The Master Said No

The serious overcrowding of 1849 brought with it many unwelcome problems. In addition to disease, especially cholera, being prevalent among inmates conflict developed among the staff.

In July the Rev. Mr. Walsh accused the Porter Henry Hocter of beating the paupers, stopping their milk allowance and other improper behaviour. Hocter said that the Rev. Mr. Walsh's interference was a bad influence on the paupers.

The Poor Law Commissioners demanded to be informed of this disorderly conduct. The Guardians however felt the Rev. Mr. Walsh's suppositions to be totally groundless. Furthermore, they were of the opinion that they were ill represented as a result of his complaints. They pointed out that it was impossible to maintain order in those circumstances.

Further complaints followed from the Rev. Walsh who accused the Matron of using indelicate language towards him. Disputes were also common among other members of the Workhouse staff. The Master and Matron were at odds with each other and other officials. The Master reported that he was being undermined by Mrs Rose the Matron, who had been granting passes to inmates without his permission.The porter and the assistant schoolmaster caused trouble too. The Medical Officer complained that the head nurse was not carrying out her duties properly. He had even received insults from a pauper under her care. Mrs Rose had been disrespectful to him too.

The Poor Law Commissioners were reluctant to interfere in what they perceived to be internal matters. Instead they asked the Board of Guardians to submit their own observations.

The Matron then submitted charges relating to the Medical Officer, Master and Apothecary. The Master responded with charges against the Matron. In addition, the Rev. Mr Walsh complained to the Commissioners about the drunken habits of the nurses. A report on these transactions was submitted to the Poor Law Commissioners.

Disorder developed among the paupers (inmates) following these staff conflicts and members of the constabulary were sent in to keep order.

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