Catch22’s history starts in 1788 with the formation of The Philanthropic Society, who aimed to ‘unite the spirit of charity with the principles of trade’ – our original definition of a ‘social business’. The Royal Philanthropic Society formed when a group met in a coffee house to discuss the homeless children they saw begging and stealing on the streets. They answered this challenge by opening homes where children in need were trained by skilled tradesmen.
We see the impact of those ideas today, in our children’s homes and in our apprenticeship levy.
We may also have been the first to measure impact, too; our archives show that by 1848 1,500 children had been helped and only 1 in 20 committed further offences.
- Doreen Muriel Whitten, ‘Protection, Prevention, Reformation: a history of the Philanthropic Society, 1788-1848’, (Ph.D. Thesis, 2001)
- Doreen Muriel Whitten, ‘Nipping Crime in the Bud: How the Philanthropic Quest was Put into Law’, (Hook, 2011)
- Eugenio F. Biagini, ‘Citizenship and Community’, (1996, Cambridge)
- Martin Wienar, Between Two Worlds: the political thought of Graham Wallas, (Oxford, 1971)
- The Guardian, May 2007, Timeline: A history of probation
- Further information about The Royal Philanthropic Society’s school in Redhill can be found at the Surrey History Centre.
- The Rainer Foundation archives are held by Galleries of Justice.