Little boy was too afraid to go home without money

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SNOW is forecast at the time of writing, which makes me wince when I think of a little snippet I’ve just been looking at.

It has the same ethos of children once being far less cosseted than they are now.

But this isn’t just little Willie Stewart getting knocked on the head by a swing boat ride, as I’ve been featuring. No, this is something much darker.

It goes back to November 1879 when Shields and the surrounding area was being lashed by high winds and snow storms.

A little boy of eight, Henry Roberts, was found lying asleep on a pile of wood shavings on the premises of a Mr Robson, block and mast maker, at Corstorphine Town.

This was some considerable distance from where the boy lived with his parents at the Customs House Quay, which was on the riverside below Mile End Road.

The boy almost certainly had hypothermia: he was described as so cold, there were fears for his life.

He was taken to a nearby cocoa rooms, where he was revived with coffee and bread.

The boy told police his father had sent him out the day before to get money, but as he’d been unable to obtain any, he’d been afraid to go home.