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Foot-races at the Annual Festival of The Asylum for Idiots, Earlswood.
The Illustrated London News. June 25th 1864.

"The annual festival provided by a kind and judicious management for the inmates of the Earlswood Asylum, near Redhill, took place on Thursday week. A numerous company of the friends and patrons of that institution, with other visitors, had come to witness the enjoyment of these poor young folks in the sports and pastimes of the day. There were games of cricket, football and croquet, Aunt Sally, Punch and Judy, races, and jumping-matches for prizes. Ther patients appeared to enter into these games with considerable pleasure, and with an unexpected display of skill and intelligence. We have engraved a sketch, by our own artist, representing the foot-race. At half-past five o'clock, at a given signal, the whole of them sat down in a ring on the greass and had tea, which was partaken of in a most orderly manner, and at half-past six a fire-balloon was sent up, much to their delight. The proceedings were brought to a conclusion by several songs and glees being performed by the Earlswood singing class and negro toupe, the singers keeping excellent time and tune - being a proof of how much care must be bestowed upon their mental cultivation. The band of the Coldstream Guards performed during the day, and the lawn in front of the building was gaily dressed up with flags and tents. The Earlswood Asylum now holds 377 inmates, who are divided into classes, and accomodated according to their rates of payment - those paying the lowest being placed on the same footing as the non-paying inmates. The vistors, who went over the whole house, were fully satisfied with the arrangements for the different classes - private bed-rooms and sitting-rooms for those who can afford them, large airy dormitories comfortably furnished for the second-class, and for the third-class and elected patients apartments quite as comfortable, but not quite so elegant. The srupulous cleanliness and neatness of every part of the building, furniture, and appointments was especially admired. On the farm there is a stock of very fine milch cattle and some thriving pigs; but new farm buildings are much needed, a fact well known to the board, who are determined to pay off debts before incurring the expense. Such an institution, however, ought not be left in the want of funds."

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