SIR,—The article " All Guns Load " interests me (in so far as the matter of the supplying of hostels and clubs for the Catholic seafarer whether M.M. or R.N.) because the whole subject is a matter of obtaining sufficient funds to permit the building of such places.
I have personally made an appeal in the "Star of the Sea " magazine, the local Apostleship of the Sea publication, for the sum of £5,000, the price of a suitable site within the vicinity of the Docks, but the appeal has not met with any response. In Southampton, the recreation facilities at the hostel consist of one room, which has to serve as lounge, writing room,
library, reading room, and darts room, and to give proper service, either a larger house, or a new building is necessary. In my opinion it is essential that freehold sites be secured, as 1 find that leases are liable to carry too many restrictions. The fact that sites must be near the docks naturally makes them expensive, and as the buildings require to be constructed specially for the use of seamen (to try and adapt old existing buildings does not in the long run save money), makes the expenses very heavy, so heavy indeed that the pennies of the poor, which have built and still do build our schools and churches, cannot be diverted to this cause.
If a central building fund could be inaugurated in the country no doubt something could be done; it is certainly not a matter of forgetting any one service. Even the M.M. services have only recently been developed with any degree of efficiency, and until funds are forthcoming nothing can be done in the building line. There have been national appeals for all kinds of funds for use outside this country, and perhaps it would be now possible to launch one for developing the services of building Hostels and Clubs for the Catholic seafarer who certainly deserves every help possible in this respect. I shall look for further letters on this subject with interest and hope that the outcome will be something worth while.
3, Thornbury Avenue, Southampton.
Letters for publication must reach the Catholic Herald not later than Tuesday morning.