Assart Close. At Thorneywood is a field of eight acres of grass land, which was anciently a part of the Forest or Wood Common, and enclosed probably centuries ago by the consent of the King. Many such enclosures called Assarts (or enclosed fields) were made in the 13th century, and fines paid for them. There is no information as to how, when, or by whom this enclosure was made. It is referred to in a terrier, forwarded to the Charity Commissioners, and dated 25th June, 1770, when the rent was stated to be applied "by the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor partly to the repair of the Church, and partly to the maintenance of the poor." In another terrier dated 10th June, 1809, the rent was stated as "being applied to the repairs of the Church, and when not wanted for that purpose to go to the relief of the poor." The award map, 1796, has on the field "Parish Officers of Sneinton." In 1836 the Vestry Meeting decided to divide the rent between the Church and the poor rate. Up to that date, says Mr. John Webster in a letter to the Daily Express on March 22nd, 1864, the rent "was always appropriated to the repairs of the Church, and used for all expenses to which a Church rate was employed, so that to my knowledge there has not been a Church rate in Sneinton for 50 years or more."

A scheme of the Charity Commissioners, sealed 7th September, 1863, settled the charity. The gross income was then £47 5s., for the field was then let at the very high rental of £6 an acre, the landlord paying the rates. The Churchwardens and Overseers of the parish and their successors were declared Trustees, the first being John Webster, Nathan Pratt, John Swanwick and John Etherington. The net proceeds were to be divided—half to be applied to the maintenance and repair of the fabric of the Parish Church, or towards defraying the other expenses usually covered by a church rate, and the other half to clothing, coal, sick clubs, institutions, etc., or in money payments to the poor who are of good character and reside in Sneinton, and for cases of special distress, preference being given to persons not receiving relief from the parochial rates, etc. The objects may be varied from to time.

By an order dated 11th January, 1901, the Trustees were authorised to sell the land to the Corporation in consideration of receiving a perpetual yearly rent charge of £75, thereby doubling the income for both church and poor.

Since the scheme of 1863 local circumstances have greatly changed. The parish has been absorbed in the city. Four churches have been built, each having two churchwardens. There are now no overseers of the parish, their functions having been superseded by the four overseers of the city. Thorough local knowledge of deserving applicants for relief has become impracticable, and recent legislation tends to raise the question as to the value of periodical doles in a limited area.

District Churches. District churches have been built in the parish as follows:—St. Matthias in 1868, having St. Clement's as a mission church, and very full day schools of 600 children—senior, mixed, and infants. St. Alban's, erected in 1887, has a beautiful east window to commemorate Canon Hutton, the early promoter of the work of building. The screen, a very fine one, was the gift of the sons of Thomas and Alice Tew, and the reredos of the Lady chapel was provided by Mrs. Bowman-Hart, and an altar in St. Michael's chapel is to commemorate Charles Matthews and his son. There is a richly decorated font. The church was completed in 1913.

St. Christopher's was built in 1912 [NB Date-stone on church reads 1910], the principal donors being the Lord of the Manor, Earl Manvers, an anonymous friend, W. G. Player, Esq., and the Nottingham Spiritual Aid and Church Extension Society. It has a mission hall in Meadow lane, in which locality the work was commenced by Canon Button. The Church Institute (opposite to St. Stephen's) was built in 1880. St. Luke's and St. Philip's churches are just outside the parochial boundaries, as is also the Christian's Meeting House on Gordon Road.

Co-Workers. The Wesleyans built a schoolroom in Byron Street, in 1825, at a cost of £400and for some years the room was used as a day school. The effort seems to have been unsuccessful, for, in 1874, the late Henry Hogg, a solicitor and local poet, felt strongly the need of another effort, and formed a mission in Eldon Street, which was afterwards removed to North Street, where a chapel was built. Mr. Hogg's portrait adorns the walls of the vestry. He published a small volume of poems in 1852.

The Congregationalists had a Sunday School in 1842 in Upper Eldon Street, and in 1856 built Albion Chapel, at a cost of £4,150. Here the Rev. Speight Auty has carried on a zealous and useful ministry since 1894. It has schoolrooms in Beaumont Street, and there is a mission room in Thorneywood Lane.

The Independent Methodists built on Carlton Road in 1892, and the United Methodists on the Boulevard in 1905, the cost of the latter being £5,500. The 14th company of the Boys' Brigade is connected with this church.

Schools. The Church Day Schools were opened about 1832 for girls and lesser boys. Mrs. Walker was the first mistress, and was succeeded by Miss Downward. A boys' department was opened in 1850 by Mr. Geo Merchant. In 1868 Mr. John Steedman was appointed, and in 1881 he was succeeded by Mr. C. P. Hole, who, on the completion of his 25th year of office, was presented with an oak chair, and a cabinet. The schools, which have now 800 children in them, have been well served, not only by their teachers, but Mr. Herbert Grundy, who was educated in the school, and is now Managing Director of Messrs. Bridgett & Sons, Ltd., for 22 years acted as financial secretary, or correspondent.

St. Matthias' Church schools have been mentioned above.

The Council schools in Notintone Street, Carlton Road, and Sneinton Boulevard provide for nearly 8,000 children and the Albion Defective Centre provides for those whose condition necessitates special instruction.

The schools of Sneinton have been, and are, very fortunate in having able and good teachers, who are doing useful work and gradually adapting the instruction to the capacities, surroundings, and future lives of the children, and there is a prospect that some control of the young people will be extended to the age of sixteen, requiring the boys to attend in certain hours in the week in order to learn things pertaining to handicraft trades and skill, and for national training for the defence of their homes, and, what is more important still, to be noble characters ; and requiring the girls to attend for the purpose of learning cookery, sewing, nursing, laundry work, and domestic economy, and to become good women, "self-helpful, happy, prosperous, capable of keeping good homes, and of bringing up good children." Oh! for the power to impart to them tenacity of purpose, and "sticking-to-it-iveness "—the essentials of success.

Reading Rooms and Libraries. The Reading Rooms and Libraries in Carlton Road, and Hermit Street, are doing a useful work. One thousand readers a day attend, and we may well hope that they are better for what they read. The Free Libraries Committee and the City Librarian, doubtless exercise vigilance in preventing evil books being supplied, and we may hope the day will come when betting prophecies in newspapers will be omitted, when in divorce cases no repulsive details will appear, when sensational news will be discouraged, and the penny dreadfuls, and the halfpenny pernicious, cheap and nasty things will disappear from shops.

The Dakeyne Street Lads Club. The Dakeyne Street Lads' Club, which is the 2nd Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade, has its quarters in a part of the old Asylum building, so that the use in its latter end is better than its beginning. The Institution is now in its sixth year, and has 350 boys, forming the largest company in the Boys' Brigade. Many of those boys have been taken off the streets, and. are now being drilled into useful men in the making. Its operations include religious, educational and social classes. Its evening educational class under the control of the City of Nottingham Education Committee, has the best average attendance of any evening school in the City. Its athletic ground is a field of 73/4 acres adjoining the Trent. Its officer, Mr. Davidson, is the Probation Officer for boys, find attends the Children's Court every Saturday, and in the course of a year deals with over 100 cases. Situations are found, or emigration provided where deemed necessary. Mr. Oliver Hind, J.P., the captain of the Brigade, gives heart, hand and purse to the movement, and is supported by a number of helpers.

The Hermit Street Girls' Club. The Hermit Street Girls' Club is an effort to benefit poor girls. They are taught cookery, needlework, drill, singing and dancing. A number of ladies give their services in aiding a lady in charge, who is a good disciplinarian.

The Tramways. The Tramways were late in coming to Sneinton in 1907-10, superseding 'busses. The three lines are a great social convenience, and by prospective extensions towards Carlton will take people in the direction of a thousand gardens where fruits, vegetables and flowers grow abundantly. If the extensions proceed up the Dale they will lead to Colwick Upper Park, where are charming hill and dale, and fine views over the Trent Valley.

King Edward's Park. King Edward's Park is a splendid place in which little children may run and gambol, and thus improve their health and develop their physical powers, but the bigger children do not care for parks or flower beds; they want spaces in which they can play the two national games, in the absence of which they prefer to play in the streets. Would it be possible to enclose a portion for the purpose as was suggested in one of the reports of the Parks' Committee?

Colwick Hill. Colwick Hill has its western part in the parish, and it is a fine relic of resistance to mighty floods of vast ages ago. Its trees were beautiful. With sloping or zig-zag paths, and seats, it would provide a sun bath for which weakly people would call for blessings on the donor.

The police station in Sneinton was built in 1894 (photo: A Nicholson, 2007).

The police station in Sneinton was built in 1894 (photo: A Nicholson, 2007).

The Police. The Police, under Sir Robert Peel's Act, have superseded the parish constables, much to the advantage of law, order and security. Their work requires fortitude, courage, energy and firmness, and they deserve to be well sustained by the sympathy of the people, for a yielding policeman will soon have disorder. Only vigilance and penalties will deter some people from wrongful acts.

The Dragon. Once upon a time a certain district was infested by a huge dragon, whose poisonous breath "had many a city slain," and whose hide" no spear nor sword could pierce." Every day a virgin was sacrificed to it, until the time came for the King's daughter to be bound before being devoured, when St. George appeared, and thrust his lance into the monster's mouth, and killed it on the spot.

For more than half a century there has existed in certain parts of Nottingham a monster who has devoured in the first year of their lives a large number of infants, and, what is worse, probably an equal number who have survived have dragged out a pitiable existence in weakness, small in stature, deformed, or anaemic, with diseases, lack of energy, unable to maintain themselves, and therefore dependent on others or the public charge; and, worse still, some have had a natural tendency to vice or crime.

Such children go to church and school, but the good influences are counteracted in some of their homes by bad air in window-closed bedrooms, and by the morally poisoned atmosphere of the dragon's breath, in which they spend more hours than in the purer air. Many young men and maidens grow up without a definite aim, without the determination to learn well and thoroughly, without a handicraft trade, or occupation, and with little effort to improve themselves in body and mind. They will not save their money. Whatever they obtain must go in amusements, or luxuries, or waste. No provision is made for a rainy day. No thrift for setting up housekeeping—"Laugh to-day if you pine to-morrow." They must have excitement, they cannot rest, the penny dreadful must be highly coloured. They will not study. Home has few attractions. Nature conveys no message.—Parading the streets after work is done, or a public entertainment is their joy.

Many men and women, under the influence of the monster's pestilential breath, will sacrifice a comfortable home and live in single rooms, or rent furnished ones—"here to-day and gone to-morrow"—or two families crowd in one house, or their money goes in drink, until the drink becomes the first object of their lives, and then they sink into helplessness and hopelessness, and twenty to forty per thousand die where ten per thousand ought to have sufficed, for fevers, tuberculosis, and other diseases find them ready for grim death to feed upon. The doctors, nurses, and sanitary authorities have done their best to stem the evil flood, but the workhouse and other public institutions have continued to receive the overflow.

Along with all this some of the women become unkempt, ragged, and dirty, some houses become infected with living, biting, creeping, smelling filth, and wall paper, painting, floors, windows, pipes, taps, shelves, fireplaces, and other parts have been damaged or destroyed, and all this has been the Dragon's work.

Who is this monster, and what is his name ? His name is SLUM.

There has been a constant war between the Church, the School, the Library, the Public Baths, and all good influences on the one hand, and the forces of evil on the other ; and that war continues and the struggle cannot cease. Here the term "the Church" is used of the body described in the Prayer Book as "the blessed company of all faithful people," and their efforts for good have resulted in the physical, social, and spiritual salvation of thousands who have lived and died in the slums, for in those slums are many of God's poor, who do their duty, develop goodness, keep their houses clean and their families respectable. It would be a huge mistake, and an injustice to assume that all the people who live in the slums are shimmers, or debased. They are not. Why do they live there? Simply because they cannot help themselves. Smitten by some ailment, or by the death of the breadwinner, or of the angel of the home, or lacking regular work or skill, or suffering some form of the thousand and one evils to which the flesh is heir, they must—notwithstanding the evil surroundings—live where rentals are small, and it is these decent poor that have a right to expect—although they will never demand —that the men and women who are moral wrecks shall, if their baneful influence cannot be remedied, at all events be restrained from keeping filthy houses, and making themselves a peril to society.

St George. From what place is the modern St. George to come? If the legend was intended to represent the Sun God sending forth his beams of light and healing, and dispelling darkness and sorrow, or if it was to show the triumph of good over evil, then we may take encouragement from several buds of promise, but, like all buds of valuable plants, they are delicate, and require constant and vigilant watchfulness, lest by evil design or neglect they should wither and die.

The Corporation has scheduled, as a condemned area, the district from Manvers Street to Carter Gate, a small part of which is in Sneinton. The people will shortly have to leave, and most of the houses will be pulled down. Thereby many of them that have not the essentials of dwelling houses— sufficient space, air, light, a pantry, a sinkstone with water, and sanitary conveniences—will be swept away. Unfortunately SLUM will escape into other districts, which will suffer as Sneinton did when the Victoria Station area was cleared. Other houses will be built, but the Corporation is hampered, so that it cannot build as cheaply as a contractor, and the new houses will not be occupied by the families dispossessed.

When the railway passed through the heart of Nottingham 1,200 tenements were razed, but only one tenant out of the twelve hundred went into any of the three hundred houses that were built for them. People who pay 3s. 6d. per week cannot afford to pay 6s. to 7s.

An excessive number of Public Houses has cursed Sneinton as well as other places. There were in 1848, when the population was much less than now, eighteen Inns and Taverns, and five Beerhouses, and there must have been a considerable quantity of beer drunk, for there were nine maltsters. The excessive number of licensed houses has been a prolific source of evil, causing competition for supplying—not reasonable demands, but stimulated sales, the result being increased drunkenness, that scourge which Mr. Gladstone described as more terrible, because more continuous, than war, pestilence and famine. Why should one street have had seven victual-lars, beer, or beer-off licenses granted, besides three others closely adjacent to it, and the people affected have neither vote nor voice in the matter? Let us, however, be thankful that Band of Hope instruction is doing its work; scarcely any fresh licenses are being granted in new parts; half-a-dozen old licenses have recently gone—several more in the condemned area will probably go, and there is not so much drinking or drunkenness as there used to be.

It is possible that many of the Small Houses in Sneinton may be lightened, brightened, sweetened—not pulled down. Back yards may be made healthy, and adorned with shrubs, flowers and creeping plants on the walls, flower pots and bulbs in the windows, and trees in the open places. Even Regent Hill and Royal Oak Street look attractive in summer, when the flowers are blooming. All this, however, will be useless unless a vigilant care is exercised in the selection of  tenants.

The very large number of superior working class dwellings that have during the past twenty years been built in the Dale, Colwick Road, the Asylum Gardens, and Thorney-wood Mount, is a hopeful sign of progress. Here, however, the same watchful and vigilant care will be required, or two families will go into one house, and the social conditions will deteriorate.

The House Agent has now to become a social reformer, and by insisting on a certificate of good character in a tenant, preferring an empty house to a bad tenant, character thereupon becomes more important than income. The system devised and carried out by Miss Octavia Hill demands notice. She deserves to be remembered as one of the most energetic and practical social reformers. Her plan, in which she was assisted by Mr. Ruskin, was to buy dilapidated and squalid houses, to thoroughly clean and repair them, providing all modern sanitary conveniences, a playground, trees and creepers. She collected weekly her rents, in the demand for which she was inexorable, and in requiring cleanliness and order, and in default, immediate notice to quit. With payment there came in helpfulness, such as the formation of bands, games, classes, little meetings with the mothers for talks, the elder girls employed to scrub, etc , ladies encouraged to visit, and little by little she accomplished her purpose in teaching the people to be sober, cleanly, thrifty, well-behaved and mutually helpful. Miss Hill became the manager of house property on a very large scale, and a very successful one too. She had little faith in merely pulling down insanitary property and building better; the mechanical method she said was seldom successful, the personal factor must come in, both in regard to the landlord and the tenant. In the former by personal influence and attention, in the tenant by requiring the discharge of duty.

Combination. If permanent good is to be accomplished it will require a combination of forces, a cooperation of effort. Each department or committee of the Corporation; the Magistrates and Police; the Guardians of the Poor and Believing Officers; the Education Committee, Managers and Teachers; the local newspapers, which have much influence and responsibility; social reformers and politicians; the churches and all religious agencies; house owners and agents; all must co-operate, and get rid of the idea that a filthy house is a matter of concern only to a family occupying it, and must realize that such a house is a pest house, a danger to the community, and especially to the decent poor who reside near.

The Need. What Sneinton needs to-day is not more churches or chapels, schools or institutions, acts of Parliament, or schemes, but a greater number of devoted men and women to join those who are already occupied in doing their best for God and man. The machines are fixed and adorned, but WORKERS ARE WANTED. Men and women who will say we are prepared for the time being to lay aside our sectarian preferences, and the advocacy of our political party; we will forego, if need be, our ease, and even our lawful pleasures, and for five years—with the option of an extended term—we will devote ourselves, our leisure time, our spare money, our brains, hearts, and lives to the good of the people.

Is the price too great to pay? Is the sacrifice too much? Nay! Charles Mackay has well sung—

"Never yet I knew a man Who made
others' good his plan Who was not
overpaid in peace of mind."

The Divine Example enjoins the divine obligation to help to rescue men and women and young people who are perishing for lack of knowledge. "An opportunity perceived is an obligation incurred."

The KING'S Balm they may pour into the wounds of bruised and bleeding souls, whom men have said were incurable. The Bread of Life they may give to the famished, and they shall eat and live for ever To men groping in blindness they may take the Light of Life, and they shall see, and their hearts shall rejoice. To men who are in the chains of evil habits, led captive by the Devil, they may, by the KING'S grace, say, "Be free," and their chains shall fall, and even to those who have sunkthe lowest," the Devil's castaways," they, in the spirit —without themethods—of the man* who, sixty years ago, went from Sneinton hill, may tell the wide world, including "the submerged tenth," of the provision of God's infinite love and grace, of the only power that can enable a man to rise and shake off the evil past, and put on the new garb that will be unscorched when the world is ablaze, the medicine that will give healing, manliness, abundant life, even life for evermore.

All these and other agencies at work must be productive of good. St. George is not dead, and the Christ lives for evermore.

*See Notes on General Booth, page 99, and see also "The Salvation Army Industrial Home and Poor Man's Hotel," Aberdeen Street, Sneinton Market, where 66 men are working, and 200 men have beds.