a child who is underfed through neglect is put on the
  feeding-list for a month before the bill is sent to its parents, so
  that it may receive the benefit of the meals for this period at any

The question of dealing with neglectful parents is indeed beset with
difficulties. Under the Children Act, 1908, a parent or guardian can be
prosecuted for neglecting a child "in a manner likely to cause such
child unnecessary suffering or injury to its health." This neglect is
defined to mean those cases where the parent or guardian "fails to
provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid or lodging," or, if unable
to provide the same himself, fails to apply to the Guardians for
relief.[327] It is rare for the Local Education Authorities themselves
to institute proceedings under this Act. Usually they prefer to refer
cases to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Often an
improvement in the condition of the child is effected as a result of the
visits of this society's inspectors to the home. But when these warnings
prove useless, frequently nothing more is done; the society are loth to
prosecute, except in extreme cases when they can be practically certain
of securing a conviction.

Footnote 327:

  8 Edward VII., c. 67, sec. 12.

  (g)--Overlapping between the Poor Law and the Education Authorities.

We have already alluded to the neglect of the Guardians to deal with
more than an insignificant fraction of the children who are underfed.
The attempt made in 1905 to force them to fulfil their responsibility in
this respect was, as we have seen, a complete failure, and the duty was
therefore cast upon the Local Education Authorities. But even in the few
cases where the Guardians have assumed the responsibility by granting
out-relief to the family, the amount of this relief is, in the vast
majority of cases, totally inadequate. This was abundantly proved by the
Report of the Poor Law Commission in 1909. "The children," they
reported, "are undernourished, many of them poorly dressed and many
bare-footed ... the decent mother's one desire is to keep herself and
her children out of the work-house. She will, if allowed, try to do this
on an impossibly inadequate sum, until both she and her children become
mentally and physically deteriorated."[328] When the mother was careless
or neglectful no supervision was exercised by the Guardians to see that
even this inadequate amount was really spent on the children. This
indictment still holds good to-day. The inadequacy of the relief granted
by the Guardians, in all but a few exceptional Unions, has, in fact,
become a byword.

Footnote 328:

  Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of
  Distress, 1909, 8vo edition, Vol. III. (Minority Report), p. 36.

In the great majority of towns, the Local Education Authority is
consequently driven to feed children whose parents are in receipt of
poor relief. Thus two authorities deal with the same case, without, in
many instances, either of them knowing what the other is doing.[329]
Only in a few cases has any attempt been made to prevent this
overlapping. For example, at Leicester (one of the few towns, we may
note, where liberal out-relief is granted by the Guardians) there has
from the first been co-operation between the Guardians and the Canteen
Committee.[330] The Relieving Officer refers to the Canteen Committee
many applications that are made to him where temporary help only is
needed, and the Committee has frequently tided families over a bad time
and saved them from recourse to the Poor Law. On the other hand, when a
family is receiving out-relief the Canteen Committee refuses to grant
food for the children. At Acton a similar policy has been adopted. If
parents who are in receipt of out-relief apply for school meals for
their children, the Secretary of the Education Committee recommends them
to apply to the Guardians for more relief, at the same time himself
writing to the Relieving Officer. As a rule the relief is increased in
consequence. Meanwhile the teachers are told to watch the children to
see that they do not suffer from want of food. At Dewsbury, also,
temporary cases are dealt with by the Canteen Committee, but all chronic
cases by the Guardians.[331]

Footnote 329:

  Occasionally, as we have seen, the Guardians are represented on the
  Canteen Committee, as at Crewe.

Footnote 330:

  First Annual Report of the Leicester Children's Aid Association,
  1907-8, p. 4.

Footnote 331:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Dewsbury for 1911, p. 41.

Elsewhere an attempt has been made to prevent overlapping by other
means. While the Education Authority undertakes to provide for all the
underfed children, an arrangement is made with the Guardians whereby
they repay the cost of the meals supplied for all children whose parents
are in receipt of relief. The relief is thus given partly in the form of
school meals, a plan strongly to be commended, since it ensures that the
relief given on account of the children is in fact obtained by them.
This plan has been for some years pursued at Bradford. At first there
appear to have been complaints that the Guardians were reducing the
relief granted, on account of the dinners supplied at school,[332] but
the dinners are now given in addition to the ordinary relief.[333] In
1912-13, the Guardians paid £303 to the Education Authority on this
account.[334] Even so, there is some slight overlapping, since the
Guardians only pay for dinners and in some cases the Canteen Committee
are of opinion that a second meal is needed, and consequently breakfasts
are granted and paid for by the Education Authority. A similar plan has
been adopted at Blackburn,[335] Huddersfield,[336] Brighton,[337] York
and Liverpool. In the last named town the arrangement has only recently
been made, and is in force in only two of the three Unions into which
the town is divided, West Derby and Liverpool. The Guardians have agreed
to issue coupons for school meals to children whose parents are in
receipt of out-relief, and will pay to the Education Authority 2d. per
meal. We were informed that, in the case of the West Derby Guardians at
any rate, these coupons would only be given to children whose mothers
were out all day. The relief would be reduced in consequence, though not
to the extent of the full value of the meal. The Guardians of the
Toxteth Union declined to make a similar arrangement, but suggested that
the Local Education Authority should inform them when they found
children underfed whose parents were in receipt of relief, and they
proposed in these cases to increase the relief.[338]

Footnote 332:

  Bradford City Council Proceedings, June 16, 1908, p. 395; April 11,
  1911, p. 305.

Footnote 333:

  Thus the minimum relief for a widow is 4s., with 2s. each for the
  first two children, and 1s. each for other children. In addition five
  dinners a week, amounting in value to 1s. 0-1/2d., are given to all
  children attending school. (Bradford Poor Law Union, Outdoor Relief

Footnote 334:

  Bradford Education Committee, Return as to the Working of the
  Provision of Meals Act for the year ending March 31, 1913.

Footnote 335:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Blackburn, 1911, p. 218. Out
  of 59,537 meals given during the year, the Guardians paid for 17,786,
  or nearly one-third.

Footnote 336:

  Report of the Huddersfield Education Committee, 1911, p. 23.

Footnote 337:

  Report of Brighton Education Committee for the year ending March 31,
  1912, p. 28.

Footnote 338:

  For the arrangements made between the Liverpool Education Committee
  and the Guardians with regard to payment for children admitted as
  voluntary cases to the Day Industrial Schools, see post, p. 118 n.

Other Local Education Authorities have tried this plan of communicating
with the Guardians, in the hope that they would grant adequate relief
for the needs of the children, but, finding no such result ensue, have
discontinued the practice. At Bury St. Edmunds, for instance, it was
found in the winter of 1907-8 that "a large percentage of the families
whose children were fed at school were in receipt of outdoor relief of
an amount which the Education Authority thought inadequate. The
attention of the Board of Guardians was called to the fact, but no steps
were taken by them."[339] The Education Committee accordingly continued
to feed the children, and we gather that now no communication is made by
them to the Guardians. Similarly at West Ham we were informed that the
Education Committee used to report cases to the Guardians, but the
practice proved useless and it has been given up, except for special
cases, where the Guardians will sometimes increase the relief given.

Footnote 339:

  Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of
  Distress, 1909, 8vo edition, Vol. III. (Minority Report), p. 166 n.

In a few Unions, as at Leeds, the only result of the Guardians learning
that the children are receiving school meals--the need for which points
to the conclusion that the out-relief granted is inadequate--is that
they promptly reduce the relief, though not contributing to the Local
Education Authority anything towards the cost of the meals. They appear
to regard the provision of school meals merely as a means of reducing
the poor-rates, and casting the burden on other shoulders. Naturally in
such circumstances the Local Education Authority does not report cases
to the Guardians.

Any systematic arrangement between the two Authorities appears indeed to
be exceptional. As a rule there is practically no co-operation, beyond,
perhaps, the notification of cases by both authorities to some Mutual
Registration Society,[340] or the informal meetings of the Relieving
Officers and the School Attendance Officers.[341]

Footnote 340:

  Thus at Manchester, the Education Committee and the Guardians send
  lists of their cases to the District Provident Society, and the
  Secretary lets each Authority know what the other is doing.

Footnote 341:

  It is impossible to give any figures as to the overlapping that
  exists, since the practice varies so much in different towns, and in
  many cases no records are kept.

   (h)--The Provision of Meals at Day Industrial Schools and Special

We have already alluded to the power of the Local Education Authorities
to provide meals for the children attending the Day Industrial Schools
and the Special Schools for the mentally or physically defective. The
Day Industrial Schools are intended primarily for children who have
played truant from the ordinary schools and who are committed by a
magistrate's order. But in the case of widows or deserted wives who have
to work all day, or when the father is incapacitated from work by
illness or infirmity, or if the father is a widower, the children may be
admitted to a Day Industrial School, without an order, as "voluntary
cases."[342] When children are committed by a magistrate's order, the
parents are ordered to make a weekly payment towards the cost of
industrial training and meals.[343] In the case of children admitted
voluntarily such payment is also theoretically demanded,[344] but in
practice it is, as a rule, impossible to exact it. Thus at Liverpool,
though small payments are received from widowers, the condition as to
payment has to be waived in the case of widows and deserted wives, or
when the father is unable to work through illness.[345] At Bootle we
were informed that no payment is received from any of the voluntary
cases. The Schools are open from 6 or 7 in the morning to 5.30 or 6 at
night and three meals are provided. The dietary is as a rule monotonous,
being continued week after week with practically no variation. In point
of order, as might be expected, the service of the meals compares
favourably with those given to necessitous children, erring rather on
the side of over-much discipline. It is, unfortunately, by no means
uncommon to find absolute silence insisted on, a regulation which has a
most depressing effect. In these Day Industrial Schools the Local
Education Authorities have a valuable instrument for providing for the
numerous cases where mothers are at work all day and so cannot provide
proper meals for their children, or where the children are neglected.
This was urged by many witnesses before the Royal Commission on the Poor
Laws,[346] and again recently by the Departmental Committee on
Reformatory and Industrial Schools.[347] Very few authorities, however,
have taken advantage of this power. In 1911 there were only twelve Day
Industrial Schools in England, provided by eight authorities, and eight
in Scotland, of which seven were in Glasgow.[348] The total attendance
numbered a little over 3,000, the voluntary cases amounting to only
308.[349] These numbers showed a decrease compared with previous
years,[350] and this decline has since continued, partly owing to the
fact that truancy is far less common now than formerly, partly owing to
the provision of meals for children attending elementary schools, which
renders the Day Industrial Schools less necessary.[351]

Footnote 342:

  Elementary Education Act, 1876 (39 and 40 Vic., c. 79), sec. 16 (4);
  Children Act, 1908 (8 Edward VII., c. 67), sec. 79; "Day Industrial
  Schools," by J. C. Legge, in _Proceedings of National Conference on
  the Prevention of Destitution_, 1911, p. 360.

Footnote 343:

  Children Act, 1908, sec. 82 (1).

Footnote 344:

  _Ibid._, sec. 79.

Footnote 345:

  "Day Industrial Schools," by J. C. Legge, in _Proceedings of National
  Conference on the Prevention of Destitution_, 1911, p. 361. For many
  years an arrangement has been in force by which the Liverpool Select
  Vestry pay the Local Education Authority 9d. a week in respect of each
  child in their area admitted as a voluntary scholar. (_Ibid._) A few
  years ago the Guardians of the Toxteth Union agreed, in such cases,
  where the parent was in receipt of outdoor relief, to increase the
  relief by 6d. on condition that this was paid to the Education
  Authority. (_Ibid._, p. 362.) The West Derby Guardians pay a lump sum
  of £40 a year.

Footnote 346:

  Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909. 8vo edition,
  Vol. III., p. 165.

Footnote 347:

  Report of the Departmental Committee on Reformatory and Industrial
  Schools, 1913, p. 62.

Footnote 348:

  Fifty-fifth Report on Reformatory and Industrial Schools, 1911, Part
  I., pp. 28-30; Part II., p. 20. Two of the schools in England have
  since been closed, and the school at Leeds is shortly to be given up.

Footnote 349:

  _Ibid._, Part I., pp. 267-292; Part II., p. 20.

Footnote 350:

  _Ibid._, Part II., p. 19.

Footnote 351:

  Report of the Departmental Committee on Reformatory and Industrial
  Schools, 1913, p. 62.

The arrangements made for providing for the mentally and physically
defective children vary in different towns. Sometimes no special
provision is made. At Leicester, for instance, the mentally defective
children who come from a distance bring their food with them and the
caretaker warms it. Frequently, however, a regular dinner is supplied.
Thus at Eastbourne dinners are provided at the Special School for dull
and backward children at a very small charge.[352] At Bradford some of
the children pay 1-1/2d. a meal, others receive it free. At Liverpool a
payment of 1s., 6d. or 3d. a week is demanded, according to the
circumstances, the meals being given free in special cases.[353] In
Birkenhead, too, the charge varies, some paying 1s. a week, some 2d. or
1d. per meal, at the discretion of the teacher; no meals are given free,
children who cannot pay being sent to the centre to have their dinner
with the necessitous children from the ordinary elementary schools.
There appears to be usually little difficulty in collecting payment. At
Birkenhead we were told that some difficulty was experienced at first,
but the children appreciate the dinners so much now that they beg their
parents to give them the necessary pence.

Footnote 352:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Eastbourne for 1912, p. 46.

Footnote 353:

  The majority pay about 6d. a week. In the case of physically defective
  children the parent's payment is intended to meet the expenses of
  dinner, any medicines or dressings that may be necessary, and the cost
  of conveyance. It does not, of course, nearly cover these charges.

At the Open Air Schools[354] the common meal always forms part of the
regular school routine. As a rule three meals a day are provided,[355]
and sometimes milk is given in addition in the middle of the morning.
Usually some charge is made towards the cost of the meals, varying from
6d. to 3s. per week, according to the parents' circumstances, but in
necessitous cases the charge is remitted.[356]

Footnote 354:

  In 1911 there were only nine Open Air Schools, maintained by eight
  authorities. (Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
  Education for 1911, p. 215.)

Footnote 355:

  At Darlington only a mid-day meal is provided.

Footnote 356:

  At Norwich the charge varies from 6d. to 1s. 6d.; at Sheffield, from
  6d. to 2s. 6d.; at Halifax it may amount to 3s. At Barnsley all the
  parents are charged 2s. 6d. per week, no children being admitted
  without payment. At Bradford the meals are given free to all.

The service of the meals at these Special Schools presents in general a
marked contrast to the methods prevailing at the centres for necessitous
children. For example, at Birkenhead, where the management of the
feeding centres leaves much to be desired,[357] the dinner provided at
the Mentally Defective School, for all children who care to stay, is
served in an attractive and educational manner. One or more teachers are
always present to supervise it. The children enter all together and sit
down at small tables. The boys and girls take it in turns to lay the
tables and clear away afterwards, and help to serve the food.
Table-cloths are provided and these are kept remarkably clean. Somewhat
similar conditions prevail at Liverpool in the Special Schools for
Physically and Mentally Defective Children.[358] But it is at a school
for feeble-minded children at Bradford that we found the most perfect
arrangements. The smallness of the numbers--only some 17 or 18 children
being present--allowed attention to be paid to each individual child.
The dinner was served in a bright cheerful hall, and the tables were
nicely laid by the children, with table-cloths, plants and flowers;
these latter the children often bring themselves. Two teachers are
always present and preside at the two tables, having their dinner with
the children. The children's manners were excellent and spoke volumes
for the patience and care exercised by the teachers.

Footnote 357:

  See ante, pp. 95-6.

Footnote 358:

  At one of these schools, the mentally defective children were having
  their dinner in one room, the physically defective in an adjoining
  room. All the children stay for the meal. The headmistress supervised,
  assisted by a teacher for the mentally defective, and the school nurse
  for the physically defective children. Tablecloths were provided for
  the latter, but not for the former. The dinner was cooked by the
  children who had been attending the cookery class in the morning; the
  children laid the tables, and monitors helped to serve the food.

The example afforded by the service of the meals at these special
schools might well be imitated by the Education Authorities in providing
meals at the ordinary elementary schools.

               (i)--The Underfed Child in Rural Schools.

We have confined our investigations almost entirely to the Urban
Districts. We must, however, briefly touch upon the question of
underfeeding in the country. Here the conditions are different. The
problem is not only how to provide for the children who do not get
sufficient to eat; there are also to be considered the large numbers who
are unable to return home at midday and have to bring their dinner to
school with them. Many of these children have to walk long distances,
perhaps two miles, three miles, or even more. The long walk necessitates
an early start from home; this makes the interval between breakfast and
dinner long and the exercise sharpens the appetite. Hence it is of the
greatest importance that the midday meal should be adequate. In most
cases, however, as the reports of School Medical Officers abundantly
testify, the dinner which these children bring with them consists of
bread and jam, cake or pastry, with perhaps a bottle of cold tea.[359]
In a few schools the teachers have organised cocoa clubs, the children
paying 1d. or 1-1/2d. per week, which is as a rule just sufficient to
cover expenses.[360] Incidentally, it is noticed, the weekly payment for
cocoa has a good effect on the attendance. "A child having once paid his
or her cocoa fee at the beginning of the week seldom stays away from
school during the remainder of the week if it can possibly be

Footnote 359:

  In East Sussex, for instance, where particulars were supplied by the
  teachers as to the meals brought by eleven of the children, it was
  found that the food was totally inadequate, in most cases consisting
  of bread and butter, or cake, with perhaps a small piece of cheese or
  an apple. Two children of five years old, who had to walk two miles to
  school, brought, one of them bread and butter only, the other cake.
  Three children, who had to walk three and a half miles, brought either
  cake or only bread. ("The Diet of Elementary School Children in
  Country Districts," by Dr. George Finch, in _Rearing an Imperial
  Race_, edited by C. E. Hecht, 1913, p. 29.) In a Bedfordshire school
  out of 62 children who brought their dinner to school with them, one
  had an apple tart, three had bread and cheese, while 58 had "bread
  with a thin layer of butter or lard on it, or else bread and jam, or
  bread and syrup. This meal was washed down with water, as nothing hot
  was obtainable." ("How the Family of the Agricultural Labourer Lives,"
  by Ronald T. Herdman, reprinted in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, p.

Footnote 360:

  Thus at Brynconin, where 85 children are supplied daily with cocoa for
  a weekly charge of 1d., the week's expenditure on cocoa, sugar and
  milk amounts to 6s. 6d., and the children's payments to 6s. 10d.
  (Report of the School Medical Officer for Pembrokeshire for 1912, p.
  14.) See also Reports of the School Medical Officer for Hampshire
  (1910), p. 25; for the Isle of Ely (1910), p. 18; for Gloucestershire
  (1910), p. 53; for East Suffolk (1910), p. 19; for West Sussex (1911),
  p. 10. Sometimes the cocoa is provided free through the generosity of
  the teachers. (See Report of Monmouthshire Education Committee on the
  Medical Inspection Department for 1910, p. 9.)

Footnote 361:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Hampshire for 1910, p. 25.

Sometimes the teacher encourages the children to bring bottles of milk,
cocoa or coffee and sees that they are warmed over the fire before being
partaken of.

Occasionally a regular dinner is provided. We have already mentioned the
experiment made at Rousdon by Sir Henry Peek in 1876. This has been
continued to the present day. A hot dinner is provided daily, consisting
of one course, soup with bread and vegetables two days a week, and some
form of suet pudding the other three days. About half the children stay
for the dinner and pay one penny each, these payments just about
covering the cost of the food. The meal is served in a dining-room in
the school and the ex-headmaster and the present headmaster voluntarily
undertake the supervision.

A somewhat similar plan has been tried at Grassington, in Yorkshire.
When, eighteen years ago, the teaching of cookery was introduced, it was
resolved to combine with that instruction the provision of a hot midday
meal. The children not only cook the dinner themselves, but they take it
in turns to order and pay for the materials, thus acquiring the valuable
knowledge how to buy. They are taught the value of the different
foodstuffs and learn how to make a good substantial dinner at a little
cost. A two-course dinner, ample and varied, is provided daily at the
school.[362] Each child is allowed to eat as much as it wants, but no
waste is allowed. Marvellous as it appears, the payment of a 1d. per
meal covers the cost of the food.[363] The dinner appears to have been
intended chiefly for the children who came from a distance, but the
parents of the children who live in the village have been glad to avail
themselves of the provision, since the school dinner is better than they
can supply at home.[364] Nearly half the children stay. All the
arrangements are, and have from the first been, made by the headmaster's
wife, who takes the cookery lesson and serves the meal herself, and the
success of the experiment must be very largely attributed to her
voluntary labours.

Footnote 362:

  For sample menus, see Appendix I., p. 236.

Footnote 363:

  For instance, the cost of the food for the dinners for twelve weeks
  amounted to £7 9s. 8d., and the children's payments to £7 9s. 5d. On
  cold snowy mornings hot cocoa is provided before morning school for
  all the children. The cost of this is, we gather, borne entirely by
  the headmaster and his wife.

Footnote 364:

  _Yorkshire Post_, July 9, 1908.

In two schools in Cheshire also, Siddington and Nether Alderley, hot
dinners are provided at a charge of 1-1/2d., in the former during the
winter months, in the latter all the year round. In both cases the
children's payments cover, or slightly more than cover, the cost of the
food, the other expenses being borne by voluntary funds.

Such provision is, however, quite exceptional. As a rule no provision
whatever is made. "I have only once seen any supervision of the meal on
the part of the teachers," writes a late Assistant School Medical
Officer for East Sussex; "in fine weather the children generally eat
[their dinner] out of doors; in bad weather it is taken in the school or
cloak-room in what are often very unhygienic surroundings."[365] "There
is no doubt," writes another School Medical Officer, "that at some of
the schools the conditions in which the children get their midday meal
are deplorable."[366] "It is only too common a sight," reports the
School Medical Officer for Derbyshire, "to see little children sitting
in a corner of the class-room, cloak-room or even the playground,
munching at thick slices of bread and butter. Under these
circumstances," he continues, "it cannot be wondered at that children
below the normal development are to be found in our schools."[367] In
Anglesey the School Medical Officer finds more children badly nourished
in the rural areas than in the urban areas; this he attributes mainly to
the long walk to school every day, the inadequacy of the midday meal and
the hurried manner in which it is eaten.[368]

Footnote 365:

  "The Diet of Elementary School Children in Country Districts," by Dr.
  George Finch, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C. E. Hecht,
  1913, p. 109.

Footnote 366:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Hampshire, 1910, p. 24.

Footnote 367:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 284.

Footnote 368:

  _Ibid._, pp. 283-4.

It is indeed essential that in all country schools to which children
come from a distance, provision should be made for the serving of a
midday meal under proper supervision.[369] As Dr. George Finch points
out, "the authority which requires the child to spend its day away from
home might not unreasonably be expected by the parents to make some
provision that its midday meal might be taken under not unfavourable
conditions. The parent, however conscientious, cannot adequately deal
with the problem, and the provision of suitable cold food is not an easy
matter, even in the more well-to-do family."[370] The meals should be
served as part of the school curriculum and might well be combined with
the teaching of cookery as is done at Grassington.

Footnote 369:

  As we have seen, the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical
  Inspection and Feeding in 1905 recommended that managers of country
  schools should arrange, during the winter at any rate, to provide
  either a hot dinner or soup or cocoa for children who lived too far
  away to go home at mid-day. (See ante, p. 38.)

Footnote 370:

  "The Diet of Elementary School Children in Country Districts," by Dr.
  George Finch, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C. E. Hecht,
  1913, p. 109.


It may be useful now to sum up the main points which emerge from the
foregoing description. The proposal, which we shall discuss in the final
chapter, to make the midday meal a part of the school curriculum, to be
attended by all children who wish to avail themselves of the provision,
would obviate many of the difficulties that arise under the present
system. Meanwhile we may point out some ways in which improvements can
be effected, apart from this more drastic proposal.

1. Since the Provision of Meals Act is only permissive, Local Education
Authorities are allowed to remain inactive in spite of the fact that
children in their schools are underfed, and that no adequate provision
is made by voluntary agencies. It should be made obligatory on the Local
Authority to take action in such a case.

2. The limitation of the amount which may be spent on food by the Local
Education Authority to the sum yielded by a halfpenny rate restricts
operations in some towns, and prevents provision being made for all the
necessitous children. This limitation should be removed.

An alteration of the law in these two directions would merely assimilate
the powers and duties of the English Education Authorities to those
already conferred on the Scottish School Boards by the Education
(Scotland) Act of 1908.[371]

Footnote 371:

  See post, pp. 237-8.

3. The selection of the children who are to receive school meals is
based, often solely and always primarily, on the poverty test. Little
attempt is made to link up the provision of meals with the school
medical service. The meals, that is to say, are regarded primarily as a
means of relieving distress rather than as a remedy for malnutrition.
The numbers selected vary according to the policy of the Local Education
Authority and the views taken by the individual head teachers. Nowhere
can the selection of the children be said to be satisfactory. In towns
such as Bradford, where the Local Authority is determined to search out
all cases of children who are suffering from lack of food, the great
majority of underfed children are doubtless discovered, but in other
towns numbers of such children are overlooked and left unprovided for,
while everywhere little or no provision is made for the countless
children who are improperly fed at home. We shall discuss in the final
chapter the best method to be pursued in this matter of selecting the

4. There is great diversity of practice in different towns with regard
to the time at which the meal is given, the manner in which it is
prepared and served, and the kind of food supplied. Where only one meal
is provided, it would appear that dinner is for many reasons preferable
to breakfast. The dietary should be varied and should be drawn up in
consultation with the School Medical Officer; it should be so planned as
to contain a due proportion of the elements which are lacking in the
child's home diet, and special provision should be made for the infants.
The preparation of the meals should not be left to caterers but should
be undertaken by the Local Authority, so that adherence to the approved
dietary and a high standard of quality can be assured. The meal should
be regarded as part of the school curriculum. It should be served as far
as possible on the school premises, and should be attended only by
children from that particular school. The children should be taught to
set the tables and wait on one another, the tables being nicely laid,
with table-cloths and, if possible, flowers or plants. Clean hands and
faces and orderly behaviour should be insisted on. Some of the teachers
should supervise the meal and should receive some extra remuneration for
this service.

5. The discontinuance of the school meals during the holidays has been
shown to undo much of the benefit derived during term-time, and it
entails unnecessary suffering on the children. The expenditure of the
rates on holiday feeding must be legalised. The limitation of the
provision to the winter months, as is the practice in some towns, is
even more absurd. Local Authorities should be required to continue the
school meals throughout the year, if need exists.

6. The sums contributed by the parents towards the cost of their
children's meals amount to only a trifling fraction of the total
expenditure. The power of providing meals as a matter of convenience for
children whose parents are able and willing to pay has been very
sparingly used by the Local Education Authorities, as far as the
ordinary elementary schools are concerned. In the special schools for
defective children, on the other hand, where not infrequently a midday
meal is provided for all the children, a considerable proportion of the
parents contribute towards the cost. It is difficult to say whether the
establishment of School Restaurants in the ordinary schools would be
successful. One point, however, seems clear; if the plan is to succeed,
the meals must be intended primarily for paying children; if they are
provided mainly for necessitous children, parents who can afford to pay
will not send their children to any great extent.

In the case of the parents who can afford to feed their children but
neglect to do so, the attempt to recover the cost of the meals supplied
to the children results as a rule in almost total failure, owing to the
extreme difficulty of obtaining conclusive evidence of the parents'
ability to pay. An attempt to recover may be worse than useless, for it
frequently leads the parent to withdraw his children promptly from the
school meals, though their need of the meals continues as great as

7. Owing to the inadequate relief usually given by the Boards of
Guardians, the Local Education Authorities are in many cases forced to
feed children whose parents are receiving poor relief. In only a few
towns is any systematic attempt made to prevent this overlapping between
the two authorities. So long as the Guardians retain their present
functions, the plan adopted at Bradford and a few other towns, by which
the out-relief granted by the Guardians is given partly in the form of
school meals, the Guardians paying the Education Authority for these
meals, might well be extended to other towns. By this plan overlapping
of relief is avoided, while it ensures that the relief given to the
mother on account of her children is in effect obtained by them.

8. In the rural districts the conditions under which the children eat
their midday meal are frequently deplorable. The long walk to school
renders it even more important than it is in the towns that the meal
should be a substantial one, but the food which the children bring with
them is as a rule entirely inadequate. In the few schools where a hot
dinner has been provided, the plan has met with marked success, and such
provision should be made in all schools. It might advantageously be
combined with the teaching of cookery, a plan which is more practicable
in the country than in the towns, since the numbers to be provided for
are comparatively small.

                              CHAPTER III

We have reserved the treatment of London for a separate chapter since,
owing to its size and the diverse conditions prevailing in the different
districts, it presents problems of special difficulty. We shall describe
in this chapter the provision made in the early years of this century by
voluntary agencies, and the final assumption by the London County
Council of the whole responsibility of dealing with its underfed
children; we shall trace the gradual building up of a vast and complex
organisation to deal not only with the question of school meals, but
also with other matters affecting the general welfare of the children;
and we shall discuss the actual methods of working at the present day.

            (a)--The Organisation of the Voluntary Agencies.

We have already sketched the early history of the movement in London,
and described the attempts made by the London School Board to organise
the host of voluntary agencies.[372] The proposal put forward by a
Committee of the School Board in 1899 to make that body responsible for
providing food for all its underfed children was, as we have shown,
defeated by a large majority, and a renewed attempt was made by the
establishment of a central organisation, the Joint Committee on Underfed
Children, to organise the voluntary agencies.

Footnote 372:

  See ante, pp. 16-27.

This attempt met with but little more success than the earlier
endeavours. The functions of the Joint Committee were limited to
receiving reports from the Relief Committees, pointing out defects in
their methods of working, and acting generally as a medium of
communication between these committees and the collecting agencies. If
the Relief Committees failed to send reports, the Joint Committee had no
power to compel them to do so, nor could the Committee insist on the
remedying of the defects which they pointed out. By 1907 the Committee
were able to report that only one school had been discovered in which
meals were provided but no report received. "We may hope, therefore,"
they continue, "that ... the instructions of the Council ... have at
last reached all head teachers and are being obeyed. But in default of
any executive and inspecting machinery, it has taken the persistent
efforts of the Joint Committee, during six years, to effect this result,
if indeed it has really been effected."[373] The greatest difficulty was
experienced in getting Relief Committees established in every school or
group of schools in which underfed children were provided with
meals.[374] Even when these committees were appointed, the meetings of
many of them were held infrequently and for formal business only, the
selection of the children and the enquiry into the parents'
circumstances being left entirely to the teachers.[375] Consequently the
methods of selection differed widely, even in the same school, the
different departments paying no attention to what the others were
doing.[376] The enquiry was generally totally inadequate, and in some
cases was not even attempted.[377] The Joint Committee urged that, when
meals were given at all, they should be given regularly at least four if
not five days a week, and should be continued throughout the year if
necessary.[378] But in 1907 we find that "there are still a good many
schools where meals are only provided on one or two days, and more where
they are only given on three days, the average number throughout the
schools being 2-3/4 meals per child per week."[379] In only sixteen
schools were the meals continued for more than twenty weeks during the

Footnote 373:

  Report of the Joint Committee on Underfed Children, for 1906-7, p. 2.

Footnote 374:

  Fourth Annual Report of the Joint Committee on Underfed Children,
  1904, pp. 1-2; Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical
  Inspection and Feeding, 1905, Qs. 1649, 1650 (evidence of Mr. T. E.
  Harvey). Even in 1908 there were 74 schools at which feeding took
  place which had not a properly constituted committee. (London County
  Council, Report by Executive Officer (Education), Appendix A to agenda
  of Sub-Committee on Underfed Children, July 6, 1908.)

Footnote 375:

  "There is supposed to be a committee in every school," said one
  headmaster, "but the committees never meet in the vast majority of
  cases, and if they do, they never undertake personal investigation."
  (Report of the Select Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Bills (England and Scotland), 1906, Q. 849, evidence of Mr. Marshall
  Jackman.) "There is [a Relief Committee] in accordance with the
  rules," declared another headmaster, but "the Committee acts really
  through the head teachers.... The Committee say that the teachers have
  their confidence, and they could not do any good by attempting
  themselves to help as a committee, and therefore they do not help."
  (Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Inspection and
  Feeding, 1905, Q. 5149 (evidence of Mr. T. P. Shovelier.) See also
  _Ibid._, Qs. 4773 A, 4937-4939, 6233, 6265.

Footnote 376:

  See, for instance, Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical
  Inspection and Feeding, 1905, Qs. 185, 5154.

Footnote 377:

  "The duty of making enquiries by the managers, or by outsiders working
  for them, into the home conditions of the children is, with some
  remarkable exceptions, seldom well done, and often not done at all.
  They are authorised to invite assistance from attendance officers, ...
  from Charity Organisation Society visitors, district visitors, country
  holiday fund visitors, and similar persons, but we have very seldom
  found that this class of person has been consulted." (Report of the
  Joint Committee on Underfed Children for 1906-7, p. 23.)

Footnote 378:

  _Ibid._ for 1904-5, p. 5.

Footnote 379:

  _Ibid._ for 1906-7, Appendix G., p. 23.

Footnote 380:

  _Ibid._, p. 2.

The Joint Committee strenuously opposed the theory, which was now
steadily gaining ground, that the rates should be utilised for the
supply of food. In 1904 they report that, in their opinion, "all real
distress on any considerable scale has been effectually met.... They
have never been restricted in their efforts for want of funds, and there
is no reason to think that any organisations dealing with public money
would be more efficient than these bodies dealing with charitable money.
On the other hand, there is reason to believe that, even as things are
now, relief is often given to children who are not really in want, and
there is no doubt that if the public purse were being drawn upon, relief
would be distributed more lavishly."[381] The County Council could
hardly, however, remain unmoved by the disquieting report of the
Committee on Physical Deterioration published in the same year. Dr.
Eichholz, in his evidence before the committee, had indeed described the
existing method of feeding in London as "entirely in the nature of a
temporary stop-gap. There is," he declared, "but little concentrated
effort at building up enfeebled constitutions, school feeding doing
little beyond arresting further degeneracy."[382] In April, 1905, the
Council accordingly resolved "that, with a view to checking the physical
deterioration among the London population and securing the best result
from the expenditure on education, it be referred to the Education
Committee to consider and report as to the necessary Parliamentary power
being obtained for the provision of food where necessary for the
children attending rate-supported schools in London."[383] The Education
Committee, however, while admitting that there were numbers of underfed
and ill-fed children attending the schools and that in the case of these
children it was impossible to secure the best results from an
educational standpoint, were nevertheless of opinion that, "while the
necessity for feeding children as the last resort out of public funds is
a proposition endorsed by the whole spirit of the Poor Law," there were
strong arguments against seeking power to utilise the rates at present.
The provision of school meals out of public funds must tend to lessen
parental responsibility, and the expense entailed would be very serious,
since the numbers, though small at first, would inevitably tend to
increase.[384] The Committee recommended, therefore, that the experiment
should be tried of utilising the food prepared at the cookery centres.
The advantages of this course would be twofold. The experiment would
prove whether there was a demand on the part of the better-off parents
for the provision of cheap dinners at school, while the training at the
cookery centres would be improved by receiving a more practical

Footnote 381:

  Fourth Annual Report of the Joint Committee on Underfed Children,
  1904, p. 2. Evidence was given before the Inter-Departmental Committee
  on Medical Inspection and Feeding in 1905, which showed that
  difficulty was experienced in collecting sufficient funds. The London
  Schools Dinner Association found that people would contribute at
  Christmas time, but in the early spring, when the work was heaviest,
  the subscriptions ceased. (Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee
  on Medical Inspection and Feeding, 1905, Qs. 2074, 2081-2083.) See
  also evidence of Mr. Marshall Jackman before the Select Committee on
  the Education (Provision of Meals) Bills (England and Scotland), 1906,
  Qs. 780, 788-790.

Footnote 382:

  Report of Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration,
  1904, Q. 477.

Footnote 383:

  Minutes of the London County Council, April 11, 1905, p. 1381.

Footnote 384:

  _Ibid._, July 11, 1905, p. 297.

Footnote 385:

  _Ibid._, p. 298.

The experiment was accordingly tried at five[386] selected schools. In
three of these schools, which were situated in poor districts, dinners
were supplied at 1-1/2d each. In the other two schools, situated in
better-class neighbourhoods, the cost was 2d. and 3d., the parents
preferring the more expensive dinner.[387] The Council having no power
to spend the rates on the provision of food, the meals had to be paid
for by the parents or by charitable agencies. The teachers were
instructed not to choose only necessitous children, but to distribute
the tickets fairly between the children in the schools, the object being
to try the experiment of a common dinner.[388] From an educational point
of view the dinners were very successful. The children were taught to
eat properly,[389] and the girls attending the cookery class benefited
by the practical training. It appeared, too, that there was a demand, in
certain districts at any rate, for the provision of cheap dinners at
school.[390] But the experiment was on too small a scale to have much
practical bearing on the question of feeding necessitous children. For
large numbers the cookery centres were quite inadequate and any attempt
to use them primarily for the object of providing children's meals would
interfere with the instruction given.

Footnote 386:

  The experiment was later extended to fifteen schools.

Footnote 387:

  Report of the Select Committee on the Education (Provision of Meals)
  Bills, 1906, Qs. 451, 500, evidence of Mr. A. J. Shepheard.

Footnote 388:

  _Ibid._, Q. 327.

Footnote 389:

  The tables were "nicely laid and with tablecloths, with all the
  ordinary appliances and requirements of a table put there, such as
  salt cellars, knives and forks, and everything of that kind. The
  tables were laid out with flowers ... I think I may quite certainly
  say that some of these children had never sat down to a meal of that
  description in their lives." (_Ibid._, Q. 331.)

Footnote 390:

  Minutes of the London County Council, December 19, 1905, p. 2138.
  About eighty per cent. of the meals were paid for by the parents, the
  remaining twenty per cent. being paid for by friends or voluntary
  agencies. (Report of the Select Committee on the Education (Provision
  of Meals) Bills, 1906, Q. 326.)

      (b)--The Assumption of Responsibility by the County Council.

No further serious attempt was made for some years to place the
provision of food upon the rates. On the passing of the Provision of
Meals Act the County Council took over the whole responsibility for the
provision, the Joint Committee on Underfed Children, which had been
composed partly of representatives of voluntary organisations,[391]
giving place to a Sub-Committee of the Education Committee[392]; but
voluntary funds were still relied on. In 1908, however, the supply began
to fail. In July of that year a conference of the Mayors of the London
boroughs had declared that there was no reason to fear that voluntary
contributions would be insufficient to defray the cost of food.[393] The
appeal subsequently issued met, however, with a very meagre response,
only some £6,000 being subscribed.[394] By the end of the year it became
clear that recourse must be had to the rates, and application was
accordingly made to the Board of Education. The new system was put in
force early in 1909.[395]

Footnote 391:

  When, in 1904, the London School Board was superseded by the London
  County Council, the Joint Committee on Underfed Children had been
  continued by the latter body, its constitution remaining practically
  unaltered. (London County Council, Report of Education Committee,
  1908-9, Part II., p. 3.)

Footnote 392:

  This Sub-Committee was known at first as the Sub-Committee on Underfed
  Children. In December, 1908, the name was altered to the Children's
  Care (Central) Sub-Committee. (_Ibid._, p. 4.)

Footnote 393:

  See Minutes of the London County Council, November 24, 1908, p. 1120.

Footnote 394:

  "State Feeding of School Children in London," by Sir Charles Elliott,
  in _Nineteenth Century_, May, 1909, p. 866.

Footnote 395:

  London County Council, Report of the Education Committee for 1908-9,
  Part II., p. 4.

Meanwhile the constant complaints of the varying methods pursued by the
different Care Committees[396] in the selection of the children, and the
rapid increase in the number of children fed,[397] led the Sub-Committee
on Underfed Children to call for a report on the circumstances of these
children, so that the cause of the distress might be ascertained and
some light thrown on the question how far the provision of free meals
was really an effective remedy for the evils which existed.[398] An
investigation was accordingly conducted by the two officials who had
been appointed by the Council to organise the work of the local Care
Committees. Twelve schools were selected in different districts, and a
careful enquiry made into the circumstances of all the children at these
schools who were receiving free meals. In all 1,218 families were dealt
with, containing 3,334 children.

Footnote 396:

  The local Relief Committees had been re-organised under the name of
  Children's Care Committees in July, 1907. (_Ibid._)

Footnote 397:

  The numbers greatly increased during the winter of 1907-8, and reached
  a maximum of 49,043 in March, 1908. (London County Council, Report on
  the Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children in twelve selected
  schools, 1908, p. 2.)

Footnote 398:


In a small number of the cases, 3·9 per cent., the distress was found to
be due to illness or some other temporary misfortune; unemployment of
the wage-earner accounted for 5·7 per cent., and under-employment for 19
per cent., of the cases; in 44·7 per cent. the cause of the distress was
attributed to the intemperance or wastefulness of the parents.[399] The
necessity of providing school meals, at any rate as a temporary
expedient, was clearly proved. It was found that, though 21·12 per cent.
of the children were not necessitous, the remaining 78·88 per cent. were
necessitous "in the sense of lacking sufficient food," and that they
would require school meals "until effective Care Committees are able to
check the diseases attendant on partial employment, bad housing and
other evils."[400] So far little attempt had been made to improve the
conditions of the homes by systematic visiting. With the majority of the
Care Committees, declared the organisers, "their only active members are
the head teachers and their only visitors are the attendance
officers."[401] The complaints as to want of uniformity in the selection
of the children were corroborated. In many schools "each department has
its own system of enquiry, its own method of selection, its own standard
of necessity, and the result is that it is seldom that all the school
children of one family are on the necessitous list."[402] The extent of
overlapping between the Education Authority and the Boards of Guardians
was shown by the fact that out of the 1,218 families 39 were in receipt
of out-relief while no fewer than 165 had been in receipt of relief

Footnote 399:

  _Ibid._, pp. 7-8, 22.

Footnote 400:

  _Ibid._, p. 24.

Footnote 401:

  _Ibid._, p. 25.

Footnote 402:

  _Ibid._, p. 25. See also the description of the methods employed at
  typical schools. (_Ibid._, pp. 19, 20.)

Footnote 403:

  _Ibid._, p. 22.

To put an end to all this want of uniformity it was recommended that a
responsible secretary visitor should be appointed for each school or
group of schools, who would organise bands of voluntary workers, and
co-operate with all existing local agencies for social improvement. It
was urged that the duties of the Care Committees should not be confined
to the provision of meals, but should include everything pertaining to
the health and general well-being of the child.[404] This latter
recommendation was carried out. The Care Committees were re-organised
and given additional duties, the supervision of medical treatment and
the work of after-care,[405] and it was resolved that a committee should
be appointed for every elementary school, not only for those which
contained "necessitous" children.[406] The suggestion that a paid
secretary should be appointed for every school or group of schools was
not adopted. The Council decided merely to appoint twelve paid lady
workers for the whole of London, whose duties would be to strengthen the
Care Committees. At the same time, as a further step towards uniformity,
local associations of Care Committees were formed. Several such
associations had already come into existence voluntarily, but they were
now made uniform and permanent. The functions of these associations,
which numbered 27, were to make all the arrangements in connection with
the feeding centres, and to collect voluntary contributions. They were
also to act as advisory bodies. At their meetings would be discussed
such questions as the selection of children to be fed, after-care,
medical treatment, and any other duties falling to the Care Committees
to be performed. They would thus, it was hoped, initiate a common policy
and serve as a means of co-ordinating the work of the various Care
Committees. Two-thirds of their members were to be representatives of
Care Committees, one-sixth were to be nominated by the Teachers' Local
Consultative Committees, and one-sixth appointed by the Children's Care
(Central) Sub-Committee.[407]

Footnote 404:

  _Ibid._, p. 27.

Footnote 405:

  A few Care Committees were already carrying out these functions. See,
  for instance, the description of the methods adopted at one school
  (_Ibid._, p. 19, No. C.)

Footnote 406:

  Minutes of the London County Council, April 6, 1909, pp. 855-6.

Footnote 407:

  Minutes of the London County Council, April 6, 1909, pp. 856, 857;
  Handbook containing general information with reference to Children's
  Care, 1912, pp. 7-8, 88.

There are thus to-day three distinct, though interdependent,
organisations--the Children's Care (Central) Sub-Committee, the Local
Associations of Care Committees and the local Care Committees appointed
for each school.

In considering the development in London of the movement for the
provision of meals, one is struck by the haphazard way in which the vast
organisation has been built up. The County Council has from the first
been reluctant to undertake the responsibility for its underfed
children. "The whole question of deciding which children are underfed,
and of making special provision for such children," declared the
Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Underfed Children in 1908, "should
really be one for the Poor Law Authority to decide, and not the
Education Authority."[408] The attempt to make the Guardians carry out
their duty having signally failed, the London County Council was forced
to undertake the task, but it has done so in a half-hearted fashion. The
results of this failure to grasp the problem in a statesmanlike manner
are conspicuously evident in the conditions prevailing to-day.

Footnote 408:

  Report on the Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children in twelve
  selected schools, 1908, p. 3.

                   (c)--The Extent of the Provision.

The total expenditure on the provision of meals in London amounted, for
the year 1912-13, to £99,805. Of this by far the greater part, £98,111,
was derived from the rates, voluntary contributions amounting to only
£3. Apart from these voluntary contributions collected by the Local
Associations, however, a few schools "contract out" and supply the meals
from their own private sources.[409] Moreover, large sums were collected
by voluntary organisations for the provision of meals during the
holidays, especially during the summer holiday of 1912, owing to the
distress caused by the dock strike. And besides this holiday feeding,
which, since it cannot be met out of the rates, must be paid for out of
voluntary funds, there are still a certain number of voluntary agencies
which are providing meals quite independently of the County Council.

Footnote 409:

  Thus at St. Giles'-in-the-Fields the expenditure on the provision of
  food is still met from voluntary funds. At Hampstead, in all the
  schools except one or two, the provision of food for necessitous
  children is paid for by the Hampstead Council of Social Welfare. The
  Care Committee refers to the Council of Social Welfare cases which are
  suitable for home relief, _i.e._, cases where the mother can be
  trusted to look after the children at home; in these cases adequate
  relief for the whole family is given by the Council. If the mother
  cannot be trusted or if she goes out to work all day, the children
  receive meals at the feeding centre, the Council paying for these

Amongst the most important of these is the London Vegetarian
Association. One of the chief objects of this Association, which has
been in existence many years, is the popularisation in the homes of the
poor of a vegetable diet which is at once both cheap and wholesome.
Dinners are provided consisting of a bowl of vegetable soup, a slice of
wholemeal bread and a slab of pudding. As a rule the meals are given
during the winter only, being continued during the Christmas holidays
and, if necessary, during the Easter holidays, and on Saturdays also.
The number of centres opened varies according to the state of the
Association's finances and the need that exists. During the present
winter some half-dozen have been established, besides the central depôt
in Whitechapel, about 900 children on an average being fed daily. Since
the passing of the Provision of Meals Act the activities of the
Association, as far as the children are concerned, have been confined
theoretically to the supply of dinners to children under school age or
to children who wish to pay for the meals. But school children who
prefer to be fed by the Association rather than by the school are also
given meals, as in addition are those who are not considered necessitous
by the School Care Committee. Any child can have a dinner on producing a
halfpenny. Free dinners are only given to children for whom application
is made by some charitable agency, district visitors, Little Sisters of
the Poor or other persons interested, no enquiry being made by the
Association itself in these cases. It is clear that there is much danger
of overlapping--in fact it has been found that, in some cases, children
have obtained a dinner at school first and have then gone on to the
depôt. In other cases it seems that the Association feeds some children
of a family, the Care Committee others.

The total number of individual children fed during the year 1912-13 was
100,771,[410] the average weekly number being 41,529. The numbers fed
during the last thirteen years are seen in the following table:--[411]

                            Season.             Average weekly
                                                  number of
                                                children fed.

         1900-01   (August to July inclusive)       18,857

         1901-02         "           "              20,085

         1902-03         "           "              22,206

         1903-04         "           "              23,842

         1904-05         "           "              26,951

         1905-06         "           "              27,159

         1906-07         "           "              29,334

         1907-08         "           "              37,979

         1908-09         "           "              39,632

         1909-10     (August 1 to March 31)         42,153

         1910-11     (April 1 to March 31)          41,672

         1911-12                                    36,897

         1912-13                                    41,529

Footnote 410:

  These are necessitous children only. This number includes the
  necessitous children in the Defective Schools, except the Cripple
  Schools, where the meals are provided by the Cripple Children's
  Dinners Committee. (See post, pp. 155-6.)

Footnote 411:

  Annual Report of London County Council for 1911, Vol. IV., p. 33. The
  figures for the earlier years are not reliable owing to the
  multiplicity of agencies providing food.

                        (d)--The Care Committee.

In the selection of the children the County Council has throughout
pursued the policy of keeping the numbers fed as low as possible. The
School Doctor may recommend for meals, or more frequently for milk or
codliver oil, under-nourished children whom he discovers in the course
of medical inspection,[412] but the number of such cases is
comparatively small. As a rule the children are selected by the teachers
(either on their own initiative or, more frequently, on the application
of the parents) on the ground of poverty.

Footnote 412:

  The teachers are asked to point out to the school doctor any children
  about to be inspected whose names are on the necessitous register.
  (London County Council, Handbook containing general information with
  reference to Children's Care, 1912, p. 18.)

The enquiry into the home circumstances of these children and the final
decision as to which of them shall be fed, devolve upon the Care
Committees. These Care Committees form the most striking feature of the
administration of the Provision of Meals Act in London. In no other town
have the services of the volunteer worker been utilised to such an
extent.[413] As we have seen, the County Council decided in 1909 that a
Children's Care Committee should be formed for every elementary school,
and there is now practically no school for which a committee has not
been appointed.[414] The committees consist of two or three of the
School Managers, together with not less than four voluntary workers
appointed by the Children's Care (Central) Sub-Committee.[415] The head
teachers, though not members,[416] usually attend the meetings, and in
some cases undertake a considerable amount of clerical work. The members
of these committees number some 5,600,[417] but of these many take
little or no part in the work, and the effective membership amounts
perhaps to not more than two-thirds of this total.

Footnote 413:

  For examples of Care Committees in provincial towns, see ante, pp.
  65-66. In one or two Scottish towns also Care Committees have been
  formed (see post, pp. 240, 241, 244-5.)

Footnote 414:

  In addition to the ordinary elementary schools, Care Committees have
  been formed also for the Special Schools for Defective Children, with
  the exception of the Physically Defective.

Footnote 415:

  In a few cases the committees are composed entirely, or almost
  entirely, of working men.

Footnote 416:

  In 1908 the Care Committees were very largely composed of teachers.
  Out of the total membership of 2,939, 1,278, or about three-sevenths,
  were teachers, 1,391 were school managers, and only 270 were voluntary
  workers. (London County Council, Agenda for Sub-Committee on Underfed
  Children, Appendix A, July 6, 1908.)

Footnote 417:

  London County Council, list of members of Children's Care (School)
  Committees, 1912.

The functions of the Care Committees are numerous and important. They do
not merely decide which children shall receive school meals. They have
also to "follow up" cases of children who are found by the School
Medical Officer to need medical treatment, and, by visiting the homes,
induce the parents to obtain this treatment; often they arrange for the
supply of spectacles at reduced rates and collect payment from the
parents by instalments. Further, they have to advise parents in
connection with the employment of their children, referring suitable
cases to the Local Juvenile Advisory Committee, Apprenticeship Committee
or other agency, and generally befriending the children leaving school.
Some committees undertake the work in connection with the Children's
Country Holidays Fund. Frequently the Care Committee makes arrangements
for the supply of boots,[418] and sometimes also clothing, gratuitously
or at reduced rates.

Footnote 418:

  At the end of 1911, organisations for the supply of boots were in
  existence in 1,012 schools. These organisations were controlled by the
  Care Committees, managers, or head teachers. (Report of the London
  County Council for 1911, Vol. IV., p. 38.)

The advantages of such a system of voluntary workers, acting in
connection with, and under the guidance of, the Local Authority are
many. The volunteer worker, as has often been pointed out, can bring to
bear on individual cases a patience and an enthusiasm which the official
has no time to bestow. By getting into friendly relations with the
mother, the volunteer visitor will often be able to help the family in
numberless ways. The Care Committee system represents, indeed, one of
the most hopeful movements of the time, denoting, as it does, an
awakening of the social conscience and a revolt against the old system
of district visiting, which meant too frequently merely the giving of a
dole, a system which encouraged a patronising attitude on the one hand,
and a cadging habit on the other. From the Care Committee visitor little
in the way of material gifts is to be expected. Instead, some effort is
demanded from the parent. He, or more usually she, is asked to
co-operate with the Care Committee in doing what is necessary for the
child's welfare. Moreover, the Care Committee is invaluable as a means
of educating public opinion. Many will be found who, though perhaps
strongly opposed in theory to the whole system of the provision of free
meals, are yet willing to work for the children, and by contact with the
children and their homes will learn something of the life and struggles
of the poor, and a better mutual understanding will be brought about. As
the Warden of a Settlement in Liverpool has pointed out, "it is a
constant lament of administrators of education that the public care more
for saving the rates than making citizens. The complaint is justified.
We only care about what we understand; the public understands the money
it has to pay, but it does not understand what happens to it. As a
matter of fact ninety per cent. of the ratepaying public have never been
at a feeding centre or seen a medical inspection; and their own
education was of such a scanty nature that one cannot expect their
general imagination to supply the deficiency. Hence they grumble at
paying for a service of which they are ignorant. The remedy lies in
making them understand. From the young men and women of these families
we can recruit Care Committee workers. They will visit the homes of the
people, the feeding centres and the school; their imagination will be
stirred and their intellects quickened; finally, the time will come when
an enlightened public opinion will be the critic of the education policy
of our city."[419] Splendid work is now being done in many parts of
London by the Care Committees and it is greatly to be regretted that the
system has not been more widely adopted in the provinces.

Footnote 419:

  "Care Committee Work in Liverpool," by F. J. Marquis, in the _School
  Child_, September, 1913, p. 11.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of relying only on voluntary help
must not be overlooked. In the first place there is the difficulty of
securing enough workers. Remarkable as has been the response to the
appeal of the County Council for helpers, yet many more are needed. In
the residential parts of London this difficulty is not so much felt, but
in the poorer districts, where the need is greatest, it is impossible to
find enough people with leisure to devote to the work. From every Care
Committee that we have visited comes the cry for more helpers. If the
friendly relations with the parents are to be established, which are
essential if the maximum amount of good is to be derived from the
various activities which are undertaken by the school authorities, it is
of the greatest importance that the homes should be visited; but it is
rare to find a sufficient supply of workers forthcoming for this
visiting to be undertaken regularly. It is true that some committees
visit the homes once a month or sometimes even, in doubtful cases, once
a fortnight, but more frequently visits are paid at long intervals, and
in some districts many of the homes are never visited at all. At a
school in East London, for instance (and this is typical of many
others), we were told that it is found in practice quite impossible for
every case to be visited, since there are only two members of the Care
Committee to undertake this work. A committee in another district
reports, "visits in doubtful cases are made twice a year, supplemented
by quarterly visits," while another committee in the same district
reports that, "owing to the lack of sufficient help, it is often
necessary to receive parents instead of visiting homes."

Still more difficult is it to obtain honorary secretaries. The functions
of a Care Committee are, as we have seen, many and varied, and involve
an enormous amount of work, if they are to be performed efficiently,
especially in districts where few volunteers can be obtained and where,
in consequence, a disproportionate amount of visiting falls to the lot
of the secretary. The secretary of a Care Committee in Stepney found
that it was necessary to give three quarters of her time to the work,
and "even so, outside help had to be called in to keep the clerical work
even approximately up to date."[420] The secretary of another school in
East London informed us that he had to give four full days a week,
besides some hours devoted to clerical work in the evening; while
another secretary, in Central London, gives about four hours' work on an
average five days a week. Obviously it is impossible to secure enough
volunteers. Many who undertake the work of secretary find after a few
months that they are obliged to give it up. The history of too many Care
Committees is a record of ever-changing secretaries, interspersed with
more or less prolonged interregna. In one district--and this appears to
be typical of London as a whole--we were told that, out of 91 schools,
some 10 or 15 were at the time without secretaries, and the duties had
to be undertaken by the Assistant Organisers. These officials are
already overburdened, and the result is that all but the most urgent
work is left undone. Nothing is more disheartening for an energetic
secretary who has laboured hard to effect some improvement in the
condition of the children than to find, when forced by stress of
circumstances to give up the work, that no one can be found to undertake
the secretaryship and that, consequently, much of the devoted labour of
months, perhaps of years, is undone.

Footnote 420:

  "Care Committees," by A. S., in the _School Child_, March 1913, pp.

The need for the appointment of paid secretaries for each school or
group of schools was, as we have seen, pointed out as long ago as
1908.[421] Since that date the activities of the Care Committees have
been enormously extended, and, in certain districts at any rate, if the
work is to be done with any degree of efficiency, the necessity for such
paid secretaries is becoming absolutely imperative.

Footnote 421:

  See ante, pp. 139-140.

But apart from the difficulty of securing enough voluntary workers,
there are inherent disadvantages in the present system. The enquiry into
the circumstances of the parents is not a duty for which the ordinary
volunteer worker is fitted. And the necessity of making these enquiries
may endanger those friendly relations which it is of such importance to
establish between the visitor and the parent. The enquiry is generally
totally inadequate. In the majority of cases the visitor is not trained
for the purpose, and frequently finds this work distasteful. Each
visitor has a different standard. No enquiry is made from the
employer[422]; indeed, in the large number of cases where the father is
casually employed such enquiry would be impracticable. In many cases
there is little or no knowledge of what other help is being given to the
family. Many committees insist on the parents appearing before them to
answer enquiries as to their circumstances. This is sometimes, as we
have seen, rendered necessary by the lack of workers and the consequent
impossibility of visiting the homes. But even if the homes are visited
some committees consider that the obligation on the part of the parents
to apply in person furnishes a test of the genuineness of their need.
The attendance of the father, where it can be secured, is useful as it
proves a means of bringing home to him his responsibility. It is not
infrequently found that the mother has applied for meals without the
husband's knowledge. On the other hand, as we have already shown, the
insistence on the parents' attendance may result in considerable
hardship to them, entailing perhaps the loss of half a day's work. They
are often kept waiting for a considerable time. Moreover, the assembling
of numbers together, all for the purpose of making application for
meals, tends to diminish the sense of self-respect. For this reason many
committees consider it undesirable to summon the parents, or they only
summon them in special cases. When the parent is summoned and does not
attend, the Council lays down that, if no immediate home visit is
possible, a notice shall be sent to the parent that if he or she fails
to attend before the committee or to show some good reason for not
attending, the committee will be obliged to charge for the meals
supplied to the children.[423] As far as we can discover, this is very
rarely done. The far more usual course is for the committee to send a
notice to the effect that the meals will be discontinued unless the
parent appeals.

Footnote 422:

  Enquiries from the employers may not be made by the Care Committee
  without the consent of the parent or guardian. Where the committee is
  doubtful of the accuracy of the parents' statements, the case can be
  referred to the Divisional Superintendent, who may make such

Footnote 423:

  London County Council, Handbook containing general information with
  reference to Children's Care, 1912, pp. 18-19.

Another disadvantage arising from the utilisation of the service of
voluntary workers alone, is that no sufficient control can be exercised
by the Central Authority to enforce a common policy. A certain amount of
latitude is desirable so as to allow scope for individual initiative and
experiment. But in the matter of selection of the children to be fed
want of uniformity is wholly to be condemned. The diversity in methods
that prevails is in effect amazing. In two schools situated almost side
by side, and drawing their children from the same streets, the
percentage fed may be, in the one case, two, in the other ten, fifteen
or even more.[424] We have found this lack of uniformity in other towns,
since the numbers fed depend very largely on the views taken by
individual teachers, but in London there is superadded the diversity
produced by the divergence of views of the different Care Committees. In
one Care Committee the socialist element will be predominant. In another
the work may be done on strictly "C.O.S." lines; the meals are regarded
simply as a form of relief, and the feeding-list is cut down to the
lowest limit.[425]

Footnote 424:

  Thus in three schools in South London, attended by children whose home
  circumstances were very similar, the majority of the parents being
  casual labourers, the percentages of children who were receiving free
  meals in March, 1913, were 1.8, 2.9 and 7.5. In another neighbouring
  school, where the children were very little poorer, nineteen per cent.
  were being fed.

Footnote 425:

  The most extreme example of the "strict" type is the committee which
  deals with a group of schools in St. George's-in-the-East. It is held
  that, the provision of meals being merely a form of relief, the work
  should be as far as possible dissociated from the school; the parents
  do not make application to the teachers but to a central office.

The County Council has not found it possible to lay down any uniform
rule for the guidance of the committees.[426] Though, in a small number
of cases, the committee professes to have a scale, usually that laid
down by Rowntree,[427] in practice this is a very rough criterion,
frequently departed from, and the cases are all virtually decided on
their merits. Moreover, the policy of the same Care Committee even will
not always be a consistent one. The decision as to any particular case
will vary with the presence or absence of particular members of the

Footnote 426:

  "Having regard to the varying circumstances and conditions of
  families, it is considered undesirable to fix a minimum wage which
  would justify children being provided with school meals, and each case
  should therefore be considered upon its own merits." (London County
  Council, Handbook containing general information with reference to
  Children's Care, 1912, p. 22.)

Footnote 427:

  That is, 3s. for an adult and 2s. 3d. for a child. (_Poverty_, by B.
  Seebohm Rowntree, 1901, p. 110.)

Where children from the same family attend different schools--a frequent
occurrence in London--meals may be granted at one school and refused at
another. The County Council have issued elaborate regulations for
ensuring that in such cases each Care Committee concerned shall know
what the others are doing.[428] But though many Care Committees do
communicate with one another, or notify cases to a Mutual Registration
Committee, the County Council's instructions are frequently disregarded.
The secretary of one committee informed us that during the whole time of
her secretaryship--a period of over a year--she never once received any
notification from another committee. Even where the cases are notified,
it by no means follows that the several committees concerned adopt the
same plan of action; often we have found that the one committee did not
know in any particular case what the result of their notification had
been. One secretary even told us that though all the committees in her
district mutually notified cases to each other, this was solely for
information; they pursued their own policy, merely noting that some of
the children of the family were receiving meals at another school.[429]

Footnote 428:

  Handbook containing general information with reference to Children's
  Care, 1912, p. 20.

Footnote 429:

  The County Council, a few months ago, drew attention to the lack of
  uniformity prevailing. "In a number of cases it has been found that
  the form has not been issued, with the result that Care Committees
  dealing with part of a family are unacquainted with the relief
  afforded by another Care Committee." (_London County Council Gazette_,
  March 3, 1913, p. 210.)

To the parents this diversity of treatment of similar cases can only
appear as capricious. Successive visits by the Care Committee visitors
from different schools, all making the same enquiries, are a needless
source of irritation to the parent, while being at the same time
unnecessary expenditure of time and energy for the visitors. Attempts
have been made in some districts to put an end to this waste of energy
and overlapping. In Camberwell, two or three years ago, it was decided
that the Care Committee visiting should be organised by streets instead
of by schools. The Care Committees of the different schools all sent on
their cases to the secretary of the organisation, who referred them to
the visitor for the particular street.[430] This scheme worked very well
for about eighteen months, but was then given up chiefly because the
secretary could not continue the work. Now three Care Committees in this
district have been amalgamated, so as to secure some measure of
uniformity.[431] In a few other districts also, the Care Committees for
groups of schools, though nominally separately appointed for each
school, are in effect composed of the same people. Quite recently an
attempt to prevent overlapping has been made by the County Council on a
larger scale. In Whitechapel the Council have provided a Central Office
where case papers will be kept, and paid assistants have been appointed
who will notify to each Care Committee any assistance which is being
given to the brothers and sisters of the children with whom they are

Footnote 430:

  "School Care Committees," by Maude F. Davies, in _Progress_, July,
  1910, p. 177.

Footnote 431:

  At St. George's-in-the-East five committees have been amalgamated and
  then re-divided into two, one dealing with all the Jewish, one with
  all the Christian, children of the group. Overlapping is thus almost
  completely avoided.

                (e)--The Provision for Paying Children.

The County Council from the first has not looked with approval on the
proposal that meals should be provided as a matter of convenience to
parents who are willing to pay for them. "Only cases of exceptional
hardship," declared the Education Committee, "_e.g._, children of
widowers or of widows who are compelled, owing to their work, to be away
from home all day--should be so dealt with."[432] In such cases payment
must be made in advance and a week's notice be given, the full cost of
the meals being charged.[433] Consequently, in most schools we find that
no parents or only an insignificant number are voluntarily paying for
the meals.[434] But that there is a certain demand for such provision is
shown by the number of applications received where the Care Committee
encourages such a plan. In one school, for instance, we were informed
that a number of parents paid; sometimes when the children had been
receiving free meals the parents wished the children to continue having
them when the home circumstances improved, and were quite willing to pay
the cost. In such cases they preferred the children to go to the Cookery
Centre, this being looked on as superior to the feeding-centre. In
another district we were told that, though there was a demand on the
part of the parents, this was not encouraged, partly because the staff
of supervisors was inadequate to cope with larger numbers. There is
frequently an unfortunate difference in the treatment of the paying and
the non-paying children. At one centre, for instance, the "necessitous"
children are placed at one table, and are supplied with food provided by
the Alexandra Trust; the paying children are placed at another and are
given food cooked at the Cookery Centre. At another school we were told
that the paying children were fed at one end of the room, the
necessitous children at the other; incidentally the paying children had
to stand, since there were no chairs available, while the necessitous
children sat on forms. In several schools the parents pay for milk or
codliver oil when this is recommended by the doctor. In at least one
school, however, we were told that though some of the parents would be
willing to pay for this milk, it was too much trouble to collect the
money, so no payment was asked. In one or two schools milk is provided
for any child who likes to pay a halfpenny, and this provision is very
largely taken advantage of.

Footnote 432:

  London County Council Minutes, November 2, 1909, p. 841.

Footnote 433:

  The charge includes the cost of preparation and service of the meals,
  and is calculated to the nearest farthing. (London County Council,
  Handbook containing general information with reference to Children's
  Care, 1912, pp. 27-28.)

Footnote 434:

  In 1912-13 the number of individual children who paid the full cost of
  the meals was 2,521, that is, only one-fortieth of the number of
  "necessitous" children who were fed. The amount so received was £863.

In the special schools for mentally defective children, where the
provision of meals is carried on on the same lines as in the ordinary
elementary schools, the proportion of children who pay for the meals is
greater, since, owing to the distance from school of many of the
children's homes, provision has to be made for non-necessitous as well
as necessitous. In the Cripple Schools special provision has for many
years been made by the Cripple Children's Dinners Committee. This body
provides the food, the County Council supplying the apparatus and
attendance. Dinners are supplied for all the children at a charge of 2d.
each. The parents appear thoroughly to appreciate the provision made,
and the great majority of them pay the full cost, only a few of the
children receiving the dinner free or at a reduced price.[435]

Footnote 435:

  In 1911-12 the expenditure on food materials amounted to £4,273 2s.
  0d., and the payments for dinners to £4,206 15s. 9d. Out of a total of
  523,266 dinners supplied, only 33,043, or 6·3 per cent., were given
  free. The average cost of the dinner, for food materials only, was
  1·96d. (Report of Cripple Children's Dinners Committee for 1911-12,
  pp. 10, 11.)

                     (f)--The Service of the Meals.

The results of the half-hearted fashion in which London undertook the
responsibility for its underfed children are seen nowhere more clearly
than in the arrangements made for serving the meals. The County Council
seems to have been actuated throughout rather by the desire to keep the
expense down to the minimum than to supply the children with the most
suitable food and to see that the meals were served under civilising
conditions. In the early years after the Council took over the
provision, the Local Committees were left to make the best arrangements
that they could. Little encouragement was given them in any endeavour to
provide wholesome and varied meals under conditions likely to exercise
an educational influence over the children. Still less was any attempt
made to enforce such a policy. The reports are almost silent on this
aspect of the question, though the scanty references which are to be
found show a far from satisfactory state of affairs. In 1908, for
instance, it was reported that at thirty schools, where 3,090 children
were fed, plates and mugs were not provided. "This has meant generally,"
reports the Executive Officer, "that the children brought their own mugs
and ate the food out of their hands." In twenty other schools
insufficient provision was made for washing up the utensils used and,
"as food was served to the children in successive relays, two or more
children used each drinking vessel or plate before it had been washed."
"The usual meal has been a dinner of soup (sometimes containing meat),
with, in certain cases, a form of pudding as an alternative. In the
great majority of cases this was the daily meal for months without
variety."[436] The Care Committee organisers, in their Report on the
Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children in the same year, remark
that, considering "the poor accommodation and the inferior quality of
the meals often provided for the children," together with the fact that
the highest average number of meals per child was 4·4 per week, it could
not be expected that there would be much noticeable improvement in the
physical condition of the children."[437]

Footnote 436:

  London County Council, Agenda for Sub-Committee on Underfed Children,
  Appendix A., July 6, 1908.

Footnote 437:

  London County Council, Report on the Home Circumstances of Necessitous
  Children in twelve selected schools, 1908, p. 25.

Since the formation of the Local Associations of Care Committees in 1909
conditions have improved, but they are still far from satisfactory. As
we have already mentioned, these Associations were formed in order to
introduce some measure of uniformity into the work of feeding the
necessitous children of the metropolis. They were from henceforth to be
responsible for the arrangements made for the actual serving of the
meals. The selection of a suitable centre rests with them, and it is
their duty to arrange for the requisite supply of food and for the
proper service of the meals and supervision of the children during the
meal time.

The food may be supplied by the Alexandra Trust, a local caterer, a
cookery centre or a kitchen managed by the Local Association. The
quality of the food varies according to the arrangements made by each
Local Association. The food specially prepared for the Jewish children
appears to be generally good. At the cookery centres again, though
complaints are occasionally heard that the dinners are badly cooked,
they are as a rule appetising, and the menu is varied. The great
majority of the meals are, however, supplied by the Alexandra Trust. Ten
different dinner menus have been drawn up by this Trust, with a slight
variation for summer,[438] but in practice there is very little variety,
practically the same dietary being repeated week after week; usually
there is a deficiency of proteids and fats. The quantity supplied for
each child varies considerably in different centres. In one that we
visited, for instance, each child was given a large helping of suet
pudding with minced meat, followed by a large plateful of rice, and
second helpings were given if required; at another, where the dinner
consisted of only one course, with a piece of bread, the portions were
very small; the cook admitted that some of the children could eat more,
but if any were allowed a second helping all would ask for it, whether
they wanted it or not, and the food would then be left uneaten.

Footnote 438:

  For menus, see Appendix I.

How far the infants' needs are specially catered for depends on each
Local Association. Sometimes they are fed by themselves at the Cookery
Centre, where it is easier to provide suitable food and to pay
individual attention to their wants. More often they go with the elder
children to the feeding-centres. The Alexandra Trust has drawn up a
special menu for infants, and in centres where the food is supplied
otherwise than by the Trust the Council have instructed the Local
Association to make special provision.[439] But it is rare to find any
such provision made. As a rule the infants have the same food as the
elder children, though in centres where there is careful supervision,
and where the infants are placed at a separate table,[440] the size of
the helping is suited to their appetites. In many centres the number of
infants is so few as to make the preparation of a separate diet hardly
worth while, and the provision of special food has been known to give
rise to jealousy on the part of the elder children.

Footnote 439:

  Minutes of London County Council, December 20, 1910, p. 1491.

Footnote 440:

  Frequently the infants are placed with the older children at the
  ordinary tables, which are too high for them to reach up to with any
  comfort; it is sometimes impossible for them to eat without spilling
  their food. (See the description of a feeding centre, post, p. 167.)

Ordinarily one meal a day is provided, this meal being almost invariably
dinner, but in cases of special necessity or delicacy an additional meal
may be given. This meal may be either breakfast, milk or codliver oil.
The practice varies in each school. In some schools breakfast is never
given, or given only in very rare cases. In others breakfasts as well as
dinners are given to the most necessitous children. At St.
George's-in-the-East formerly only breakfasts were given, but now
dinners are given in addition to all the children on the feeding-list;
the breakfast is used as a test, the theory being that if the child does
not come for breakfast it shall not receive dinner, but in practice this
plan is not strictly carried out. Milk and codliver oil are given in
most schools, when recommended by the School Doctor; in some schools
milk is also given on economic grounds, as an additional meal to
specially necessitous children, instead of breakfast. In a few schools a
quantity of milk is supplied in the middle of the morning, and any child
who pays a halfpenny can have it, the children, especially the infants,
being encouraged to spend their halfpence on milk instead of on sweets.

Where no other suitable accommodation is available, the meals may be
served in the School Hall, but this method is not encouraged by the
Council, and is frequently objected to by the teachers, and it is only
occasionally utilised. Often, as we have already mentioned, the meals
are served in the cookery centres, but the number of children that can
be thus accommodated is necessarily limited, and the centre may be
closed during the summer. Till recently some Local Associations arranged
for their children to be sent to small eating-houses. We have already
pointed out the disadvantages--the impossibility of making the meal in
any sense educational, and the lack of control over the
dietary--inherent, even under the most favourable conditions, in this
system. But in London, in many of these cookshops, the conditions were
the reverse of favourable; they could, indeed, only be described as
deplorable. For instance, at one eating-house, where the children were
sent for their dinners up to the spring of 1912, the room used was
hardly larger than a cupboard, and only six or eight children could be
fed at a time; the children had to go in relays and, when the numbers
were very large, had to sit on the stairs eating their food. In others
the conditions were equally bad. The plan of utilising restaurants is,
we are glad to say, falling into disfavour, but it is not yet entirely

The most usual method is for the children to be sent to centres. These
centres are frequently basement rooms, dark and cheerless. Occasionally
plants or flowers are provided, but it is very rare to find any attempt
at table decoration. Since the average cost of serving the meals is much
less proportionately if the number of children is large, the County
Council has, for the sake of economy, decided that, where possible,
schools shall be grouped, and the children from them fed at one
centre.[441] As we have already pointed out, the herding together of
large numbers of children from different schools deprives the meal of
much of its educational value. The children from the different schools
will come in at different times. Often the centre is not large enough
for them all to be accommodated at once, and they have to be served in
relays, with the consequence that the meal must be hurried through. They
are usually seated at long tables, and are often crowded together, so
that adequate supervision is rendered very difficult.

Footnote 441:

  London County Council, Handbook containing general information with
  reference to Children's Care, 1912, p. 31.

The supervision is occasionally undertaken voluntarily by teachers, and
in many centres by other voluntary workers. Where their regular
attendance can be secured the good results are soon apparent. But the
visits of voluntary supervisors are too often irregular, and it may
happen that no one is present to supervise the meal, except the women
who serve the food. In many districts it is impossible to obtain the
services of volunteers at all, and paid supervisors are appointed.[442]
These may be assistant teachers, retired teachers or other suitable
persons. One supervisor may be appointed for every hundred children, but
frequently the number to be looked after by one supervisor far exceeds a
hundred. Thus, in three centres we visited, there were 140 to 160
children present, whilst in two others the numbers were well over two
hundred; in all these there was only one supervisor.

Footnote 442:

  The payment is 7s. 6d. a week. (_Ibid._, p. 34.)

The County Council has drawn up regulations for the management of the
centres,[443] but these regulations are largely disregarded. The
Council, for instance, has laid it down that boys and girls are to be
appointed to act as monitors, to assist in laying the tables and serving
the meals. In many centres this is not even attempted, and occasionally
where their services are utilised, owing to the large number of children
present, the supervisor is unable to devote much attention to the
training of the monitors, and their presence rather adds to the
prevailing confusion than conduces to the orderly and quiet service of
the meal. Another of the Council's regulations directs that a separate
mug shall be provided for each child.[444] But it appears to be the
exception rather than the rule for this instruction to be observed.
Though a sufficient supply of mugs is, or can on application be,
supplied for every centre, the women who serve the meals, being only
employed and paid for a fixed time, object to the extra labour involved
in washing up. Frequently no mugs are placed on the table at all, though
we were told that the children could have water if they asked for it;
when mugs are provided there is often only one to every two or three
children, perhaps to every five or six! At one centre that we visited,
though the girls were allowed mugs, the boys were not trusted, and mugs
of water were placed on a side table for their indiscriminate use after
the meal.

Footnote 443:

  _Ibid._, pp. 29-30.

Footnote 444:

  _Ibid._, pp. 32-33.

The actual management of each centre varies, of course, very largely
according to the personality of the supervisor. We have visited some two
or three centres where all the arrangements were admirable; the children
were quiet and well-behaved, there was little or no waste of food, and
attention was paid to individual wants. But these cases are
unfortunately exceptional. Out of twenty centres in different parts of
London that we have seen,[445] in at least half the educational
advantages to be derived from the common meal are imperfectly
realised.[446] In a few cases the supervisors appear to consider this
aspect as but of secondary importance. So long as the children are fed
and some sort of rough order preserved, they are satisfied. The meal may
be eaten in a babel of noise. Food which the children do not fancy they
will throw on the floor, little attempt being made to prevent waste. But
in any case, in many centres, owing to the large number of children to
be attended to, the task of inculcating table manners is an almost
impossible one. Though the supervisors do their utmost, for instance, to
teach the children to use spoons and forks, it is not uncommon to
observe children eating with their fingers--even occasionally licking
their plates! It is impossible for the supervisor to give that
individual attention which is absolutely essential if the meal is to be
in any sense educational.

Footnote 445:

  These centres were all visited in the spring, summer or autumn of
  1913. We describe some typical examples in the Appendix to this

Footnote 446:

  In 1911, as the result of an inspection of all the feeding centres by
  the school doctors, it was reported that "in one-fifth ... the
  conditions required material improvement, to make the giving of these
  meals an educational function, and to impress the hygiene of proper
  eating and cleanliness on the children." (Annual Report of the London
  County Council for 1911, Vol. III., p. 170.)

             (g)--Overlapping with the Poor Law Authority.

We have already described the extent to which, in the provinces, the
provision of meals by the Local Education Authority overlaps the
granting of relief by the Poor Law Authorities. London is no exception
to the general rule. In 1908 it was found that out of 1,218 families
investigated, 3·2 per cent. were at the time in receipt of out-relief,
while 13·54 per cent. had recently been receiving such relief.[447] In
February, 1910, it was reported that, of the children who were being fed
all over London, 4·6 per cent. were from families to whom Poor Law
relief was being granted.[448] The confusion was the greater since the
practice of the Guardians varied in each Union. "There is no uniformity
of policy or action amongst the Boards," reports the Education Committee
of the County Council in 1910. "For example, there could hardly be a
wider divergence of principle and practice between public bodies than
that which exists between such Boards as Paddington, Fulham, and St.
George's-in-the-East on the one hand, and Islington and Poplar on the
other. In the case of Fulham, the Guardians, when assessing the relief
to be granted, take into account the extent to which school meals are
already being supplied to children of the family ... but in the case of
Poplar, the Guardians have informed the various school Care Committees
that 'the fact that a family is in receipt of poor law relief should not
be considered as a reason for the children not being supplied with
meals.'"[449] To put an end to all this overlapping and diversity of
practice, the Council proposed that the Guardians should purchase school
meals for the children of families who were in receipt of relief. The
Local Government Board, however, declined to agree to this course. In
practice, they thought, it was hardly possible to avoid all difficulty
of overlapping, "though it should be feasible, with careful
administration, to restrict it within reasonable limits"; the only
suggestion they offered towards the solution of the difficulty was that,
if it appeared to the Education Authority that a child whose parents
were receiving out-relief required supervision by the Guardians, the
Education Authority should communicate with the Guardians with a view to
an investigation of the circumstances.[450] This suggestion was acted
upon, and the Care Committees were instructed in future to notify to the
Guardians all cases in which, to their knowledge, necessitous children
belonged to families in receipt of poor law relief.[451] But such
notification had little practical result. The Guardians continued to
grant inadequate relief, and the Council felt compelled to continue to
provide these children with food. How necessary school meals were was,
indeed, clearly shown by a resolution of the Hammersmith Guardians, who
themselves actually declared that, "when school children's parents are
in receipt of outdoor relief, that fact should in general be taken as an
indication that such children would be benefited by school meals, and
not as an indication that they are adequately fed, since, as a matter of
fact, outdoor relief is seldom or never adequate"![452]

Footnote 447:

  London County Council, Report on the Home Circumstances of Necessitous
  Children in twelve selected schools, 1908, p. 22.

Footnote 448:

  Annual Report of London County Council for 1910, Chapter XLI., p. 7.

Footnote 449:

  Minutes of the London County Council, February 15, 1910, p. 175.

Footnote 450:

  _Ibid._, July 26-27, 1910, p. 319.

Footnote 451:

  _London County Council Gazette_, May 29, 1911, p. 370.

Footnote 452:

  _School Child_, February, 1912, p. 4.

Though the Council's proposal that the Boards of Guardians should repay
the cost of the meals was rejected by the Local Government Board, as far
as London generally was concerned, individual Boards have agreed to the
plan. In Lambeth and Chelsea the Guardians have consented to pay the
cost of meals supplied to the children of parents who are receiving
out-relief, if they consider that school meals are necessary.[453] At
Hampstead, where the funds for the provision of school meals are
supplied by the Council of Social Welfare,[454] an informal arrangement
has been made with the Guardians. Where the mother can stay at home and
can be trusted to expend the relief given in food for the children, the
Guardians have agreed to give ample relief. Where the mother goes out to
work or cannot be trusted to feed the children properly, or where it is
undesirable for the children to go home, the Council of Social Welfare
pays for school dinners.

Footnote 453:

  Minutes of London County Council, November 5, 1912, p. 1093; _London
  County Council Gazette_, January 20, 1913, p. 65.

Footnote 454:

  See ante, p. 141 n.

But as a rule no definite arrangement is made. A few Care Committees
refuse to feed children whose parents are receiving relief, but in the
great majority of schools cases are to be found where children are being
fed by the Care Committee, while their parents are being relieved by the
Guardians.[455] Frequently no official communication passes between the
two authorities concerned. The Guardians may learn indirectly through
the Relieving Officer, or perhaps through some member of their Board who
happens also to be a member of the Care Committee, that the latter are
feeding the children. Where a system of mutual registration has been
established, each authority will, theoretically, be informed of what the
other is doing. How far all cases are actually notified will depend on
the secretary of each individual Care Committee. And this system of
mutual registration does not prevent overlapping in many cases where the
children are on the feeding-list for a short time only, since cases are
often notified only once a month, by which time the necessity for
feeding may have ceased. Occasionally the Guardians ask the Care
Committee to inform them if they discover any cases where the relief
appears inadequate, so that they may increase it, if necessary. In other
Unions the Guardians deliberately count on the provision of school meals
to supplement the relief given; they tell the parents to apply for
dinners and grant less relief in consequence, thereafter priding
themselves on keeping down the rates.

Footnote 455:

  Most of the cases of overlapping are, of course, cases in which the
  Guardians are granting out-relief. There are also the cases where the
  Guardians are relieving a widow by maintaining some of her children in
  Poor Law schools, but the mother has not sufficient income adequately
  to maintain the remaining child or children.


                  (a)--School, visited October, 1913.

Here the dinner is served in the Infants' School in a room at the top of
the building. Some sixty infants, all attending the school, were being
fed. They entered the room two by two and sat down together at low
tables on specially small chairs. Two teachers were present throughout
the meal; they served the food, and four of the children handed it
round. Perfect order was kept, and at the end of the meal all the
children rose together, and, after saying grace, marched out quietly.
The food is cooked on the premises, the menu being drawn up by one of
the teachers and varied every day. The whole meal was served in as
attractive a manner as possible, and testified eloquently to the care
and thought which must have been spent on its organisation.

                    (b)--School, visited June, 1913.

Here the meal is served in the school hall. The Headmistress much
objects to this plan, since it leaves the atmosphere close and stuffy
all the afternoon. Moreover, the bringing in of the tables and forms, an
operation which has to be begun twenty minutes before the end of morning
school, causes a considerable commotion. On the day of our visit 160
children, boys, girls and infants, were receiving dinner. For this
number there were only one supervisor and two servers, assisted by five
or six monitresses chosen from among the elder children. As a result of
this inadequate supervision the meal was served in a perfect babel of
noise; the children shouted and screamed and banged their spoons on the
table. A bell was rung at intervals throughout the meal to obtain
silence, but no attention was paid to it. The fact that there was a
deficiency of seating accommodation heightened the confusion. At the end
of each table a child had to stand, and those sitting down were crowded
much too closely together. Separate tables were reserved for the
infants, of whom there were a large number, some of them tiny mites of
three years old. The tables, however, were not specially adapted for
them, being of the ordinary height. In consequence many of the little
ones had considerable difficulty in feeding themselves, their heads only
just appearing above the table, and, of course, nobody had time to
attend to their wants. It is only fair to add that we saw the centre at
a particularly unfortunate time, since the supervisor had only taken
over the work a few days prior to our visit, and therefore had not yet
obtained a firm hold over the children. The noise, we were told, was
usually not so great.

                    (c)--Centre, visited May, 1913.

This centre, attended by children from two neighbouring schools, is a
striking illustration of what can be effected by patient and careful
supervision. At the time of our visit this work was being performed by
an assistant teacher, but before her appointment the secretary or some
other member of the Care Committee daily supervised the meal for two
years. The meal was served in a large, cheerful room. No tablecloths
were supplied; at one time flowers were provided, much to the joy of the
children, but it was found impossible to continue this practice. The
children were seated at small tables, some eight or ten at each, an
arrangement which renders the work of supervision very much easier.
There were no infants present, as these are sent to the Cookery Centre.
A boy or girl was responsible for each table; they handed round the
food, paying attention to the individual appetites of the children. No
waste of food was permitted, the children being kept till they had
finished. The whole scene, the quiet and orderly behaviour of the
children and their consideration for one another's wants, left a most
pleasing impression upon the mind. At the date of our visit the numbers
were small, only some 50 children being present, but we were told that
their behaviour was quite as orderly even in winter, when the numbers
were much larger.

                   (d)--Centre, visited March, 1913.

This centre is a large basement room in a Mission Hall, dark and
unattractive, accommodating between 200 and 300 children. It serves
several neighbouring schools, and the numbers on the day of our visit
were too large to admit of all the children sitting down together. As
each child came in and gave up its ticket, it seized a spoon and fork
from a pile on a table near the door, and rushed to its place. When
about half the children were seated, grace was sung or rather shouted,
and then the food was brought in and literally flung on to the table by
the server and one or two of the elder boys. Though the numbers were so
large there was only one supervisor, though we were told that
occasionally one of the sisters from the neighbouring settlement came to
help. With such inadequate supervision it was, of course, impossible to
teach table manners. The children, the boys especially, gobbled down
their dinner, amid a hubbub of noise, and hurried out as soon as they
had finished, other boys rushing in to take their places. No special
provision was made for the infants; they were placed with the other
children and were given the same food. No attention was paid to
individual appetites and much of the food, we were told, was wasted.

                    (e)--Centre, visited June, 1913.

This is a centre for Jewish children, serving three or four neighbouring
schools. The room not being large enough to accommodate all the children
at once, two relays are necessary, even in summer. Over 200 children
were present, but there was only one supervisor, assisted by four or
five women. The children entered in an orderly fashion and seated
themselves at the table, none being allowed to begin the meal till all
were seated. The infants were placed at a separate table; they are given
special food when the dietary provided for the other children is not
suitable for them. Some of the elder girls acted as monitresses and
helped to serve the food and clear up afterwards. Unfortunately, owing
to the fact that other children were waiting to come in, the meal was
necessarily hurried, the second course being placed on the table while
the children were still eating the first course. Though the order
maintained was wonderful, considering the large numbers present, it was
impossible to attend adequately to the children's manners; many of them
were using their fingers, and there appeared to be considerable waste of

                  (f)--Centre, visited October, 1913.

This is another centre for Jewish children. The dinner was served in a
large, dreary parish hall, to some 200 or 300 children. There was one
supervisor and four servers, while tickets were taken by the caretaker.
Order was well preserved, but only by means of the frequent ringing of a
bell, and by the enforcement of absolute silence. The supervisor said
that if the children were allowed to talk the noise would be unbearable.
Before being given their food, the children were told to hold up their
hands if they were "big eaters," the margin of waste being minimised in
this way. Although the manners and behaviour of the children could not
be said to be bad, the whole effect was singularly unattractive--the
bare room, the large numbers, and the frequent shouted commands and
rebukes of the supervisor leaving no scope for humanising and
educational influences.

                               CHAPTER IV

"Defective nutrition," Sir George Newman points out, "stands in the
forefront as the most important of all physical defects from which
school children suffer."[456] Malnutrition, 'debility' and other
physical defects in childhood "are the ancestry of tuberculosis in the
adult. They predispose to disease, and are, in a sense, both its seed
and its soil."[457]

Footnote 456:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1910, p. 26.

Footnote 457:

  _Ibid._, p. 1.

It is impossible to give any figures as to the extent of this defect,
since nutrition is not a condition which can be measured by any definite
standards. The weight of the child is, of course, a most important
matter to be noted, but there are other points--"the ratio of stature to
weight; the general appearance, carriage and 'substance' of the child;
the firmness of the tissues; the presence of subcutaneous fat; the
development of the muscular system; the condition of the skin and
redness of the mucous membranes; the expression of listlessness or
alertness, apathy or keenness; the condition of the various systems of
the body; and, speaking generally, the relative balance and
co-ordination of the functions and powers of digestion, absorption and
assimilation of food."[458] Each observer adopts a different standard of
what constitutes good nutrition, and hence the statistics given in the
reports of the School Medical Officers cannot be used for comparative
purposes. According to the latest figures, as quoted by the President of
the Board of Education, 10 per cent. of the elementary school children
of England and Wales suffer from defective nutrition.[459] Many of the
School Medical Officers, however, have obviously adopted a low standard
and Mr. Arthur Greenwood, who has made a careful enquiry into this
subject, is of opinion that, "taking the country as a whole, not merely
10 per cent., but probably a number approaching 20 per cent., show
perceptible signs of malnutrition."[460]

Footnote 458:

  _Ibid._, p. 26.

Footnote 459:

  _Hansard_, April 10, 1913, Vol. 51, p. 1381; _The Health and Physique
  of School Children_, by Arthur Greenwood, 1913, p. 48.

Footnote 460:

  _Ibid._, p. 50.

Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that the degeneration is
progressive. In an enquiry conducted by Dr. Arkle at Liverpool, 2,111
children from three elementary schools were compared, as to height and
weight, with 366 children from secondary schools. The results (see
accompanying table) showed that at practically every age the heights and
weights of the children varied directly with the class from which they
were drawn, and the deficit increased out of proportion to the rate of
growth. "These figures," he points out, "are rendered all the more
striking when one considers that one is talking of children and not of
full-grown men. A difference of a stone in the weight of two men may not
be a very great matter, but when the investigation shows such a
discrepancy between two groups of boys of eleven, it means that one of
the groups is deficient to the extent of one-fifth of the whole body
weight, and the decadence is so progressive that the deficiency has by
fourteen years of age almost reached a quarter of the whole body

Footnote 461:

  "The Medical Examination of School Children," by Dr. A. S. Arkle, a
  paper read at the North of England Education Conference, January, 1907
  (reprinted in _School Government Chronicle_, Supplement, January 12,
  1907, pp. 77, 89). As we have already said, the nutrition cannot be
  determined solely by weight. "In fact," as a School Medical Officer
  points out, "an ill-nourished child may be above the average weight,
  or, on the other hand, a healthy child may be much under the average
  and yet not be ill-nourished." (Report of the School Medical Officer
  for Leeds for 1910, p. 27.) But when dealing with large numbers of
  children, the average weight furnishes a reliable index of nutrition.

This malnutrition is to be attributed to many causes besides actual lack
of food. Improper food and hurried methods of eating account for much
malnutrition. So much has been written on the subject of the wrong
feeding of children that it seems unnecessary to labour this point. One
can, indeed, hardly open a report of a School Medical Officer without
finding this evil deplored. In the poorest homes there are frequently no
fixed meal times; the children are given "a piece" when they are hungry,
and this is often eaten in the street or on the doorstep. Bread and tea
figure largely in the dietary. Supper is frequently the principal meal
of the day, with resulting indigestion for the children.

Employment out of school hours and want of sleep are again important
factors. Indeed, in the eyes of some School Medical Officers,
malnutrition is due more to want of sleep than to lack of food. The
children are almost invariably kept up till late at night, it being a
rare exception to find a child being sent to bed at anything approaching
a reasonable hour.

A still more potent cause, perhaps, is to be found in bad housing
conditions. Striking testimony as to the relation between the physique
of school children and housing was adduced by Dr. Leslie Mackenzie and
Captain Foster, as a result of an enquiry into the condition of 72,857
school children in Glasgow. "If we take all the children of ages from 5
to 18," they report, "we find that the average weight of the one-roomed
boy is 52·6 lbs.; of the two-roomed, 56·1 lbs.; of the three-roomed,
60·6 lbs.; of the four-roomed and over, 64·3 lbs. The respective heights
are 46·6 inches; 48·1 inches; 50·0 inches and 51·3 inches. For girls the
corresponding figures are:--Weights, 51·5 lbs.; 54·8 lbs.; 59·4 lbs.;
65·5 lbs. The heights are 46·3 inches; 47·8 inches; 49·6 inches; 57·6

Footnote 462:

  Report by Dr. Leslie Mackenzie and Captain A. Foster, on the Physical
  Condition of Children attending the Public Schools of the School Board
  of Glasgow, 1907, p. v.

At East Ham also the nutrition of the children was found to vary in
accordance with the number of rooms:--[463]

       Number of Rooms.               Number of  Percentage with
                                       Children    Nutritional
                                      Examined.     Defects.

       Children from 2 and 3-roomed      255          17·2

       4-roomed houses                   486          16·7

       5-roomed houses                   657          13·2

       6-roomed houses                  1,486         13·5

          Number of Persons per Room.
          Less than one                     877        9·2
          One                               576        15·4
          Between one and two              1,379       15·2
          Two and more                      181        17·7

Footnote 463:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for East Ham for 1911, p. 56.

The interpretation of these tables, as the School Medical Officer points
out, must be guarded. But, he continues, "I think it is safe to assume
that nutrition ... suffered the more confined the individual."[464]

Footnote 464:

  _Ibid._, p. 57.

Actual physical defects, such as decayed teeth,[465] adenoids or
enlarged tonsils, or definite diseases, such as phthisis, may account
for malnutrition in many cases. Want of cleanliness again may be a

Footnote 465:

  The School Medical Officer for Cumberland found that whilst, at the
  age of 3 to 4, 28·4 per cent. of the boys and 38·7 per cent. of the
  girls were classified as good, "the percentages diminish gradually
  till at the age of 7 to 8 they are only 12·8 and 15·9, but from 20·4
  and 29·7 at the age of 12 to 13 they gradually rise to 36·0 and 34·6
  at the age of 14 to 15. Probably in most cases the condition of the
  teeth is responsible for this falling off in condition. In the early
  years of life, before the teeth begin to go bad, the nutrition is
  good, but gradually gets worse as time goes on and more teeth decay,
  but nutrition again improves after the eruption of the permanent
  teeth, which, of course, are in the majority of cases sound for some
  little time." (Report of the School Medical Officer for Cumberland for
  1911, p. 20.)

Footnote 466:

  "The cleanliness of the houses and especially of the bedrooms ... has
  an important bearing on nutrition." (Report of the School Medical
  Officer for Congleton for 1911, p. 4.) A School Medical Officer in
  London told us that if a child improved in the point of cleanliness
  there was a marked improvement also in nutrition.

The precise effect to be attributed to each cause is difficult to
estimate. Often, of course, two or more factors will be present,
concurrently and interdependently. In an enquiry made in 1910 by Dr.
Chate, into the condition of 570 children (307 boys and 263 girls) in a
rural or semi-rural district of Middlesex who were suffering from
malnutrition, it was found that poverty was the principal cause in 29·5
per cent. of the cases among the boys, and 26·1 per cent. among the
girls. Adenoids, worms, rickets, carious teeth and oral sepsis accounted
for 32·7 per cent. among the boys, and 33·3 per cent. among the girls.
Improper diet was the main cause in 2·3 per cent. of the cases. In 69
cases malnutrition was due to some disease such as tuberculosis, chronic
bronchitis, etc., while in 13 cases it was attributed to overcrowding,
and in 10 cases to overwork with insufficient sleep.[467] In the
following year a similar enquiry was made by Dr. Tate in a suburban
residential area of the same county. Out of 167 cases, defective
nutrition was found to be due to poverty and neglect in 23·3 per cent.;
to rickets, adenoids, worms or digestive disorder in 28·5 per cent.; to
lung affection in 5·4 per cent.; in 7·2 per cent. malnutrition "appeared
to be associated with some previous or present condition of ill-health,
to account for which no organic mischief could be found at the time of
inspection"; while in 33 instances no obvious cause could be

Footnote 467:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1910, pp. 29-30.

Footnote 468:

  _Ibid._, for 1911, p. 30.

At Bootle the School Medical Officer reports that out of 289 cases of
sub-normal nutrition, the cause is to be sought in 78 per cent. in some
definite disease or physical defect (including disturbances of digestion
due to improper feeding); in 17 per cent. there are no definite signs of
organic disease; while in 5 per cent. malnutrition is due to

Footnote 469:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Bootle for 1912, p. 17.

At Wolverhampton Dr. Badger reports that, out of 131 cases, malnutrition
is due to the influence or reaction of disease, convalescence from
recent disease, or defective heredity in 64; to pampering in 4; to
excessive growth in 1; to overwork and insufficient sleep in 11; to
ignorance and poverty in 25; while in 26 cases there was strong evidence
of neglect, dirt or drink.[470] In his opinion, an opinion based upon a
comparison of the clothing and footgear of the malnourished and normal
children, "the malnutrition of the scholars examined was not primarily
due to poverty."[471] This, as Sir George Newman points out, "may well
have been the case, but the fact that the examinations were 'routine' in
character, when the children are apt to be specially dressed and boots
even borrowed for the occasion, makes this particular item, unless
subjected to further analysis, of little or no value as a criterion in
forming a judgment as to the relation of poverty to the

Footnote 470:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Wolverhampton for 1911, p.

Footnote 471:

  _Ibid._, p. 32.

Footnote 472:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 25.

Other School Medical Officers are of the same opinion as Dr. Badger. At
Congleton the School Medical Officer visited the homes of a considerable
number of children whose nutrition was defective, with a view to
ascertaining the cause of their condition. He found that "actual poverty
of the parents and inability to provide food was comparatively rare,
that neglect was common, and unsuitable food probably the most frequent
cause."[473] At Hornsey in the majority of cases "some definite ailment
was apparent to explain, at least partially, the condition. There were
very few instances in which it could be certainly stated that
insufficiency of food was the sole cause."[474] At Manchester "the vast
majority" of children whose nutrition was medium "and many of those who
were poorly nourished were not in this condition through want of
food.... Each year's work adds to the evidence that poverty is not
responsible for more than about 50 per cent. of the cases."[475] On the
other hand, the School Medical Officer for Kidderminster reports, "I
find that the better condition of trade and employment in the town was
reflected in the improved nutrition of the children.... This also tends
to show that the majority of cases of defective nutrition arise, not
from carelessness and inattention on the part of the parents, but from
inability on their part to provide the children with sufficient
nourishment owing to want of means."[476]

Footnote 473:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Congleton for 1911, p. 4.

Footnote 474:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Hornsey for 1911, p. 14.

Footnote 475:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for 1911, in Report of the
  Manchester Education Committee, 1910-11, p. 242.

Footnote 476:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Kidderminster for 1911, p. 2.

It is indeed impossible to say how much malnutrition is due to poverty.
Though the immediate cause may be disease, overwork, or overcrowding,
these evils are themselves largely the result of insufficient means.

The relation between the malnutrition of the children and the amount of
the family income is strikingly illustrated by the results of an enquiry
recently made into the diet of the labouring classes in Glasgow. A
careful study was made of the family diet of certain selected families
during a week, or in some cases a fortnight, and the energy value of
each diet expressed in terms of the requirements of a man per day, a
woman or a boy of 14 to 16 being reckoned as equivalent to ·8 of a man,
a girl of 14 to 16 as ·7, and children of 10 to 13, 6 to 9, 2 to 5, and
under 2 respectively as ·6, ·5, ·4, ·3. "If a family diet expressed in
this way gives a yield of energy of less than 3,500 calories per man per
day, it is insufficient for active work, and if less than 3,000
calories, it is quite inadequate for the proper maintenance of growth
and of normal activity."[477]

Footnote 477:

  Report upon a Study of the Diet of the Labouring Classes in the City
  of Glasgow carried out during 1911-12, by Dorothy E. Lindsay, B.Sc.,
  1913, pp. 5-6.

"Taking the average intake of energy and of protein in the various
groups [comprising 52 families], the results are as follows:--

                                              Energy.     Protein.

    Group A. [Income regular, average 39s.]    3,184       113·8
    (excluding LIX. abnormal)

    Group B. [Income regular, lodgers kept,    3,316       111·7
    average 43s.]

    Group C. [Income regular, between 27s. &   3,467        118

    Group D. [   "      "        "    20s. &   3,456       117·7

    Group E. [   "      "       under 20s.]    2,690        97·8

    Group F. [Income irregular, over 20s.]     2,994        108

    (excluding XLIV. abnormal)                 2,784       101·4

    Group G. [Income irregular, under 20s.]    2,797        96·6

    Group H. [   "      "       father         3,155       103·9

    or, excluding XXVII. abnormal              2,921        95·6

"These figures show conclusively that, while the labouring classes with
a regular income of over 20s. a week generally manage to secure a diet
approaching the proper standard for active life, _those with a smaller
income and those with an irregular income entirely fail to get a supply
of food sufficient for the proper development and growth of the body or
for the maintenance of a capacity for active work_."[478] "An
interesting point in connection with these studies is the influence of
the diet on the physical condition of the children." The weights of a
number of children which were obtained "show very markedly the
relationship between the physique and the food. _When the weight is much
below the average for that age, almost without exception the diet is

Footnote 478:

  _Ibid._, p. 27. The numbers in each group are so small that the
  average does not furnish a reliable index, but that the conclusion
  drawn from the figures is warranted is shown by the fact that of the
  27 families in the first four groups (excluding one case where the
  circumstances are abnormal), 8 have a dietary yielding over 3,500
  calories of energy and only 6 fall below the minimum of 3,000, while
  of the 22 families in the remaining groups (excluding two abnormal
  cases), only one has a dietary yielding over 3,500 calories, while no
  less than 16 fall below the minimum. (_Ibid._, pp. 12-23.) Here, of
  course, again we have the question of wrong feeding. In many cases the
  income could have been laid out to better advantage. "Where one family
  gets nearly their minimum adequate diet on an expenditure of 5·1 pence
  per man per diem ... others on an expenditure of nearly 9d. fail to
  secure it." (_Ibid._, p. 29.)

Footnote 479:

  _Ibid._, p. 30.

Dr. Larkins, late assistant School Medical Officer for Surrey, also came
to the conclusion "that a steady wage of 20s. a week is required to
produce and properly maintain average strong well-nourished children;
that below this figure, the danger zone is reached." This conclusion was
based on an enquiry he made into the wages of the parents of all
children aged 13 that he examined during a considerable period.[480] The
results are seen in the following table:--

Footnote 480:

  The actual number of children examined is not stated.

  Average    Average Weight  General Condition of  Average number of
  Weekly       in lbs. of        the children     children in family.
  Wages.      children aged  (Percent Very Good /  (Total, Under 14,
             between 13 and    Average / Poor)          Over 14)

  Over 25s.       99·6         50 /   46   /  4    5·5    3·4    2·1

  20s. to         84·1         15 /   73   / 11    5·7    2·8    2·9

  18s. to         77·0          /   56   / 44      6·3    3·8    2·5

  16s. to         72·6         /   42·5 / 57·5     6·6    4·2    2·4

  14s. to         74·3          /   22   / 78      7·6    2·9    4·7

  12s. to         70·8          /   20   / 80      3·6    2·2    1·4

The wages are the total weekly income out of which everything has to be
paid, including rent, which varies from 4s. to 7s. 6d. ("The Influence
of Wages on the Child's Nutrition," by F. E. Larkins, M.D. Edin.,
D.P.H., late Assistant School Medical Officer for Surrey, in _The
Medical Officer_, December 17, 1910, p. 347.)

The effect of education is, as was recognised thirty years ago, to
intensify the evil of malnutrition. "To educate underfed children," says
Dr. Leslie Mackenzie, "is to promote deterioration of physique by
exhausting the nervous system. Education of the underfed is a positive
evil."[481] "Defective nutrition," says the School Medical Officer for
Blackburn, "to a far greater extent than any other single cause, and
probably more than all other causes combined, renders children incapable
of education. In a growing child the demands of muscle and bone must be
satisfied before those of nervous tissue, and consequently when there is
deficiency, or what comes to the same thing, unsuitability of food or
inability to assimilate it, the nervous system is the first to suffer,
the brain is starved and anæmic, and the extra strain involved in school
work can have only a harmful, and in some cases a disastrous
result."[482] "There is probably no disease of children," says another
School Medical Officer, "which needs combating more than bad
nutrition.... It is quite impossible for any child thus affected to
compete mentally with normal children of similar age; in fact, mental
defect is frequently found in association with malnutrition."[483]

Footnote 481:

  _The Medical Inspection of School Children_, by Dr. W. Leslie
  Mackenzie, assisted by Dr. E. Matthew, 1904, p. 196.

Footnote 482:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Blackburn for 1911, p. 190.

Footnote 483:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Leeds for 1912, p. 30.

This relation of mental capacity to nutrition was exemplified in the
figures quoted by Dr. Ralph Crowley at the Education Conference in 1907.
He examined 1,840 children in elementary schools at Bradford, and
classified them according to their nutrition and intelligence.

Of the children of exceptional intelligence, 62·7 per cent. were of good
nutrition, 35·6 per cent. were below normal, and 1·7 per cent. were of
poor or very poor nutrition. Of the children who were exceptionally
dull, only 24·9 per cent. were of good nutrition, 39·5 were below
normal, and no less than 35·6 poor or very poor.[484]

Footnote 484:

  "The Physical Conditions of School Children," by Dr. Ralph H. Crowley,
  North of England Education Conference, January, 1907 (reprinted in the
  _School Government Chronicle_, Supplement, January 12, 1907, pp.

In an enquiry made at Manchester by the School Medical Officer a few
years ago, it was found on examining 146 poorly nourished and 163
markedly badly nourished children, that 56·1 per cent. of the former
were below par in mental capacity, and 4·8 per cent. were classed as
bad; of the latter 63·2 per cent. were below normal, and 12·9 per cent.

But the most remarkable results are recorded by Dr. Arkle, of Liverpool,
in the enquiry to which we have already referred. He asked the teachers
to give evidence as to the intelligence of the 2,111 elementary school
children whom he examined. "The teachers in 'A' and 'B' both return
about 60 per cent. of the children as normal in intelligence, but
whereas the former returns 25 per cent. as above and 15 per cent. below
normal, the latter only returns 5 per cent. above and 35 per cent. as
below the normal. But it is in the return from the poorest school that
we get the most curious result. In 'C' the master only feels justified
in calling 22 per cent. of the boys normal, while he puts 33 per cent.
above and 45 per cent. below normal." These figures, "it seems to me,"
writes Dr. Arkle, "can only be explained on one hypothesis. I believe,
and my personal notes tend to confirm this view, that almost all the
abnormal intelligences in the poorest school are due to the one
factor--starvation.... Over and over again I noted such cases of
children without an ounce of superfluous flesh upon them, with skins
harsh and rough, a rapid pulse and nerves ever on the strain, and yet
with the expression of the most lively intelligence. But it is the eager
intelligence of the hunting animal.... I fear it is from this class that
the ranks of pilferers and sneak thieves come, and their cleverness is
not of any real intellectual value. On the other hand, with children of
a more lymphatic temperament, starvation seems to produce creatures more
like automata.... If I told one of these children to open its mouth, it
would take no notice till the request became a command, which had to be
accompanied by a slight shake to draw the child's attention. Then the
mouth would be slowly opened widely, but no effort would be made to
close it again until the child was told to do so.... I believe both
these types of children are suffering from what I would call starvation
of the nervous system, in one case causing irritation and in the other
torpor. And, further, these cases are always associated with the
clearest signs of bodily starvation, stunted growth, emaciation, rough
and cold skin and the mouth full of viscid saliva due to hunger."[485]

Footnote 485:

  "The Medical Examination of School Children," by Dr. A. S. Arkle, in
  _School Government Chronicle_, Supplement, January 12, 1907, p. 78.

Somewhat similar results were observed by Dr. Badger, the School Medical
Officer for Wolverhampton. In comparing 1,299 normal children of
thirteen years of age with 100 mal-nourished children, he found that,
while of the normal scholars 16·6 per cent. were of good intelligence,
68 per cent. of average intelligence and 15·5 per cent. dull, among the
mal-nourished children the percentages were respectively 16, 59 and
25.[486] This "record in respect of intelligence," points out Sir George
Newman, "shows, what has been noted by other observers, that though the
proportion of children considered as 'dull' by the teachers is
considerably larger among mal-nourished children than among children
generally, nevertheless there are children who suffer serious defects in
nutrition whose mental powers are well above the average. It is
naturally quick and keen children such as these who require care in
order that their physical health may not be further injured by excessive
mental application."[487]

Footnote 486:

  Report of the School Medical Officer for Wolverhampton for 1911, p.
  24. (Quoted in Report of Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
  Education for 1911, p. 24.)

Footnote 487:

  Report of Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1911, p.

                               CHAPTER V

Since the causes of malnutrition are so many and diverse it is obvious
that this defect cannot be remedied or prevented solely by the provision
of school meals. But that the provision of wholesome food at regular
hours has a marked effect in the improvement of the physique of the
children, there is abundant evidence.

Unfortunately, though the periodic weighing of children who are
receiving school meals, in order to ascertain the effect produced, has
been strongly advocated by the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
Education,[488] this advice has rarely been acted upon. It is true that
a few--a very few--Education Authorities profess to have a system of
weighing children who are receiving meals, before they are put on, and
after they are taken off, the feeding-list, but for the most part this
weighing is only done spasmodically, and the records are not accessible.

Footnote 488:

  Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for
  1911, p. 286.

Several such enquiries have, however, been made in the past, the best
known being that made by Dr. Ralph Crowley at Bradford in 1907.[489] The
results of this experiment have been often quoted, but they are so
important that they will bear repetition. Forty children were selected
from two of the poorest schools in the city, the children being mainly
those who appeared to be most in need of food, though a few were
included primarily on the ground of their particularly poor home
circumstances.[490] To these children from April 17 to July 24 two meals
a day were given--breakfast, consisting of oatmeal porridge with milk
and treacle followed by bread and margarine or dripping, with hot or
cold milk to drink; and a dinner comprising in rotation one of seventeen
different menus specially drawn up so as to contain the amounts of fat
and proteid necessary for a child's nourishment.[491] Every effort was
made to render the meals of as much educational value as possible, and
special attention was given to such matters as the provision of
table-cloths and flowers and the inculcation of good manners.

Footnote 489:

  Bradford Education Committee, Report on a Course of Meals given to
  necessitous children from April to July, 1907.

Footnote 490:

  _Ibid._, p. 3.

Footnote 491:

  _Ibid._, pp. 4, 5.

The children experimented on were weighed three times during the five
weeks preceding the starting of the meals, and every week while they
were receiving them. For the purpose of making comparative observations
69 children were selected who were being fed at home, and who in other
respects were as comparable as possible with those who were receiving
the breakfasts and dinners. These "control children" were also weighed
weekly. During the four weeks, March 12 to April 9, before the feeding
began, the forty children gained on an average ·17 kilos, and during the
week previous to feeding ·008 kilos. At the end of the first week of
feeding the average increase was found to be ·58 kilos (1 lb. 4
oz.).[492] During the next week, there was a slight loss of ·001 kilos,
followed by a gain during the next two weeks of ·15 and ·13 kilos
respectively. During the ensuing eleven days, the Whitsuntide holiday,
no meals were given. At the end of this period it was found that the
"control children" who, during the three weeks preceding the holiday,
had lost ·003 kilos on the average, had during these eleven days gained
an average of ·23 kilos; in the case, however, of the children fed at
school, not only had the lack of food neutralised the benefits of fresh
air and exercise, but they had actually lost an average of ·48 kilos, a
loss which it took them nearly a fortnight to make up, after the meals
had been started again. During the eleven days after the holiday the
"control children" only gained ·02 kilos. A group of "control children"
from another school similarly gained ·21 kilos during the holiday, and
only ·04 kilos during the subsequent fortnight. The same result was
observed during the five weeks' summer holiday; the "control children"
gained on an average ·37 kilos (_i.e._, at the rate of ·074 kilos per
week), while the children fed at school lost ·46 kilos.[493] The
accompanying chart illustrates the rate of increase of the two groups of
children. Apart from the increase in weight, the improvement in the
general appearance and carriage of the children who received the meals
"was more or less apparent in all, and very obvious in some of the
children, who visibly filled out and brightened up."[494] The reverse
process was equally apparent after the summer holidays.

Footnote 492:

  "The average gain per year of children of this class and size," Dr.
  Crowley points out, "is not more than two kilos (4 lbs. 6 oz.) for the
  whole year." (_Ibid._, p. 9.)

Footnote 493:

  _Ibid._, pp. 9-11. As Dr. Crowley points out, several points have to
  be considered in interpreting the effect on weight. "The increase in
  the weight of children normally varies greatly at different seasons of
  the year," and "at any given season fluctuates much, sometimes,
  comparatively, even from week to week. The proportional increase in
  weight varies with the age of the child, or rather with the weight to
  which the child has already attained." (_Ibid._, p. 8.)

Footnote 494:

  _Ibid._, p. 8.

[Illustration: Chart illustrating the average gain or loss in
weight--during the intervals shown--of the children who were fed at
Bradford. The broken line shows the average increase in weight--during
the same time--of the "Control Children."]

At Northampton, in 1909, a similar experiment was conducted under the
supervision of the Medical Officer of Health. Forty-four children were
given breakfast and dinner for fourteen weeks, and weighed weekly,
together with forty children of the same social class who were not
receiving meals. At the beginning of the experiment the average weight
of the fed children was 1·71 kilos less than that of the "controls"; in
the second week their average gain was much greater, and by the end of
the fourteenth week the difference in weight was reduced to 1·02 kilos.
During the Easter holidays of ten days in which no meals were given, the
children who had previously been fed lost in weight while the "controls"

Footnote 495:

  Report on the Working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act up to
  March 31, 1909, pp. 14-15.

Another interesting experiment was conducted by Dr. Haden Guest in a
poor school in Lambeth in the early part of 1908.[496] A large number of
children were selected--244--but the attendance of many of these was
irregular and continuous records were obtained in the case of only 89
children. From January 24 to April 11 a midday meal was given six days a
week. The meal consisted of two courses, a normal portion of which was
calculated to be sufficient to supply the amounts of proteids,
carbohydrates, fats and salts, physiologically necessary for children.
The same meal was never given twice in succession, a variation of six
menus being repeated over twelve consecutive days. The room in which the
meals were served was bright and airy, the surroundings having, in Dr.
Guest's estimation, an important physiological bearing on good
digestion. All the children in the school were weighed before and after
the experiment and again in the first week of July, the children who
were receiving dinners being also weighed regularly during the
experiment. Taking first the case of the elder children, we read that
the results "showed a very decided and positive improvement both from
the general standpoint and from that of increase in weight, the fed
children increasing at a more rapid rate than the other children in the
school with whom they were compared."[497] "Starting a good deal below
the normal of their own school mates, they tended, under the influence
of one good meal a day, rapidly to approach that normal." And again,
"the increase in the healthy appearance of the children and in their
general alertness was marked. Children with sores, small abscesses,
colds and blepharitis recovered from these ailments.... The amount of
absence from school due to illness was considerably less during the
course of the experiment." This testimony was fully borne out by the
headmaster. "The effect of the feeding of the children," he declared,
"is a marked improvement judging from the general appearance of the
boys, who are almost all brighter. The improvement is particularly
noticeable in their play. They are more vigorous and enter more heartily
into the rougher games of boys and bear the knocks without coming to the
teacher to complain. They certainly enjoy their play more and show less
fatigue. There are few lads shivering against the walls with hands in
pockets, sloping shoulders and pale faces. In school, the effect during
the first few weeks was drowsiness. This was succeeded by improved tone
and greater independence of character, and generally a greater
individuality. The difference in mental condition is not so marked, and
is certainly more difficult to measure. There is less fatigue in
lessons, and the lads are capable of more continuous exertion." The
teachers' reports on the girls were of the same character, though not so
decided in tone, except on one point--that those who were fed were "more
troublesome," that is to say, more full of spirits, a factor which
appeared also in their play. Turning to the effect of the meals on the
infants a most disquieting state of affairs was disclosed. It was found
that, while the weight of the infants who were fed was less than that of
the other infants of their own school, "the difference was much less
than in the case of the bigger children, the increase in weight in each
case correspondingly slow, and the amount by which both groups fell
below the normal greater." During the first week there was a remarkable
fall in weight among the infants who received meals, ascribable partly
to the fact that they did not receive the necessary attention which was
afterwards given them, partly to the fact that they were unfamiliar with
good nourishing food (a factor operating in the case of the elder
children also, though to a far less degree[498]); largely, however, it
was due to their being "actually unable to digest and assimilate this
food." This slow progress on the part of the infants Dr. Guest
attributed to improper feeding at home. In most Lambeth homes the
younger children received the same diet (the staple articles being tea
and bread and butter) as the older ones, but whereas the latter could
manage on this diet, and, with a good midday meal in addition, even
flourish, the former could not thrive. Dr. Guest therefore advocated
that necessitous infants should be fed at least twice a day, on a diet
different from that given to the elder children, and that more
individual care should be devoted to each child, since in most cases
they required coaxing before they would eat the wholesome food provided.

Footnote 496:

  MS. Report on Lambeth School Children Feeding Experiment, by Dr. L.
  Haden Guest, 1908.

Footnote 497:

  We have, unfortunately, not been able to obtain a copy of the figures
  on which Dr. Haden Guest's report is based.

Footnote 498:

  In the case of the boys, their weights, during this week, only
  increased a little; those of the girls remained stationary.

On the cessation of the meals we find the same result ensuing as we have
already noticed at Bradford and Northampton. For when, in July, 1908,
three months after the meals had been discontinued, all the children
were again weighed and measured, it was found that there was a general
decline in weight; the decline was so general that it was obviously due
partly to a diminution in clothing, but "the necessitous children, who
after the conclusion of the experiment were only fed spasmodically, show
a greater decrease than the other children, pointing to either a
stationary weight during the twelve weeks from April to July or a loss
of weight."

Interesting figures as to the effects of different dietaries were
obtained at Sheffield in 1910. Before this date the meals provided for
necessitous children had taken the form of cocoa breakfasts. As an
experiment at one school some of the boys were given porridge for
several weeks. Their weights were compared with those of a group of
other boys who were receiving cocoa breakfasts at school, and also with
a group of boys who were being fed at home. The two groups of boys who
were fed at school were drawn from equally poor districts, those who
were fed at home being somewhat better off. It was found that the boys
who were receiving cocoa breakfasts only gained on an average ·0451
kilos or 1·58 oz. per week; the boys who were being fed at home gained
·0594 kilos (2·09 oz.); while the boys who were receiving porridge
breakfasts gained as much as ·0942 kilos (3·317 oz.). As a result of
this proof of the superiority of porridge diet, porridge breakfasts were
substituted for cocoa breakfasts in all the schools.[499]

Footnote 499:

  Report of Chief School Medical Officer for Sheffield for 1910, pp.
  26-27. We may quote here striking results observed in the improved
  physique of the children at a special school for cripple children in
  London consequent on an improved dietary. A two-course dinner of meat,
  potatoes and pudding had been previously given, but in the summer of
  1901 it was decided to provide a more liberal and varied dietary,
  _e.g._, more hot meat, eggs, milk, cream, vegetables and fruit. The
  results were soon apparent. "Partially paralysed children," writes
  Mrs. Humphry Ward a few months after the change, "have been recovering
  strength in hands and limbs with greater rapidity than before. A child
  who, last year, often could not walk at all from rickets and extreme
  delicacy and seemed to be fading away, and who in May was still
  languid and feeble, is now racing about in the garden on his crutches;
  a boy who last year could only crawl on his hands and feet is now
  rapidly and steadily learning to walk, and so on.... Hardly any child
  now wants to lie down during school time, whereas applications to lie
  down used to be common, and the children both learn and remember
  better." (Letter from Mrs. Humphry Ward, _The Times_, September 26,

At Brighton it has for the last few years been the practice to weigh
before and after the course of meals the children who have been
recommended for feeding on medical grounds. At the end of the last
session, 1912-13, 269 children who had received meals for nine weeks or
more were thus re-examined. It was found that 133 of these, or 50 per
cent., no longer needed meals on medical grounds, that is, they had been
brought over the average weight for a given height.[500]

Footnote 500:

  Brighton Education Committee, Report on the re-examination of children
  receiving free meals during the winter session, 1912-13.

Where only milk or codliver oil is given a remarkable improvement is
often effected. Indeed, several teachers told us that in their opinion
the provision of milk was more beneficial than either breakfasts or
dinners. At a Bethnal Green school, during the winter of 1909-10, it was
found that out of 57 boys and 109 girls examined at the medical
inspection, 24 of the boys and 61 of the girls were underfed. These
children were given a tea-spoonful of codliver oil in a cupful of warm
milk every day during the morning interval. At the end of the year the
nutrition was re-assessed, with the following results:--[501]

Footnote 501:

  Annual Report of London County Council for 1910, Vol. III., p. 130.

                                 Good.   Average.   Bad.
              57 boys   Before     4        19       34
                        After      26       28       3
              109 girls Before     3        49       57
                        After      42       61       6

The results of these experiments are sufficient in themselves to
establish conclusively the benefit to be derived from regular feeding
even when no other factor in the child's environment is changed. "No
doubt," says Dr. Haden Guest, "irregular and late hours, disturbed
sleep, overcrowding, improper clothing and employment of children after
and before school hours, do each and all exercise a very detrimental
effect on the children of poor parents. But that the greatest influence
for evil is exerted by improper and insufficient food is a matter over
which it appears impossible to have great controversy."[502]

Footnote 502:

  MS. Report by Dr. L. Haden Guest on Lambeth School Children Feeding
  Experiment, 1908.

And these results are corroborated by abundant testimony from School
Medical Officers, teachers, Care Committee workers and others, of the
benefit derived by the children where the Provision of Meals Act has
been put in force. "The children derived an enormous amount of benefit"
from the meals.[503] "The physical appearance of the children speaks in
pronounced terms" of the value of feeding.[504] "Those who have any
practical experience ... are all agreed that such meals [free
breakfasts] are of the greatest value, not only from a humanitarian
point of view but also as a necessary adjunct for successful
education."[505] "There is continuous evidence of the immense benefit
conferred upon the children by the administration of this Act--both from
the inspection of the scholars at the dining-centres and from the
reports of the teachers."[506] These are a few typical opinions culled
from reports of School Medical Officers. At Manchester "the operation of
the provision of free meals acts very largely ... not so much in the way
of improving the physical condition of children already emaciated and
debilitated, but of preventing their ever reaching that condition by
stepping in when the home income fails. It is certain that since the
organisation of the supply of free meals at centres covering practically
all parts of the city where they are required, _the number of underfed
children_--_i.e._, the number showing signs of underfeeding--_has
decreased markedly_. It is also certain that the type of child at the
feeding centres is gradually improving--_i.e._, there are fewer children
found in the centres with signs of the result of bad nourishment, and
there are fewer such children in the schools."[507] At Bradford, where
the Local Education Authority has systematically endeavoured to effect
an improvement in the condition of the children both by the school
medical service and the provision of meals, there has been in the last
few years a very marked improvement in nutrition and "a fairly regular
increase in weight amongst Bradford children as a whole. They are
approaching nearer each year to the national average."[508]

Footnote 503:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Macclesfield for 1911, p. 18.

Footnote 504:

  _Ibid._ for Workington for 1911, p. viii.

Footnote 505:

  _Ibid._ for Hastings for 1911, p. 14.

Footnote 506:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Newcastle-on-Tyne for 1910, p.

Footnote 507:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Manchester for 1911, pp. 256-7.
  In the following year he reports that out of over four hundred
  children attending eight feeding centres, only ten cases of markedly
  bad nourishment were recorded. (_Ibid._ for 1912, p. 31.)

Footnote 508:

  _The Health and Physique of School Children_, by Arthur Greenwood,
  1913, pp. 65, 66. "It may perhaps be urged," he continues, "that this
  progress is purely accidental; but a close examination of a large
  number of school medical officers' reports does not show any general
  increase during the few years for which records are available. There
  are variations from year to year, of course, but no apparent regular
  improvement, except in isolated instances, of which Bradford is one."
  (_Ibid._, p. 65.)

The witness of the teachers is no less favourable. In London, for
instance, the Education Committee in 1910 made enquiries among the head
teachers of some of the schools where a considerable number of meals
were provided; the majority of the teachers were enthusiastic as to the
benefit derived. "Physical progress is most marked," said one
headmistress. "The disappearance of chronic headaches, sores on faces,
gatherings on fingers, pains in chest ... point to a more 'fit'
condition, which the children can only express for me by saying that
they 'feel better now,' for they 'are not hungry all the afternoons
now.'"[509] And a headmaster writes, "The change in the children after a
month's provision of suitable and nourishing diet for breakfast and
dinner has been distinctly beneficial. They have been more inclined to
take part in the school sports, into which they have entered with
considerable zest. Their appearance, too, has greatly improved. Their
eyes have become brighter, their cheeks rounded. If, for any reason,
such as temporary absence, they have lost the advantage of regular
feeding, they have almost immediately shown signs of deterioration. When
the period [of feeding] has been prolonged to three or six months, their
health has permanently improved, and their capacity for work and play
has still further developed."[510] "The children on the necessitous
register," says another headmaster, "now fully participate in these
activities [games and sports] and supply rather above their
proportionate number of prominent performers; this is equally true of
swimming. It is indisputable that in the past lack of nourishment, where
it did not entirely exclude, greatly limited the part taken by many
children in this the most attractive side of school life."[511]

Footnote 509:

  Annual Report of the London County Council for 1910, Chapter XLI., p.

Footnote 510:

  _Ibid._, pp. 8, 9.

Footnote 511:

  _Ibid._, p. 9.

We have ourselves questioned numbers of teachers, both in London and the
provinces, on this point. Here and there are found, it is true, teachers
who declare that no improvement is to be observed, perhaps because,
being with the children day by day they do not notice any change. But
the verdict as to the beneficial results of school meals is almost
unanimous. At Bradford we were told that it used to be not uncommon for
a child to faint in school from want of food; such an occurrence is now
unknown. Often children who are dull and listless are found, after a
course of regular meals, to become full of life and spirits. It is
indeed frequently remarked that the children become "naughtier" after
the meals, a sign, of course, of increased vitality.

We find that, as a result of the regular feeding, the resisting power of
the children is increased and they are less susceptible to the
contraction of infectious and other diseases.[512] The attendance at
school is thus improved. At a school in the Potteries, the headmaster
informed us that during the coal strike in 1912, when three meals a day
were given in the schools, there was far less non-attendance than usual
through biliousness, headaches or other minor ailments.[513] At
Liverpool we were told that there has been a considerable improvement in
the regularity of the children's attendance, as a result of the
dinners.[514] Non-attendance may be due, of course, not only to illness,
but also to lack of food. When the parents have nothing to give the
children for breakfast they will encourage them to sleep through the
morning. The headmaster of a very poor school in Liverpool told us that
some years ago, before the Education Committee had undertaken the
provision of meals, the attendance was very bad. He raised a voluntary
fund and provided breakfasts himself. As a result the attendance
improved to such an extent that the increased grant amounted to £74,
which more than covered the cost of the food (£63).

Footnote 512:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Bootle for 1912, p. 56; _Ibid._
  for Worcester for 1911, p. 14.

Footnote 513:

  As we have seen, this result was noticed during the feeding experiment
  at Lambeth (see ante, p. 188.)

Footnote 514:

  At Bootle, on the other hand, where "it was anticipated that the
  movement would have a beneficial effect upon the regularity of the
  attendance ... there is no evidence to show that such has been the
  case, and it is very doubtful whether the attendance has been
  appreciably affected." (Report of the Bootle School Canteen Committee
  for 1910-11, p. 8.)

It would be interesting to compare the nutrition of the children in the
Day Industrial Schools, where three meals a day are given. Since the
children in these schools, who, it must be remembered, are drawn very
largely from the poorest and most neglected class, return home in the
evening, the only condition altered is the supply of food. We have,
unfortunately, not been able to obtain any statistics as to the weights
of these children, but we have received ample evidence from teachers and
others as to the very marked physical improvement which is to be
observed after they have been in the schools but a very short time. At
Liverpool some time ago it was found that the children attending the Day
Industrial Schools suffered much from sores and gatherings. On the diet
being altered very considerably, these ailments entirely disappeared,
and the children, we were told, are now in perfect health. At Leeds the
School Medical Officer found that, while of 11,763 children from the
ordinary elementary schools, 5·6 per cent. were of sub-normal nutrition,
the percentage in the same condition among the Day Industrial School
children (of whom 91 were examined) was only 1·1.[515]

Footnote 515:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Leeds for 1910, p. 41. The
  chairman of the Leeds Education Committee, in giving evidence before
  the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, stated, "the supply of three
  good meals a day has been of great benefit to the children in
  attendance, who compare favourably with the children attending the
  ordinary public elementary schools.... They take a good position in
  school competitions for swimming, etc., and are particularly smart in
  school drills and exercises." (Report of the Royal Commission on the
  Poor Laws, 1909, Vol. IV. of Evidence, Appendix LXXXII. (12).)

Let us turn now to the effect of the meals on the mental capabilities of
the children. This effect is, from the nature of the case, less easy to
assess, and the evidence is not so unanimous as on the question of the
physical effect. A minority of teachers assert that no improvement is to
be observed. At Hull, for instance, out of 165 head-teachers who were
asked for their opinions on this point, 76 declared that there had been
a considerable or distinct improvement, 53 that there had been a slight
improvement, and 36 that there was no visible difference.[516] At
Bradford, 134 teachers were of opinion that there had been a
considerable or distinct improvement, 35 that the improvement had been
slight, 35 that no visible difference was to be noticed.[517] "I cannot
say," said the headmaster of a London school, "that the improvement in
mentality has been in any way commensurate with the physical
improvement."[518] On the other hand, a headmistress declared, "there is
undoubted improvement physically and educationally in the necessitous
children supplied with meals at this school. But I confess the fact only
came home to me vividly at our last terminal examination, when I found
three of them headed the class in Standard III. (including all
subjects)."[519] Another wrote, "the girls receiving regular meals have
become more alert, less apathetic, and consequently far more ready to
respond to the teachers' efforts to gain their undivided attention. The
interest thus aroused has led the girls to look upon all branches of
their work with more favour than heretofore. The taste for knowledge
once established, homework has followed with the inevitable results
produced by voluntary effort rather than compulsory work."[520] In North
Kensington the "children who are supplied with milk at school or who are
given breakfast and dinner respond at once to the better feeding, and
show distinct improvement in their class work."[521] At Darlington it
was reported that, "generally speaking, the replies [from the teachers]
were very definite to the effect that the provision of dinners had
assisted the educational progress of the children."[522] And a striking
illustration of the benefit derived from a regular course of feeding is
given us by a medical member of an Education Committee who writes, "I
find the condition of the children much improved by feeding. Some
children who, eighteen months ago, were considered half-witted are now
monitors and monitresses, taking an intelligent interest in their work."

Footnote 516:

  Hull Education Committee, Appendix to Minutes of the Provision of
  Meals Sub-Committee, October 20, 1911.

Footnote 517:

  Report of Bradford Education Committee for the 16 months ended July
  31, 1912, p. 10.

Footnote 518:

  Annual Report of the London County Council for 1910, Chapter XLI., p.

Footnote 519:


Footnote 520:


Footnote 521:

  Annual Report of the London County Council for 1910, Vol. III., p.

Footnote 522:

  Report of Darlington Education Committee, 1908-10, p. xii.

We have already noticed the improvement in attendance consequent on the
provision of meals. This, of course, assists in the educational
progress, not only of those children who before attended irregularly,
but of the whole class, since the others are no longer kept back by the
irregular attenders.

Too much importance cannot be attached to the training of the children
in habits of self-control and thoughtfulness for one another. For this
training the common meal furnishes an excellent opportunity. As we have
seen, far too little attention is paid to this aspect of the question.
It is true that, even where the meal is served in a somewhat
rough-and-ready fashion, leaving, in the eyes of the educationalist,
much to be desired, we have generally been informed that there has been
an improvement in manners. At first the children, many of whom,
probably, had rarely sat down to a meal before, would throw the food at
each other or on the floor, and the scene was often a pandemonium. Some
sort of order has been evolved out of this chaos. But how far this falls
short of what might be effected is seen when one compares the great
majority of feeding-centres all over England, not necessarily the worst,
with a small minority, such as some of the Bradford centres, or one or
two London centres, where the meal is truly educational. It is
interesting to hear that, when recently a party of children were sent to
the Cinderella Holiday Home from one of the Bradford schools and the
supervisor was particularly requested to notice those who had been
receiving meals, it was found that they alone knew how to behave at
table, and that the others learnt from them.

In another direction the school meal may have an educational result of
the highest importance. Children in all ranks of life are notoriously
conservative in the matter of food and shy of venturing on unknown
dishes, but with the poorest class of children it is not only
"faddiness" which has to be contended with; the unaccustomed food,
however wholesome for the normal child, actually does not agree with
these chronically underfed children. As was pointed out at the time of
the passing of the Provision of Meals Act, "one great merit of this Act
... will be the teaching and training of a child in the matter of taste.
At present it is a well known physiological fact that the slum stomach
cannot accommodate itself in a moment to good, wholesome food. The child
has been accustomed to tea and jam and pickles, and to food that is
often more tasty than nourishing. It will now eat under public and
_medical superintendence_ and gradually a pure and simple taste will be
cultivated."[523] That this prophecy is in process of being fulfilled
may, we think, with justice be claimed. There still exists a certain
amount of difficulty in inducing the children to take food to which they
are unaccustomed, but that this difficulty can be surmounted by the
exercise of tact and attention to individual needs has been practically
demonstrated again and again. Over and over again we have been told the
same tale, "at first the children would not eat this or that dish, but
now they have learned to like it." Especially is this the case with
porridge. At first, wherever this was given, it was found that many
refused to eat it, but this antipathy was gradually overcome, and the
children finally ate it with relish.[524] It is amusing to find that at
St. George's-in-the-East, where a porridge breakfast was devised as a
test of need, it being thought that no child would come who was not
really hungry, the children now like the porridge so much that this diet
no longer furnishes a test. Where the children do not learn to eat what
is provided, it always turns out, on further enquiry, that the
supervisors have failed, either because of the large numbers whom they
have to look after or, perhaps, through lack of enthusiasm, to devote
that careful and detailed attention to the children without which it is
quite impossible to bring about any change.

Footnote 523:

  _Child Life and Labour_, by Margaret Alden, M.D., 1908, p. 108.

Footnote 524:

  Thus, to quote one of many instances, at Bradford, when porridge
  breakfasts were given in the experiment of 1907, it was found that the
  first morning thirteen refused to eat it; the next morning only two
  refused, and after that all ate and enjoyed it. (Bradford Education
  Committee, Report on a Course of Meals given to Necessitous Children
  from April to July, 1907, p. 4.)

Moreover, it is encouraging to notice that this education of the
children in the matter of taste is not without its effect on the home
diet. This was observed as long ago as 1895. In giving evidence before
the Committee of the London School Board, Mrs. Burgwin declared that, as
a result of the porridge breakfasts given to the school children, there
was "an increasing demand upon the local shop-keepers by the poor
families themselves."[525] "At first," said Miss Honnor Morten, "the
children did not care for porridge, but the result of the breakfasts has
been that many now persuade their parents to make it for them."[526]
"The children," says Lady Meyer, who has started penny dinners in
connection with the Health Centre at Newport, "act as missionaries to
their mothers, comparing the meals at the Health Centre with those at
their homes, much to the disparagement of the latter, which quickly
brought the more intelligent mothers to the centre to 'see how it was

Footnote 525:

  Report of the Special Committee of the London School Board on Underfed
  Children, 1895, Appendix I., p. 7.

Footnote 526:

  Report of the General Purposes Committee of the London School Board on
  Underfed Children, 1899, Appendix I., p. 12.

Footnote 527:

  _A Health Centre and Dental Clinic in a Rural District, Newport,
  Essex_, 1911, p. 6.

As far as the children are concerned, indeed, whether we consider the
improvement in physique, mental capacity or manners, there is no doubt
that the provision of school meals has proved of the greatest benefit.

                               CHAPTER VI
                       THE EFFECT ON THE PARENTS

The evidence which has been presented in the preceding chapter as to the
benefits resulting from the feeding of school children would have
evoked, fifty, or even twenty years ago, a simple and decisive retort.
Granted, it would have been argued, that the health and educational
capacity of the children is deteriorated by lack of nourishment, that
irreparable and preventible damage is inflicted, and that the provision
of meals by a public authority averts this evil for many and mitigates
it for all; yet no plea of immediate expediency can stand against the
ultimate loss involved in any public assumption of the cost of providing
maintenance for children. If a local authority supplies part, even a
small part, of their food, parental responsibility is, _pro tanto_,
diminished, with results disastrous not only to the character of the
parents but to the prospects of the children themselves. For if parents
receive assistance in one direction from a public authority, they will
soon clamour to receive assistance in other directions as well. In order
to qualify for it, they will neglect their children, who will thus
benefit in one way only to be victimized in others. The children
themselves, having been fed from public funds, will be trained in habits
of dependence, and, when they grow up, will insist on still further
provision being made for their children in their turn. Thus one tiny
breach in the walls of the family will insensibly be widened till it
admits a flood in which domestic affections and the integrity of the
home, "relations dear, and all the charities of father, son, and
brother" are submerged.

If such anticipations seem exaggerated, they have nevertheless played an
important part in determining the policy pursued in England towards more
than one question, and lie behind many of the criticisms which are
passed on certain recent forms of social intervention. The idea that
relief given to the child must be regarded as relief given to the
parent, and that, if given at all, it must be accompanied by severe
restrictions, was enunciated emphatically in the Poor Law Report of
1834--indeed that famous document scarcely mentions children except in
so far as the treatment of adults is influenced by these appendages--and
has since become a settled part of Poor Law policy. The fear that
parental responsibility might be weakened was a criticism brought
against the Education Act of 1870, against the abolition of school fees
in 1894, and against the provision of medical treatment for school
children under the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act of 1907.
Naturally, therefore, the public provision of meals for school children
has not escaped the criticism that it would weaken the bond between
parent and child and ultimately result in "the breaking up of the home."
"To remove the spur to exertion and self-restraint," reported a special
committee of the Charity Organisation Society in 1887, "which the
spectacle of his children's hunger must be to any man in whom the
feelings of natural kindness are not altogether dead, is to assume a
very grave responsibility, and perhaps to take away the last chance of
re-establishing the character and fortunes of the breadwinner, and, with
him, the fortunes of the whole household. It is true, no doubt, that
there are parents who are past redemption by influences of this kind,
but the majority of the committee are of opinion that it is better in
the interests of the community to allow, in such cases, the sins of the
parents to be visited on the children than to impair the principle of
the solidarity of the family and run the risk of permanently
demoralising large numbers of the population by the offer of free meals
to their children."[528]

Footnote 528:

  "Charity and Food," report of a Special Committee of the Charity
  Organisation Society, 1887, p. 16. For later expressions of the same
  line of criticism, see, for instance, "The Relief of School Children,"
  by M. Clutton and E. Neville (C.O.S. Occasional Paper), March, 1901,
  pp. 4, 6; "Underfed School Children," by Arthur Clay (C.O.S.
  Occasional Paper), May, 1905, p. 3; "The Feeding of School Children,"
  by Miss McKnight, in _Charity Organisation Review_, July, 1906, p. 37;
  "A New Poor Law for Children," by Rev. H. Iselin, in _Charity
  Organisation Review_, March, 1909, p. 170.

Now it is obvious that an economic policy which was determined primarily
by a consideration for the "solidarity of the family" would lead to
far-reaching measures of industrial reorganisation. If the ideal is a
society in which "the bread-winner" is by his "exertion and
self-restraint" to guarantee "the fortunes of his whole household," the
immediate object of attack must be those industrial evils which
effectually prevent him from doing so at present, and of which the
principal are low wages, casual labour, recurrent periods of
unemployment and bad housing. That a crusade conducted in the interests
of the family against these regular features of modern industry is
entirely desirable need not be questioned. But in its absence it is
obvious that, so far from allowing "the sins of the parents to be
visited on the children," what we are really doing is to allow the sins
of the employer to be visited on the employed or the sins of the
community to be visited upon future generations of unborn children, and
it seems almost frivolous to ascribe the results of this constant and
vicarious sacrifice to the measures which, like the provision of school
meals, are directed merely to the partial mitigation of some of its
worst effects. The truth is, to put the matter bluntly, that what breaks
up the family is not the presence of food but its absence, and that, if
the public conscience is unperturbed by the spectacle of numerous homes
in which economic circumstances have deprived the parents of the means
of providing meals for their children themselves, its sudden
sensitiveness at the thought of meals being provided by some external
authority would be ludicrous if it did not lead to such tragic
consequences. The reader who reflects on the thousands of dock-labourers
in London, Liverpool and Glasgow who, through no fault of their own, can
obtain only three days' work a week, or on the 25 to 30 per cent. of the
working-class population of Reading who have been shown by Professor
Bowley to be receiving a total family income below the low standard
fixed by Mr. Rowntree,[529] and to be receiving it, in 49 per cent. of
the cases, because they are "in regular work but at low wages,"[530]
will scarcely argue that the mere provision of meals, however
injudicious he may regard it, is likely to contribute seriously to the
weakening of family relationships which have been already strained or
broken by industrial anarchy or industrial tyranny. _Sublata causa
tollitur effectus._ But does any one seriously believe that a cessation
of school meals would restore the desired "solidarity of the family" to
the casual or sweated labourer?

Footnote 529:

  "Working-Class Households in Reading," by Professor A. L. Bowley, in
  _The Journal of the Royal Statistical Society_, June, 1913, p. 686.
  The minimum standard for food was computed by Mr. Rowntree, in 1901,
  as 3s. for an adult, and 2s. 3d. for a child. This standard has been
  raised by Professor Bowley to 3s. 6d. and 2s. 7d. respectively, since
  prices in Reading in 1912 were about sixteen per cent. higher than at
  York in 1901. The diet on which Mr. Rowntree based his computations
  was mainly vegetarian, and his minimum standard assumed a knowledge of
  food values and perfectly scientific expenditure. (_Ibid._, p. 684.)
  Taking a slightly different standard, Professor Bowley computes that
  "_more than half the working-class children of Reading, during some
  part of their first fourteen years, live in households where the
  standard of life in question is not attained_." (_Ibid._, p. 692.)

Footnote 530:

  _Ibid._, p. 693.

If the suggestion that the provision of meals is a _principal_ cause
undermining parental responsibility is fantastic, is the suggestion that
it must necessarily exercise _some_ influence in that direction better
founded? We shall deal later with such facts as can be used to throw
light on this question. But we may point out here that the idea
underlying it usually derives part of its cogency in the minds of many
of its supporters less from any concrete evidence than from an implicit
assumption that there is a "natural" division of duties between public
authorities and the individual citizen, and that any redistribution of
them between these two parties, which removes one function from the
latter to the former, must necessarily result in the undermining of
character, the weakening of the incentive to self-maintenance, the decay
of parental responsibility, in short, in all the phenomena of the
process known as "pauperisation." Now we need scarcely point out that,
stated in this crude form, the theory that every assumption of fresh
responsibilities by public authorities results in the undermining of
character has no foundation in the experience of mankind. It is, of
course, quite true that any sudden removal from an individual of duties
which he has hitherto been accustomed to discharge may result in
weakening the springs of effort. It is also quite true that any sudden
addition to his responsibilities may result in crushing them, and that,
as far as the more poorly paid ranks of labour are concerned, energies
are far more often worn out in a hopeless struggle than sapped by an
insidious ease. But by themselves these facts prove nothing as to the
_manner_ in which burdens, duties, responsibilities, should be
distributed between the community and its individual members. What
experience shows is that there is no "natural" allocation of functions,
but that there has been throughout history at once a constant addition
to, and a constant re-arrangement of them, and that the former process
is quite compatible with the latter. Nor is there any ground for the
idea that the extension of the activities of public bodies must
necessarily result in accelerating the approach of the state of economic
and moral inertia described by those who anticipate it as "Pauperism."
If that were the case, all civilised communities would, indeed, have
been hastening to destruction from a time "whereof the memory of man
runneth not to the contrary." For our fathers had no elementary
education, our grandfathers no municipal water, and few lamp-posts;
while our great-grandfathers enjoyed the independence derived from the
possession of relatively few roads, and those of a character
sufficiently bad to offer the most powerful incentives to the energy and
self-reliance of the pedestrian. On this theory the citizen of
Manchester would be more pauperised than the citizen of London; both
would be seriously pauperised compared with the peasant of Connemara;
while the wretched inhabitants of German municipalities would be
wallowing in a perfect quagmire of perpetual pauperism. Why indeed
should one stop here? There have been periods in history in which not
only these functions, but the organisation of justice and the equipment
of military forces have been left to the bracing activities of private
individuals; and an enquiry into the decline and fall of individual
independence would, if logically pursued, lead us into dim regions of
history far anterior to the Norman Conquest. The origins of modern
pauperism, like the origins of modern liberty, are to be sought among
"the primeval forests of Germany!"

While, however, there is no foundation for the doctrine that every
extension of public provision results in a slackening of energy on the
part of the individual, it is, none the less, possible that this may be
the result of the particular kind of provision which consists in the
supplying of meals to school children. In the event of that being proved
to be the case, it is by no means easy to say what policy should be
pursued. Public authorities, it may be argued, should cease to provide
school meals. To this answer, which is at first sight plausible, there
are two objections which are together almost insuperable. The first is
that Education Authorities are under a legal obligation to provide
education for the children in their charge and to carry out medical
inspection with a view to discovering their ailments; while they may, if
they think fit, provide medical treatment for them. They owe it to their
constituents to spend their money in the most effective and economical
manner. Education given to children who are suffering from want of
nourishment not only is ineffective, but may be positively deleterious.
When the extent of malnutrition is known, is it reasonable to expect the
Authorities deliberately to shut their eyes to the fact that so far from
benefiting the children who suffer from it they may be positively
aggravating their misfortunes? If it be replied, _ruat coelum fiat
justitia_, let the children suffer in order to improve the moral
character of their parents, an Education Committee may not unfairly
retort that it is elected primarily to attend to the welfare of the
children, and that the wisdom of elevating parents, who _ex hypothesi_
are demoralised, at the cost of the rising generation is, at any rate,
too problematical to justify it in neglecting its own special duties.
Moreover, even assuming that public bodies were willing to apply to the
education of children the principles recommended in 1834 for the
treatment of "improvidence and vice," there is no reason to suppose that
they would succeed in averting the "pauperisation" which is dreaded. No
fact is more clearly established by the history of all kinds of relief
administration since 1834 than that the effect of refusing to make
public provision for persons in distress is merely to lead to the
provision of assistance in a rather more haphazard, uncoordinated and
indiscriminate manner by private agencies. A purely negative policy is
systematically "blacklegged" by private philanthropists. Rightly or
wrongly the plain man finds his stomach turned by the full gospel of
deterrence; with the result that, while the English Poor Law is
nominally deterrent, enormous sums are spent every year in private
charity in London alone; that in 1886 the Local Government Board
recommended local authorities to provide relief for certain classes of
workers apart from the Poor Law, on the ground that the Poor Law, for
whose administration the Local Government Board is responsible, is
necessarily degrading; and that, finally, a special Act had to be passed
in 1905 creating authorities to administer assistance for unemployed
workmen whom public opinion would no longer allow to be left to the
tender mercies of a deterrent policy of Poor Relief. That the same
result would follow with even greater certainty were public bodies to
decline to provide for necessitous school children is obvious, inasmuch
as to the foolish sentimentality of the ordinary person the sufferings
of childhood make a special appeal. Indeed it has followed already. In
the days when Education Authorities had no power to spend public money
on the provision of meals for school children, what happened was that
the provision of meals was begun by private persons, and in the towns
which have not put the Act of 1906 into force such private provision
obtains at the present day. Such extra-legal intervention has all the
disadvantages ascribed to the public provision of meals, for one can
scarcely accept the extravagant contention that while soup supplied by
an Education Authority pauperises, soup tickets supplied by a
philanthropic society do not. And it has few of its advantages. For
private philanthropy tends to be more irregular and arbitrary in its
administration than most public authorities. Since it cannot cover the
whole area of distress, its selection of children to be fed is more
capricious; since its funds are raised by appeals _ad misericordiam_
they often fail when they are needed most; and when, as often happens,
more than one agency enters the field, the result is overlapping and
duplication. Nor will it seem a minor evil to those who care for the
civic spirit that even the best-intentioned charity can never escape
from the taint of patronage, can never be anything but a sop with which
the rich relieve their consciences by ministering to the poor.

The statement that the feeding of school children weakens parental
responsibility presumably means that the provision of meals at school
induces parents to neglect to provide meals themselves. When one turns
from these general considerations to examine how far this result has
actually occurred, one is faced with the task of sifting a few grains of
fact from a multitude of impressions. The first and most essential
preliminary to the formation of any reasonable judgment is to determine
the circumstances of those families one or more of whose members are
receiving meals at school; and in order to throw some light on this
point we give, in the following table, such particulars from six areas
as are available:--[531]

Footnote 531:

  The figures for Birmingham are taken from _The Public Feeding of
  Elementary School Children_, by Phyllis D. Winder, 1913, pp. 47-55;
  those for St. George's-in-the-East, from "The Story of a Children's
  Care Committee," by Rev. H. Iselin, in _Economic Review_, January,
  1912, p. 47; those for Stoke, Bradford, St. Pancras and Bermondsey
  from case papers that we have analysed. These figures must not be
  taken as more than a somewhat rough indication of the state of
  affairs, for it is not always easy to determine precisely into which
  category a particular case should be put. Probably the proportion of
  casually employed is somewhat understated; of the twenty-six, for
  instance, who are classed as unemployed at Birmingham, roughly
  one-third belonged to the class of permanent casuals, but were totally
  unemployed at the date of the enquiry. (_The Public Feeding of
  Elementary School Children_, p. 48.)

    Causes of       Stoke. Bradford. Birmingham.   School  School in
    distress                                       in St. Bermondsey

    Unemployment        16        11          26        9         13

    Casual               3        26          54        8         18

    Short time           5         3           8       --         --

    Regular work        --        16           6        1          2
    but low wages

    Illness or          15        19          47        5          9
    disablement of

    Widows              16        41          40       10          9

    Desertion or         3        32          19        2          2
    absence of

It will be seen that the four largest classes of families consist of
those in which the father is casually employed, is disabled by illness
or accident, is dead or is unemployed. If one adds to these 605 families
the 41 in which the father is paid low wages or is working short time,
there is a total of 646 out of 718 families in which distress is due
either to industrial causes or to a misfortune. Since men do not usually
contract illness or die in order that their children may be fed at
school, there is no question of the responsibility of the father being
weakened in the 285 cases in which death or ill-health was the cause
which led to the provision of school meals.

It is often argued, however, that the public provision of assistance is
itself one cause of the distress which it is designed to relieve,
because it must necessarily exercise a deteriorating influence over
industrial conditions. The knowledge that his children will be fed is
likely, it is said, to lead a man to relax the demands which he makes on
his employer. The knowledge that he need not offer a subsistence wage
for a family leads the employer to offer worse terms to his employees,
more irregular employment or lower rates of wages, with the result that
the ratepayer relieves the employer of part of his wage bill. Cut off
all public assistance, and "economic conditions will adjust themselves
to the change." Now it is perfectly true that the need which prompts the
provision of school meals does normally arise from bad industrial
conditions, and that to allow those conditions to continue while merely
mitigating their effects is an offence against morality and an outrage
on commonsense. Whether school meals are desirable or not for their own
sake, it is the right of the worker that industry should be organised in
such a way that he should be able to provide for his children in the
manner which he thinks best, and that he should not be compelled (as he
often is at present) to choose between seeing them fed at school and
seeing them half-starved at home. But the theory which we have stated
goes much further than this. It holds that public provision is a _cause_
of bad industrial conditions, and that the mere abolition of public
provision would _in itself_ result in those conditions being improved.
It is obvious that, as far as certain economic evils are concerned, this
doctrine does not hold good. Many children are underfed because their
parents are suffering from sickness or accident incurred in the course
of their employment. Clearly an employer will not be induced to render
his processes safe merely by the fact that his employees' children will
suffer if they are unsafe. Many children are underfed because their
parents are casually employed or altogether unemployed. Equally clearly
there is no reason whatever to suppose that casual labour would cease
because of their starvation; for if that were the case it would have
ceased long ago. Nor again does the more specious doctrine that the
wages of men are lowered by the provision of food for their children
rest upon a securer foundation. In the nature of things it can neither
be verified nor disproved by an appeal to facts; for the controversy is
not concerning facts but concerning their interpretation. If we point
out that in Bradford, when the Education (Provision of Meals) Act was
first adopted in 1907, the majority of children fed were children of
woolcombers, dyers' labourers, carters and builders' labourers, and that
since 1907 the first three classes of workers have all received advances
of wages, it may, of course, be answered that the advance would have
been still greater if the children had not been fed.[532] In reality,
however, the more this theory that the feeding of school children acts
as a subsidy to wages is examined, the weaker does it appear.
Historically it is traceable to the popular rendering of Ricardo
introduced by Senior into the Poor Law Report of 1834, and it still
contains marks of its origin. It assumes, in the first place, that wages
are never above "subsistence level." For, clearly, if they are above it,
there is no reason why they should be lowered if the cost of keeping a
family is somewhat reduced. It assumes, in the second place, that they
are never below the subsistence level of a family; for clearly, if they
are, that in itself proves that the absence of public provision has not
been able to maintain them. It assumes, in the third place, that the
ability of workers to resist a reduction or to insist on an advance
depends not upon the profitableness of the industry, nor upon the
strength of their organisation, but solely upon their necessities. Of
these assumptions the first two are untrue, and the last is not only
untrue, but the exact opposite of the truth. In reality, as every trade
unionist knows, the necessities of the non-wage earning members of a
family do not keep wages up; they keep them down. A man who knows that a
stoppage of work will plunge his family in starvation has little
resisting power, and acquiesces in oppression to which he would
otherwise refuse to submit. It is the strikers' wives and children who
really break many strikes, and if the pressure of immediate necessity is
removed the worker is not less likely, he is more likely, to hold out
for better terms.

Footnote 532:

  We may note that there are very few cases where the fathers of the
  children who are receiving school meals are, at the time, in regular
  work. (See table on page 211.) Many authorities refuse to consider
  such cases, while, where they are not necessarily barred, they amount
  as a rule, so far as we have found, except at Bradford, to a very
  small proportion of the total number of cases dealt with. In London a
  few committees have several such cases on their feeding-lists--a
  member of one committee, indeed, informed us that the fact that a man
  had a large family and low wages was, till recently, taken as a reason
  for granting meals to his children--but the great majority of
  committees either refuse to feed such children at all, or only do so
  in infrequent and exceptional circumstances. One or two instances were
  quoted to us where, as it was alleged, the provision of meals for the
  children had induced the father to acquiesce in the acceptance of a
  low wage without demanding an increase or seeking more remunerative
  employment. Thus we were told of a man who was formerly in charge of
  two furnaces at a wage of 24s. a week; one furnace was shut down, and
  he was offered the charge of the remaining one at 15s. This he
  accepted and the Care Committee had been feeding his children for a
  whole year. In another case, a man who was out of work, and was having
  all his children fed at school, took a job at 15s. a week, a wage
  which, it was asserted, he would not otherwise have agreed to. But in
  such instances, infrequent and isolated as they are in any case, it is
  often found on analysis that the father, through some physical or
  mental infirmity, is incapable of performing a man's work, and unable,
  therefore, to earn more wages.

Nor is there much more substance in the theory that the provision of
meals by a public authority weakens family life by "undermining parental
responsibility." We are not, of course, concerned to deny that in the
working classes as well as in the propertied classes there are a certain
number of persons who are anxious "to get something for nothing." Cases,
no doubt, do arise in which a parent who knows that the needs of his
children will partially be met by the food supplied by an Education
Authority may for that reason contemplate their fate when abandoned by
him with less apprehension. At most, however, such cases constitute only
10 per cent. of those on the table, and the wisdom of withholding
assistance from the remaining 90 per cent. merely in order to bring
pressure upon this small fraction of all the families concerned is, to
put the matter at the lowest, highly questionable. Moreover, even
assuming that children who are neglected by their parents should be made
to suffer in order to teach the latter a moral lesson, what probability
is there that the lesson will be appreciated? In those families where a
father is contemplating the desertion of his home, family relationships
must obviously be weak and unstable. Is it seriously suggested that the
mere fact that a public body is known to provide meals for children in
attendance at school is sufficient to tilt the scale; that a man who is
willing, _ex hypothesi_, to contemplate relinquishing his wife and
younger children to the Poor Law will be deterred from leaving them
merely by anxiety as to how the children of school age will obtain their
midday meal; and that, when his apprehensions upon this point are
removed, he will hasten to avail himself of his freedom in order to
abandon them to much more serious evils than the loss of one meal per
day? Such a suggestion carries its refutation on its face. When family
life has been so disintegrated that a man is contemplating the desertion
of his wife and children, he is not likely either to be encouraged to do
so by the mere fact that meals for school children are provided by a
public body, or deterred from doing so by the fact that they are not.
And a similar answer may be made to those who argue that "the result of
feeding children at school is merely to encourage their parents to spend
more upon drink." No one, of course, would deny that, if a man has
already formed the habit of indulging his tastes without regard to the
consequences, an increase in his means will enable him to spend more
upon such indulgence. But that is a very different thing from accepting
the implication that every accession in the income of a class merely
leads it to fresh extravagance. The evidence, indeed, points in the
opposite direction. During the last forty years there has been a great
extension of public provision and a rise in money wages. Yet it is a
matter of common knowledge that the consumption of alcoholic liquor per
head of population has diminished and is still diminishing.

In reality, however, the idea that any large number of parents misuse
the public provision of meals appears to be quite without any solid
foundation, and to be a hasty generalisation from exceptional cases,
which, because they are exceptional, are recorded by charitable persons
with pious horror, and are given an undeserved and misleading notoriety.
Almost all the actual evidence available points in the opposite
direction. Again and again has it been stated to us that parents
withdraw their children from the school meals as soon as an improvement
in their circumstances enables them to provide food at home.[533]
Indeed, it is often said that they withdraw them before they can
properly afford to do so, and before the Canteen Committee thinks it
wise for the school meals to be stopped, while many refrain from
applying for meals until they are driven to do so by actual necessity.
The truth is that behind the talk on parental responsibility which finds
favour in certain sections of society--especially those where it is
customary for parents to pay for their children to be fed at school
during 30 to 40 weeks of the year--there is a considerable amount not
only of ignorance but of hypocrisy. These critics are apt entirely to
overlook the fact that during the last hundred years parental
responsibilities, so far from being diminished, have been multiplied by
the State. Middle-class parliaments have insisted that working-class
parents should send their children to school, should dispense with the
help of their earnings, should provide them with food, clothing and
medical aid. More important, they forget that to insist on
"responsibility" is meaningless unless the means of discharging it are
available; for one cannot blame a man for failing to do what he wishes
to do, but which he is prevented from doing by _force majeure_. Now this
is precisely the position of the majority of such parents as are aided
by school meals. _They_ did not fix the wages of adult men at 18s. a
week; _they_ did not ordain that employment at the ports of London and
Liverpool and Glasgow, and in a score of other trades, should be a
gamble. _They_ did not decree that those who direct industry should at
intervals of five to seven years find it convenient to curtail
production and turn their employees on to the streets. They are born
into a world where this is the established social order, an order which,
as individuals, they are impotent to alter. If some of them occasionally
give up a struggle which must often seem hopeless, at whose door does
the blood of these men and their children lie? If it is desired that
every man should regularly provide the whole maintenance of his family,
then industry must be organised in such a way as to make it possible.
Till that is done, to blame working people for acquiescing in
circumstances which they did not create and which they detest is not
only cruel but absurd. When every competent worker is secured regular
employment and a living wage, it may be desirable that forms of public
provision which exist at present should cease--though, even so, it is
possible that the educational value of school meals will lead to their
being continued. Till that happy condition is brought about they must be
not only continued, but extended and improved.

Footnote 533:

  At Bradford a few years ago an enquiry was made with the object of
  discovering how far parents were obtaining the meals under false
  pretences. Two criteria were taken, firstly, whether the parents'
  statements as to the income earned were corroborated by their
  employers; secondly, how far the parents voluntarily withdrew their
  children from the school meals when their circumstances improved. As a
  result of this enquiry it appeared that not more than 2-1/2 per cent.
  were unduly taking advantage of the meals. In many cases, where the
  parents' statements as to income did not tally with the employers'
  statements, it was found that the parents, in giving their average
  earnings, had overstated instead of understating them.

                              CHAPTER VII

The provision of meals for school children is, as we have pointed out,
merely an attempt to mitigate some of the evil effects of industrial
disorganisation. The principal end at which Society should aim is the
removal of the causes, low wages, casual employment, recurrent periods
of unemployment, and bad housing, which make them necessary. But
meanwhile, as long as economic conditions remain as they are, some
provision must be made for the present generation of school children.
And the provision of school meals is not merely a question of relief, it
is also a preventive measure. "Every step ... in the direction of making
and keeping the children healthy is a step towards diminishing the
prevalence and lightening the burden of disease for the adult, and a
relatively small rise in the standard of child health may represent a
proportionately large gain in the physical health, capacity, and energy
of the people as a whole."[534]

Footnote 534:

  Report of Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1910, p.

Granted, therefore, that the school meal is, for the present at any
rate, a necessity, the question remains, for what children shall this
meal be provided. We have described the methods of selection at
present in force. We have seen that, though a few children are given
school meals because they are found by the School Doctor to be
ill-nourished, the great majority are selected by the teachers on the
ground of poverty, a method which involves an enquiry into the
parents' circumstances. We have shown some of the disadvantages
inherent in this method of selection. The enquiries deter parents from
applying. It is impossible for the teachers to discover all cases of
underfed children. If the child is told by its parents to say that it
has plenty to eat at home, how is the teacher to know that it is
underfed? It is difficult, and in many cases quite impossible, to
ascertain the amount of income coming in. Even if this could always be
accurately ascertained, it would be difficult to discriminate with
justice since other circumstances vary so widely. The enquiry is
demoralising for the parents, putting a premium on deception and
creating a sense of injustice. So unsatisfactory, indeed, has this
system of investigation into income proved to be that there is a
general consensus of opinion among adherents of the most opposing
schools of thought that it must be given up. "As a Guardian of the
poor and a member of the Charity Organisation Society, and in many
other ways," says the late Canon Barnett, "I have come to see that no
enquiry is adequate. I would not trust myself to enquire into any
one's condition and be just. Enquiry is never satisfactory and is
always irritating.... _I believe it is enquiry and investigation and
suspicion which undermine parental responsibility._"[535] Even so firm
a supporter of Charity Organisation Society principles as the Rev.
Henry Iselin would, we gather, prefer to the present inadequate system
of investigation the provision of a meal for all children who like to
come, without enquiry, though he would, of course, make the conditions
of the meal in some way deterrent.[536] In discussing what is the best
method to be adopted we must, therefore, rule out any plan which
involves an enquiry into the family income.

Footnote 535:

  Report of Select Committee on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills
  (England and Scotland), 1906, Qs. 2290, 2312. (The italics are mine.)

Footnote 536:

  See post, p. 222.

(i) We may consider first the proposal that the selection should be made
by the School Doctor, school meals being ordered for all children whom
he finds to be suffering from mal-nutrition. This method, which is
strongly recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of
Education, has been adopted in a few towns, but only to a very limited
extent and always in subordination to the system of selection based on
the "poverty test." The selection by the "physical test" would obviate
all the disadvantages arising from the demoralising enquiry into the
parents' circumstances. On the other hand, the practical difficulties
would be very great. At present a child is normally examined by the
doctor only two or three times during the whole of its school career.
Under the system proposed frequent examinations would be necessary,
which would entail an enormous increase in the school medical staff.
But, however frequent the examinations, the discovery of all underfed
children would not be assured. It is not always possible for the doctor
to determine the cause of malnutrition in any particular case; hence
many children would be included who get plenty of food at home, but yet,
from some other cause, do not thrive. More important, numbers of
children would be excluded who fail to get sufficient food but who yet
appear healthy. As a School Medical Officer points out, "temporary lack
of food does not stamp the child in such a way that it is possible to
detect past privations by ordinary inspection."[537] The underfeeding
might be prolonged for a considerable time before its effects were
apparent. But it is essential that underfeeding should be discovered
before the child shows definite signs of malnutrition, since the object
to be aimed at is to prevent its ever getting into this state. The
physical test, therefore, forms too narrow a basis to be satisfactorily
employed, at any rate as the sole test, in the selection of children to
be provided for.

Footnote 537:

  Report of School Medical Officer for Leicester for 1912, p. 34.

(ii) We will consider next the plan to which we have already alluded,
the provision of meals, free and without enquiry, for all children who
like to come, it being understood that the meals are intended only for
"necessitous" children, _i.e._, those children who through poverty are
unable to obtain an adequate supply of food at home. Those who aim at
making this provision in some way deterrent suggest a breakfast of
porridge, the time of the meal and the nature of the food providing a
test of need. "As the man inside the workhouse must not have better, but
a decidedly worse, treatment than the man outside, so if the food be
nourishing but not too palatable it may chance that only the truly
necessitous may apply."[538] Children who can obtain food at home will
prefer to do so. But it is found in practice that it is not only the
children who can get sufficient food at home who are deterred by such a
device, but that the "truly necessitous" also refuse to come. Such a
system, in fact, defeats its own ends. It is futile to provide meals for
all underfed children and at the same time to make that provision so
deterrent that those for whom it is intended decline to avail themselves
of it. Even if there is no intention of making the provision deterrent,
the idea that the meals are meant only for necessitous children will, in
fact, make it so; many parents will prefer to feed their children at
home on a totally inadequate diet rather than disclose their poverty by
sending them to the school meals. The "poverty test" in fact, in
whatever form it may be applied, will exclude numbers of children whom
it is desirable to provide for.

Footnote 538:

  "A New Poor Law for Children," by Rev. Henry Iselin, in _Charity
  Organisation Review_, March, 1909, p. 170.

(iii) The two methods that we have described would each leave a large
class of children without provision. The first would fail to discover
numbers of children who are underfed, but who do not show obvious signs
of malnutrition. The second would not touch those cases where the
children cannot get sufficient food at home, but where the parents are
too proud to accept school meals for them. A combination of the two
methods would remove both these objections. The provision of meals, free
and without enquiry, for all necessitous children, would secure the
feeding of the majority of those who are underfed, while the School
Doctor would generally discover those cases where the parents try to
conceal the fact that they cannot give their children sufficient food at
home. For these children the doctor would, of course, order school
meals. This method would not obviate the necessity of a great increase
in the school medical service. Moreover, by any of the methods
discussed, provision would be made only for underfed children. There
would remain the hosts who are unsuitably fed; the worst of these cases
would, of course, be discovered by the doctor, but only the worst cases.
And, again, no provision would be made for the children whose mothers
are at work all day and consequently unable to provide a midday meal,
and for whom the school dinner would be a great convenience, for which
the parents would, in many cases, be willing to pay.

(iv) There remains the only logical conclusion, the provision of a meal
for all school children, as part of the school curriculum. Such a
provision need not necessarily be compulsory, though it should be so in
all cases where the School Doctor recommends it. From every point of
view, the psychological, the medical and the educational, the advantages
to be gained from such a course would be enormous. General provision for
all would do away with all pauperising discrimination between the
necessitous and the non-necessitous. On the medical side it would be
difficult to over-estimate the benefits to be secured. On this point the
Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education has recently pronounced
in no measured terms. "From a purely scientific point of view," he
declared, "if there was one thing he was allowed to do for the six
million children, if he wanted to rear an imperial race, it would be to
feed them.... The great, urgent, pressing need was nutrition. With that
they could get better brains and a better race."[539] The beneficial
results already observed in the case of children who have received a
regular course of school meals would be extended to all. Then, again,
the common meal would serve as an opportunity for the exercise of many
little acts of consideration for one another. The teachers would be
brought into more intimate relations with the children, for they get to
know the children better at meal time than in any other way. The school
meal would serve as an object lesson; taken in conjunction with the
teaching of housewifery and cookery in the schools, it would speedily
raise the standard in the homes. There would be another advantage.
Adequate rest after the meal could be insisted on, followed by healthy
play in the open air in the playground instead of in stuffy rooms and
backyards. In the rural districts, as we have already shown, it is
imperative that dinner should be provided for all who want to stay.
Numbers of children are unable to return home, and it is almost
impossible for the parents to provide suitable cold food for them to
take with them; even when they can go home to dinner they frequently
have a long walk, with the consequence that the meal must be eaten
hastily and the children hurry back to school immediately afterwards.

Footnote 539:

  Report of Proceedings of University Extension Oxford Summer Meeting,
  1913, p. 17.

If general provision is made, ought the parents to be required to pay or
should the meal be free to all? The first plan has much to recommend it
and has been advocated in many quarters. At the recent conference at the
Guildhall on School Feeding, for instance, there appeared to be a
general agreement in favour of this course. The experience of the
Special Schools for Defective Children, and some of the rural schools,
where a midday meal or hot cocoa is provided, shows that numbers of
parents are able to pay, and there does not appear to be much difficulty
in collecting the payment.[540] And in the ordinary elementary schools,
where little provision is made for paying cases, it would appear that
there does exist a certain demand for such provision.[541] On the other
hand, it must be admitted that it is a question whether any large number
of parents would voluntarily pay for their children's meals when it was
known that provision was made for all and that other children were
receiving the meal free. The payment would have to be left to the
parent's conscience, for any attempt to try to decide in which cases
payment should be insisted on and in which it should be remitted would
introduce again the evils of the present system, with its demoralising
enquiry into the parents' circumstances--though in a somewhat mitigated
form, since no distinction would be made between the paying and the
non-paying children, and the latter would not be marked off as a
separate class as at present. Another difficulty, though a minor one,
would arise in the fixing of the price to be charged. In the more
prosperous districts the dinner might be self-supporting, but in the
poorest localities it would hardly be possible to charge an amount
sufficient to cover the cost of the food.

Footnote 540:

  See ante, pp. 120, 123-5, 155-6.

Footnote 541:

  In the ordinary elementary schools in some of the Scottish towns,
  large numbers of children pay for the dinners. (See Appendix II., pp.
  242, 245, 246.)

The provision of a free meal for all would obviate these difficulties.
It will be objected at once that such a plan will undermine parental
responsibility, but, as we have shown in the previous chapter, communal
provision of other services has not had this result. And against this
lightening of parental burdens must be set the continual increase of
duties which are being placed upon them. A more serious objection lies
in the expense. Taking the cost of a school dinner at 2-1/4d. per
head,[542] the provision of one meal a day for five days a week during
term time for all the six million school children in England, Wales and
Scotland would cost about £12,500,000. This is, of course, an outside
estimate, for it would probably be found that a considerable number of
parents would prefer to have their children at home to dinner rather
than send them to the school meal; and the provision might be confined
to schools in poor districts. To the actual cost of supplying the meals
there must be added the initial outlay incurred in providing
dining-rooms and appliances.[543] On the other hand, there would be a
great saving of time and energy which is now consumed in making
enquiries. And the provision of school meals would tend to diminish the
amount which will otherwise have to be spent in the near future on
medical treatment. Food, as Sir George Newman has pointed out, is of
more importance than drugs and surgical treatment, and if regular meals
were provided there would be much less need for school clinics.[544] The
expenditure on the provision of school meals would, indeed, be
nationally a most profitable investment; it would be amply justified by
the improved physique of the rising generation and by the consequent
increase in their efficiency. It would be far more productive, in fact,
than much of the money which is now spent on education, than the outlay,
for instance, on the erection of huge school buildings, an outlay the
necessity of which is becoming more and more questionable in the light
of the proved superiority of open-air education.

Footnote 542:

  The cost depends, of course, on the kind of food provided. At
  Bradford, where a two-course dinner is given, the total cost per meal,
  for administrative charges (the upkeep of the Cooking Depot, the rent
  of the dining-rooms, the wages of the staff, payment for supervision,
  the carriage of the food, sinking fund, etc.), amounted in 1912-13 to
  1·2d., and for food to 1·26d., making a total of 2·46d. About
  one-third of the meals supplied were breakfasts, which are usually
  rather cheaper than dinners, so that the cost per dinner would be
  slightly more. (Bradford Education Committee, Return as to the Working
  of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act for the year ending March
  31, 1913). At Edinburgh, where a one-course dinner is given, the cost
  is ·9d. for food and 1d. for administrative charges. (Report of the
  Edinburgh School Board for 1912-13, p. 35.)

Footnote 543:

  We must add one other item of expenditure, which will be necessary
  whatever course be adopted with regard to the provision of meals,
  namely, the appointment of salaried organisers for each group of
  schools, to supervise the work of medical treatment, after-care, and
  all other activities directed to the physical well-being of the child.

Footnote 544:

  Report of Proceedings of University Extension Oxford Summer Meeting,
  1913, p. 17.

Unfortunately the general provision of a school dinner will not be a
complete solution of the problem. There will remain the children for
whom one meal a day will not be sufficient, while the discontinuance of
the meals during the holidays will cause them serious suffering.
Experience has amply shown the necessity of the meals being continued
during the holidays and power must be given to the Local Education
Authorities to make this provision when it is required. They must also
be allowed to provide an additional meal for those children for whom
dinner alone is not sufficient. Any proposal to limit the provision to
one meal could not, indeed, be seriously entertained, for numbers of
Local Authorities are already supplying this extra food and would resist
any curtailment of their powers in this respect. But when we come to
consider for what children this additional provision shall be made, we
are face to face with all the old difficulties of selection. Obviously
it cannot be made for all. Perhaps the best method would be to provide
for all children who liked to come, whilst attendance should be
obligatory on those for whom the School Doctor ordered extra
nourishment. Such a prospect would be viewed with alarm by many, but the
numbers to be provided for would probably not be excessive, if it was
understood that this extra provision was intended only for necessitous
or delicate children. It is found that the attendance drops off
considerably during the holidays, and that it is always less for a
breakfast than for a dinner; it requires more exertion to come in time
for breakfast, while the fare provided is not so popular. Probably the
danger would be rather on the side of too few children being provided
for than too many.

No plan that can be proposed is free from disadvantages. And this brings
us back to the point at which we started in this chapter. From the
nature of the case, no attempt to deal with effects only, while causes
remain untouched, can be wholly satisfactory. Provision must be made for
the present generation of school children; their necessities must be
relieved and future inefficiency due to underfeeding in childhood must
be prevented. But at the same time, and above all, a determined attack
must be made on the evils which lie at the root of the children's
malnutrition. Industrial conditions must be so organised that it is
possible for every man himself to provide for his children at least the
requisite minimum of food, clothing and other necessaries.

                        _Summary of Conclusions_

1. That, so long as economic conditions remain as they are, the
provision of school meals is a necessity.

2. That no method of selection of the children who are to receive the
meals can be satisfactory, and that all attempts at picking and choosing
should, therefore, be abandoned. The meal should be provided for all
children who like to come, without any enquiry into their parents'
circumstances. Attendance should be compulsory if recommended by the
School Medical Officer.

3. That the meal should be regarded as part of the school curriculum and
should be educational. It should be served, as far as practicable, on
the school premises, in rooms which are not used as class-rooms; the
plan of sending the children to eating-houses or to large centres should
be discontinued. Some of the teachers should be present to supervise the
children, who should be taught to set the tables and to wait on one
another. The meal should be served as attractively as possible.

4. The dietary should be drawn up in consultation with the School
Medical Officer, with a view to the physiological requirements of the
children, special attention being paid to the infants.

5. The preparation of the food should not be entrusted to caterers, but
should be undertaken by the Local Education Authority.

6. The meals should be continued throughout the school year, and, if
necessary, during the holidays.

                               APPENDIX I
                           EXAMPLES OF MENUS

                              (1) Bradford

                          SPRING DIETARY, 1913

Dinners to be repeated every four weeks

1st week:

Monday. Brown vegetable soup. Rice pudding.

Tuesday. Cottage pie; green peas. Stewed fruit.

Wednesday. Potato and onion soup. Plum cake (Cocoanut cake alternate

Thursday. Meat and potato hash; beans. Rice pudding.

Friday. Fish and potato pie; parsley sauce; peas. Ground rice.

2nd week:

Monday. Potato and onion soup. Rice pudding.

Tuesday. Shepherd's pie. Stewed fruit.

Wednesday. Yorkshire pudding; gravy; peas. Sago pudding.

Thursday. Scotch barley broth. Currant pastry.

Friday. Fish and potato pie; parsley sauce; peas. Rice and sultanas.

3rd week:

Monday. Brown vegetable soup. Rice pudding.

Tuesday. Meat and potato hash; beans. Stewed fruit.

Wednesday. Potato and onion soup. Ginger pudding and sweet sauce.

Thursday. Stewed beef and gravy; mashed potatoes. Baked jam roll.

Friday. Fish and potato pie; parsley sauce; peas. Semolina pudding.

4th week:

Monday. Potato and onion soup. Wholemeal cake.

Tuesday. Hashed beef and savoury balls. Rice pudding.

Wednesday. Yorkshire cheese pudding; peas and gravy. Stewed fruit.

Thursday. Shepherd's pie; green peas. Sago pudding.

Friday. Fish and potato pie; parsley sauce. Rice and sultanas.

                               (2) Leeds

                             WINTER DIETARY

Repeated week after week.

Monday. Pea soup; brown and white bread. Parkin.

Tuesday. Shepherd's pie; brown and white bread. Buns or cake.

Wednesday (except during Advent and Lent)--Irish stew; brown and white
bread. Parkin.

Wednesday (during Advent and Lent)--Lentil and tomato soup (alternately
with fish pie); brown and white bread. Parkin.

Thursday. Crust pie; brown or white bread. Buns or cake.

Friday. Lentil and tomato soup (alternately with fish pie); brown and
white bread. Parkin.

(Some other kind of cake or bun is now sometimes substituted for

                             SUMMER DIETARY

Monday. Rice pudding; stewed fruit. Currant cake.

Tuesday. Shepherd's pie; brown and white bread. Seed cake.

Wednesday. Crust pie; brown and white bread. Currant cake.

Thursday. Potted meat sandwiches. Rice pudding.

Friday. Lentil and tomato soup; white and brown bread. Buns.

                             (3) West Ham.

                            WINTER DIETARY.

Monday. Irish stew. Brown bread and jam.

Tuesday. Lentil soup. Baked currant pudding.

Wednesday. Roast mutton; potatoes; haricot beans; bread.

Thursday. Mince. Suet pudding; jam or stewed fruit.

Friday. Soup. Rice with jam or treacle.

(During summer lighter food is substituted.)

                               (4) Acton.

Monday. Soup and bread. Currant roll.

Tuesday. Stewed meat; cabbage; potatoes.

Wednesday. Soup and bread. Plain suet pudding with syrup.

Thursday. Irish stew and potatoes. Plain pudding.

Friday. Soup and bread. Rice pudding.

Saturday. Stewed meat and two vegetables.

This menu is theoretically repeated week after week throughout the year,
but in practice it is not always strictly adhered to.

                              (5) London.

_Dinners which may be supplied by the Alexandra Trust._ (_See Minutes of
the L.C.C., Dec. 17, 18, 1912._)

                              WINTER MENU.

1. Haricot bean soup; bread. Treacle pudding.

2. Fish and potato pie; bread. Baked raisin pudding.

3. Pea soup; bread baked in dripping. Fig pudding.

4. Stewed beef or mutton; dumplings; steamed potatoes; bread.

5. Beef stewed with peas; dumplings; potatoes; bread.

6. Mutton stewed with haricot beans; steamed potatoes; bread. Suet

7. Meat and potato pie; bread.

8. Meat pudding.

9. Toad-in-the-hole; potatoes; bread.

10. Rice pudding; two slices of bread and butter.

                              SUMMER MENU.

1. Rice pudding; two slices of bread and butter.

2. Toad-in-the-hole; potatoes; bread.

3. Meat pies; potatoes; bread.

4. Meat pudding; potatoes; bread.

5. Cold meat pie; fruit roll.

6. Meat sandwich; piece of cake.

7. (For Infants) Hot milk and bread; fruit roll.

                          DINNERS FOR INFANTS

1 Liquid part of winter dinner menus, Nos. 4, 5, 6.

2 Rice, tapioca, macaroni or barley pudding, with two slices of sultana
bread and butter.

3 Stew--very fine mince.

4 Baked custard, with bread and butter.

5 Savory custard, with bread and butter.

                      (6) Grassington (Yorkshire)

                           SAMPLE MENUS[545]

Footnote 545:

  There appears to be no fixed dietary, the dinners being varied each

Monday. Haricot bean soup; bread. Steamed suet pudding and treacle.

Tuesday. Meat and potato pies with crusts on. Rice pudding.

Wednesday. Onion soup; bread. Steamed ginger pudding; sweet sauce.

Thursday. Meat and potato pie with crusts on. Sago pudding.

Friday. Yorkshire pudding; gravy; mashed potato. Marmalade pudding;
sweet sauce.

Monday. Potato soup; bread. Steamed ginger pudding; sweet sauce.

Tuesday. Meat and potato pies with crusts on. Cornflour pudding.

Wednesday. Pea soup. Plain plum puddings; sweet sauce.

Thursday. Meat and potato pies with crusts on. Rice pudding.

Friday. Shepherd's pie (minced meat, mashed potato). Sago pudding.

                              APPENDIX II

The Provision of Meals Act of 1906 applied only to England and Wales. As
we have seen, the attempt of the House of Commons to extend its
operations to Scotland was defeated in the House of Lords, and it was
not till 1908 that the Scottish School Boards were granted power to
utilise the rates for the provision of food.[546] By the Education
(Scotland) Act passed in that year it was enacted that a School Board
might, either by itself or in combination with other School Boards,
provide accommodation, apparatus and service for the preparation and
supply of meals.[547] Where it appeared that a child was unable by lack
of food or clothing to take full advantage of the education provided,
the School Board should, after due warning, summon the parent or
guardian to appear and give an explanation of the child's condition. If
the explanation was not forthcoming or was insufficient or
unsatisfactory, and the condition of the child was due to neglect, the
Procurator Fiscal should prosecute the parents under the Prevention of
Cruelty Act.[548] If, however, it appeared that the parent or guardian,
through poverty or ill-health, was unable to supply sufficient food or
clothing, the School Board, if satisfied that the necessities of the
case would not be met by voluntary agency, should make "such provision
for the child ... as they deem necessary" out of the school fund.[549]
Temporary provision might be made by the School Board pending completion
of procedure against the parents, and the cost of such provision might
be recovered.[550] The powers conferred upon Scottish School Boards thus
differed in several respects from those conferred on English Local
Authorities by the Act of 1906. The School Boards were granted power not
only to provide food but also clothing, and no limitation was placed
upon the amount which might be spent out of the rates on the provision
of these necessaries. Moreover, the Act was not permissive. In England,
when in any area school children are suffering from lack of food, and
voluntary funds are not forthcoming to meet their needs, the Local
Education Authority _may_ provide food out of the rates; in Scotland the
School Board _shall_ make such provision.

Footnote 546:

  See ante, p. 48.

Footnote 547:

  8 Edward VII., c. 63, sec. 3 (2).

Footnote 548:

  _Ibid._, sec. 6 (1).

Footnote 549:

  _Ibid._, sec. 6 (2).

Footnote 550:


No report has yet been published by the Scottish Education Department as
to the action taken either by the School Boards or by voluntary agencies
in the work of the provision of meals. As far as we can gather from the
reports of the Chief Inspectors, though several Boards co-operate with
voluntary agencies and provide apparatus and service, in only some
half-dozen towns, _e.g._, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Govan, Leith, Perth, has
the system of providing food out of the rates been adopted to any
extent.[551] The increase in expenditure on the provision of meals,
etc., for necessitous children under the Act of 1908 is shown by the
following table:--[552]

Footnote 551:

  During the coal strike in the spring of 1912, some Boards in the Fife
  district took action under section 6 and provided free meals. (Report
  of the Chief Inspector for the Southern Division for 1912, p. 11.)

Footnote 552:

  Report of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland, 1912-13,
  p. 4.

                           Providing  Food, Clothing or    Total.
                        Accomodation  other expenditure
                          for Meals,   (for necessitous
                           Sec. 3(2)   children) Sec. 6

      1908-9 (Part of           £ 67               £ 11      £ 78
      year only.)

      1909-10                    290                921     1,211

      1910-11                  3,777              3,768     7,545

      1911-12                  4,586              3,172     7,758

In Edinburgh, the necessity for feeding underfed school children was
recognized[553] very soon after the passing of the Education Act of
1872. The Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor early
undertook to deal with cases reported by the Attendance Officers. In
1878 Miss Flora Stevenson started a scheme for feeding and clothing
destitute children, on condition that children so assisted must attend
school.[554] Towards the close of the nineteenth century numerous other
voluntary organisations appear to have been established.[555] As in
other towns the provision by these voluntary agencies proved inadequate
and unsatisfactory. Meals were supplied only for about ten weeks in the
year. They were served in eating-houses, where the food was poor and the
arrangements of the roughest description. The children were selected by
the teachers and attendance officers, and there was no adequate
investigation into the cases. In the autumn of 1909 the Lord Provost
summoned a conference to discuss the question, and a scheme of
co-operation between the School Board and the two chief voluntary
agencies, the Flora Stevenson Committee and the Courant Fund, was drawn
up, by which the voluntary funds were pooled, and cases were decided by
a committee consisting of representatives of the three bodies concerned.
In the following year the School Board undertook the entire
responsibility for the provision of meals, though it still relied on
voluntary contributions. It decided to establish a cooking centre of its
own instead of entrusting the supply of the meals to caterers. Care
Committees of voluntary workers were to be appointed for each group of
schools to investigate all cases of destitution, and to "keep in
continuous and sympathetic touch" with the families. Cases were to be
recommended by the medical officer, school nurses, teachers and
attendance officers, in addition to applications made by the parents;
the Care Committee was also itself to take the initiative in searching
out cases of destitution. To secure uniformity of treatment a Central
Care Committee, composed of representatives of the School Board and the
voluntary agencies, was appointed to give the final decision on all
cases; this central committee was also to supervise the collection of
the necessary funds, and to rouse general interest in the problem of
school feeding.[556] The Courant Fund declined to act with the Board
under this scheme, but the Flora Stevenson Committee co-operated

Footnote 553:

  For the following account I am mainly indebted to the kindness of Mrs.
  Leslie Mackenzie and Mr. I. H. Cunningham.

Footnote 554:

  Report of Select Committee on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills
  (England and Scotland), 1906, Q. 4211; Report of Royal Commission on
  Physical Training (Scotland) 1903, Vol. II., Q. 2396.

Footnote 555:

  Report of Special Sub-Committee on Meals for School Children, in
  Minutes of London School Board, July 25, 1889, Vol. 31, p. 382.

Footnote 556:

  Edinburgh School Board, Memorandum on the Feeding of School Children,
  1910, pp. 5-6.

The cooking centre was opened in January, 1911, and by the end of the
year the system of Care Committees was in working order. Voluntary
subscriptions rapidly decreased, however, and in May, 1912, the Board
resolved that recourse must be had to the rates. The Central Care
Committee thereupon ceased to exist, its duties being transferred to the
Attendance Committee. The local Care Committees, of which eight had been
appointed, were continued for a time, but at the beginning of 1913 the
duty of investigation was entrusted to the Attendance Officers,[557] and
the local committees also were given up. The system had not worked
entirely without friction. The method of investigation was cumbersome
and slow, and the local committees were not in sufficiently close touch
with the Central Committee. The committees were too large; from one to
nine schools were allocated to each, and the membership usually numbered
about twenty-five. But it is to be regretted that the system has been
entirely abandoned. Apart from the work of investigation, which, as we
have shown elsewhere, is not a task which can suitably be entrusted to
voluntary workers, there are many matters connected with the welfare of
the school child in which the volunteer's services can be of the
greatest value.

Footnote 557:

  Two special officers have been appointed to make enquiries.

The meal given is always dinner, though in one of the poorest districts
breakfasts have recently been started; for these a halfpenny is charged,
except to those children who are on the free list. Till lately two
courses were supplied at dinner, but now usually only one is given. The
meals are served ordinarily in the schools, but in one or two places in
halls hired for the purpose. From reports that we have received the
arrangements seem to compare very favourably with those obtaining in
most English dining-centres. The teachers frequently take a great
interest in the question and supervise the meals. Some of the elder boys
and girls help to serve the food and wait on the children. The infants
are served at a separate table or, perhaps, in a separate room.
Attention is paid to cleanliness and tidiness, and the children's
manners are very good.

Provision is made not only for necessitous[558] children, but for those
who can pay part or the whole of the cost. Non-necessitous children may
obtain a dinner on payment of 2d., while the "semi-necessitous" may pay
1d. It is noteworthy that the number of free dinners is decreasing,
while the number of penny dinners is on the increase. Of the 413,000
meals supplied during 1912-13, nearly 50 per cent. were supplied to
"semi-necessitous" children on payment of 1d.; about 25 per cent. were
given free, the remaining 25 per cent. being supplied to children whose
parents were receiving relief from the Parish Council, children in
Higher Grade and Special Schools, and the elder girls who helped in
serving the meals.[559] The work of investigation has been greatly
reduced by the introduction of the penny dinner, and it has been
suggested that the provision of a halfpenny dinner would still further
diminish the need for free dinners, and consequently the need for

Footnote 558:

  There is no fixed scale in determining which children are necessitous,
  but free meals are usually granted if the gross income of the
  household is less than 3s. a head.

Footnote 559:

  For the week ending December 19, 1913, the number of children fed

  Necessitous               442
  Paying children         1,389
  Parish Council children   207

For many years before the School Board undertook the responsibility for
providing for its underfed children, the Parish Council was supplying
meals to the children of mothers who were receiving parish relief. The
Report of the Royal Commission on Physical Training in 1903 had drawn
attention to the question of underfeeding among children, and the Parish
Council determined to provide meals for the children for whose relief it
was responsible, in order to ensure that no complaint might be brought
against it.[560] Hot dinners were provided every day except Sunday.[561]
They were intended chiefly for children whose mothers were at work all
day, but tickets were also given in cases where an increase of relief
would not have benefited the children, or where the children had a
consumptive tendency.[562] The dinners were served in eating-houses
where "the conditions as to the serving of the meals, and the manners of
the children--entirely without supervision--" were "anything but
civilising."[563] When the School Board took over the general
arrangements for feeding, it seemed at first as if the Parish Council
would still continue its own methods, but the superiority of the Board's
scheme was soon apparent, and the Parish Council made an arrangement
with it by which children whose mothers were receiving relief would have
meals at school, the Council paying 1-1/2d. per meal to the School

Footnote 560:

  Evidence before the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, Vol. VI.,
  Qs. 61553-5.

Footnote 561:

  _Ibid._, Q. 61371 (12).

Footnote 562:

  _Ibid._, Q. 55247 (31).

Footnote 563:

  Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, 8vo edition,
  Vol. III., p. 148.

Footnote 564:

  "Administrative problems arising out of Child Feeding," by J. A.
  Young, in _Proceedings of the National Conference on the Prevention of
  Destitution_, 1911, pp. 339-340.

In Glasgow, as in Edinburgh, the provision of meals was very early
undertaken by voluntary societies. As far back as 1869 the Glasgow Poor
Children's Dinner Table Society was founded,[565] and in 1875 another
philanthropic society established Day Refuges, which were intended
chiefly for children of widows or widowers who were at work all day, and
at which three meals were supplied daily.[566] The Poor Children's
Dinner Table Society continued to be the chief agency for supplying
meals till 1910, when voluntary contributions proved inadequate and the
School Board took over the provision of the meals. A central cooking
centre, with modern labour-saving appliances, was built, the food being
distributed to the different centres by motor waggon. The meals are
served either in the schools or in halls hired for the purpose. The
supervision is usually undertaken by the attendants; at some centres
assistance is given by members of the old dinner societies, but the
numbers are falling off. Only necessitous children are fed. Each case is
decided on its merits, but dinners are not usually granted if the family
income exceeds 3s. per head.[567] The children are selected by the
school doctors, nurses, attendance officers or teachers, and enquiries
are made by the attendance officers, immediate provision being made in
urgent cases. Boots and clothing, which up to 1912 were supplied by the
Poor Children's Clothing Scheme, are now provided by the School
Board.[568] In the special schools for the physically defective, dinner
is provided for practically all the children, and the parents pay. The
food is good in quality and served in an attractive manner, tablecloths
of some kind and flowers being provided. The supervision is undertaken
by the nurses and teachers.

Footnote 565:

  Report of Select Committee on Education (Provision of Meals) Bills
  (England and Scotland), 1906, Qs. 3075-8.

Footnote 566:

  Evidence before the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1909, Vol. VI.,
  Q. 59728 (18); Report of London School Board on Underfed Children
  attending School, 1899, p. 253.

Footnote 567:

  See Dundee School Board, Report on the Feeding of School Children,
  1913, p. 31.

Footnote 568:

  Report of Glasgow School Board for 1911-12, p. 13.

Perth was one of the earliest School Boards to use its powers under the
Act of 1908 and to provide food and clothing out of the rates, the
system being begun in 1909. A Care Committee was appointed in 1911 to
assist the School Board in looking after the welfare of the children and
to take part in the distribution of the meals; the members visit the
homes, but apparently have no voice in the selection of the
children.[569] The dinners are mostly served in a Church Hall and are
supervised by the Care Committee and members of the School Board. Most
of the dinners are supplied free, only a small proportion being paid
for.[570] In the matter of boots, if a child is found improperly shod, a
notice is sent by the Board to the parents. If they do not provide boots
themselves, the Board supplies them and calls upon the parents to
pay[571]; about two-thirds of the money thus spent is recovered from the

Footnote 569:

  Report of Chief Inspector for Southern Division for 1912, pp. 11-12.

Footnote 570:

  Perth School Board, Officers' Report on the supplying of Meals and
  Boots to School Children, 1912-13, pp. 1-3.

Footnote 571:

  Report of Chief Inspector for Southern Division for 1912, p. 12.

Footnote 572:

  Perth School Board, Officers' Report, 1912-13, p. 4.

In most towns, as we have said, the cost of the food is still borne out
of voluntary funds, whether the School Board itself undertakes the
provision of meals, or whether this is done by a voluntary society.

In Dundee provision has been made by "The Free and Assisted Dinner Fund"
since the winter of 1884-5.[573] The meals are given usually in the
schools, but sometimes in coffee houses. The prevailing menu appears to
be soup. In view of the large number of married women who are
industrially employed at Dundee, the school meal is a great convenience.
A large proportion of the children, something like two-thirds in fact,
make some payment towards the meal.[574] But the price charged is very
low; a single bowl of soup costs a halfpenny, while the payment of a
penny a week secures a bowl daily.[575] At Paisley also a large
proportion of the children pay. Soup and bread, or, if the children
prefer, cocoa and bread, etc., is provided for the sum of one halfpenny,
the poorest children receiving it free. The balance of expenditure on
food is met from voluntary funds; the School Board pays all expenses of
administration.[576] In Aberdeen the work of providing meals, which had
formerly been undertaken by the Aberdeen Educational Trust, was
transferred in 1909 to the School Board, together with the income which
the Trust had devoted to this purpose.[577] At Greenock the School Board
have raised a voluntary fund for the provision of books, boots or food
for necessitous children, but it has not been found necessary to supply
any meals within the last two years. In Inverness provision is made by a
voluntary organisation, the children being sent to local eating-houses.

Footnote 573:

  Dundee School Board, Report on the Feeding of School Children, 1913,
  p. 11.

Footnote 574:

  _Ibid._, p. 15.

Footnote 575:

  _Ibid._, pp. 13-14.

Footnote 576:

  In the special schools for defective children at Paisley a two-course
  dinner is provided at a charge of 8d. a week.

Footnote 577:

  Report of Chief Inspector for the Northern Division for 1911, p. 24.

Turning now to the rural districts, we may mention an early experiment
somewhat similar to that at Rousdon, to which we have already referred.
In 1878 the minister of the small country parish of Farnell came to the
conclusion that the attendance at school would be more regular, and the
children would derive more profit from the education given if a hot
midday meal were provided. Accordingly a soup kitchen was instituted at
the school, the plant being provided by voluntary contributions. A
charge was made of a halfpenny per meal or 1d. per family, where there
were more than two children. Practically all the children availed
themselves of the provision. The effects were soon visible, not only in
improved attendance--the grant earned rose from £89 in 1878 to £99 in
1883--but in greater immunity from epidemics and illness than in
neighbouring schools, and in the greater buoyancy of spirits of the

Footnote 578:

  "Can a sufficient mid-day meal be given to poor school children ...
  for ... less than one penny?" by Sir Henry Peek, 1883, p. 13.

In this matter of providing a midday meal for the children attending
rural schools, Scotland would appear to be, on the whole, in advance of
England, though the extent of the provision made varies considerably in
different districts. Thus, in the Border Counties, very few schools make
any arrangements,[579] while in Fifeshire, where the Inspector "has
consistently pressed upon managers" the necessity for providing dinners,
the attitude of most of the rural Boards is one of "stolid apathy."[580]
In Aberdeenshire, on the other hand, a cup of cocoa or a plate of soup
is provided in most of the country schools,[581] and in the county of
Inverness almost all the schools provide some sort of hot liquid.[582]
In Kincardineshire it was reported in 1906 that the soup kitchen was a
"universal institution."[583] The meals may be paid for by the children,
these payments being supplemented by voluntary contributions in money or
in kind.

Footnote 579:

  Report of Chief Inspector for the Southern Division for 1911, p. 27.

Footnote 580:

  _Ibid._, pp. 27-8.

Footnote 581:

  First Report on Medical Inspection of School Children in Scotland, by
  Dr. Leslie Mackenzie, 1913, p. 51.

Footnote 582:

  "The Diet of Country Elementary School Children," by Dr. Gordon A.
  Lang, in _Rearing an Imperial Race_, edited by C. E. Hecht, 1913, p.

Footnote 583:

  Report of Chief Inspector for Northern Division for 1906.

But even where it is the rule to find cocoa or soup supplied, it is
inadequate for the wants of many of the children, who require a more
substantial and nourishing midday meal. Moreover, the provision appears
as a rule to be confined to the winter months, a limitation patently
absurd, since the _raison d'être_ of the meals is not so much the
poverty of the parents, a condition which may fluctuate according to the
seasons, but the fact that the distances are, in many cases, too great
to allow the children time to return home at midday--which condition is,
of course, constant the whole year round.

                              APPENDIX III
                     THE PROVISION OF MEALS ABROAD

We have not been able to make any original enquiry into the systems of
school feeding existing in other countries. The following history of the
"Cantines Scolaires" in Paris and brief notes as to the provision made
in other foreign towns may, however, be useful for purposes of
reference, and as showing how widespread has been the movement for the
feeding of school children. The information as to foreign towns other
than Paris is derived mainly from _Prize Essays on Feeding School
Children_, 1890; _Report of London School Board on Underfed Children
attending School_, 1899, Appendix ix., pp. 255-272; _Feeding of School
Children in Continental and American Cities_ (Cd. 2926), 1906; _The Free
Feeding of School Children_, a reprint of the reports by the Special
Sanitary Commissioner of the _Lancet_, 2nd edition, 1907; while fuller
and more recent information is to be found in _School Feeding, its
Practice at Home and Abroad_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913.

                               (a) France

                  (i) The Cantines Scolaires in Paris

Paris has long offered to other cities an inspiring example of an
efficient and uniform system for feeding poor school children. She was
the first to make systematic provision on a large scale. She had a basis
of organisation ready to her hand in the _Caisses des Ecoles_. These
bodies correspond in some degree to the English Care Committees, though
with a far wider sphere of action. The original object of these school
funds was to encourage school attendance by rewards to industrious
pupils and help to the needy. The first _Caisse_ was established in 1849
by the National Guard in the second _arrondissement_, and gradually the
system spread. In 1867 a law was passed encouraging the formation of
_Caisses_ in every _commune_, and directing that their revenues were to
consist of voluntary subscriptions and subventions by the commune,
department or state.[584] This law was merely permissive, but in 1882,
by the Compulsory Education Law, the establishment of these
organisations was made obligatory.[585] A _Caisse_ was accordingly set
up in each of the twenty _arrondissements_ of Paris. Attendance at
school being now compulsory, and it being therefore no longer so
necessary to provide incentives to attendance, the _Caisses_, though
they still continued to grant prizes, turned their attention more and
more to the physical needs of the children, boots, clothing, food,
country holidays and, later, crèches, Savings Banks, skilled
apprenticeship and medical treatment. The _Caisse_ was a voluntary body,
but was officially recognised by the municipality. The General Committee
was composed of the Mayor, the members of the Municipal Council, and the
school inspector for the district, together with from twenty to
twenty-four persons elected by the subscribers.[586]

Footnote 584:

  "The Free Feeding of School Children," a reprint of the reports by the
  Special Sanitary Commissioner of the _Lancet_, 2nd edition, 1907, p.

Footnote 585:

  _Ibid._, p. 8.

Footnote 586:

  _Ibid._, p. 9.

As in other towns, the early attempts at feeding poor school children
were due to private initiative; meals were provided by the _Caisses des
Ecoles_ or other voluntary associations or by philanthropic individuals.
These attempts were unco-ordinated and inadequate to deal with the evil
of underfeeding. In 1879 the Municipal Council made an enquiry into the
whole question. As a result a scheme was drawn up to place the work on a
more satisfactory and uniform basis under public control. The provision
of meals was entrusted in each _arrondissement_ to the _Caisses des
Ecoles_, and a grant of 480,000 francs was voted by the Municipal
Council to aid them in this work.[587]

Footnote 587:

  "The Cantines Scolaires of Paris," by Sir Charles A. Elliott, in the
  _Nineteenth Century_, May, 1906, pp. 834-5.

It is interesting to note that it was seriously considered whether the
meals should not be supplied free for all children attending the
schools. The Council, however, came to the conclusion that, "in freeing
the parents of all responsibility with regard to their children, and in
accustoming them to evade their duties, they would be running the risk
of weakening the family spirit, to the great detriment of the morality
both of the children and of the parents."[588] It was, therefore,
decided that free provision should be limited to necessitous children.
At the same time it would be difficult to exclude children who were
willing to pay for their meals, hence provision should be made for these

Footnote 588:

  "Organisation des Cantines Scolaires à Paris," a manifold manuscript
  report issued by the Direction de l'Enseignement primaire, 3me bureau,

The voluntary subscriptions which had supported the work before 1880
continued in theory to be the chief resource of the new _Cantines
Scolaires_. These voluntary subscriptions rapidly decreased, being
either withdrawn altogether or diverted to the other objects of the
_Caisses_. At the same time both the number of meals provided and the
proportion of free meals increased no less markedly. In 1880, the first
year in which meals were provided under the new system, only 33 per
cent. of the meals were supplied free (the remainder being paid for by
the parents); in 1898 this proportion had nearly doubled, being 63 per
cent. The municipal subsidy rose correspondingly, and in 1899 amounted
to 1,017,000 francs. The Council took fright and appointed a Commission
to consider the question, with the result that the grant was restricted
to 1,000,000 francs.[589] This limit has been fairly strictly adhered
to, for the grant amounts now to only 1,050,000 francs, though the
proportion of free meals has continued slowly to increase.[590]

Footnote 589:

  "The Cantines Scolaires of Paris," by Sir Charles Elliott, in the
  _Nineteenth Century_, May, 1906, pp. 835-6.

Footnote 590:

  According to the latest figures 70 per cent. of the children for whom
  meals are provided receive them free.

Each _Caisse_ is allowed a free hand in the actual details of
administration, hence the arrangements vary in the different
_arrondissements_. The want of uniformity has obvious disadvantages, and
a proposal was recently made that the system should be centralised, but
this would have necessitated the appointment of a large and expensive
staff, and it was felt desirable to leave the initiative and
responsibility to voluntary workers.[591] Everywhere the meal is served
on the school premises, a kitchen being established for each school or
group of schools. The meal is cooked by the _cantinières_, and is
sometimes provided by them at a fixed price per head; more often the
_Caisse_ prefers to purchase the materials itself, a more economical
method, and one which ensures a better quality of food.[592] The dinner
may consist of one, two or three courses. The food is plentiful and
good, well-cooked and well-served, and the menu sufficiently varied. The
meals are made as attractive as possible to encourage the better-class
parents to make use of them. The price charged varies from 1d. to 2d.;
in almost all the _arrondissements_ the charge appears to be below the
cost price. No difference is made between the children who pay and those
who are on the free list. The teachers do not assist in serving the
food, as in England, but are always present to supervise the children,
and, in some schools at any rate, they eat their dinner with them. At
first the supervision was undertaken voluntarily, but since 1910 the
teachers have received an extra remuneration of 1·50 francs a day for
this duty.[593] This sharing in a common meal by all classes alike,
together with the presence of the teacher, has had a marked influence on
the children's manners. Besides the mid-day meal, which is given by all
the _Caisses_, breakfasts of soup are sometimes supplied to the children
who are receiving free dinners, while in some _arrondissements_, _e.g._,
the eighteenth, a small meal is also given at four o'clock to these
children if they remain at school for the "classe de garde."[594] A
further extension has recently been made in the seventeenth
_arrondissement_, where it was decided in 1912 to try the experiment of
a "classe de garde" till eight o'clock in the evening, with a supper,
for children of widows or widowers who were at work till late, or for
other especially poor children, or children with bad homes, the object
being both to secure them adequate nourishment and to remove them from
the temptations of the streets. For this purpose the Municipal Council
voted a sum of 10,000 francs.[595] Weakly children have codliver oil
given to them in winter and syrup of iodide of iron or phosphate of lime
in the summer.

Footnote 591:

  "Organisation des Cantines Scolaires à Paris," report by Direction de
  l'Enseignement primaire, 3me bureau, 1912.

Footnote 592:


Footnote 593:


Footnote 594:

  "Caisse des écoles du 18e arrondissement," Exercice de l'année 1911,
  p. 34.

Footnote 595:

  Proposition tendant à l'ouverture d'un crédit de 10,000 francs en vue
  de permettre à la Caisse des Ecoles du XVIIe arrondissement
  d'organiser, à titre d'essai, une classe de garde prolongée jusqu'à
  huit heures et une cantine du soir, déposée par M. Frédéric Brunet,
  conseiller municipal, Septembre 19, 1912.

The methods of enquiry vary in the different _arrondissements_. Usually
the enquiries are made by a paid investigator, but the numbers of
children on the free list are so large that the investigation is as a
rule very superficial. The necessity of keeping secret the fact that a
child is receiving the meals free also militates against any effective
enquiry into the parents' circumstances. The meals are granted for a
school year, hence it frequently happens that a child continues to
receive them long after the need has passed away.[596] The enquiries
are, as might be expected, the least satisfactory part of the Paris
system. In granting the meals the _Caisses_ usually take a generous
view; it is held, for instance, that a man earning up to 30s. a week
cannot adequately feed and clothe more than three children, and if his
family is larger than this the _Caisses_ are prepared to assist him;
while widows' children are invariably fed if application is made.[597]

Footnote 596:

  "Organisation des Cantines Scolaires à Paris," report issued by
  Direction de l'Enseignement primaire, 3me bureau, 1912; "Necessitous
  Children in Paris and London," by George Rainey, in _School Hygiene_,
  November, 1912, Vol. III., p. 198.

Footnote 597:

  _Ibid._, p. 198.

An interesting feature of the Paris system is the provision of clothes.
The municipality insists that the children shall come to school properly
clothed; it is ready to provide the requisite garments, but it insists
that they shall be kept clean and tidy. Frequent inspections are made
for this purpose. The result is a notable raising of the level of
cleanliness and tidiness in the schools, both the parents and the
children themselves learning to take a pride in their appearance.[598]
So far, indeed, from the work of the _Caisses_ having undermined
parental responsibility, it would appear that the reverse is the case,
the parents responding to the higher standard demanded of them.

Footnote 598:

  _Ibid._, pp. 198, 200.

What strikes one in comparing the Paris system with that obtaining in
English towns is the thoroughness with which the problem is tackled in
Paris and the widespread interest taken by the citizens generally in the
work of the _Caisses_. No half measures content them. From the first the
work has been educational, the primary object of the _Caisses_ being to
encourage school attendance rather than to relieve distress. The
educational progress of the children, the improvement in their physique,
the raising of the standard of manners and cleanliness, all show that
the results have amply justified the expenditure.[599]

Footnote 599:

  For the above description, see, besides the references already quoted,
  Report of London School Board on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, Appendix IX., pp. 262-5; "The Cantines Scolaires of Paris," by
  Marcel Kleine, in _Report of Proceedings of the International Congress
  for the Welfare and Protection of Children_, 1906, pp. 65-82; "Feeding
  School Children: The Experience of France," in the _Manchester
  Guardian_, February 22, 1906; "Children's Care Committees in Paris,"
  in the _Morning Post_, March 19, 1909; "School Canteens in Paris," by
  Miss M. M. Boldero, in the _School Child_, July, 1910; _School
  Feeding, its History and Practice at Home and Abroad_, by Louise
  Stevens Bryant, 1913, pp. 77-93; Conseil Municipal de Paris, Procès
  Verbal, June 25, 1909, December 31, 1909, March 23, 1910.

                 (ii) Provision in other French Towns.

Paris was not the first municipality in France to interest itself in the
provision of school meals. The pioneer town in this respect seems to
have been Angers, where as early as 1871 the Société de Fourneau des
Ecoles Laïques was founded with the support of the municipality, to
provide hot dinners, either free or at a cost of 10 centimes, during the
winter.[600] Towards the close of the nineteenth century many
municipalities were providing meals, either directly or indirectly
through voluntary organisations.

Footnote 600:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, pp. 93-94.

Thus at Havre, in 1898, the municipality was making a grant of £500 to a
voluntary society; meals were provided for 10 centimes, or were given
free in cases of poverty; about five-eighths of the children who
attended paid for the meals.[601]

Footnote 601:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 265.

At Marseilles Cantines Scolaires were organised by the municipality in
1893. Prior to this date meals had been provided in some three or four
schools, but only in a haphazard manner by voluntary agencies. By the
bye-law of 1893 a committee of twenty-two was to be appointed by the
Mayor, and presided over by him or his representative; this committee
was to investigate the demands made for free meals. In 1905 about 8 per
cent. of the children in the communal schools were dining at school,
about half this number paying for the meal; in the infant schools the
proportion fed was much greater, viz., 18 per cent., while only about
one-sixth of the parents paid. As in Paris, no distinction was made
between the paying and the non-paying children. Dinner tickets could be
bought at all the police stations; if the parents wished to receive the
meals free, they had to make application personally or by letter to the
education department; if on investigation they proved to be unable to
pay, the municipality provided them with tickets.[602]

Footnote 602:

  _Lancet_ Reports, 1907, pp. 50-56.

At Nice also Cantines Scolaires were established by the municipality
about 1896. Here the object was not so much to feed starving children as
to provide a suitable meal for children who came such distances that
they were unable to return home at mid-day. The municipality built
kitchens, provided all the necessary apparatus, and paid the salaries of
the cooks. A penny was charged for a dinner of soup, the meal being
given free to those who could not afford to pay. Any deficit was
supplied by voluntary subscriptions. In the infant schools, on the other
hand, the municipality assumed the entire responsibility, and a hot meal
was provided for all the children without payment.[603]

Footnote 603:

  _Ibid._, pp. 41-43.

By 1909 Cantines Scolaires of one kind or another had been very
generally established. It appeared that at this date something like
three-fifths were supported entirely by public funds, the remainder
being so supported indirectly and partially. In many towns where regular
cantines had not been instituted, the teachers or janitors served warm
soup to the children at a nominal sum. In country districts or smaller
towns, the children would bring the raw material for soup and the
teacher would prepare it; the children would also bring their own bread,
and sometimes wine and cake. Whether any organised provision was made or
not, the great majority of the schools everywhere had a stove on which
the children could warm any food they brought with them.[604]

Footnote 604:

  _School Feeding_ by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, pp. 80, 94-97.

                            (b) Switzerland

Switzerland was one of the first countries in which provision for
necessitous school children became the subject of national legislation.
The question early attracted attention. The long distances which many of
the children had to walk to school rendered the provision of a mid-day
meal of the greatest importance, while clothing and especially boots
were little less necessary. After 1890 the system of providing food and
clothing was greatly extended. The provision was everywhere made by
voluntary societies, but assistance was given from the cantonal and
communal funds. The cantonal contribution was derived chiefly from the
alcohol monopoly profits and was devoted to this provision for the
children's wants on the theory that their misery was in most cases the
direct result of parental insobriety![605] This method of administration
by voluntary societies, subsidised but not controlled by the municipal
authorities, proved most extravagant, and led to much abuse, while it
aroused sectarian jealousies. The municipalities began, consequently, to
take over the direct management of the school meals.[606] In 1903 the
Federal Government issued an order making it _obligatory_ for cantons to
supply food and clothing to necessitous children in the public
elementary schools. Three years later it authorised the use of state
funds for this purpose, on the understanding that in no case should the
cantonal or city support be lessened because of this federal

Footnote 605:

  Report of London School Board on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, pp. 271-2.

Footnote 606:

  _The Bitter Cry of the Children_, by John Spargo, 1906, p. 277.

Footnote 607:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 133.

                               (c) Italy

As in other countries, the early attempts at school feeding in Italy
were made by voluntary agencies. In many towns, towards the close of the
nineteenth century, Committees of Assistance and Benevolent Funds were
instituted to assist poor pupils in the elementary schools, chiefly in
the matter of books and clothing, but in several communes of Lombardy
and Romagna meals were also given. A small grant, which in 1897 was
raised to 120,000 francs (£4,800), was made by the Department of Public
Instruction to the school authorities in the large cities, and
especially Rome, who provided a mid-day meal for their children.[608]

Footnote 608:

  Report of London School Board on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 267.

The first town in which the municipality undertook the provision of
meals was San Remo, in 1896. This policy was inaugurated by the
Socialist Council. It was temporarily abandoned in 1898, when a
Conservative Council was appointed who preferred the subsidising of
voluntary agencies to direct municipal action, but was re-introduced on
the return of the Socialists to power some four years later.[609]

Footnote 609:

  _Lancet_ Reports, 1907, pp. 31, 33.

In Milan an agitation for the provision of meals was set on foot in the
last decade of the nineteenth century. The municipal authority declined
to undertake the work themselves, but advocated the formation of
charitable committees to raise subscriptions for the purpose, offering
to supplement these voluntary funds with a municipal subvention. This
grant amounted in 1897 to about £400.[610] It was soon found that this
system did not work satisfactorily, and the municipality was obliged,
though somewhat reluctantly, to assume the responsibility.[611]

Footnote 610:

  Minutes of London School Board, May 26, 1898, Vol. 48, p. 1810.

Footnote 611:

  _Lancet_ Reports, 1907, p. 20.

But it is in the small rural town of Vercelli that we find the most
remarkable experiment.[612] Here for some years a charitable committee
had been providing meals for children who lived too far from school to
go home at mid-day, and the municipality had granted a small subsidy,
but it was felt that this provision was entirely inadequate. In 1900 it
was decided to provide a meal for all the children attending the
elementary schools. The object was not the relief of distress but
education in its fullest sense, as distinct from mere instruction. It
was argued that the mid-day recess furnished an opportunity for moral
education which could not be imparted in the class-room. The teachers
would be brought into more intimate relation with the children, while
the joining of richer and poorer alike in the common meal and in
recreation afterwards would instil sentiments of brotherhood. The meal
was to be free to all and attendance compulsory, for rich and poor were
to be treated exactly alike. With the same object of preventing class
distinctions, clothes were supplied for the poorer children, the
municipality providing the material which was worked into garments by
the sewing classes. The teachers were to have the same food, though they
were allowed a double quantity, and were to eat it with the children.
For this extra duty of supervising both the meals and recreation they
only received an additional £2 a year. Since the moral rather than the
physical welfare of the child was the primary consideration, too little
attention was paid to the actual food that was given. The parents, it
was argued, could in the great majority of cases amply feed their
children at home, hence all that was needed was to supply sufficient
food to compensate for the waste of energy during the two and a half
hours of morning school. A cold meal of bread and sausage or cheese was
given. This did not satisfy the more prosperous children, who would have
preferred to pay for a hot meal, and some 10 per cent. of the children,
chiefly the richer ones, obtained a medical certificate exempting them
from attendance. Nor was the meal sufficient for the poorest children
who were suffering from lack of food. To provide a really adequate meal
free for all would have been too expensive an undertaking. Accordingly,
after some six years, the general free provision was abandoned. Instead,
hot soup was provided, which was given free to the poorest children, any
others who wished being allowed to receive it on payment of 1·50 lire a

Footnote 612:

  [Footnote 5: For the following account, see _Lancet_ Reports, pp.
  24-30. It is interesting to note that this scheme for making universal
  provision was introduced by the Conservative party.]

Footnote 613:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 141; Il Patronato
  Scolastico Umberto 1° in Vercelli e la sua Opera al 31 Dicembre, 1912,
  pp. 5, 6.

The "School Restaurant" seems to have been established in Italy to a
greater extent than in any other country. A very large proportion of the
children attend, and a great number of these pay for the meals. In
1908-9 it was found that in forty-three cities the average attendance
amounted to 37 per cent. of the total school population; while in
several towns the attendance rose to over 70 per cent.[614]

Footnote 614:

  [Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 140.]

                              (d) Germany

In Germany little attention appears to have been paid to the question of
feeding school children, apart from their parents, till the closing
years of the nineteenth century.[615] In some of the large towns, at any
rate, the arrangements that were made were quite inadequate. In Berlin,
for instance, there was in 1890 no society whose chief object was the
provision of school meals. A society which provided food for the poor
generally had a branch which devoted special attention to the needs of
school children, and gave a small sum, generally only 15s. or 20s. a
year, to the committee of each parish school, to be used at the
headmaster's discretion. Generally milk and bread were given in the
headmaster's house.[616] About 1890 the subject began to attract more
attention, especially in connection with the vacation colonies for
school children; it was found that the children who were sent to these
colonies, on returning to their homes, lost the benefit they had gained,
owing to lack of food. On an attempt being made to continue the work of
the colonies by feeding some of the children, it was found that
thousands of others were also underfed.[617] In 1897 a Bill was
introduced in the Reichstag by the Social Democrats to make provision
for school meals in the cities. The Bill was defeated on the ground that
it would increase the migration to the cities from the rural
districts.[618] Some ten years later the agitation for national
legislation was renewed, as a result of the discovery that from 44 to 46
per cent. of the conscripts for the Imperial Army were rejected on
account of physical unfitness.[619]

Footnote 615:

  "Prize Essays on Feeding School Children," 1890, pp. 65, 212-4.

Footnote 616:

  _Ibid._, p. 65.

Footnote 617:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, pp. 17-18, 104.

Footnote 618:

  _Ibid._, pp. 18, 105.

Footnote 619:

  _Ibid._, pp. 99, 106.

In 1909 it was found that out of 189 cities from which information was
obtained, in 78 meals were being provided by voluntary societies,
without any subsidy from, or control by, the municipal authorities,
though these latter usually co-operated in the supervision and service,
and often supplied rooms, gas and cooking free; in 68 cities, meals were
provided by voluntary organisations, but the city governments
subsidised, and usually exercised some control over, their work; while
in 43 cities the provision of meals was undertaken entirely by the

Footnote 620:

  _Ibid._, pp. 114-5.

                              (e) Austria

In Austria school meals are provided in most of the large towns.

In Vienna the Central Association for feeding necessitous school
children was founded in 1887, with the help and approval of the
municipality, the Mayor acting as President and the Municipal Council
being represented on its Administrative Council. Meals were given from
November to April, occasionally at the schools, but more often in
restaurants. All the meals were supplied free. The children were
selected by the School Managers and the headmaster, and enquiry was made
by Local Committees with the help of voluntary workers. The teachers
supervised the meals.[621] In 1888-9, the Municipal Council made a grant
to this society towards the provision of food;[622] by 1896 this
municipal subsidy amounted to 50,000 frs. (£2,000), while 52,500 frs.
were granted for the supply of clothing.[623] In 1906 the food subsidy
had risen to £3,350.[624] The provision made was, however, inadequate.
Meals were only given during the winter, and were not obtained by all
the children who needed them. It was felt that the city ought to assume
direct control. In 1909 kitchens and dining-rooms were built in four new
public schools.[625]

Footnote 621:

  "Prize Essays on Feeding School Children," 1890, pp. 66-70, 181-7,

Footnote 622:

  _Ibid._, pp. 138, 198.

Footnote 623:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, pp. 258, 260-261.

Footnote 624:

  _Feeding of School Children in Continental and American Cities_, 1906,
  p. 6.

Footnote 625:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 143.

                              (f) Belgium

In most of the Belgian towns in the last decade of the nineteenth
century voluntary organisations were to be found whose object was to
provide food and clothing for poor school children. This provision was
made to enable them to attend school instead of begging in the streets,
since education was not compulsory.[626] In Brussels the chief society
was "Le Progrès" Club, which in 1888 commenced the provision of soup
dinners in the schools. The Town Council assisted by providing tables
and undertaking the carriage of the food to the different centres, and
in 1891 by granting a subsidy of 5,000 frs. An application was very soon
made for an increase of this subsidy, whereupon the municipality
undertook a detailed enquiry into the whole question of the food,
clothing, lodging, cleanliness and health of the children in the
communal schools. It was found as a result that 16·89 per cent. were
badly shod, 25·04 per cent. badly clothed, and 25·55 per cent.
insufficiently fed.[627] The work of medical inspection and treatment
was very early undertaken by the local authority. At the date of this
report (1894), a doctor and dentist were attached to each school;
frequent inspections were made by the doctor, and preventive medicine,
_e.g._, codliver oil, was provided from public funds.[628] The provision
of meals continued to be undertaken by voluntary organisations, aided by
a municipal subsidy. In 1903-04, this subsidy amounted to 10,000 frs.
for the communal schools, and 5,000 frs. for the clerical schools. In
addition large quantities of clothing were supplied from public

Footnote 626:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 256.

Footnote 627:

  _Ibid._, p. 255; Board of Education, Reports on Educational Subjects,
  Vol. II., 1898, p. 682.

Footnote 628:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 256.

Footnote 629:

  _Lancet_ Reports, 1907, pp. 14-15.

At Liège, as early as 1883, the municipality organised the provision of
soup for all children in the kindergartens who wished to receive
it.[630] The dinner was only given on condition that the children were
clean and tidy. Each child was expected to have clean linen twice a week
and also to have a pocket handkerchief. A teacher was present to
supervise the children, and share the meal with them. Each child brought
a basket of bread and fruit to supplement the food provided, and at the
end any bread that remained was packed in the baskets by the children,
to prevent waste and to inculcate habits of thrift.[631] The whole cost
was borne out of municipal funds. In 1901 a voluntary committee was
formed for providing soup in the communal primary schools. This
committee placed at the disposal of the municipality a sum of 10,000
frs., in order that general provision might be made for the first year's
scholars in the primary schools, on the same lines as in the
kindergartens. In other classes in the primary schools soup was given
only to necessitous children, or to those whose parents were at work all
day; this provision was at first limited to three months during the
winter, but in 1905 the municipality voted a grant of 7,000 frs. in
order that it might be extended to six months.[632]

Footnote 630:

  _Feeding of School Children in Continental and American Cities_, 1906,
  p. 2; London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending
  School, 1899, pp. 259, 260-1.

Footnote 631:

  "Prize Essays on Feeding School Children," 1890, pp. 204-5.

Footnote 632:

  _Feeding of School Children in Continental and American Cities_, 1906,
  pp. 2, 4, 6.

                              (g) Holland

Holland was the first country to enact national legislation for the
provision of school meals. The law of 1900 enforcing compulsory
education authorised municipal authorities to provide food and clothing
for all school children, whether in public or private schools, who,
owing to lack of these necessaries, were unable to attend school
regularly. This provision might be undertaken directly by the
municipality, or by means of subsidies to voluntary organisations.[633]

Footnote 633:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 130.

                              (h) Denmark

In some of the cities of Denmark meals were provided by voluntary
agencies in the 'seventies. In 1902 a law was passed allowing municipal
authorities to subsidise these organisations. This system, however,
proved unsatisfactory and, in 1907, a campaign was set on foot for
compulsory national legislation.[634]

Footnote 634:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 146.

In Copenhagen the municipality from 1902 made a grant of 25,000 kr.
(about £1,400) to the "Society for Providing Meals to Free School
Children," the voluntary contributions to which were rapidly
diminishing. This society, though a voluntary organisation, was directly
connected with the municipality, its Executive Board consisting of the
seven municipal school inspectors and four private gentlemen, while the
municipal school director was _ex officio_ president. More than half the
total expenditure was met out of the municipal subsidy, the balance
being made up by voluntary contributions. Dinners were given three days
a week to all the children in the free schools who wished to attend. No
charge was made and no question raised as to the economic circumstances
of the parents. About 33 per cent. of the total number of free school
children availed themselves of this provision.[635]

Footnote 635:

  _The Feeding of School Children in Continental and American Cities_,
  1906, pp. 3, 5, 7.

                               (i) Norway

Christiania was the first town in Norway to make municipal provision for
underfed school children. The system was started in 1897. A proposal was
made to distribute food free to all elementary school children, but this
was, at the time, rejected. In the winter of 1897-8, applications were
made on behalf of 25.92 per cent. of the pupils in the school, the great
majority of the meals being given free.[636] The children made such
marked progress as a result of this experiment that the system was
extended and in Christiania and several other towns a good dinner was
provided by the school authorities for all school children who cared to
attend, the entire cost of the system being met by taxation.[637] It was
soon found that the advantages of this free provision outweighed the
expense. At Trondhjem, when the proposal was first made by the
Socialists, it was bitterly opposed, but by 1906 the system was
unanimously supported by all sections.[638]

Footnote 636:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, p. 268; _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, p. 145.

Footnote 637:

  _The Bitter Cry of the Children_, by John Spargo, 1906, pp. 114-115,

Footnote 638:

  _Ibid._, p. 276.

                               (j) Sweden

In many towns in Sweden schemes for feeding poor school children were
started in the 'eighties, these voluntary schemes being later subsidised
by the local authorities.[639]

Footnote 639:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, pp. 143-4.

In Stockholm several voluntary organisations were formed for supplying
meals, the provision being usually limited to necessitous children. In
order to preserve the self-respect of the children and parents, some of
these societies adopted the plan of allowing the children to contribute
to the expense of the dinner by performing some manual work, the making
of baskets (which were sold), the mending of clothes, the sweeping out
of the rooms, etc.[640] Towards the close of the nineteenth century the
School Boards of the several parishes resolved to build kitchens at the
schools. The kitchens generally contained several fireplaces, at each of
which dinners for a certain number of children were prepared by the
elder girls.[641] Each child only received a dinner three times a week.

Footnote 640:

  "Prize Essays on Feeding School Children," 1890, pp. 71-75.

Footnote 641:

  London School Board, Report on Underfed Children attending School,
  1899, pp. 270-271.

At Jönköping the free distribution of meals dates from 1887. The funds,
which were derived from voluntary contributions and proceeds of
concerts, were administered by the Board School Inspector, and the
distribution of the food was supervised by the School Board. The
children were usually sent for dinner to the houses of private ladies
who undertook the catering.[642] The poorest children were fed twice a
week, those who were rather less poor only once.

Footnote 642:

  _Ibid._, p. 270.

At Gothenburg, besides the provision made by voluntary agencies, the
Board of Education distributed bread to certain children who were
selected by the School Board.[643]

Footnote 643:

  _Ibid._, p. 269.

                      (k) United States of America

In America[644] the movement for the feeding of school children is of
comparatively recent date. It is true that in the numerous Day
Industrial Schools which were instituted in the nineteenth century by
voluntary organisations, _e.g._, by the Children's Aid Society, meals
were always given,[645] but it was not till 1904, when Mr. Robert Hunter
in his "Poverty" stated that probably 60,000 or 70,000 children in New
York City often arrived at school hungry and unfitted to do their school
work well,[646] that public attention was seriously directed to the
question of under-feeding among school children.

Footnote 644:

  See for a full description of the provision made in America, _School
  Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913.

Footnote 645:

  "Prize Essays on Feeding School Children," 1890, pp. 225-35.

Footnote 646:

  _Poverty_, by Robert Hunter, 1904, p. 216.

In New York in 1908 a School Lunch Committee of physicians and social
workers was formed with the object of ascertaining if a three cent lunch
could be made self-supporting. This idea of making the meals
self-supporting seems to be characteristic of the provision made in most
of the American cities. Two schools were at first chosen, and the
experiment proved so successful that two years later the Board of
Education gave permission for lunches to be supplied in other schools.
The Board provided rooms, equipment and gas; the cost of the food and
service had to be met by the sale of tickets. The meals are served
sometimes in the basement in the schools, and there does not appear to
be always adequate accommodation. The meal itself is well cooked and
served, the elder children helping the staff. A physician draws up the
dietaries. These include one main dish such as soup, stew, rice pudding,
etc., costing the child about four cents. There are besides "extras,"
such as dessert, cakes or other delicacies, which may be bought for one
cent, but only by children who have had the main dish. The meals are not
quite self-supporting, as a small number are given free.[647]

Footnote 647:

  _School Feeding_, by Louise S. Bryant, 1913, pp. 147-50.

In Philadelphia the Starr Center Association undertook school feeding in
some schools over fifteen years ago, but it is now managed by the Home
and School League. Several of the schools provide a meal, some at 10.30
a.m., others a fuller meal at midday. The cost is one cent for lunch and
three to five cents for dinner. There is one hot dish of soup or rice
pudding, etc., and the children may spend another cent on the "extra"
dainty. The meals are self-supporting. The teachers co-operate
enthusiastically, and sometimes eat with the children. The food is
served on japanned trays in enamel bowls and a paper napkin is provided.
The washing up is done by the children under supervision, and everything
is carefully sterilised. Both the superintendent, who is responsible for
planning the meals and purchasing the food materials, and the home
visitor are trained dietists.[648]

Footnote 648:

  _Ibid._, pp. 151-164.

In Boston the Hygiene Committee of the Home and School Association began
to organise school dinners in 1909, at a school with a kitchen attached.
By 1911 meals were being supplied at twenty-two schools. Equipment was
given in the first place, and the meals are now self-supporting. In
schools where there is a kitchen, the cooking classes prepare and serve
the meals; here one cent amply covers the cost of the food. In other
schools outside help is hired, and an extra cent per meal ticket meets
this expense.[649]

Footnote 649:

  _Ibid._, pp. 164-8.

Throughout the rest of the States the system is gaining ground. By 1912
some thirty cities had organised the provision of school meals, while in
at least twenty others the question was under consideration. Everywhere
this provision was made by voluntary organisations.[650] Public funds
could not be utilised, but there was growing anxiety that the question
should be made a national concern. The nearest approach to legislative
action was taken by Massachusetts, where in 1912 the Committee on
Education of the Lower House reported favourably a Bill to allow School
Boards to spend part of the school funds on the provision of meals.[651]

Footnote 650:

  _Ibid._, p. 19.

Footnote 651:

  _Ibid._, pp. 20, 182-3.


 Aberdeen, 246;
   county of, 247

 Acton, 68, 90, 104, 114, 234

 After-care, 139, 140, 145, 227_n_

 Alexandra Trust, 155, 157

 Angers, 255

 Anglesey, 125-6

 Arkle, Dr., 171, 181-2

 Aston Manor, 51_n_

 Attendance, effect of meals on, 8, 123, 188, 195-6, 198-9, 246

 Audit by Local Government Board, 56, 102, 103, 104-5

 Austria, 262-3

 Badger, Dr., 175, 176, 182

 Barnett, Canon, 220

 Barnsley, 54_n_, 55, 121_n_

 Bedfordshire, 123_n_

 Belgium, 263-5

 Berlin, 261

 Bermondsey, 210_n_, 211

 Bethnal Green, 76_n_, 191-2

 Birkenhead, 58_n_, 66_n_, 67, 68_n_, 69, 71_n_, 80, 83, 95-6, 120, 121

 Birmingham, 12_n_, 13_n_, 19_n_, 35_n_, 36_n_, 42_n_, 43_n_, 44_n_, 64,
    66, 67, 68, 71-2, 73, 86_n_, 101_n_, 109_n_, 210_n_, 211

 Birrell, Mr., 46

 Blackburn, 115, 179

 Blake, Dr. Sophia Jex-, 8

 Board of Education, xvi, 40, 48, 60, 91, 101, 106.
   See also _Newman, Sir George_

 Board School Children's Free Dinner Fund, 13, 15_n_

 Bolton, 42_n_

 Bootle, 67, 68, 70, 71, 78-9, 82, 85-8, 98_n_, 106, 111, 118, 175,

 Boots, provision of, 145, 244, 245, 257.
   See also _Clothing_

 Boston, 270

 Bournemouth, 59, 65, 68-9

 Bowley, Professor A. L., 205

 Bradford, xvi, 36_n_, 42-3, 51_n_, 56, 57, 58_n_, 59, 66, 67, 68, 78,
    81, 83, 92-3, 98, 99_n_, 100_n_, 103, 105, 108, 112, 115, 120,
    121-2, 127, 130, 180-1, 184-6, 193, 195, 197, 199, 200_n_, 210_n_,
    211, 213, 216-217_n_, 226_n_, 231-2

 Breakfasts, versus dinners, 76-9, 128;
   dietary at, 82;
   attendance at, 76, 77, 228;
   a test, 76-7, 159, 200, 222.
   See also _Meals_

 Brighton, 61-2, 66, 69, 104_n_, 115, 191

 Bristol, 41_n_

 Browne, Dr. Crichton, 10

 Brussels, 263-4

 Brynconin, 123_n_

 Burgwin, Mrs., 6, 17_n_, 23_n_, 201

 Burns, Mr. John, 44, 46, 104

 Bury St. Edmunds, 58, 59, 116

 Buxton, Mr. Sydney, 10

 _Caisses des Ecoles_, 249-55

 Camberwell, 153

 Canteen Committees, 47, 58-9, 68, 70, 73, 74.
   See also _Children's Care Committees_.

 _Cantines Scolaires_, 249-55, 256, 257

 Care Committees. See _Children's Care Committees_

 Carlisle, 12_n_

 Casual Employment, 204, 205, 211, 219

 Caterers, supply of meals by, 83, 128, 157, 229.
   See also _Alexandra Trust_ and _Restaurants_

 Centres, service of meals in, 91-6, 160-3, 229;
   inspection of, 60

 Charity Organisation Society, 1, 4, 11, 53, 58, 75, 96, 203, 220

 Chate, Dr., 174

 Chelsea, 165

 Chesterfield, 53_n_

 Children, numbers fed, 16, 55, 137_n_, 143;
   underfed, numbers of, 16, 29, 170-1, 205_n_, 264, 268;
   underfed, effect of education on, xiii, 2, 6, 8-10, 179-83, 208;
   numbers attending school, 55, 226;
   neglected, 24, 25, 32, 43_n_, 69, 75, 112-3, 119, 129, 215-6, 237;
   necessitous, report on home circumstances of, 138-9;
   physique of, at Liverpool, 171-2;
   industrial employment of, 172, 192;
   effect of meals on, physically, xiii, 3-4_n_, 5-6, 7-8, 29_n_, 30,
      82, 157, 184-197, 201, 224, 246-7;
   mentally, 7-8, 31, 188, 197-9, 201;
   in point of manners, 22, 23_n_, 199, 201, 253;
   in matter of taste, 97, 199-201;
   morally, 76, 202.
   See also _Attendance_, _Day Industrial Schools_, _Infants_,
      _Malnutrition_, _Meals_, _Selection_, _Special Schools_

 Children Act (1908), 112, 118_n_

 Children's Aid Association, 53, 58, 66, 96.
   See also _Canteen Committees_.

 Children's Care (Central) Sub-Committee, 137_n_, 140, 144

 Children's Care Committees, in provinces, 65-6;
   in London, 138, 139, 140, 142, 143-54, 165, 166;
   in Scotland, 240, 241, 244-245;
   constitution of, 144;
   membership of, 145;
   functions of, 65, 139, 145, 148, 149;
   secretaries of, 139-40, 148-9, 227_n_;
   organisers of, 138, 140, 148-9;
   advantages of, 145-7;
   disadvantages of, 147-53;
   diverse policies of, 151-3;
   overlapping of work of, 152-4;
   local associations of, 140, 141, 157, 158.
   See also _Canteen Committees_, _Relief Committees_, _Voluntary

 Children's Country Holidays Fund, 145

 Chorlton, 42_n_

 Christiania, 266-7

 Civic Guild, 53_n_, 66_n_

 Cleanliness, relation of, to nutrition, 174

 Clothing, provision of, 145;
   in Scotland, 237, 238, 244;
   abroad, 254, 257, 258, 260, 263, 264, 265.
   See also _Boots_

 Cocoa Rooms. See _Restaurants_

 Cod Liver Oil, provision of, 144, 155, 159, 254, 264;
   effects of, 191-2

 Collie, Dr., xii, 30, 31

 Conference, on State Maintenance, 32;
   on School Feeding, 225

 Congleton, 176

 Cookery Centres, preparation and service of meals at, 83, 90_n_, 124,
    126, 130, 135-6, 155, 157, 158, 160, 270

 Copenhagen, 266

 Council for Promoting Self-supporting Penny Dinners, 12, 15_n_

 Council of Social Welfare, 141_n_, 165-6

 Crewe, 58, 114_n_

 Cripple Schools, 143_n_, 155-6, 190-1_n_.
   See also _Special Schools_

 Crowley, Dr. Ralph, 105, 180-1, 184, 186

 Cumberland, 174_n_

 Darlington, 120_n_, 198

 "Day Feeding School," at Manchester, 14_n_

 Day Industrial Schools, 15_n_, 32, 117-9;
   provision of meals at, 15_n_, 51, 57, 117-9, 196-7;
   in America, 268

 Defective Children. See _Special Schools_

 Denmark, 265-6

 Derby, 98_n_

 Derbyshire, 125

 Destitute Children's Dinner Society, 3-6

 Dewsbury, 114

 Diet, at home, unsuitable, 78, 79, 128, 172, 174, 178_n_, 189, 223;
   effect of school meals on, 201, 224;
   of working classes in Glasgow, 177-8;
   minimum amount necessary, 177, 205_n_

 Dietary (at school), xv, xvi, 5, 19, 50, 79-82, 157-8, 252, 269;
   at Bradford, 78, 81, 185;
   planning of, 60, 79-80, 128, 229;
   for Infants, 82, 229, 236;
   at Restaurants, 80-1, 88, 89, 90, 160;
   at Day Industrial Schools, 118;
   sample menus, 231-6.
   See also _Cod Liver Oil_, _Milk_, _Porridge_

 Dinners. See _Meals_

 Disfranchisement, 39_n_, 41_n_, 42, 48

 Distress Committee, 64, 73

 Divisional Superintendent, 149_n_

 Dukes, Dr. Clement, 28_n_

 Dundee, 245

 Eastbourne, 120

 East Ham, 56, 106_n_, 173

 Eating Houses. See _Restaurants_

 Ecclesall Bierlow, 42_n_

 Ede, Canon Moore, 19_n_

 Edinburgh, 45, 226_n_, 238, 239-43

 Education, compulsory, 2, 6, 11-12, 239;
   effect of, on underfed children, xiii, 2, 6, 8-10, 179-183, 208;
   provision of meals a corollary of, 9-11, 32, 33

 Education Act (1870), 2, 6, 203;
   (1872), 239;
   (1902), 27, 57

 Education (Administrative Provisions) Act (1907), 203

 Education (Administrative Provisions) Bills, 54, 105_n_

 Education (Provision of Meals) Act, xii, xiv, xvi, 3, 61, 109, 110,
    112, 200, 237, 238;
   debates on, 44-7;
   provisions of, 47-9;
   adoption of, xiv, 50, 51-8;
   should be compulsory, xv, 127

 Education (Provision of Meals) Act Amendment Bills, 101_n_, 105_n_

 Education (Scotland) Act (1908), 48, 127, 237-8

 Eichholz, Dr., xiii, 29, 30, 134

 Elementary Education Act (1876), 15_n_, 118_n_

 Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act (1899),

 Elementary Education (Feeding of Children) Bill (1905), 39_n_

 Enquiry, 65-8, 242;
   by whom made, 37, 65-6, 67, 132, 133_n_, 240, 241, 244, 254, 263;
   inadequacy of, 133, 149-50, 239;
   from employer, 66-7, 149;
   not suited to voluntary worker, 149, 241;
   deterrent, 74-5, 220;
   proposed abandonment of, 220-1, 225, 229

 Erith, 64

 Fabian Society, 25, 52

 Farnell, 246

 Farquharson, Dr. Robert, 9_n_

 Feeble-minded Children. See _Special Schools_

 Fenton, 80

 Finch, Dr. George, 123_n_, 125, 126

 Finchley, 108_n_

 Fifeshire, 238_n_, 247

 Foreign Countries, provision of meals in, 24, 249-70

 Foster, Captain, 172-3

 France, 3_n_, 249-57

 Frere, Miss Margaret, 40_n_

 Fulham, 41_n_, 164

 Gateshead, 12_n_, 13_n_

 Germany, 261-2

 Giffen, Sir Robert, 20-1

 Glasgow, 119, 173, 177-8, 205, 238, 243-4

 Gorst, Sir John, 33, 39_n_

 Gothenburg, 268

 Govan, 238

 Grassington, 124-5, 236

 Greenock, 246

 Greenwood, Mr. Arthur, xii, xiii, 171, 193_n_

 Grimthorpe, Lord, 47

 Guardians. See _Poor Law Guardians_

 Guernsey, 3-4_n_

 Guest, Dr. L. Haden, 187-90, 192

 Guild of Help, 63, 66_n_.
   See also _Civic Guild_

 Halifax, 121_n_

 Hall, Dr. William, 30

 Hammersmith, 165

 Hampstead, 141_n_, 165-6

 Hartlepool, 56_n_

 Hastings, 12_n_

 Havre, 256

 Hay, Mr. Claude, 33, 38, 39_n_, 46_n_

 Henderson, Mr. Arthur, 38

 Heston and Isleworth, 62

 Holidays, provision of meals during, xiv, 50, 56, 101-6, 141-2;
   loss of weight during, 185-6, 187;
   necessity for meals during, 105, 128, 227-8, 229

 Holland, 265

 Home, provision of food at, 90_n_, 96-7, 141_n_

 Hookham, Mr. George, 35_n_, 36_n_, 109_n_

 Horn, Miss, 45

 Hornsey, 176

 Housing, 204, 219;
   relation of nutrition to, 172-3

 Huddersfield, 115

 Hugo, Victor, 3_n_

 Hull, 35_n_, 51, 197

 Hunter, Mr. Robert, 268

 Hutchison, Dr. Robert, 29

 Industrial Schools, 29_n_.
   See also _Day Industrial Schools_

 Infants, special provision for, 82, 92, 94, 128, 158-9, 167, 168, 169,
    189, 229, 236, 241;
   provision for, abroad, 256, 257, 264

 Inverness, 246;
   county of, 247

 Iselin, Rev. Henry, 204_n_, 210_n_, 220, 222_n_

 Italy, 258-61

 Joint Committee on Underfed Children, 26, 131-4, 137

 Jönköping, 268

 Jowett, Mr. F. W., 43, 46_n_

 Juvenile Employment. See _After-care_

 Kensington, 198

 Kerr, Dr., 79, 80

 Kettering, 42_n_

 Kidderminster, 176

 Kincardineshire, 247

 Labour Party, 52, 53, 54, 56_n_, 105

 Lambeth, 165, 187-90, 195_n_

 Lancaster, 63

 Larkins, Dr., 179

 Leeds, 30, 58, 59, 66_n_, 67, 68, 69, 83, 93-4, 98_n_, 99, 103, 110,
    119_n_, 196-7, 233-4

 Leicester, xiv, 52-3, 54_n_, 58, 64, 66, 67, 69, 72-3, 74-5, 96-7, 114,

 Leith, 238

 Liège, 264-5

 Liverpool, 13_n_, 52, 55_n_, 57, 58_n_, 65-6, 67, 69, 74, 90-1, 98_n_,
    115-6, 118, 120, 121, 146, 171, 181-2, 195-6, 205

 Local Education Authorities, power of, to provide meals, 3, 23-6, 28,
    31, 32, 38, 46, 47-9, 56-8;
   adoption of Provision of Meals Act by, 51-4;
   numbers making provision, 54;
   different policies of, 50;
   co-operation and overlapping of, with Guardians, 41, 51, 113-7,
      129-30, 139, 163-6;
   provision of meals by, abroad, 249-70.
   See also _School Boards_, _State_, _Voluntary Agencies (co-operation
      of, with Local Authorities)_

 Local Government Board, xiv, 39, 40, 56, 102, 103, 104, 164, 165, 209

 London, xvi, 3-7, 10, 12-3, 13_n_, 15-27, 29, 35, 41, 55, 65, 103_n_,
    110_n_, 111_n_, 131-69, 190-1_n_, 194, 195, 197-8, 199, 205, 213_n_,

 London County Council, xvi, 41, 104, 131, 134-5, 136-41, 144, 150, 151,
    152, 153-4, 156

 London School Board, 13_n_, 137_n_;
   committees of, on underfed children, 16-26, 29, 131

 London Schools Dinner Association, 16-7, 134_n_

 London Vegetarian Association, 142-3

 Lough, Mr., 46

 Mackenzie, Dr. Leslie, xiii, 172, 179

 Macmillan, Miss Margaret, 100

 Macnamara, Dr., 33

 Malnutrition, extent of, 34, 170-1;
   causes of, 45, 172-9, 221;
   signs of, 170, 221;
   effects of, on physique, xii-xiii, 29-30;
   effects of, on mental capacity, 31, 179-83, 198;
   relation of, to family income, 177-9.
   See also _Children_

 Manchester, 14_n_, 29, 40_n_, 51_n_, 58_n_, 63, 66_n_, 69, 83, 91,
    117_n_, 176, 181, 193

 Marseilles, 256

 Massachusetts, 270

 Meals, School, motives for provision of, 2, 4, 6, 8, 27;
   public provision of, 2, 3, 23-26, 27-49, 202-18, 249-70;
   a corollary of compulsory education, 9-11, 32, 33;
   cost of, 4_n_, 123_n_, 124_n_, 156_n_, 226-7;
   price of, 108, 109, 123_n_, 124, 125, 135, 156, 226, 245, 246, 253;
   expenditure on, 54-5;
   time of, 76-9, 128, 222, 253;
   number of, per day, 78-9, 159, 227, 228;
   number of, per week, 5, 16, 35, 36, 133, 157, 267, 268;
   continuance of, throughout the year, 6, 23, 35, 36, 50, 97, 106, 129,
      133, 229, 239, 247-8, 263, 265;
   preparation and distribution of, 82-3, 128, 157, 229, 240, 244;
   service of, xv, xvi, 28-9, 45-6, 50, 83-101, 122, 126, 128, 156-63,
      167-9, 199, 229, 241, 252;
   in Day Industrial Schools, 118-9;
   in Special Schools, 85, 100_n_, 121-2, 244;
   service of, by Poor Law Authorities, 43, 243;
   provision of, at home, 90_n_, 96-7, 141_n_;
   a form of relief, 61, 96, 127, 151, 219;
   a preventive measure, 219;
   provision of, deterrent, 220, 222;
   provision of, not universally known, 74;
   reasons for granting, 138, 210-11;
   necessity for, 138, 218, 219, 224, 228, 229;
   provision of, for all necessitous children, 220, 222, 223, 228;
   general provision of, without enquiry, 25, 126-7, 223-8, 229, 251,
      258, 259-61, 264, 265, 266-7.
   See also _Centres_, _Children_, _Cookery Centres_, _Dietary_,
      _Holidays_, _Local Education Authorities_, _Parents_, _Payment_,
      _Poor Law Guardians_, _Rates_, _Restaurants_, _School_,
      _Supervision_, _Voluntary Agencies_, _Wages_

 Medical Inspection, 10, 24, 54, 208, 221;
   in Brussels, 264;
   and Feeding, Inter-Departmental Committee on, 34-8, 44, 109_n_,
      126_n_, 134_n_

 Medical Officer of Health, 81

 Medical Treatment, 65_n_, 139, 145, 203, 208, 227

 Mental Capacity, relation of, to nutrition, 31, 179-83, 198

 Mentally Defective. See _Special Schools_

 Meyer, Lady, 201

 Middlesex, 174-5

 Milan, 259

 Milk, provision of, 97, 144, 155, 159;
   effects of, 191-2

 Monitors, 92, 94, 101, 121, 128, 161-2, 168, 169, 229, 241

 Morten, Miss Honnor, 201

 Mundella, Rt. Hon. A. J., 8_n_, 9, 10, 11, 12

 Municipality. See _Local Education Authorities_ and _State_

 Mutual Registration, 117, 152, 166

 National Food Supply Association, 19

 National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 53, 58, 113

 National Union of Teachers, 32

 Nether Alderley, 125

 Newcastle-on-Tyne, 102

 Newman, Sir George, xii, 60, 63, 80_n_, 88, 170, 175, 183, 184, 221,
    224, 227

 Newport, 201

 New York, 268-9

 Nice, 256-7

 Niven, Dr., xiii, 30

 Northampton, 105, 186-7

 Norway, 266-7

 Norwich, 35_n_, 121_n_

 Nottingham, 58_n_, 93_n_, 103

 Open Air Schools, 57-8, 85, 120-1, 227

 Outdoor Relief. See _Poor Law Guardians_

 Over-pressure, 8-10.
   See also _Education_

 Paisley, 246

 Parents, application for meals by, xv, 63-4, 71-5, 144, 150, 256;
   withdrawal of children from meals by, 70, 216-7;
   dislike of, to accept meals, 73-4, 217, 222, 223;
   co-operation of, 76, 77, 146;
   effect on responsibility of, 2, 23-4, 28, 45, 47, 76, 135, 202-18,
      226, 254-5;
   abuse of provision of meals by, 42, 216;
   obligations of, increased, 11-2, 217, 226;
   neglect of children by, 24, 25, 32, 43_n_, 75, 112-3, 119, 129,
      203-4, 215-6, 237.
   See also _Payment_ and _Recovery_

 Paris, 24, 249-55

 Parish Council, provision of meals by, in Edinburgh, 242-3

 Payment, by parents for school meals, 4-5, 19, 25, 33, 37, 46, 47,
    50-1, 62, 69, 106-12, 129, 136, 142, 154-6, 159, 223, 225-6;
   for children at Day Industrial Schools, 118;
   for children at Special Schools, 109, 120, 121, 129, 155, 156, 225,
      244, 246_n_;
   in rural districts, 38, 109, 123, 124, 125, 225, 247;
   in Scotland, 241, 242, 245, 246;
   abroad, 251, 252, 253, 256, 257, 261, 268-9, 270.
   See also _Penny Dinners_

 Peek, Sir Henry, 7, 9, 15, 124

 "Penny Dinners," 11, 13, 15, 19.
   See also _Payment_

 Perth, 238, 244-5

 Philadelphia, 269

 Physical Deterioration, 3, 27, 32, 33, 134, 262;
   Inter-Departmental Committee on, xi, 27, 29-32, 33, 38

 Physical Test. See _Selection_

 Physical Training (Scotland), Royal Commission on, xi, 27-9, 33, 242

 Poor Law, Report of Royal Commission on (1834), 203, 214

 Poor Law Guardians, inaction of, 14-5;
   inadequacy of relief given by, 14, 17-18_n_, 113-4, 116-7, 129, 165,
   the authority for the provision of meals, xvi, 33_n_, 39_n_, 45, 46,
      47_n_, 141;
   service of meals by, 43;
   no co-operation between Voluntary Agencies and, 14, 17;
   prosecution by, 14-5, 43;
   overlapping of, with Education Authorities, 51, 113-7, 129-30, 139,
   representation of, on Canteen Committees, 58, 114_n_;
   payment for school meals by, 108_n_, 115-6, 130, 164, 165;
   payment for children in Day Industrial Schools by, 118_n_;
   provision of meals by, at Manchester, 14_n_.
   See also _Parish Council_, _Poor Rate_, and _Relief (School Children)

 Poor Laws, Royal Commission on (1909), 113, 119, 197_n_

 Poor Rate, provision of meals from, 32, 39.
   See also _Poor Law Guardians_

 Poplar, 164

 Porridge, 78, 200, 201;
   effects of, 82, 190;
   as test, 200, 222

 Portsmouth, 60_n_, 81, 83, 98, 103

 Potteries, 195

 Poverty Test. See _Selection_

 Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 237

 Prices, changes in, 20-1

 Ragged School Union, 5

 Ragged Schools, 2, 3, 4

 Rates, expenditure on provision of meals from, 3, 28, 31, 34, 48, 54-5,
    134, 135, 136-7, 141;
   in Scotland, 237, 238-9;
   limitation of amount to be spent from, xiv, 48, 56, 127, 238;
   provision of meals during holidays from, 56, 102, 103-5.
   See also _Education (Provision of Meals) Act (adoption of)_ and _Poor

 Reading, 205

 Recovery of Cost, 38, 39, 43, 47, 107, 109-12, 129, 238

 Referee Fund, 6-7, 13, 15_n_

 Reformatory and Industrial Schools, Departmental Committee on, 119

 Relief, deterrent policy of, 203, 208-9, 220, 222

 Relief Committees, 26, 37, 132, 137_n_.
   See also _Children's Care Committees_

 Relief (School Children) Order, xi, 39-44

 Relieving Officer, 114, 117, 166

 Restaurants, service of meals at, 43_n_, 53_n_, 88-91, 96-97_n_, 160,
    229, 239, 243, 245, 246;
   dietary at, 80-1, 88, 89, 90

 Ricardo, 214

 Rome, 259

 Rousdon, 7-8, 12, 38_n_, 123-4, 246

 Rowntree, Mr. Seebohm, 152, 205

 Rural districts, 122-6;
   provision of midday meal in, 7-8, 12, 109, 123-5, 225;
   in Scotland, 246-8;
   abroad, 257;
   need for provision in, 37-8, 51, 122, 125-6, 130, 224-5

 St. George's-in-the-East, 151_n_, 153_n_, 159, 164, 200, 210_n_, 211

 St. Giles'-in-the-Fields, 141_n_

 St. Pancras, 210_n_, 211

 Salford, 42_n_, 66_n_, 69, 106

 San Remo, 259

 Scale of income. See _Selection_

 Scarborough, 52

 School, service of meals in, 84-8, 89_n_, 128, 159-60, 167-8, 229, 241,
    244, 245, 252;
   fees, abolition of, 203

 School Attendance Officers, 53_n_, 59, 63, 72, 117;
   selection of children by, 63, 239, 240, 244;
   enquiry by, 66, 67, 70, 139, 241, 244;
   supervision of meals by, 90, 98

 School Attendance Officers' Association, 33_n_

 School Boards, powers of, in Scotland, 127, 237-8;
   co-operation of, with Voluntary Agencies, 238, 240, 245, 246.
   See also _Local Education Authorities_

 School Medical Officers, proposed responsibility of, for putting
    Provision of Meals Act in force, 53-4;
   part taken by, in provision of meals, 37, 60, 63;
   _ex-officio_ members of Canteen Committee, 59;
   selection of children by, 60-3, 112, 143-4, 219, 221-2, 223, 228,
      229, 240, 244;
   milk and cod liver oil recommended by, 143-4, 159;
   planning of dietary by, 60, 80, 81, 128, 229;
   testimony of, as to effect of meals on children, 192-3

 School Nurse, 62_n_, 63, 121_n_, 240, 244

 School Restaurants, 37-8, 107, 129, 261.
   See also _Payment_ and _Cantines Scolaires_

 Scotland, 48, 225_n_, 237-48

 Secondary Schools, 57, 92_n_

 Selection of children, xv, 59-75, 127-8;
   under voluntary agencies, 18-9, 35, 210;
   by physical test, 59-63, 143-4, 219, 221-2;
   by poverty test, 59-60, 63-5, 68-9, 75, 127, 143-4, 220, 221, 222-3;
   based on scale of income, 68-9, 75, 151-2, 242_n_, 244;
   final decision in, 68;
   revision of cases, 69-70;
   want of uniformity in, 50, 70-1, 75, 151-4;
   disadvantages of present system, 70-5, 220;
   suggested schemes of, 221-8, 229.
   See also _School Attendance Officers_, _School Medical Officers_,
      _School Nurse_ and _Teachers_

 Senior, Mr. Nassau, 214

 Sheffield, 66_n_, 82, 121_n_, 190

 Siddington, 38_n_, 125

 Sims, Mr. G. R., 7

 Slack, Sir Bamford, 33_n_, 38

 Sleep, want of, 172, 192

 Smith, Mr. S., 9-10

 Social Democratic Federation, 25

 South African War, xi, 2-3, 27

 Southampton, 78

 Southend-on-Sea, 66_n_

 Southwark, 6-7

 Special Schools for Defective Children, 144_n_;
   provision of meals at, 22-3, 31, 51, 57-8, 85, 100_n_, 109, 117,
      120-2, 129, 155, 225, 244, 246_n_.
   See also _Cripple Schools_ and _Open Air Schools_

 Spectacles, 145

 State, provision of meals by, 2, 3, 23-6, 27-49, 202-18;
   abroad, 249-70.
   See also _Local Education Authorities_

 Stevenson, Miss Flora, 239, 240

 Stockholm, 267

 Stoke-on-Trent, 42_n_, 56, 58_n_, 66_n_, 67, 69, 80, 89, 210_n_, 211

 Sub-Committee on Underfed Children, xvi, 137, 141

 Sunderland, 54_n_

 Supervision of Meals, 85, 95, 97, 157, 161, 162-3, 167, 168, 169, 201,
   at Restaurants, 88, 89, 90, 91.
   See also _School Attendance Officers_, _Teachers_ and _Voluntary

 Supper, provision of, in Paris, 253

 Surcharge. See _Audit_

 Surrey, 179

 Sussex, East, 122-123_n_, 125

 Sweden, 267-8

 Switzerland, 257-8

 Tate, Dr., 175

 Teachers, provision of meals by, 36, 103, 123_n_, 124_n_;
   selection of children by, 18, 37, 63, 64, 68, 70-1, 127, 132-3, 139,
      144, 219-20, 239, 240, 244;
   urgency tickets given by, 64, 67-8, 72;
   enquiry by, 37, 67, 132;
   members of Canteen and Care Committees, 58, 59, 138, 144;
   supervision of meals by, 36, 48, 87-8, 92, 93, 97-100, 121, 122, 125,
      128, 161, 167, 168, 229, 241, 244, 253, 260, 263, 264, 269;
   testimony of, as to effect of meals on children, 188, 194-5, 196,

 Teachers, National Union of, 32

 Teeth, defective, malnutrition due to, 174

 Toxteth, 116

 Trondhjem, 267

 Underfeeding. See _Malnutrition_

 Unemployment, 204, 209, 211, 219

 United States, 268-70

 Urgency tickets, 64, 67-8, 72

 Utensils, insufficient supply of, 101, 156-7, 162

 Vercelli, 259-61

 Vienna, 262-3

 Visiting of homes, 45, 59, 65, 138-9, 145-6, 147-8, 150.
   See also _Enquiry_

 Voluntary Agencies, provision of meals by, xiv, 2, 3-38, 40, 50, 51-3,
    54, 96, 131-6, 141-3, 209-10, 237, 238, 239, 243-4, 245-6, 250-1,
    255-6, 258, 259, 261-70;
   the best agency for provision of meals, 28, 49;
   disadvantages of provision by, 15-9, 22, 35-6, 44, 49, 142-3, 209-10,
   number of, 34;
   expenditure of, 34-5;
   organisation of, 15-27, 34, 36, 131-4;
   discontinuance of, 44;
   co-operation of, with Local Authorities, xii, 3, 13, 24-5, 31, 36,
      47, 51-2, 58, 238, 239-40, 245-6, 250-1, 255-7, 258-9, 262-4,
      265-6, 267-8, 269;
   co-operation of, with Guardians, 14, 17, 40

 Voluntary Contributions, amount of, 54-5, 137, 141-2, 251;
   provision of meals during holidays from, 103, 104, 141-2

 Voluntary Workers, utilisation of services of, 65-6, 144, 263;
   organisation of, 139;
   Canteen Committees composed of, 58-9, 68;
   supervision of meals by, 90, 95, 98, 161, 168, 244, 245.
   See also _Children's Care Committees_

 Wages, effect of provision of meals on, 45, 212-4;
   low, 204-5, 211, 219

 Wandsworth, 41_n_

 Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 190-1_n_

 Waugh, Mr. Benjamin, 14

 West Derby, 116

 West Ham, 58_n_, 64, 69, 72, 77_n_, 78, 83, 94-5, 102, 104, 110-11,
    116-7, 234

 Whitechapel, 142, 154

 Winder, Miss Phyllis D., 71-2

 Wilson, Mr. W. T., 44_n_

 Wolverhampton, 175, 182

 Women, married, employment of, 76-7, 97, 107, 108, 223, 245

 Workington, 56

 Wyatt, Mr. C. H., 14_n_, 40_n_

 York, 67, 69, 78, 82, 111-2, 115, 205_n_

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.

Typographical errors were silently corrected.

Spelling and hyphenation were made consistent when a predominant form
was found in this book; otherwise it was not changed.

One unpaired double quotation mark could not be corrected with

One unpaired curved bracket could not be corrected with

Tables have been reformatted to a manageable width where necessary.

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