Document One - MH12/9356/98

The document displayed here is the lengthy letter described in the catalogue entry, but the entry itself is the item for study.

Catalogue Entry:

Archive reference: MH 12/9356/98.
Date of Letter: 21 July 1837
Poor Law Union: Mansfield Poor Law Union

21 July 1837
Letter from Edward Gulson, Poor Law Commissioner, to the Poor Law Commission. He attended the Mansfield board meeting where he met with the threat of violence and an angry mob. During the preceding week considerable disorder had taken place among the workmen. At the previous board meeting the officers were directed to feed these 70 men and their families, three meals a day, the same as the workhouse diet. He reports that 85 men, 55 women and 142 children have been fed three times a day and each man ordered 5d a day or 2/6 a week with which to buy coats or other necessities. This did not satisfy the men who through threats of violence extorted double pay from the relieving officer. A committee has been formed to take measures for the employment of the people at cutting down a hill near the town and another committee to assist in feeding the people. During the meeting a mob of about 200 to 300 people collected outside. He met with a deputation from the mob and discussed the Poor Law, the need to stop stocking making in return for relief as it reduced wages, and how the people were to be relived and in what way set to work. He goes on to describe an attempted attack on him by the mob when he left the meeting. He recommends that the guardians be offered protection because as the stocking frames go out of work, the number of men to be relieved will rise from 85 to 365 and as the Duke of Portland’s committee stops the frames in Sutton this will create a body of 500 or 600 men, who with their families will require relief. He suggests the use of a regiment of soldiers at Nottingham who might be quartered in Mansfield to help the guardians maintain order. He notes that some of the pressure may be alleviated if the men move into hay making, harness work and field work.

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