Including the two Antons there are 20 Viennese children at Fairby Grange, where this incident occurred the other day. In age they range from 8 to 13, and they are now domiciled in England for a stay of at least 6 months, perhaps a year. All were memebers of the first installment of 500, brought to this country from the wreck of Austria by the Fight the Famine Council, and they are now being cared for under the general relief programme of the Society of Friends.
Fairby Grange itself, situated but 25 miles from London, is such a spot as one would like to see available to disinherited children the world over. 20 acres of garden, orchard, and pasture surround the old oak-timbered homestead. There is a fern-ringed pond where tadpoles and lizards lurk, and there is also a barn which is readily adaptable for theatrical purposes on rainy days. In the barnyards is found almost every type of domestic animal, while a croquet lawn is hidden in the heart of the garden. Further away from the house is a field, now marked out for football and sports, and more woods where wild flowers and many berries grow.
To this children's paradise came, ten weeks ago, the score of ragged little waifs who form its present happy tenants. Let it be said right away that they do not resemble the ghastly specimens of skin and bone one reads about and sees depicted as typical of Austria's youth today. Those who are chosen to come to England ar eall of pre-war birth, and are also, I believe, selected on the stern but perhaps merciful principle that only such as can be brought back to complete health are woth the trouble of saving. Now, after their regimen of wholesome food and country air, the children here would be a normal group were not several so pale and undersized.
The attitude of the older boys towards the war is interesting. All are lads of spirit, and of just that age when a childish patriotism might be expected to rule their thoughts on this subject. Furthermore, there is not one of them without close relatives on the long list of his country's killed. Yet one finds in these litte scions of a ruined empire a breath of viewpoint sometimes lacking in the victors. 'Austria didn't want the war,' they assert. 'Franz Joseph signed the mobilisation decree against his will. Aber Kaiser Wilhelm war blutduratig. He forced us in. He wanted Germany to rule the world.' And one boy added - 'Besides we had to fight because Serbia wanted to destroy our empire. Serbia was to us like Ireland is to England, you know.'
Of more present concern are the stories of the ghastly conditions in Vienna in the closing days of war and since. One boy tells of a street scene in front of his home a week before the armistice was signed. A military automobile knocked down and killed a mongrel dog. Passers-by fought for the possession of the carcass, literally tearing the animal to pieces in their anxiety to obtain 'fresh meat' for the family table. A girl lost her Persian cat to the same end, and no pets, it seems, were safe from 'the men who went about the streets with sacks.' Every child at Fairby today is familar with the taste of horse and dog and cat.
One could dwell at length on details of the present reconstructive life these children. I would like to tell of the sweet old German songs they sing in chorus on their walks; of the painstaking picture of Fairby Grange Walter has drawn and painted in order that his mother may have an idea of his English home; of the zeal with which many apply themselves to learning English and French (which last half-a-dozen studied during the war and insist on continuing); of their interest in chess, which several play remarkably well, and football, in which they are also proficient; of the dainty theatre they have fitted up in the barn, where they improvise their own plays.
Just children - sometimes a little mischievous, a little tiresome, a little naughty, but always interesting and appealing - such must be one's final judgement on the quaint community now living on the charity of their conquerors at Fairby Grange. Just children, but also embryo directors of the fate of Europe, who will never forget the kindness shown the by the English during a crucial formative period of their lives. Aveerage little mortals they are, and concerning the like of them it was said nearly 2,000 years ago, that 'whosover shall receive this child in My name receiveth Me.'
Even after WW1 ended the British did not stop the blockade of Germany and Austria, which led to famine. Dr Salter made over his home at Fairby to help starving children recover. The Charity Save the Children was set up by Eglantine Jebb as part of the same effort. She was a true modern saint who was arrested for her efforts to tell the truth about what British foreign policy was doing to the children of Austria. The judge in her case paid her fine because he was so impressed with her.
[For more on the Poplar Rates Rebellion where the councillors went to prison but won changes to the system of rates that favoured rich boroughs, see Wikipedia article]
Councillor Miss A Scott who presided, remarked that the meeting was opportunely held, for a Tunbridge Wells they now had a policewoman and a woman probation officer, while upon the county bench they had Miss Alice Puckle. In the new Chief Constable (Captain Hector) they had one who realised tha the glory of the police force was not so much in catching criminals and putting them under lock and key, but rather the prevention of crime and the extension of a helping hand to men and women to becoe good citizens. Tehre was a avery real need, however, for a real Juvenile Court, quite apart fro the ordinary court, with special magistrates who would take a personal interest in the cases they might have to deal with and to whom the excellent Probation Officers (Mr G H Rogers and Miss Florence Owen) could frequently report. There was also a need for a special home for juvenile offenders, and one such had just been established in Kent at Fairby Grange, which should do a work of tremendous usefulness. The National Council of Women Workers was urging the Home Secretary to set up a special committee to consider anew the question of the treatment of juvenile delinquents along new reformative lines.
Miss Grace Costin, Warden of Fairby Grange School, said the best description of a juvenile delinquent was that of "a kid that had been found out", given by a young offender. There were a very large number of uncaught juvenile delinquents, and very few people could say they had never taken anything which did not belong to them. She confessed that he had - and stuck to it! In the minds of youngsters there were very good reasons for theft, gnerally to satisfy the craving for amusements. Few stole for the love of stealing. She did not feel that those cases could be dealt with in reformatory schools on present lines, and she thought the sentences were too long. The juveniles sent to a reformatory fo a lengthy period had a deep seated idea that it was unadulterated punishment and not an effort to reform them. She wuld suggest sentences of 6 months to a year, certainly never more than 2 years. Ultimately she felt they would not want reformatories, but would substitute them with a system whereby child offenders would be taken away from a bad environment and placedout among decent families. It was no good putting juveniles who had done about the same thing together. Miss Costin proceeded to detail the ideals and methods at Fairby Grnage School, which was a new experiment in penal reform. Here they endeavoured to create the family spirit, giving to the girls trust and responsibility. If the venture was ultimately found not to prove a financial success she hoped it would be a spiritual and moral success, which would make it well worth while. Love was the great power, and without the love of God there could be no permanent good done.
The Rev F G Knott, in proposing a vote of thanks, said the speaker had held up a glorious vision of women's work, while Miss Hughes MA in seconding, remarked that there would be great hope for the future of all children if they were brought under similar kindly influence as as Fairby Grange.
The motion was carried and Miss Scott was also thanked for presiding.
[Miss Costin also spoke in similar terms at the National Union for Equal Citizenship at Oxford (Yorkshire Post 2.9.1922)]
1,000 pure-bred leghorns, including 600 April and May hatch pullets and 50 selected cockerels (Cam, Barron and Collinson strains).
Bay, cob gelding
Mr E J Parker is instructed by Mr J W Harwood to sell the above by auction, on Friday, September 7th, 1923 at 12 o'clock.....
[James Harwood lived at Highfields, Manor Drive.]"
[The Limit was a smallholding sold by Small Owners Limited, the house is now called Ambleside. The road referred to is probably Fairby Lane.]
Superintendent Fowle said the prisoners were only arrested at Gravesend the previous night, and he had not completed the case. He asked for a remand till Tuesday.
Detective-Sergeant Stutchfield said he arrested the two at Gravesend the previous day, and Payne made a lengthy statement. He went to a house in Queen Street and recovered articles produced in court.
The two were remanded as requested by the police.
When the pair were brought up on Tuesday, Mr A M Fleet was in the chair. It was stated that the stolen property was valued at 30 shillings.
William Charles Wise of Melba, Hartley, secretary to the Hartley Co-operative Society, which is registered under the Friendly Societies Act, said he closed he stores about 4.30 on the night of April 15th. On the following morning he found things lying on the floor of the shop, and then noticed that other things had been taken away. He subsequently discovered that a window at the side of the store had been broken and a pane of glass removed. He reported the matter to the police, and on the morning of the 19th he was shown an attache case and a number of other articles by Superintendent Fowle, which he identified as having been stolen.
Albert Alfred Holder, of 53 and 54 Stonebridge Hill, Northfleet, a restaurant keeper, said at 5 o'clock on the morning of April 16th, the two prisoners came into his shop and asked for tea and bread and dripping. The attache case (produced) was beside them while they ate, and Cracknell asked him if he would buy some candles and matches, and showed him the contents of the case, offering to sell the whole for 9 shillings. Witness became suspicious at this, and sent for the police. Nobody came, however, and with a view of holding the prisoners, witness bought 3 or 4 candles. He kept them about three quarters of an hour, and in the course of conversation they said they were waiting for someone to open in Northfleet so that they could sell the things. Ultimately the two left his shop.
Cracknell: Do you mean to say you sent for the police and they did not come? You did not send for them. You might as well tell the truth. Why did they not come?
Witness: That is their business not mine.
It was explained that a messenger sent by witness for the police went to the wrong house, and as a result the police never got the message.
Edward Adams, 41 Queen Street, Gravesend, said on the night of April 14th Cracknell came into his shop with another man, a local shopkeeper, to buy goods. The other man bought a razor, and gave it to Cracknell. On the 15th they came to the shop again, and the tradesman made further purchases. On the 16th both the prisoners came to the shop with the attache case produced. Cracknell said he was going away, and asked him to buy the case and contents. Witness looked at the contents and said, "It is a funny collection for you to have," adding that he already had plenty of stock of that kind, and Cracknell said they wanted 10 shillings for the things, and witness asked where they came from. Cracknell said they had been bought from time to time from men in public houses. Witness ulitmately bought all that was offered for 5 shillings. On the evening of the 18th a detective of the Gravesend police came to his shop, and he gave up the articles.
At the conclusion of witness's evidence Cracknell said he would like to see witness after the court. The clerk remarked that he dare say the police would allow him an opportunity.
Detective Sergeant Stutchfield said on the afternoon of the 18th he went with Superintendent Fowle to Gravesend , and later in the day he arrested Cracknell and told him he would be charged with shopbreaking. He replied, "I am innocent." A little later he saw Payne in the Market Place, Gravesend, and questioned him. He replied, "I will tell you the truth," and went on to say that he met Cracknell, who said he knew where he could lay his hands on some ready money. He was hard up at the time, and had no tea, and said, "All right. Where is it?" Cracknell said where it was, and about 9.45pm they set out to walk to Longfield, and then to the Hartley Stores, where Cracknell took a window out and they got in. He also said where the stuff had been sold. About 10.30 on the same evening witness went to 41a Queen Street, the residence of the witness Adams, and was handed the case and articles (produced). He charged both prisoners at Dartford Police Station, and they made no reply. On the morning of April 19th he served Cracknell with a copy of the statement made by Payne and Cracknell made a statement (produced), in which he said Payne agreed to go to Hartley to "do a job". They broke the window together, adn Payne went in and handed the stuff out to him. They shared the proceeds. The statement continued, "I should not have done it, but I was down and out. I was waiting for a ship, and should have got it on Wednesday, but I could not go on till then on nothing."
Prisoners were committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions.
Cracknell said he was the oldest and would "take the job on his own and let this boy go free." He added, "It can be done."
The younger prisoner (Payne) was admitted to bail on the application of his stepfather, who is an employee of the Gravesend Corporation.