Thursday 21st May 1846

“Saw sight never saw before – the charity boys of St Margaret’s Westminster beating the boundaries of their parish. Met them at Elliot’s Brewery gate, which is shown to be one of the boundaries by a stone there fixed. There they formed a ring, and after singing a hymn they all set up an hurrah! beating the stones with long canes, which they carried whilst those outside beat their canes over those inside, some with violence (though all in fun), which they inside endeavoured to return, which amidst sticks flourishing, boys hallowing, and masters chiding, presenting a novel scene. After which they marched in procession, three beadles with maces and cocked hats taking the lead, preceded by men with ladders to get over any walls where necessary. After came the master and teachers of the several schools carrying rods and canes, then the Green Coat boys, the Black Coats and the Blue Coats, followed by divers schools in the said parish, all carrying long canes. I followed them to the boundary in William Street, Knightsbridge, which separates Westminster from St Luke Chelsea, where I left them, having already exceeded my dinner hour. Met Billy White, a former playmate of mine, in St James’s Park, whom I have not seen for nearly two years before.”

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