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Image of card detailing houses established by Miss Robinson

Miss Sarah Robinson

  • Fund raising card detailing houses established by Miss Robinson
  • Printed by Charles W Cooke & Co
  • The Moorfields Press, London
  • circa 1890
  • 102 x 133mm (4 x 5¼in)

Sarah Robinson (1834-1921) a strong-willed, no-nonsense evangelical Christian woman established safe havens, for soldiers and sailors returning home from overseas which were free from the twin temptations of alcohol and prostitutes.

As the great troop-ships arrived in Portsmouth and regiments disembarked the soldiers' boots had scarcely touched the cobbled stones on the quayside when they became prey to "land sharks". These despicable creatures sole purpose were to coerce the soldiers and sailors into the disreputable public houses and grubby lodging-dens in order to entice hard-earned wages from the men's deep pockets to be recklessly spent on drink, gambling and women:

In a very few weeks a regiment would have squandered all the money saved in India or other foreign parts, thrown it away as utterly as if they had dropped it over the side of the ship on the voyage home*.

It had taken two years to raise the 15,000 funding required to open her first centre The Soldiers' Institute in Portsmouth. Opening in 1874 the building provided comfort and rest in the form of respectable lodgings, hot coffee, buns and cakes, alongside other facilities including a billiard room, skittle-alley, Bible class room, spaces for women's sewing and children's classes.

A sanctuary of warmth and friendship, within the sight of the dockyard, offering physical and spiritual welfare for soldiers, sailors and their families.

*Black and white : mission stories by H. A Forde, published 1881



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