The Dickensian atmosphere of the Orphanage tends to ooze from the well-kept minutes. For example, in 1871 the orphans had their beer allowance stopped on the grounds that
"...several of the orphans are total abstainers and these, of course, can receive it only as a medicinal comfort."
The allowance was restored in 1880 but only after the orphans had appeared before the Medical Officer for examination
"as to their suitability to receive it."
In 1881 the orphans were lectured by the Secretary of Earlsfield Lunatic Asylum. One is of course left to guess his
choice of subject. But in due time the Orphanage, which occupied a 15-acre site, had its own swimming pool, cinema, gymnasium, laundry, workshops and other amenities.
The children had their own School Magazine and distinctive blazer badge. Children with academic ability who obtained scholarships went to surrounding grammar schools by day returning to the Institution at night. All were assisted in finding employment on leaving.
Annual Prize Day, often graced by Royalty and almost invariably by the Home Secretary was the year's highlight, closely followed by Old Scholars Day held every Whit-Monday. An attendance of 211 old scholars in 1910 and 350 on the final day in 1937 tends to underline their affection for the Institution and acclaim its success.