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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Farthing Bundle Lady
The site of the Penny/Farthing Bundle Lady charity.
Location: Fern Street, Bow
Description: The Fern Street Settlement charity was founded on this spot in 1907 by Clara Grant OBE, the headmistress of Devons Primary School in Bow.
One of the first things she did, which gave the Settlement its most famous tradition, was to have a small wooden arch made. It was inscribed with 'Enter all ye children small, None can come who are too tall.'
It was placed here on the pavement outside, and any child who could pass under this, without bending their knees, would receive a parcel of toys for a farthing. The ceremony became known as Farthing Bundles and Grant became known as the Farthing Bundle Lady and the Bundle Woman of Bow.
Farthing bundles are full of very human things such as children love, Clara explained.
Tiny toys of wood, or tin, whole or broken, little balls, doll-less heads or head-less dolls, whistles, shells, beads, reels, marbles, fancy boxes, decorated pill boxes, scraps of patchwork, odds and ends of silk or wool, coloured paper for dressing up, cigarette cards and scraps.
She died in October 1949, but the children still came running every Saturday morning to queue and pass under the arch. By then it was a penny bundle and the bar had been raised by 4 inches.
Now the Settlement runs a day centre for pensioners which provides adult education classes, social activities and a lunch club. The Settlement also serves families by providing summer holiday camps for young people, outings and the provision of presents for children at Christmas.