The Hibbert Assembly

Britain's first official street collection for charity
atlantic 75 class lifeboat
We are well used to being asked, usually on a Saturday, to give money to a charity.
When did street collections begin? The answer is that the first official street collection for charity was held - as far as we know - in Manchester, on a Saturday in October 1891.
It was in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the day was called "Lifeboat Saturday". Other towns and cities quickly followed this lead.
Then other charities adopted the same approach. At the time the Manchester City News said: "We may take some pride in the consciousness that we are a humane people.
This humanitarianism expresses itself in many benevolent forms. We have societies and associations to meet all sorts and conditions of danger that may beset poor humanity.
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To save people from their own ignorance of natural laws, we have sanitary associations; to save them from the weakness of their own nature, in one direction, we have temperance societies; to cure them of disease or save them from an untimely death, we have hospitals and other kindred foundations, and to save them from social and spiritual destruction we have organisations like the Salvation Army...It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that amidst all these organisations we should have one whose object is to save those whose lives are in peril on the sea. It is worthy of note that voluntaryism, the spirit of free giving, is at the root of these philanthropic efforts.
We like our institutions to be built on voluntary foundations and to be supported by voluntary means." Some of the needs referred to above are now dealt with by public bodies such as local government or the National Health Service. But the Salvation Army and the Royal National LIfeboat Institution have continued to be voluntary, depending on the work of volunteers and gifts of money from the public.

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