Written By: Tiffany Tse
LONDON – Yesterday, the British Parliament leaded by Charles Grey, established the Poor Law against all poor people in England’s and Whale’s society.
Families, children, mothers, and every single people who were poor, were sentenced to live and work in a workhouse or so-called the ‘Prison of the Poor’.
Families were forced to separate when they entered the workhouse; all children, women, men, and the aged ones were separated into four sections..
“Cruel — damnably cruel as this infamous blasphemy is, it is humanity itself compared with the poignant and ever-gnawing agony which is suffered by separated parents,” wrote Joshua Hobson in his book, The Book of Murder.
Men and boys, even the frail ones like the aged ones, were required to do monotonous jobs that were all manual and tiring, such as: stone breaking, oakum picking, and bone crushing, hole-digging.
Women and girls were required to paint the wall or they could interminably do work such as: work cleaning, polishing, scrubbing, sweeping, or other domestic duties.
Breakfast was just gruel and about 5~7 ounce of bread; dinner was 5~6 ounce of meat and potatoes or 1~1.5 pint of soup or just rice pudding; while supper was 5~7 ounce of bread with cheese or butter and broth; this hardly enough to bloat a child’s or even a mother’s stomach.
“Some of the dormitories in this house appear to be crowded. The large dormitory, No. 20, has three rows of double beds, and eight of these contain three women in each. The same is the case in ward 27. These and other sleeping apartments have no means for receiving the air at night, except a small moving fanlight over the door of each, but these are night would be closed,” reported by Dr, Farre and Mr. Grainger, when they together visited the workhouse.
Besides the ‘dormitories’ being crowded, it led to the sickness and a very unhealthy condition of the people living in the workhouse.
The sick ones were sent to another division of the workhouse but these patients were still dying one after another.
The sick patients were only allowed to stay in the medical division for nine weeks greatest, but during these weeks, none of the patients got better, instead they remained in the most disgusting and filthy state.
In those nine weeks, the patients did not have a change of linen or of bed clothing, some patients died while suffering typhus, yet because the bed clothing were never changed, the patients’ conditions only got worse and eventually led them to their death.
“Two patients suffering in infectious fever, were almost constantly put together in one bed; that it not unfrequently happened that one would be ragingly delirious, when the other was dying,” written in the report of the Overseers of Huddersfield.
The British Parliament introduced the Poor Law to ‘encourage’ poor people to work hard to support themselves but this law has led to rebels in society, like the Ten-Hour Movement, and insanity in the workhouse; this act was just a reason to blame the poor for being poor.