“A Friend in Need is a Friend indeed” – an extract from our 1919 Annual Report

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Mr. Jackson and West Indians.

When the Newspapers reported that thousands of Soldiers arriving at night in London were unable to procure beds and had to sleep on door steps and be homeless for the night, the Whitechapel Mission offered, sleeping accommodation for 130 men per night.

From December 7th to January 31st, 1919, the Working Lads’ Institute & Brunswick Hall were transformed into a
Soldiers’ Hostel.

Upwards of 600 soldiers have been accommodated  at the Institute and Brunswick Hall. These represent English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Canadians, Americans, Newfoundlanders, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, East and West Indians.

To all parts the British Empire will be carried pleasant memories of the hospitality Whitechapel Primitive Methodist Mission by our brave Tommies.

TOMMIES sleeping on door steps.—Early in the month of December last, the newspapers gave most distressing accounts of soldiers who upon arrival in London from abroad could not procure a bed or lodgings and had to spend the night in the streets, sleeping on door steps as best they could in the cold and rain.

An appeal was made to the public for additional beds. We responded promptly to the appeal by offering to provide, with a little additional help, for 130 men per night at the Institute and Brunswick Hall. The offer was accepted, and on December 7th the first soldier to arrive as our lodger was a Canadian. Then followed others whose destination was in various parts of Great Britain and Ireland, Canada, Newfoundland, United States of America, New Zealand, Australia, East Indies, West Indies, and South Africa.

Upwards of 600 men enjoyed the shelter and comfort provided by our Mission. One, who is expecting to enter College shortly for training as a Church of England Missionary, was pleasingly surprised at seeing in the room at the Institute where he slept, in large size, artistically painted on the wall, the text ” What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” He was even more surprised, but highly pleased, when informed that the artistic work he so much admired was done by a man, who, when he first came in contact with our Mission was clothed in rags, starving, and homeless, and was given cast-off clothing, food, and admitted to Brunswick Hall free night shelter.

The first night he spent with us became the turning point in his career, and he went forward and upward to self-support, self-improvement, and a Christian life. As an expression of his gratitude for what had been done for him, he designed and painted that beautiful Motto. ” Remarkable, remarkable,” exclaimed prospective Clergyman.

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