Ancestry UK

St Giles in the Fields Workhouse Regulations and Rules, 1726

July 12, 1726.
The Gentlemen of the Vestry then present, agreed upon the following REGULATIONS to be observed for the better Government of the Workhouse before the division of the parish. viz.
   THAT no Poor be admitted or received into the Work-house but by order of the Vestry, or of the Justices at the Court-house, or at least, by order under the band of one Justice; and if any persons offer themselves, or are sent by any others, they are not to be taken in; unless so ill, as they must probably perish if refuse, or, Women ready to fall into Labour. And if any Poor are sent by one Justice only, the Governor may refuse them, if he has any Suspicion of Fraud or Abuse, until he has an Opportunity of giving the Justice his Reasons for so doing, and taking his further Directions thereon.
   THAT the. Names, Ages, Days of Admission, Circumstances, and Settlement of all hereafter to be admitted, and of their Families; and also the Time of their quitting, or being expelled; or of their Death, be entered in a particular Book, to be kept for that purpose.
   That all Persons, as soon as there is an Opportunity, after their Admission, be viewed and examined by the Surgeon, Apothecary, or Nurse, whether they have any infectious Distemper, and be washed as soon as they are taken in, if it may be without prejudice to their Health. And that such as are found to be lousy, or to have the Itch, be put into the particular Wards assigned for them; and not be removed till perfectly clean; and while there, shall conform to the Orders particularly relating to them, which are hung up in their Wards, for their better Notice and Information.
   THAT separate Wards be also assigned for the Foul-disease, Small-pox, Malignant Fevers, and all other infectious Distempers; and that Care be taken to remove all who are so afflicted in due Time thither, for preserving others from Infection.
   THAT it be recommended to the Governor, to distinguish those who have been ancient Housekeepers, and lived well, and are reduced by Misfortunes, from the other Poor, who are become so by Vice or Idleness, as far as may be without Inconvenience, and in such manner, with respect to their Lodging, Cloathing, Diet, or otherwise, as he shall think fit.
   THAT two Shirts or Shifts be allowed to each Person, and to have clean once a Week.
   THAT these Shirts and Shifts be marked with the first Letters of their Name, and with the Mark or Number of each Ward.
   THAT all other Linnen belonging to the Workhouse, or Poor therein, which shall be made or bought at the Charge of the Parish, be marked before it shall be used, with the letters S. G. to denote the Property, and prevent Imbezzlement; but the Governor may direct what further or other Marks he may think fit, for further Distinction.
   THAT all Persons, without Exception, taken into this House, who are any wife, or at any Time, capable of doing any manner of Work or Service, be employed, as far as may be to avoid idleness, to inure them to labour, and to get Part of their Maintenance.
   THAT such Girls as are of a proper Age, be employed and instructed (as far as the Cook, and other Officers and Servants belonging to the Workhouse, are capable of teaching them) in Cookery, House-wifery, Washing, Scouring, and all other Work, to qualify them for Service.
   THAT the Governor, from Time to Time, provide Wormwood, to fumigate the Wards, Rooms, and Infirmaries, and so be used in washing Linnen, and in the Beds; and the Matron is to take Care that the Nurses lay it in all the Bed-sheets.
   THAT an exact Account, be kept in a Book to be provided for that purpose, of all Household Goods, Cloaths, and Linnen, belonging to the Work-house, to be added and altered as new Effects are brought in, or old ones sold, or worn out. And a particular Mark (as S. G. or the like) to be fixed to such of them, so that they may not be taken away or embezzled; and that an Account be kept therein of all Goods or Cloaths, &c. delivered to the poor, whether sick or well, and when recovered, dead, or that they go out, to be returned to the proper Officers, by them to be laid up in the proper Places. But, if any go, or are turned out, of the Work-house, and 'tis thought fit to allow them any Cloaths, that is, other Cloaths than those they wore while in the Work-house, that none be given to them out of the Store-room, to prevent Frauds, by suffering any Cloaths used in the Work-house, to be worn abroad. If the Poor bring in any good Cloaths, they are to be cleaned, mended, and laid up for them, against their Time of quitting the Work-house, unless the Governor shall think it more fit for them to wear them in the House.
   THAT a Book, be always kept, and lie open, with Pen and Ink ready; in: the Vestry-room, for any of the Vestry, or others, who come to view the Work-house, to enter their Observations, Opinions, or Proposals, in relation to the Work-house; or the Poor therein, to be examined and considered at the next Meeting of the Vestry there.
   THAT the Vestry meet at the Work-house every Sunday Morning, at Eleven exactly, to order and settle Affairs relating to it.
   THAT the Vestry, every, Month, or oftner, if they see Cause, do examine all the Bills and. Accounts of the Expence in maintaining the Poor in the Work-house as also the Accounts of all Materials bought in, and Work done or sold; and observe the several Rates, and Prices charged, and give such Directions thereupon, as they shall think fit, with regard to the better maintaining and employing the Poor, and saving the Parish Money.
   THAT, besides these weekly Meetings, the Vestry do take Turns in visiting the Work-house once a Week, so as one Gentleman of the Vestry do, on one Day in every Week, view the whole Work-house, and observe the State and Condition of it, and of all the Poor therein; and whether all these, and such other Orders as shall be made, are observed, and each Visitor is to enter down his Observations in the Visiting-book before-mentioned; or attend at the next Weekly-meeting, to give an Account there. And to make these Visitations the more useful, each Visitor is to view the whole Work-house, and every Ward therein, and all the Manufactures, Materials, and Provisions; to give Audience to all the Poor who desire it; and, if they visit on Saturdays, when the Provisions are brought in, to see them all weighed and measured, and the Weight and Measure entered, to prevent Frauds.
   THAT a general View be taken Four Times a Year, upon the first Tuesday after each Quarter-day, or oftner, if necessary, by the Vestry, of all the Poor in the Work-house; where their particular Circumstances are to be examined, what Work they are employed in, how they behave, what Children are fit to be put Apprentices, or to Service; and who are fit to be continued in, or turned out of the Work-house; as also at the same Time, to hear any Complaints the Poor may make.
   THAT the Yearly Account of all Receipts and Disbursements be laid before the Vestry within a Month after Easter, in order to be examined and passed by them, and that such Accounts be entered in a Book, and signed by the Gentlemen of the Vestry, who examine the same.
   IF any Gentlemen, or other Inhabitants of this Parish, disapprove of any of these Regulations, or have any others to propose, they are desired to send them, in Writing, to the Work-house, directed either to the Gentlemen of the Vestry meeting at St. Giles's Work-house, or to the Governor, in order to be laid before the Vestry at their next Meeting there; where due Regard shall be had to them; and such as shall be approved of, shall be added to there already agreed upon. And they may set their Names, or send Letters without any Name, as they think most proper.
Rules and Orders to be Observed by the Officers and Servants in St. Giles's Work-house, and by the Poor therein.
   THAT no Person shall presume to go out of that House without Leave; nor any Strangers (except Gentlemen or Ladies, who may come to see the Workhouse) be allowed to come into any of the Wards, Dining, or Working Rooms, or further than the Parlour where the Clock stands, without Leave from the Governor or chief Officer upon the Place. And if any desire to see or speak with any of the Poor, though their nearest Relations, the Door-keeper is not to call them without Leave: And if the Door-keeper shall suspect any of the Poor, or any other who come to them, of bringing in any strong Waters, or carrying out any Cloaths, Victuals, Linnen, or other Things belonging to the Work-house, or to any of the Poor therein, he is to stop them, and give immediate Notice to the Governor, or chief Officer then on the Place, to the end that due Enquiry, and Search, if necessary, may be forthwith made.
   THAT, whereas the Gate leading out of Short's Gardens into the Burying-ground, adjoining to this Work-house, is usually open from three a Clock to five every Day, to let in Funerals; by which means the Poor. do often get out of the House, and Strangers crowd into it, which creates several Disorders and Irregularities: It is ordered, that the Door-keeper do take Care to keep the Gate leading out of the Work-house into the Burying-ground shut all the Time aforesaid.
   THAT none of the Poor do presume to ask for Money or Drink, directly or indirectly, from any who come to view the Work-house, there being a Box for them.
   THAT if any of the Poor shall be found bringing into the House, or drinking therein, any Geneva, or other distilled Liquors, he or she shall, for the first Offence, be sent to the Dark-room, and be kept therein upon Bread and Water for one Day; and for the second Offence, be expelled the House. And, if any Person in the House, shall discover any other Person who shall be guilty of such Offence, such Person shall receive Sixpence, as a Reward for such Discovery, to be paid by the Governor. And if any Person shall know of any of the Offences aforesaid, and doth nor discover the same, such Person shall be punished in the same Manner, as if he or file had committed the said Offences.
   THAT if any Person shall take, remove or conceal the Linnen, Woollen, Money or Goods belonging to this Work-house, or to any other Person therein, with Intent to steal or imbezzle the same, such Person shall be sent to Bridewell or Newgate, according to the Nature of the Offence, and be prosecuted with the utmost Severity.
   THAT whereas Complaint has been made of some Persons, who are very clamorous, and make great Disturbances, not only in the Day-time, but even at Night, when they are in Bed, to the great Disquiet of the People who lie in those Wards, and particularly of the Sick: It is ordered, That such Persons, so offending, shall be sent to the Dark-Room, or else be debarred from their Meals, at the Discretion of the Governor, or the Vestry: And that if any Person shall be beard to curse or swear, they shall for the first Offence be debarred from their next Meal, and stand on a Stool at one Corner of the Working-Room, for so long Time as the Governor shall think fit; for the second Offence be complained of to a Magistrate; and for the third, be expelled the House.
   THAT none of the Poor in this Work-house do strike, abuse, or give ill Language to one another, or spoil or dawb their Cloaths; but the Party abused may complain to the Governor, who is to see Justice done, or lay the Complaint before the Vestry.
   THAT from Candlemas to All Saint's-Day there be but three Fires allowed in the House, viz. in the Kitchin, the Laundry, and the Wash-house, except sometimes in the Nursery, and in the Infirmaries, as the Necessities of the Sick may occasionally require. And that from All Saints-Day to Candlemas, there be so many Fires allowed in the Wards, as are necessary for the Comfort of the Sick, the Lame, and the Aged, besides the Fires in the Kitchin, the Laundry, the Wash-house, and the Hall. And that the Allowance of Coals for each of the Fires last mentioned be a Peck per Day, and not to exceed, except in very hard frosty Weather: And that these Allowances be daily measured out to the Nurses, or other proper Persons, by the Servant who attends in the Kitchin.
   THAT the Governor do take Care, that none of the Poor be suffered to sit up after nine in Summer, and eight in Winter, except the Nurses attending the Sick: And that the Fires and Candles be our, and the Servants, and all the Family, in Bed by nine. And that no Persons presume to smoak Tobacco in their Beds, or after the Hours appointed for their going to Bed.
   THAT the Nurses take Care to search all the Beds for Fleas, Buggs, and other Vermin, once a Week, or oft.ner if occasion; and to have all their Beds made, and to sweep and clean their respective Wards, every Morning between the Hours of eight and ten; that every Ward be washed once a Week, or oftner, as Need shall require; and the Windows be kept open in all, except the Sick Wards, every Day during Dinner, to air the Rooms, except in very rainy Weather.
   THAT the Cook and her Assistants shall wash the Kitchin, the Dining-Room, and all the Passages and Stair-Cases on that Side of the House, twice every Week; And that the Washers shall do the like to the House-of-Office, the Yard, and the other Side of the House, and take Care that the Great Hall be kept clean; and that the Matron see that this is done.
   THAT all the Poor who are in Health, go to Church, or to some other Place of religious Worship, every Sunday, Morning and Afternoon, and return in due Time, on Pain of losing their Sunday Nights Supper, or Monday Dinner, at the Choice of the Governor. And for the second Offence, if within six Months after the first, to be confined to the House for three Months, without Leave to stir out on any Pretence whatsoever. And for the third Offence, if within a Year after the first, to be expelled the House. And if any of the Poor, instead of going to Church, shall take that Opportunity to get drunk, or to beg, they shall be expelled the House, be sent to Bridewell, or otherwise punished according to the Nature of the Offence.
   THAT Prayers be read in the House twice a Week, viz. every Wednesday and Friday, at eight in the Morning; and that all who are able, shall give their Attendance, or lose one of their Meals.
   THAT there be a School in the House, where all Children above three Years of Age, shall be kept till they shall be five Year's old, and then set to Spinning, Knitting, or to such other Work as shall be thought most proper for the Benefit of the Parish; And that the Master or Mistress, who shall teach them to Work, or some other proper Person, shall likewise instruct each of them in Reading, twice a Day, half an Hour each Time, till they are nine Years of Age; and then that the said Master or Mistress, or other proper Person, do teach them to write and cast Accompts two hours every Day, the better to qualify them for Apprentiships or Services.
   THAT the Nurses shall cause all the Children under their Care above three Years of Age, to be up, have their Hands and Faces washed, and their Heads combed with small Tooth-Combs, every Morning, so as to go to School by seven a Clock, or sooner, in the Summer; and by eight in the Winter: And that the other Children, who work as well as write and read, shall rise by five in Summer, and seven in the Winter, and go to bed as abovementioned.
   THAT a Bell be rung at five every Morning, to call the Family up ; and all such People as are able, and are employed in any Labour or Service in the Family, shall repair to the Places appointed for them to do their Work in, by six in the Morning in Summer, and by eight or sooner in the Winter, so as their Work or Service may be inspected by the Master or Mistress appointed for that Purpose; And that whoever shall neglect to repair to their proper Places, as above-mentioned, or being, there, shall loiter, or be idle, or spoil their Work, after due instruction given, shall, for the first Offence, lose their next Meal; for the second, the whole Victuals for that Day; and if they prove incorrigible, then they shall be expelled the House.
   THAT when any Person dies in the House, the Nurse attending that Ward shall immediately go for a Coffin and Shroud, and the dead Person shall be washed and laid in the Coffin; and then the Nurse, with, proper Assistance, shall forthwith bring the Corpse down to the Room appointed for that purpose: And in Case she neglects to do this, she shall be punished at the Discretion of the Governor.
   THAT the Nurses, at the Death of any Person in their respective Wards, shall deliver up to the Matron all the Cloaths, Money, and Goods belonging to such Person: And that those Nurses who take care of the Children, shall, when a Child dies, is discharged, or put out Apprentice, bring down and deliver the Cloaths of such Child to the Matron; And the Matron to give an Account forthwith to the Governor of the Money, Goods, and Cloaths she received from the Nurses. And the Matron and Nurses are required to take particular Care in the Discharge of this Part of their Duty.
   THAT the Cloaths of Persons dying in the House shall (being first washed or cleaned) be brought into the Store-room; and such of them as are not much worn, shall be lodged there till wanted; but such as are very old, shall either be mended up, or cut to Pieces to mend others.
   THAT whereas some slothful People, when desired to do any Service in the Family, such as Nursing, Washing, and the like, pretend Ailments, &c. to excuse themselves; It is Ordered, That when any Person, being required to do any of these Offices, shall make an Excuse of that Nature, the Surgeon or Physician of the House shall enquire into or inspect their said Ailments; and if it shall appear, upon his Report, that these Persons made false Excuses for themselves, they shall be severely punished according to Law.
   THAT for the Encouragement of all such Poor as Shall discharge the Business they are appointed to do, with Care and Diligence, It is Ordered,
  THAT every Nurse attending the Sick or Infirm, shall receive as a Reward, according to their Deserts.
   AND to encourage other Labour, It is further Ordered, That
For every Pound of Six-penny Flax,
spun to 24 Layers, the Spinner shall receive
If spun to 30 Layers 000001½
For a Pound of 12d. Flax, spun to 50 Layers 000002
If spun to 60 Layers 000003
For Spinning and Winding a Pound
of Cotton Wick
A Boy Spinning Jersey to 14 Layers
shall receive
For Knitting a Pair of Mens or
Womens Stockings
A Pair of Boys or Girls 000000½
For making a Pair of Sheets, the
Sempstress shall be paid
For making a Shirt or Shift 000001

AND that those who assist in the Kitchin, the Laundry, and the Wash-house, shall be paid one Penny, two Pence, or three Pence per Week, according to the Nature of the Business, and as their Service shall deserve. But if any make an ill Use of their Money, mispend or get drunk with it, the Governor is not to pay them, bur to keep it for them till they want, or have Occasion for it, or till he is satisfied they will make a better Use of it, giving them an Account, from time to time, how much he has laid by for them.
   Lastly, That the weekly Bill of Fare be as follows.
SundayBread and BeerBeef or Mutton, with Broth and Herbs & RootsBread and Cheese
MondayMilk PorridgePease-PorridgeDitto
TuesdayMilk PorridgeAs SundayDitto
ThursdayMilk PorridgeAs SundayDitto
FridayBeef-BrothRice Milk, or Hast PuddingDitto
SaturdayMilk PorridgePlumb-PuddingDitto

   Note, Such of the Poor as have the Misfortune to be Sick, or have weak Stomachs, are not confined to this Diet, but are allowed such Victuals and Drink as their Cases may respectively require, and which are prescribed by the Doctor.
   AN Estimate of the Expences in this House for one Year, ending April 18, 1727. is as follows.
For Baking021304
Butcher's Meat1800006
Bread and Flour3210606
Shop Goods610705¼

   ACCORDING to which Account, the Eatables of the Family, for that Year, on 235 Persons, old and young, came to 17d.¾ per Week for each Person.
   Note, House-Rent and Coals are not included in this Estimate, the first being already provided by the Parish once for all, and the last once in the Year.

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