OUR “GUTTER CHILDREN”
BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK
Sign top left:
The Angel: Double L Whisky and Christmas Gin
Sign top right:
BRANDY, RUM, BEER.
Speech bubble top right:
I am greatly obliged to you, Christian ladies and Gentlemen, for your help, and as soon as you have filled the cart, I’ll drive off, & pitch the little dears aboard of a ship, & take them thousands of miles away from their native land so that they may never see any of their relations again.
Speech bubble left (1):
There are many plans suggested for providing for the neglected children of drunken parents, but more such a sweeping measure as this, for by this plan, we provide for them at once, & get rid of the dear little ones altogether.
Speech bubble middle (2):
This is a delightful task & we shall never want of a supply of these neglected children whilst the pious & respectable Distillers and Brewers carry on their trade and we shall always find plenty of the little dears about the Gin Palaces & the Beer Shops.
Speech bubble middle (3):
According to the teaching of Jesus all these little gutter girls are our sisters, & therefore, I feel is any duty as a Christian Minister to assist in this good work.
Speech bubble right (4):
Mother! Mother! I want my Mother! Oh Mother! Mother! I want my Father!
Words below image: “Published by the artist July 1869. Sold by all Book & Print sellers” and “Our Gutter Children”.
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A cartoon from a pamphlet on a proposal to send poor children to the colonies. The large image on the front shows a clergyman piling urchins into a cart with a shovel, an elderly gentleman and a lady assisting him by sweeping little girls towards him, Miss Rye standing by the cart with a whip held in her hand, and the glass windows and ornate pillars of a gin palace beyond.
- Why are people sweeping up children from the street in this cartoon?
- How has the cartoonist used different elements in the picture to attack the work of Maria Rye and her supporters? Comment on: the size/position of the figures, as well as the cart, whip, shovel, brushes, and language used in speech bubbles.
- Why do you think a ‘Gin Palace’ is shown in the picture?
- How is Christianity used to justify gathering up these children in the 3rd speech bubble from the left?
- What were the advantages for workhouse authorities and rate-payers if these ‘gutter children’ were removed from the streets?
- What is the meaning and significance of the title of the cartoon: ‘Our gutter children’?
1869 © The Trustees of the British Museum.