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Prestonpans and Vicinity

Cover Contents 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
28 30 32 33 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64
66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 81 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102
104 106 108 110 112 114 116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130 132 134 136 138 140 142
144 146 148 150 152 154 156 158 160 162 164 166 168 170 172 174 176 177 178 180
182 184 186 188 190 192 194 196 198 200 201 202 204 206 208 209 210 212 214 216
218 220 222 224 226 228 229 230 232 234 236 238 240 242 244 246 248 249 250 252
254 256 257 258 259 260 261                          

Wilson, Alexander Montgomery Bell, and Samuel Davidson, but these having all died, the management of the estate has, as provided by the testatrix, devolved on the Keeper, Deputy-keeper, and Commissioners of the Signet, who, having assumed the administration of the trust, are now carrying it on, as in the case of John Watson's Hospital, and other similar institutions. The trustees have taken a lease, for a period of twenty-five years, of the building at Preston hitherto known as Schaw's Hospital.
Miss Isabella Meikle, formerly of Donaldson's Hospital, was appointed matron, and the first selection of children made, the number being limited to eighteen, but that number may be doubled, perhaps trebled. The purpose of the bequest, however, will be best explained in the words of the testatrix, who, after giving power to her trustees to invest her estate in certain securities, directs that the proceeds of the same are to be applied:
" In the establishment and maintenance of an hospital for the education of female children of poor but respectable parents; for house servants, for their encouragement during service, and their ultimate provision in old age; children of the name of Murray being admitted to the benefits of the institution in preference to others, should their claims in other respects appear to my trustees to be equally deserving; and I appoint the following rules to be observed by my said trustees in the management of the said hospital:
" The children shall be admitted between the age of six and eight, and remain till the age of fourteen, when they shall be put to service.
" They shall be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, sewing, spinning, knitting, and such other plain useful acquirements as my trustees think best calculated for them; and above all, in the principles of religion, honesty, and truth, for which end a portion of the Scriptures shall be read to them evening and morning with prayers.
" Such of them as remain in their first places till the age of twenty, and have conducted themselves with propriety, shall receive a present, not exceeding £10, on their being married, or on their attaining the age of forty; and if at the age of sixty any of them shall have no home, they shall be received into the house again, and remain there as long as they please, proper work fit for their age and strength being assigned them, to keep them from idleness; but on the condition that their behaviour has been correct and respectable during their lives, which must always be held out as the only chance of their
returning to the hospital.
" I desire that no male teacher or chaplain shall be em ployed in it, but the whole establishment shall be under the immediate charge of a proper mistress or matron, to be ap pointed and paid by my trustees, " etc.
The establishment is under the management of eight directors, viz., the Keeper and Deputy-keeper of the Signet ex officio, and six Commissioners of the Signet.
The institution is under the management of Miss Isabella Meikle, who, as matron, has been in charge since the opening of the Institution. Miss Thomson, as teacher, has served a term of over sixteen years; while Miss Pockney, as sewing mistress, has been over that department upwards of five years.
When the institution was opened in 1882 twenty girls were at once admitted. At the present time there are sixty-eight inmates.
It is now over eighteen years since the institution was opened. Since then over sixty have gone forth to service, and two of these are at the present time within sighting distance of gaining the £10 prize for remaining in one situation from fourteen to twenty. Eight have got married. Not a breath of scandal has ever been raised against a single inmate connected with the institution; and so well are the funds being managed, that the trustees have been enabled to spend £10 each on the whole of these sixty inmates on their going forth from the institution.
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