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This is an extract from a report by the Assistant Poor Law Commissioner on the Reigate Workhouse on 12th February 1851.
(Catalogue ref: MH 12/12577)

Reigate Union Workhouse: visit of Mr. Pigott, 12/2/1851

1) Date of last previous visit?
22nd August, 1851

2) Is the workhouse generally adequate to the wants of the Union in respect of size and internal arrangements?
Yes, in both respects.

3) Is the provision for the sick and for infectious cases sufficient? Are the receiving wards in a proper state?
Yes, there is a district hospital and fever wards. The receiving wards are now in the process of alteration.

4) Is the Workhouse School well managed?
Yes, there are but few children of either sex as compared with the population of the Union and much attention is given to their industrial instruction.

13) Has any marked change taken place in the state of the Workhouse, the number of the inmates, or the general condition of the union, since your last visit?
There is generally full employment for rural labourers at this time at good wages from 10/s to 12/s per week. But there are not withstanding an unusual number of the more able chaps in the workhouse- almost all however single men of loose character. This has arisen in great measure from the abolition of the practice which prevailed in all previous winters of giving able men out relief on the condition of coming to the workhouse to perform an allotted task of work vid: former correspondence.

14) Observations not falling under any of the previous heads. Attended a special meeting of the Board of Guardians called to consider the report of a Committee appointed to enquire into certain charges made against the Master and Matron of the Workhouse-viz-that the Master had been in the habit of curtailing the quantities of bread allowed to adults in the dietary without appraising the Governors thereof, that the Matron had neglected to make visits to the Infirmary required by the Regulations of the Poor Law and had not sufficiently attended to the regular supply of clean clothing. Further that the overbearing conduct and violent tempers of the Master and Matron (more than once brought before the Board of Governors) was so intolerable to the other officers that constant and immediate changes resulted thereforth after a full consideration of these matters it was resolved that the Master and Matron should be called on to resign, and to signify this reply at the next meeting of the Board of Governors when this resolution is sent to the Poor Law Board. I should wish to make some remarks there upon. There is no suspicion or imputation of fraud on the part of the Master who is in many respects an excellent officer. The infirmity of the paupers is chiefly attributable to the Matron.


Grenville Pigott

Poor Law Inspector