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The workhouse

  1. Jan 6, 2009 #1

    wolram

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    An interesting look at how the community dealt with the poor and infirm.

    http://www.workhouses.org.uk/

    Quote.
    Although it was in many respects a consolidation and reiteration of earlier legislation, the 1601 Act for the Relief of the Poor has come to be regarded as a milestone in British social legislation. It created the framework for poor relief in England that was to last until the great 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2009 #2

    wolram

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    Elliott, Benjamin Neglect of work 31 May 1842 Dinner withheld, and but bread for supper.

    Rowe, Sarah Noisy and swearing 19 June 1842 Lock'd up for 24 hours on bread and water.

    Aplin, John Disorderly at Prayer-time 22 July 1842 Lock'd up for 24 hours on bread and water.

    Mintern, George Fighting in school 26 July 1842 No cheese for one week.

    Greenham, Mary and Payne, Priscella Quarreling and fighting 14 Dec 1842 No meat 1 week.

    Bartlett, Mary Breaking window 21 Mar 1843 Sent to prison for 2 mths.

    Park, James Deserted, got over wall 4 Sep 1843 To be whipped.

    Hallett, Isaac Breaking window 25 April 1844 Sent to prison for 2 months hard labour.

    Staple, John Refusing to work 7 Jany. 1856 Committed to prison for 28 day
    Johnson, John Refusing to work 19 Oct 1858 Cheese & tea stop'd for supper. Breakfast stop's altogether.

    Soaper, Elizabeth Making use of bad language in bedroom.
    Trying to excite other inmates to insubordination. Refusing to work. 17 Jany. 1863 Taken before the Magistrate & committed to prison for 14 days hard labour.
     
  4. Jan 6, 2009 #3

    baywax

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    Fascinating Wolram! This is the type of arrangement that pushed my ancestors to migrate to Canada.

    "No soup for you!"
     
  5. Jan 6, 2009 #4

    wolram

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    Thanks Baywax.


    Charlie Chaplin

    Quote.
    Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in Walworth, London,on April 16, 1889, the son of two music hall performers, Charles and Hannah Chaplin. His parents separated before he was five years old. His mother struggled to make a living despite help from young Charlie who first appeared on stage at the age of five.

    In 1896, seven-year old Charlie briefly became an inmate of the Lambeth union workhouse, together with his mother, Hannah, and his older half-brother Sydney. They went through the usual admission procedure of being separated from their mother, the children having their hair cut short, and the workhouse uniform replacing their own clothes which were steamed and put into store
     
  6. Jan 6, 2009 #5

    baywax

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    Ah potatos on dancing forks...

    my grandmother and her sister were intentionally orphaned. Their mother somehow lost her husband and she decided she could not support the family alone during the dawn of the Industrial Age. So she took them to London and put them in an Orphanage. I've seen the photos of them together, wearing the Orphanage's uniform with big numbers pinned to their chests.

    In about 6 months she had bundled her sister and baggage onto a Steamer to Canada. She ended up settled on a farm in Saskatchewan... and the Great Aunt lived up in Peace River country until she was 93... surviving her sister by many many years. In fact we had "Rose" down to the coast here in the 80s or somthing and at that time she was 91 and dancing with all the guys... totally spry!! This was in a club where the Who and the Stones jammed after concerts in town.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2009 #6
    Thats all very interesting, what a sad place to be forced to go to with your children. Most people don't know this but the US had vagrancy laws, that varied by state, on the books until the 1970's. President Nixon abolished them, saying that it is no crime to be poor and homeless.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2009 #7

    wolram

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    This may be a source for people researching their family tree.
     
  9. Jan 6, 2009 #8
    It is. One of the standard rules when you can't find your ancestors in a given census is to look (usually at the end) for the prison and poorhouse rolls.
     
  10. Jan 6, 2009 #9

    marcus

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    Last year my wife and I stayed 3 nights at what used to be the county Poor Farm near Portland Oregon around 1890-1910. It has been renovated as a hotel/museum. A curious experience.
    The main building had rooms for over 100 elderly paupers. Those still able to do so were expected to help with the farmwork. There was a special table in the dining hall where hard workers got a somewhat better diet. We didn't see that. The hall had been turned into a restaurant.

    I don't think I would have chosen to go up to Portland, or to stay at this renovated Poor Farm except there was a gathering of family for a wedding of our friends. The decor includes photographs and memorabilia. The walls are thin and the pipes exposed. Simplicity is the rule.
     
  11. Jan 6, 2009 #10

    wolram

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    It would be interesting to find out if the American poor house was an idea adopted from the British, or if it was independently thought up.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2009 #11

    baywax

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    This account of the origin of the early Poor Law System has it occurring 200 years before the United States had a constitution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_the_Poor_Law_system
     
  13. Jan 6, 2009 #12

    baywax

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    Apparently "making the able-bodied work" is still in effect according to this Bushism...

    - "I want to thank the dozens of welfare-to-work stories, the actual examples of people who made the firm and solemn commitment to work hard to embetter themselves." - GWBush, April 18, 2002, at the White House. :rofl:
     
  14. Jan 6, 2009 #13

    turbo

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    When my wife was in intensive care in the hospital in the state capital after a severe car crash, I was only allowed to visit her a couple of hours a day. I decided to research my father's side of the family in the state archives, and found out that my grandfather had killed his brother in a shooting accident when they were hunting as kids. I also found out that my grandmother's father and brothers were unable to support themselves fully as farmers, and that they showed up on the "town poor" accounts every year in the town reports. During the winter, they charged beans, flour, molasses, etc to the town at the local store, and every spring before the ground was dry enough to plow and plant, they worked off the debt by supplying split firewood to the school/meeting house, rebuilding roads, and replacing and repairing culverts damaged in winter/spring weather. It wasn't charity, but payment in kind for small, seasonal, short-term loans. They would purchase staples, the town would pay the storekeeper, and they would pay the town back with wood, skilled labor, etc during periods when farming was a bit slack. Anybody that has spent much time on a dirt-farm that also had a modest dairy herd knows that farmers don't have a lot of "free" time even during the off-season for vegetables. Harvesting wood for heat, ice for sale and to stock your own ice-house for food preservation, harvesting and storing hay, and tending the herd, including 2 milkings/day can keep a body busy.
     
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