On Thursday, June 24, in connection with the Princess of Wales’ Jubilee Fund, a dinner to three hundred very poor inhabitants of Whitechapel was held in the Refuge, Crispin-street, E., which was founded by the late Mgr. Gilbert in 1860. The large refectory was gaily decorated for the occasion with flags, banners, and flowers, a portrait of the Queen being placed at one end of the room, and one of the Princess of Wales at the other. Mr. F. W. Purssell, who had been courteously invited by the Lord Mayor to join the Mansion House Committee, presided, and was supported by many friends including Messrs. W. Towsy, and E. J. Bellord, Misses Irving, Towsy, Latham, Russell, and Mr. J. W. Gilbert (Secretary), who represented the institution on the Whitechapel Committee of the Fund.
The dinner, which was served by the Sisters of Mercy, the visitors, and the inmates of the Boarders’ and Servants’ Homes, consisted of cold roast beef, new potatoes, bread, pickles, lettuce, fruit-tarts, oranges, and ginger-beer by way of refreshment. This was followed by an entertainment, to which Miss Lynch, Messrs. P. Donovan, J. Schrappel and others, contributed. Afterwards hot tea and buns were distributed, and, on leaving, each was presented with a packet of tea or a pouch of tobacco.
During the course of the afternoon, Mr. F. W. Purssell explained in a few words the object of the dinner, and called for three cheers for the Queen and the Princess of Wales, which were given most heartily. The poor people also showed their appreciation of the efforts of the voluntary ” waiters,” by giving three more cheers for the Sisters and other helpers. It must be a great gratification to all concerned in the management to know that the guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and went away loudly expressing the hope that another jubilee might soon occur.
The remains of the dinner were afterwards distributed among the poor of the neighbourhood. Thanks to an additional generous gift of bread, pastry, &c., from Messrs. W. Hill and Son of Bishopsgate-street, some hundreds of poor families have been helped in-this manner, and on Friday, the 25th, the Sisters entertained over two hundred poor school-children at tea. The Whitechapel Committee of the Fund have also made a grant of food to the Refuge Committee for destitution amongst the sick and needy of the district, who are unable to be present at the dinner.
The above text was found on p.36, 3rd July 1897 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .