This document was printed as a supplement to the Leeds Mercury and gives an account of the main charges on which the Huddersfield workhouse enquiry was based. The conditions in the workhouse in Huddersfield were deemed to be worse than those at Andover (1846). The report of the official investigation adds more to the information given in the report of the Poor Law Guardians of May 1848.

THE HUDDERSFIELD WORKHOUSE INQUIRY. OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION

The following extract from the Overseers' report, will show the principal charges upon which the inquiry was instituted: —

Of the general treatment of the poor in the workhouse, the Overseers have to report that the house is, and has been for a considerable period, crowded out with inmates; that there are forty children occupying one room eight yards by five; that these children sleep four, five, six, seven, and even ten, in one bed; that thirty females live in another room of similar size; and that fifty adult males have to cram into a room seven and a half yards long by six yards wide; that the diet of the establishment has been and still is, insufficient; that four shillings worth of shin of beef, or leg offal, with forty-two pounds of potatoes, have been made to serve for "soup" for 150 inmates; that the quantity, in gallons, required of this wash, for the household is 27; that three gills of this "soup," with one fourth of an oaten cake, forms one of the dinners of the establishment; that ten gallons of old milk per day have been made to serve for two meals for an average number of 130 individuals, for a quarter of a year together, — being little more than one gill per head per day; that the old women are allowed ¼ of a lb. [pound] of sugar and ½ oz. [ounce] of tea each, for a week's consumption; that the clothing of the establishment is miserably deficient; that there is no clothing in stock; that a great proportion of the inmates are obliged to wear their own clothes; that others have little better than rags to cover them; that instances have been known where the nakedness of even females has not been covered; that there are at present but 65 blankets fit for use in the establishment, to fit up 79 beds; that there are but 106 sheets for these 79 beds; being 50 short a pair each; that there is in consequence no change of bed linen whatever; that when cleansed the beds have to be stripped, and the linen hurried through the wash-tub, dried, and on to the beds again for the same night; and that there are throughout the entire establishment the most unmistakable signs of bad arrangement, shortsightedness, real extravagance, waste of the rate-payers' money, and want of comfort, cleanliness, health, and satisfaction amongst the poor.


Victorian History Poor Law

Last modified 12 November 2002