Document Three (b) - George Webb's Follow up

Catalogue Ref: MH12/12723, 61080/1887


Aged Men’s Hall,
W. and C. Union,

About three weeks back I addressed a letter to you, complaining that (although 62) I was forced to do navvy’s and other work far beyond my strength, and which is calculated to seriously injure me.
So far as I know, no notice whatever has been taken of that letter.
I think I am right in saying that old men cannot legally be tasked, yet the Guardians say I must do such work, or go:- I contend that having been a Ratepayer in Battersea for about 30 years, I have a perfect right to remain here so long as sad necessity makes it necessary.
The Guardians shelter themselves under the Doctor’s report (after 3 minutes examination): he says I have nothing the matter with me, and that I am very strong – to put it as mildly as possible, I say he is quite mistaken:- I am very weak, my breath is very bad, and I am suffering from bronchitis of longstanding. I know, from this testimony of Dr. Neal, at the old house, that the action of my heart is impaired and my lungs diseased.
Although only a pauper, I ask that I may be favoured with an early reply, as the matter is one of importance to me.
A word or two as to our diet: to day is one of our meat days, and I had given me for dinner beef Fly-blown, and with maggots crawling over it: the fact is, our meat is placed in the Larder, uncovered, and quite exposed to the large flies (the windows being kept open) there are no safes for the paupers meat. I know, from ocular demonstration that there are numbers of flies buzzing about the meat, both cooked and uncooked.
I must, in justice, say, that what little we do get, is usually fairly good, though of course we only get the inferior parts.
On Jubilee day every thing was good and plentiful and we owe the Master and other Officials our best thanks.

Awaiting your reply,
I am sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
George E. Webb.

The President
Local Government Board.

Since doing the hard work, I am much troubled with Cramp in the two first fingers of my right hand, and at times can scarcely write.

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All letter questions:

  1. What is the letter asking for or discussing?
  2. What area of the poster is it exploring?
  3. What do you notice about the language of the letter? Is it formal, informal, desperate, well-written or poorly-written? Does this issue get resolved? How does it differ to how we write letters of complaint in today’s society?
  4. What might the response be from the Poor Law Commission?
  5. How does this letter challenge the perception of the poor in the 1837 poster?

Letter specific questions:

  1. How old is the gentleman writing the letter and what sort of job’s is he being asked to do? ​
  2. What has the doctor said about the man’s health? Why do you think he has said this?​
  3. Has this man accepted the tasks and work being given to him? How do you know this? ​
  4. To what extent do these letters support the content of the poster?