The Rags History

How we began

The Society can trace its beginnings to the City of London in the early 1890's, although it was not formed as a formal society until 1901.

Dirty, untidy and shabbily dressed children, known as Ragamuffins, frequented the streets of London and we know that some young City gentlemen (probably aged around thirty and largely single) took a compassionate interest in their wellbeing. When they dined or drank together they would discuss cases of hardship they had come across. At this time (late 19th century), personal charity was deemed a very real responsibility for those who wished to be seen as 'gentlemen'.

At their frequent meetings, it became accepted practice to make a contribution to help alleviate the misery of the most distressing cases presented. In other words they combined their friendship with charity. The Society's motto is "Amitié et Charité"

The concept of the Society remains very much today as it was over 100 years ago. There have been a few changes in approach but not to principles.

Members pay an annual fee rather than contributing an amount every time we meet and deserving cases often come to us via third parties rather than direct from members. However every Ragamuffin member is encouraged to go out into the community to identify cases and bring them back to the Grants Secretary, who will consult with the Council as to whether a grant is appropriate.

So the tradition of the charity continues - and so does the friendship. We still meet for 'supper' evenings. Whilst the venue is not critical, we do have a penchant for old London hostelries, some of which our founders may well have visited. We also hold the occasional 'event' and have an annual Ladies Evening which is usually in London. We also believe that personal charity is something to aspire to.

Our Mission is to raise and maintain a benevolent fund to assist persons who, not being members of the society, are disadvantaged. Whilst the Mission is broad, we do seek to concentrate on helping younger people wherever possible.

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can shew to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer it, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." Attributed to Stephen Grellet (1773-1855)

The Objects of the Society

  • i) To promote and keep up friendly social intercourse and comradeship amongst members of the society.
  • ii) To form a BENEVOLENT FUND out of the income whereof to assist by temporary loans or donations of money, or in such other ways that may appear desirable, such persons not being members of the Society, who, being reduced to circumstances of poverty and distress, are deemed worthy of assistance.

The Society's funds are divided into three parts:-

  • a) The 'ADMINISTRATION' account, which is used for the running costs of the Society
  • b) The 'AMITIÉ' account, which is used for the Society's social events.
  • c) The 'BENEVOLENT' account, which is used to lighten the burden of others

The Rags Rules

Photos from the past

A photo at a Council Meeting of perhaps a decade ago or so featuring, from left to right,

Standing: Tony McAleenan, Alan Garrood, Freddy Fane, Eric Granshaw, Richard Fenn, Chris Wayman, Peter Gudgin;

Seated: John Ireland, John Smart, Pater Bexson, Gerald Lapperton, Ted James, Alan Copeland.