Workhouses in the County of Essex
Poor Law Unions in Essex
Billericay, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Dunmow, Epping, Halstead, West Ham, Lexden and Winstree, Maldon, Ongar, Orsett, Rochford, Romford, Saffron Walden, Tendring and Witham
Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy
p 255 J - Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867
With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of
insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
|Lexdon and Winstree||7||6||13|
From PP 1867/68 Vol XXXI pp 1-301 Twenty Second Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor
Submitted by Alan Longbottom
27 Extract from an account of a society, for promotion of industry in the county of Essex. by John Conyers Esq. pp 197-204 Dated 5th Feb 1798.
In November 1794, a meeting was held at Epping in Essex, to take into consideration a proposal for the promotion of industry in that neighbourhood. An association was formed of 14 parishes, the parochial subscription being agreed to be one per cent. on their rates, and that of individuals not more than five shillings each. This with a few benefactions, produced in 1795, the sum of £154. which was proposed to be set apart as a fund for giving annual presents of clothing to those children who should produce the best specimens of industry; and sums of money, not exceeding £10 each, for any such young person on their going to apprenticeship, or service, or being married, according to the number of annual prizes such young person should have obtained; and also rewards in money to poor persons who had brought up four or more children to the age of fourteen years without parish relief, and to overseers who should distinguish themselves in the execution of their office, and in the employment of the poor. The society at the same time took measures for having workrooms and teachers provided in the different parishes, and spinning wheels and a supply of work for the poor at their own houses; and also for ensuring to them that they should be paid by their parishes the full price of their work; which though making a difference of only three or four pence in the pound, and being a very trifling expence to the parish, was, nevertheless to the individual who received it, a very powerful reward and encouragement.
The reader is referred for further particulars, to a printed account of the institution, published for the benefit of the Society, and sold by Cadell and Davies in the Strand.
The poor, who might otherwise be inclined to spin yarn, labour under great discouragement, arising from the manner in which they are paid for their work when finished. The shopkeeper of whom they get their yarn, professes to pay them at the rate of a penny per hank; but, when the work is returned to him, he deducts three-pence or four-pence (or in some cases when the trade has been slack, five-pence) from every pound of wool spun. This is considered the woolstaplers profit. Thus an indifferent spinner, who makes but twelve or perhaps ten hanks of a pound of yarn, gets but eight-pence of six-pence for her work. But this is not the only discouragement. The shopkeeper makes a favour of supplying her with yarn, and will not supply her with any, unless she will consent, not only to take out in shop goods the amount of what she earns by spinning, but will engage to purchase from him alone such necessaries for her family as his shop will furnish. By these means she is precluded from laying out her money at any other shop, where she thinks she could get articles of a better quality, or at a cheaper rate; and is obliged to submit to any imposition, which a griping shopkeeper may lay upon her. The committee of industry in Essex, considering their fund as insufficient for the purpose of relieving the poor from this oppression, by paying them the full price for their work, has recommended the plan to parishes In that of Chipping Ongar, by the attention of the Rev Mr Herringham, and some of the principal inhabitants of the parish, this plan has been carried into execution, and has produced a very good effect. The parish procures a stock of wool from a worsted maker: this is deposited at the workhouse; and the poor, upon application to the person who has the management of this business, obtains from him a ticket which, being taken to the mistress of the workhouse, she delivers the wool, and files the ticket. The work, when finished, is carried to the person who gave the ticket; and he immediately makes a payment in money, deducting, (for the present) four-pence for every pound of work. This is done merely to prevent carelessness in spinning, or frauds in reeling; and the groats so deducted are withheld, till the whole stock of wool is returned to the manufacturer, where every spinner's work is ticketed with her name. Upon receiving the approbation of the manufacturer, as to the work, the spinners are paid their groats; and, far from complaining of their being withheld in the first instance, they express a satisfaction at having "a lump of money" as they call it, to lay out in clothing.
At a meeting of the society on the 31st December 1795, 52 children appeared as candidates for prizes, as spinners and knitters; and 21 parents who had brought up 4 or more children in lawful wedlock without parish relief. The parents received donations not exceeding two guineas each, varied according to the number of their children, and other circumstances; of the children, 31 received presents in clothing, not exceeding 20 shillings each, according to their different merits. In the ensuing year, an equal number of parents received donations, on account of the families they had brought up; and clothing to the amount of £36-15s was given to 37 children, who had then produced the best specimens of industry in spinning, knitting, and plain needle work. The children receive with the premiums, certificates of good behaviour, which they consider as marks of distinction, and of which they will feel the benefit through life. In the present year (Jan 1798) donations of clothing have been made to 61 industrious children to the amount of £51-13s and to parents the sum of £23-12s-6d on account of the families which they have brought up.
The Society was known as :-
The Society of Industry for the hundreds of Ongar and Harlow, and the half-hundred of Waltham in the County of Essex.
This establishment, formed on the same plan as that of the Rev Mr Bowyer in Lincolnshire, and rendered successful by the great attention given to it by the trustees of the different districts, requires very little comment. It is obvious that its operation, by the most pleasing and acceptable means, those of encouragement and attention, must be to increase the industry and good habits of the poor in the neighbourhood and greatly to improve the rising generation. The donations may appear small to those, who have not sufficiently attended to the circumstances of the labouring poor, to learn that very trifling rewards, given with kindness, in a disinterested and honourable way, and unincumbered with any humiliating condition, will do wonders in exciting the industry and economy of the cottager; and, in attaching him, by every tie of gratitude and affection, to those, who feel sufficiently the obligation of their own duty, to become the friends and benefactors of the poor. I cannot omit taking this opportunity to observe, that every measure of this kind should be so framed and conducted, that the motives may not merely escape the guilt of being interested, but be exempt from the discredit of being suspected.
Dated 5th Feb 1798.
The Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor. Vol 1 1798 446 pp
Submitted by Alan Longbottom
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