Page 6, 11th November 1938

11th November 1938
Page 6
Page 6, 11th November 1938 — NEED FOR NIGHT SHELTERS A True Story

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Organisations: Army
Locations: Birmingham, Geneva, Brussels


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SIR,--A few years before the War a Belgian woman, then living in Kent, took her baby boy, born in England, to be baptised. While he was still a boy the family returned to Brussels. As a youth he was made to realise that he was an Englishman, for, having qualified for a State Scholarship, he was refused it on account of his nationality. Notwithstanding this he served his two years in the Army.

His parents having died, he worked in Brussels, and saved enough money to go to Geneva to study Law. He missed one year, his funds gave out, and this autumn he was unable to pay his fees. Trying to get work in Switzerland, his nationality was again forced on him. The law did not allow him to work as an employee. He raised £4 I0s. and decided to come to England.

Newhaven with 30s. Everyone had pass ports. The police stop him. He asks, " Will you speak French please?" They do. He replies : " Surely I don't need a passport to enter my native land?" " But how did you manage to leave the country without one?" " I was taken as a baby before the war " (when one only needed passports for Montenegro and the like). Close scrutinising of Irish Dominican's certificate of baptism, was followed by "Let him go." Thirty shillings lasted hardly a day. His valise full of clothes fetched a £1 in Vauxhall. He set out to walk to Birmingham (everyone thinks there is plenty of work here—there is not). He walks for days in suede shoes, sleeping dans le.s bogs; not enough English to beg. He arrives in Birmingham at 5.30 p.m. and walks about all night, sleeping for half-hours in doorways. The police pick him up and he is sent to a "

Pastor," who, discovering he is a Catholic, sends him to a Priest There he is given a voucher for St. Philip's Night Shelter, and by good fortune a menial job in a hotel is found for him.

What abiding help can a priest in a poor parish give without the help of such a Night Shelter')


St. Philip's Night Shelter, 49, Osier Street, Ladywood, Birmingham.

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