Source 1  
 
 

Simplified version of transcript source 1
 
(Catalogue ref: MH12/15070)

Huddersfield Workhouse Horrors.

Scandal at Andover nothing in comparison!

Last Monday, an important parish council meeting of the ratepayers of Huddersfield took place in the town’s Guildhall. The crowded hall was attended by some of the most important people of the town. The meeting had been called by the Overseers of the poor to discuss with the ratepayers of Huddersfield, the health and general treatment of the poor. The overseers listed below have been charged by the ratepayers to carry out an inquiry into the treatment of the poor at Huddersfield workhouse. The charges made to the Poor Law authorities suggest worse cruelties than were found at Andover. Further information on the medical relief in the town has been given by Mr T.R. Tatham, whom for last four years has been standing up for the poor and the interests of the ratepayers. Therefore, the overseers feel it is necessary to call a meeting of the ratepayers to discuss the facts of the case so steps can be taken to repair the damage done to the town’s reputation.


Overseers’ Report


The overseers of the town of Huddersfield having received their instructions from a ratepayers meeting to set up an inquiry into charges concerning the sick and poor in Huddersfield workhouse now present their report.

The overseers heard the evidence of the Medical Officer for the Northern division of the town, where the workhouse is situated and several nurses who have looked after the poor in the workhouse and the fever hospital. They have also made inquiries at the workhouse itself. They have reached the conclusion that the poor have been treated very badly. They are still without clothing or bedding and have been forced to remain in the most terrible state. Patients have been forced to remain for 9 weeks without a change of bedding. New patients have repeatedly had to use beds previously occupied by patients who have died of typhoid. These beds were mere bags of straw or wood shavings, swarming with lice, and placed on the floor. Patients suffering from infectious fevers were constantly forced to sleep in the same bed. It was not unusual for a patient to be sharing a bed with somebody whom been dead for some time. For months they have not had properly assigned nurses looking after them. Male paupers look after female patients. The sick have been left in a shameful state, having to remain unwashed, often covered in their own excrement. Drugs ordered by the doctor have frequently been withheld. In the fever hospital, where patients’ lives depended on the consumption of wine, supplies were lacking for 48 hours at a time. According to the medical officer this increased the death rate amongst the patients.