Yorkshire Roots of The NSPCC


Benjamin Waugh of Settle is credited with forming the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in 1884. With Lord Shaftesbury as president they had 32 national branches or aid committees within 5 years. Each branch raised funds from donations, subscriptions and legacies to support an inspector, who investigated reports of child abuse and neglect.
Queen Victoria became the Royal Patron of the NSPCC in 1895 when it was granted its Royal Charter. It retained the name as NSPCC was already well established and it avoided confusion with the RSPCA which had already existed for more than fifty years. Did and Do we put animals or children first?

Benjamin Waugh was born, the son of a clergyman, in Settle, North Yorkshire and attended theological college in Bradford before moving to London. As a Congregationalist minister in the slums of London, Waugh was appalled at the deprivations and cruelties suffered particularly by workhouse children. In addition to being a founding secretary for the NSPCC he wrote a book ‘The Gaol Cradle, Who Rocks It?’ and subsequently urged the creation of juvenile courts and children’s prisons as a means of diverting children from a life of crime. Waugh worked to raise awareness lobbying government and publishing detailed reports of abuse and neglect. These Victorian values still seem to be required in today’s society see ‘Horrendous Child abuse uncovered in Doncaster’ or the Daily Mirror reported around Christmas 2008¬† ‘ The serious case review, which Doncaster council slipped quietly on to their website, is the latest scandal to rock social services departments after the death of Baby P. The report branded social services “chaotic and dangerous….’

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