Four Penny Coffin







Four penny coffin (or coffin house) is the term they used for the first shelters in London. It was run by the Salvation Army in the late 1800, early 1900. These shelters charged their clients.

For a penny you got a meal and was allowed to sit on a bench all night, but not permitted to sleep. For another penny, you would get a rope put across the bench, you were allowed to sleep hanging over the rope. You were not permitted to lay down and the rope was cut at daybreak.

For four pennies, you received food and shelter, you had a wooden box that you could lie down in. You were covered with a tarp.

Compared to modern shelters this is considered inadequate, but in its time it was viewed at a charitable attempt to help the homeless. Homelessness was a new problem and the shelters helped get people out of the cold London winters.

This is a bit of a history lesson....makes you wonder how far we have come.