Workhouse / Hospital

The former workhouse in the 1980s
The former Workhouse (later Winslow Hospital) in the 1980s. The building at the front is the Master's House, designed by Sir George Gilbert-Scott.


Article by Glenys Warlow on poor relief in Winslow and the history of the Workhouse: workhouse.pdf


Old workhouseBefore the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834, towns such as Winslow had their own workhouses. An Account of Several Work-houses for Employing and Maintaining the Poor (1725) lists Winslow as having a workhouse, which was built after the Poor Relief Act of 1722. In Aug 1722, trustees acquired from Daniel Gyles 6 tenements "at the Townesend of Winslowe near the Cowe Street [=High Street], the common road west, the close of Robert Lowndes esq. in the occupation of William Gibbs east" for the parish officers to make a workhouse. A parliamentary report of 1777 says there was space for 20 inmates. The building described below on the same site as the earlier one, was on the east side of the High Street, approximately where nos.56-58 now stand (they were built in 1926). After it went out of use as a workhouse it was converted back into cottages, and later included Benbow's confectioner's shop. It is the partly thatched building in the photo on the right. Its demolition was reported in the Buckingham Advertiser of 8 May 1926: "The half-timbered and thatched building ... Many years ago it was the parish workhouse and the last house in what was then Cow Street (now High Street)."

1784, 5 April: Northampton Mercury
WORK-HOUSE to LETT.
Wanted, A Person properly qualified, and of good Character, that will undertake to Instruct and Employ the POOR in WINSLOW WORKHOUSE, in some Manufactory Business; and will engage for the entire Providing, Maintaining and Clothing the Poor of the said Parish of Winslow, in the County of Bucks. To enter upon the Workhouse at Easter next.
For Particulars, apply to the Overseers of Winslow aforesaid.

1787, 5 May: Northampton Mercury
WANTED immediately, A sober Person in some Manufacturing Business, who is willing to contract for the Maintenance and Employment of the POOR of the Parish of  WINSLOW, in the County of Bucks, till Easter-Tuesday, next. He is to reside and board in the Work-House, and see that the Poor are properly employed.
      Proposals will be received by the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of Winslow aforesaid.
  The Building intended to employ the Poor in has been lately erected, and consists of seven Bay*.
   N.B. a Man with his Wife only will not be objected to.

* A bay was the distance between vertical crucks or main timbers. Such bays were from 12 to 15 feet wide, so this newly constructed Work-House would have been 84-105 feet long.

Frederic Morton Eden, The State of the Poor vol.2 (1797), p.30
The Poor are maintained, partly, at a work-house, and, partly, at their own houses. 16 Paupers are at present in the work-house, under the care of a Contractor, who farms them at 3s. a week each, and is like-wise allowed their earnings: he received only 2s. a week before the late dearness of provisions took place. The people in the house are old women and children, and one man. Lace-making is their chief employment. Their diet is not regulated by any particular bill of fare.

The workhouse in the High Street was replaced in 1824, when the former George Inn next to The Bell was bought by the parish overseers, who were planning to erect a new building there. There was also a change from lace-making to straw-plaiting as the paupers' employment.

Arthur Clear, The Kings Village in Demesne: or a Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1894), p.117
At the back of the Bell hotel is a block of buildings now used as a malthouse, stables, etc. These at one time formed the Parish workhouse, Straw Plaiting School for boys, and a Millhouse in which the unemployed were set to work grinding corn by hand; here also was a lock up for misdemeanants.

1821, 3 Nov: Northampton Mercury
WINSLOW POOR.
WANTED, a MAN and his WIFE (if without a Family the more desirable), qualified to CONTRACT for and UNDERTAKE the MAINTENANCE and EMPLOYMENT in the Straw Plait, or some other Business of the Poor, residing in and out of the Poorhouse, and belonging to the Parish of Winslow, Bucks.
Proper References for Character and Abilities, and Security for the true Performance of the Contract, will be required.
Applications and Tenders are desired to be made (free of Expense) to the CHURCHWARDENS and OVERSEERS of Winslow, aforesaid; or Mr. CHARLES WILLIS, their Solicitor, on or before TUESDAY the 13th NOVEMBER next, on which Day a Meeting of the Select Vestry of the said Parish is intended to take Place at the Parish Church there, precisely at Six o’Clock in the Evening, for the Purpose of entering into such Contract.
Winslow, 31st October.

1823, 16 Aug: Northampton Mercury
TO BUILDERS AND OTHERS.
THE Inhabitants of WNSLOW, Bucks, being desirous of TAKING DOWN the PRESENT WORKHOUSE of the said PARISH, and ERECTING a NEW ONE, suitable for at Least one Hundred Paupers, any Persons wishing to Contract for the same, are hereby required to deliver Plans and Estimates, on or before the First Day of September next, to the CHURCHWARDENS and OVERSEERS of the said Parish, or Mr. CHARLES WILLIS, their Attorney, of whom further Particulars may be had.
Winslow, 6th August, 1823.

1823, mentioned in Essex Standard, 5 Aug 1836
N.B. The introduction of a parochial corn mill, at Winslow, worked by manual labour, was recommended by me in 1823 to Mr. Lowndes, who advanced £1,000, subject to repayment, for the erection of the workhouse.  To carry this object into effect, I proposed that twelve respectable inhabitants of Winslow should first try the experiment of working the mill, before the paupers had commenced working it.  This was done, and the result of the trial of the new system was, that the rates were reduced from £2,259 12s. 0½ d. in 1825, to £1,283 18s. 7d. in 1826; thus saving in one year the large sum of £975 13s. 5½ d.  The adoption of the mill was advocated by me upon the attention of Earl Pomfret’s stewards in 1817-18, but was not taken up, or it would have produced more beneficial results, with those so distinguishedly recommended by me, for the system of publishing the weekly and quarterly expenditure of parishes, which were honoured by the approval of Mr. Vansittart, Earl Spencer, the Duke of Rutland, Lord Milton, and others, of which I sent a considerable distribution throughout England, for the advantages being also derived by the Nation, in eradicating innumerable abuses which parishes were much subject to, during the continuance of the war, and which then became so urgently requisite for correction by every equitable measure which could be divised.   I have to regret that I did not use much further energy for publicity with both of those measures at the important crisis (1817), and which left no alternative for the surety of redress of several millions sterling, by an annual reduction of at least one-third of the parochial rates, for the mutual benefit of the tenant and the landlord.
Towcester, June 4th, 1836.

1824, 16 Oct: Northampton Mercury
WANTED immediately, A MAN and his WIFE, free of Incumbrance, to SUPERINTEND the MANAGEMENT of a WORKHOUSE.
They must have a good Recommendation as to Honesty, Sobriety, and Industry.
Apply personally, or by Letter, Post paid, to D. GRACE, Overseer, Winslow, Bucks.

1831, 30 April: Northampton Mercury
THE Overseers of the poor of the parish of WINSLOW, Bucks, are desirous of CONTRACTING for the MAINTENANCE of the POOR in the PARISH WORKHOUSE up to Lady Day next, at [blank] per head per week. The Contractor will have the use of the house ready furnished, with an excellent Bakehouse and will be intitled to the earnings of the surplus labourers, and to the profits of the mill (which will be put into, and kept in repair) and of the plaiting school. He will be required to reside with his wife, in the workhouse, to keep the parish accounts, and act generally as assistant to the overseers. There are at present 39 paupers in the workhouse.
A man with a wife, but no family, will be preferred. – Respectable references, as to competency, &c. must be given. 
A PARISH VESTRY will be held on Tuesday, 3d May next, for the purpose of taking into consideration such offers as may have been previously made;  but the Overseers do not undertake that the lowest offer will be accepted.
Letters, stating terms and references, to be addressed, post paid, to the OVERSEERS of the POOR, Winslow; from whom any further information required may be obtained.
Winslow, 20th April, 1831.

1832    Land Tax 
Parish Officers (owners), Geo Grace (occupier): Workhouse, 15s 0d

1835, 28 Feb: Northampton Mercury
WINSLOW WORKHOUSE
WANTED, a MAN and his WIFE (without incumbrance), to reside in and MANAGE the PARISH WORKHOUSE of WINSLOW, Bucks. The man will also be required to superintend the Surplus Labourers, to keep the Parish Accounts, and to act generally in assisting the Overseers. - Respectable references, as to competency, &c. must be given.
   A Vestry will be held at the Workhouse, on Wednesday the 11th of March next, at Eleven o'clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of taking into consideration such offers as may be then or previously made.
   Letters (post paid), stating terms & references, or requiring further information, to be addressed to the Overseers, or Messrs. Willis & Son, Solicitors, Winslow.
   24th February, 1835.

1835, 13 June: Bucks Herald
Contract for Bread.
WINSLOW UNION.
THE Board of Guardians are desirous of receiving offers from persons willing to Contract for a Supply of a sufficient quantity of Good Second Bread for the use of this Union, till Michaelmas next, at [ ] per loaf of 4 pounds.  Security will be required for the performance of the Contract.  Sealed Tenders, with names and address of sureties, to be delivered (free of carriage) at the Clerk’s Office, in Winslow, by 8 o’clock on Monday morning, 22nd June instant.
DAVID THOMAS WILLIS,
Clerk to the Board of Guardians.
Winslow,
11th June 1835.


When Winslow became the centre of its own Poor Law Union under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 with a statutory workhouse (built to the north of the then High Street in an extension which became known as Union Street), the old building was redundant, as well as the 42 cottages which the overseers had acquired.

The 1601 Poor Law gave churchwardens and overseers the right to build cottages for 'impotent paupers', and they also bought existing cottages. After 1780 parishes sometimes acquired cottages by taking over repairs from absentee landlords, or by taking ownership of a cottage in return for providing poor relief to the inhabitants. The Act of 1834 enforced the sale of all these properties, of which Winslow had an unusually high number. See J. Broad, "Housing the rural poor in southern England", Agricultural History Review 48 (2000).

1837, 25 March: Bucks Herald

Extensive Freehold House & Premises
WITH
Three Cottages Adjoining,
WINSLOW, BUCKS.
--
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY
Dudley & Son,

On Thursday, March 30th, 1837, in one lot, at the Bell Inn, Winslow, at six o’clock in the afternoon, by direction of the Board of Guardians of the Winslow Union, pursuant to the order of the Poor Law Commissioners.

ALL those Extensive Freehold Premises, known as the “Old Workhouse,” in Winslow, comprising a substantially brick-built and tiled house, containing two good parlours, hall, small sitting room, six large bed-rooms, pantry, kitchen and wash-house with coppers as fixed, large bakehouse with excellent oven and brewing copper, capital dry arched cellars, also a large building used as school and store rooms, with four bed-rooms over, newly erected mill-house with convenient lofts, stabling for eight horses, and covered gateway, surrounding three large yards conveniently divided by brick walls;  a very productive walled garden, planted with choice fruit trees, lead pump, and a tank for soft water; also adjoining are

THREE COTTAGES

each containing sitting room, bed rooms, and cellar, in the respective occupations of of [sic] Sarah Price, Richard Prentice, and Warr.   The whole is in good repair, advantageously situated in the centre of the town of Winslow, conveniently adapted for any trade or business where plenty of room and good buildings are required, and offers a safe and profitable investment.

For a view, apply to Mr. Chubb, at the new Workhouse, and for further particulars to David Thomas Willis, Esq., Clerk to the Board of Guardians, or to Messrs. Dudley and Son, Auctioneers and Land Agents;  all of Winslow.

1837, 21 Oct: Bucks Herald
Cottages at Winslow, Bucks.
To be sold by auction by Dudley & Son.
At the Bell Inn, in Winslow
on Friday, the 27th of October, 1837, at Five o'Clock in the Afternoon, by Order of the Poor Law Commissioners and of the Board of Guardians of the Winslow Union, (subject to such Conditions as will then be read).

LOT 1. Three Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of John Goodman and Thomas Evans.

LOT 2. Five Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of Hannah Pigot, Joseph Evans, John Royce, Jane Walker, and Thomas Edwin.

LOT 3. Two brick-built and tiled Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of Henry Holt and William Verney.

LOT 4. Three Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of John Saving, William Harris, and Thomas Walker.

LOT 5. Seven Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of Joseph Saving, Edward Smith, William Hawkins, Thomas Scott, Moses Yates, William Bellow, and John Lomath.

LOT 6. Three Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of James Yeulett, John Walker, and John Sharp.

LOT 7. One Thatched Cottage in Sheep Street, in the occupation of William Budd.

LOT 8. Five Thatched Cottages in the Buckingham Road, in the occupation of Joseph Seaton, James Gibbs, John Smith, John Goodger, and Henry Saving.

LOT 9. Seven Thatched Cottages in Great Horn Street, in the occupation of Daniel Walker, Philip Walker, Mary Smith, Richard Alderman, Eleanor Goodman, William Ingram, and Joseph Gibbs.

LOT 10. One Thatched Cottage in Claydon Lane, in the occupation of John Reading.

LOT 11. One Thatched Cottage in Claydon Lane, in the occupation of John Dumbleton.

LOT 12. One Thatched Cottage in Great Horn Street, near the Plough public house, in the occupation of Elizabeth Westley.

Further particulars may be had on application (if by Letter, post paid) to Mr. David Thomas Willis, Clerk to the Board of Guardians, or the Auctioneers, Winslow.

None of these tenants was in the Workhouse in 1841 (with the possible exception of Mary Smith, but there were several people with that name), and some were almost certainly living in the same houses, e.g. William Ingram, Joseph Gibbs, Elizabeth Westley. The men who can be found in the census were nearly all agricultural labourers. Many of them were living in nearby houses on the east side of the High Street (which is what Buckingham Road means in the 1837 advert) in 1841, probably around the site of the old Workhouse: Henry Holt, William Hawkins, John Saving, Thomas Walker, Joseph Smith, Edward Smith, Mary Smith (if it's the same one), Thomas Edwin, John Royce, William Bellow, James Yeulett, John Walker, John Lomath, William Verney.

According to Mr Monk, chairman of Winslow RDC, in 1896: "the road as far as Mrs. Loffler's gate had been a parish road for 150 years, and the property upon both sides was oriiginally parish property, and was sold to help build the present Union House." (Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Feb 1896) - this would mean 66 and 68 High Street.

1837, 21 Oct: Bucks Herald
Winslow, Bucks.
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY Dudley and Son,
On FRIDAY, the 27th of OCTOBER, 1837, at Five in the Afternoon, at the Bell Inn, Winslow, by order of the Overseers.
A CAPITAL CRANK CORN MILL, working two pair of Stones, with excellent cast iron machinery, in good repair, constructed to work either by hand or with horse, now standing at the Old Workhouse, Winslow.
Any Union or person requiring such a Mill, will find this an excellent opportunity, it having been erected within these few years, and will be Sold without reserve.
For a view, apply to the Parish Officers, or to the Auctioneers, Winslow.


The new Workhouse had a master's house designed by George Gilbert Scott, and capacity for 250 inmates. It catered for a union of 17 parishes extending to North Marston, Stewkley and Shenley, with a very small population compared to the other Poor Law unions in Bucks. It was run by a master and matron, and the Guardians later advertised for a schoolmaster:

View of the Workhouse1840, 9 May: Bucks Herald
The Guardians of the poor of the WINSLOW UNION wish to engage with a young Single Man as Schoolmaster for the Union Workhouse. He will be required to reside constantly in the house, (where he will be provided with board and lodging) to instruct the boys in reading, writing, and the principles of the Christian religion, and to assist the Master of the Workhouse in the performance of his duties, and in the maintenance of order and due subordination in the house.
   Testimonials to character and competency will be required.
   Candidates for the situation are requested to attend the Board of Guardians at their weekly meeting, to be held at the Union Workhouse, in Winslow, on Monday, the 18th of May instant, at Ten o’Clock in the forenoon, or, previously thereto, to send testimonials with specimens of writing, to Mr. DAVID THOMAS WILLIS, Solicitor, Winslow, the Clerk to the Union.
   Winslow, 4th May, 1840.

The requirement for a young man was evidently taken seriously, as the Workhouse Schoolmaster recorded in the 1841 census was Samuel Jones, aged 15.

1841: census return for Winslow Workhouse
Thomas Williett (listed in the census as Willetts) was Master and his wife, Frances was Matron. He died in January 1842, aged 38.

Hannah McDaniel the teenage schoolmistress was replaced in 1842 when there was an advert for "a SCHOOLMISTRESS (without incumbrance) for the female children", to teach "reading, writing, arithmetic, the principles of the Christian religion, knitting and plain needle work" (Northampton Mercury, 30 July 1842).


The establishment of the Winslow Union led to a dispute between the constituent parishes about how much they should contribute:

1841, 13 Feb: Bucks Herald
The rating of the Winslow Union Workhouse, which caused so much commotion amongst the Guardians of the neighbouring parishes in which the Union stands, is, we are happy to hear, at length amicably arranged.

1841, 3 April: Bucks Herald
The amount of assessment of the Workhouse, of the Winslow Union, which has so long been in agitation with that and the other parishes of the Union, has now every appearance of speedily being brought to a decision, by the appointment of two competent persons to arbitrate between the conflicting parties.

1841, 7 Aug: Bucks Herald
WINSLOW
The amount of assessment on the new workhouse in this union, still continues to furnish matter for contention. The parishioners, desirous of pacific measures, have propounded a proposition to the other parishes by which they are willing to make a great concession on the sum originally levied; but the inflexible tenacity of position taken up by the latter, appears to leave no alternative than an appeal to judicial proceedings.

There was also a dispute about the auditor:

1845, 27 Nov: Bath Chronicle
POOR LAW UNION AUDITORS. – The Queen v. Willis. – In the Bail Court on Monday, the Attorney-General applied on behalf of the Poor Law Commissioners, for a mandamus commanding David Thomas Willis, clerk to the guardians of the Winslow (Bucks) Union, to produce the accounts of the union.  It would appear that an auditor had been appointed for auditing the accounts of the Winslow Union, and there was another union called the Buckingham Union, of which two unions a person of the name of Cowley had been appointed auditor.  The Poor Law Commissioners had subsequently directed that 19 unions should be incorporated, including Bucks and Winslow, and over all these a Mr. Haward was appointed auditor by the commissioners; but the guardians of the Winslow Union had refused to produce their accounts.  The question therefore was, whether the commissioners had this power.  Mr. Justice Patteson said it was proper to be considered, and therefore he granted the rule.


Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888), p.18 on the poor rate

Another aspect of that time is certainly a more pleasing one, for the number of destitute poor must have been very few, and the demands of the Rate Collector correspondingly small, as the following extracts from the Overseers' Accounts will show :-"Receipts and Disbursments of the Overseers of the Poor for the Parish of Winslow for the year 1679. - Receipts £45 4s. 4d.; Disburst £44 6s. 0d." "Receipts and Disbursments of Peter Lowndes and Robert Gibbs, Overseers of the Poor for the Parish of Winslow for the year 1703.- Recd. £93 14s. Id.; Disburst £95 15s. 10½d" …

Just previous to the introduction of the new Poor Law, the Poor Rates at Winslow had increased to 17s. in the Pound, and the Overseer paid the Poor with a pair of pistols lying by his side ready to protect the cash and himself.


The Workhouse provided the only public medical facility in Winslow, and people who were not inmates are recorded as dying there.

Poisoned pregnant girl dies in Winslow Workhouse (by Ed Grimsdale, information from Northampton Mercury)

In 1845, Ann Ray was the only female attendant in the house of farmer Duncombe. Francis Fleet was a shepherd working on that farm in Dunton. Those working on the farm had gossiped that Francis was having an affair with Ann. On 26 June, Fleet had been working all morning with other men in the rickyard and told them at 1pm that he was going into the house to get bread and cheese from “the gal”.  In fact, he gave her some “corrosive sublimate” or mercury (II) chloride, a deadly poison used on sheep. Although reluctant to drink the mixture of mercury chloride and water that Fleet had mixed, Ann relented under pressure from him. She fell violently ill immediately and suffered terrible agonies. Ann stated that she was two months pregnant by Francis Fleet and that he had tried to get rid of her pregnancy, without success, on an earlier occasion. Fleet was arrested after a rag containing the poison was found on his person. Ann Ray was transferred by gig from Dunton to Winslow Workhouse on 9 July 1845. She grew rapidly worse, an ulcer burst, and Ann died in the Workhouse from “exhaustion” on 21 July.

The jury at Fleet’s trial during Aylesbury’s Assizes in March 1846 found Fleet guilty of murder through administering a poison to effect abortion. Judge Baron Parke put on the black cap and sentenced Francis Fleet to death. The jury begged the judge to show mercy as Francis had not meant to kill Ann, and he had showed concern over her suffering. The judge said he would communicate their concerns to the proper quarters, but he did not hold out any prospect of mercy in this life.


In 1850, there was a scandal about the Master of the Workhouse misappropriating funds, which ended up with a case at the Bucks Assizes:

1850, 30 Nov: Bucks Herald: Winslow Special Petty Session, 25 Nov
James Spicer, late master of the Winslow Union Workhouse, was brought up in custody of Mr R. Ossitt, high constable of Winslow, charged with having on the 18th of April, 1850, at Winslow, feloniously offered, uttered, and disposed of a certain receipt, purporting to be given by one Peter Fisher, to the Guardians of Winslow Union, for £57 10s., with intend to defraud the Guardians, knowing the same to be forged.
D.T. Willis Esq., Clerk to the Union, on oath proved – That at a meeting of the Guardians in December last he, as clerk, issued an order for Peter Fisher to deliver 50 tons of coals at the Workhouse. That the order was delivered to James Spicer with other orders then issued.  That James Spicer debited himself in his books with receiving 50 tons of coals.  At a meeting held at the Board, February 4, Spicer produced a bill, written by himself, for the 50 tons of coals, as being due to Peter Fisher. The bill was allowed and marked by the Chairman, and a cheque for the amount drawn at the time on the Treasurer of the Union. Witness proved the Union vouchers; the bill and receipt signed “Peter Fisher.” That Spicer called at his office, either on the 29th or 30th of April, and afterwards sent a written resignation of his office, and left Winslow about the 1st of May.  That till Spicer left, witness had no doubt of the genuine character of the receipt.  On May 2, in consequence of information received, he, as Clerk to the Magistrates, filled up a warrant for prisoner’s apprehension, which was signed by a Magistrate, and delivered for execution to a police officer.

Benjamin Cole, clerk to Mr. Willis, stated – That he remembered Spicer calling at Mr. Willis’s office on the 4th of February, after the Board had broken up, and asked for Fisher’s cheque.  That he wrote a stamped receipt for the amount, and delivered the receipt, bill, and cheque to the prisoner. That the receipt was then unsigned, and he gave it to Spicer to get it signed by Fisher. That Spicer afterwards delivered to him the bill and receipt, the latter being then signed “Peter Fisher.”

Mr. John King, treasurer of the Union, produced a cheque for £57 10s., payable to Peter Fisher, or bearer, drawn by the Guardians of the Union, and dated February 4, 1850. He received the cheque from Spicer on the 7th of February last, and gave him the amount.

Peter Fisher said he had supplied coals to the Union for the last six years. That he delivered coals at various times from Nov. 30, 1849, to April 27, 1850 – sixty tons at the Workhouse. That he had examined the receipt for £57 10s., dated Feb. 4, then produced. That he did not sign it, nor authorise any person to sign it on his account. The signature I swear is not in my hand-writing. In consequence of information he had received, that Spicer had left the Union, he came to Winslow and went to Spicer’s house to ask him for the money for the coals he delivered at the Workhouse. Spicer said he had not it. Not being satisfied, witness went again, and threatened to go to one of the Guardians and ask him for the money. Spicer said, “If you do I am a ruined man, for I have received the money, and paid it away all but £15;” and he offered to pay me that sum, and get a bond from his father-in-law for the remainder. This witness refused.

Prisoner on being asked if he wished to say anything, said he should reserve his defence for a future occasion. He was then fully committed to take his trial at the next Assizes at Aylesbury for the county of Buckingham.

1850, 14 December: Bucks Herald
Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire Audit District. Winslow Union.
I, the undersigned Alfred Hayward, Auditor of the above named District, do hereby give Notice, that I shall hold my Audit of the Accounts of the Winslow Union, and of the several parishes and places therein, and of the officers thereof, for the half-year ended on the 29th Day of September, 1850, to commence on Monday, the15th Day of December 1850, at Eleven o’Clock in the Forenoon at the Board Room of the Workhouse of the Union aforesaid; when and where all Persons who by law are bound to account at such Audit, are required to attend and to submit all Books, Documents, Bills and Vouchers containing or relating to their accounts or to monies assessed for and applicable to the Relief of the Poor.
Dated this 2nd Day of December, 1850.  Alfred Hayward.

1851, 15 March: Bucks Herald
James Spicer, carpenter and joiner, was indicted for having on the 18th day of April last, at the parish of Winslow, uttered, disposed of and put off a certain receipt, purporting to be given by Peter Fisher to the Guardians of the Poor of the Winslow Union, for the sum of fifty-seven pounds and ten shillings, with intent to defraud the said Guardians.

Mr. Wells conducted the case for the prosecution, and Mr Power for the prisoner.

David Thomas Willis – Am clerk to the Winslow Union. Know the prisoner. Mr Peter Fisher was our coal merchant. The Board of Guardians issued an order for some coals, which I gave to Spicer. Saw Fisher on the 2nd of May. I produce a bill, which I received from the prisoner. Showed Mr. Fisher the paper. There was a warrant issued for the apprehension of the prisoner, who had absconded.  Some time afterwards he surrendered to a friend of his, who received the reward offered.

Peter Fisher – Am a coal merchant. Sent 60 tons of coal to the Union, on the 31st of January. Applied to the prisoner for payment in the latter end of April. Showed this paper to the board of Guardians It is not my handwriting. At that time £70 10s. was due to me.
Cross-examined – Have dealt with the Board six years. Have received my money through Spicer, who used to get it from Mr. Willis for me. Always signed the receipt myself.

Benjamin Coles, clerk to Mr. Willis, deposed to giving Spicer the check and receipt, which he received back from him.
Mr. King, treasurer to the Union, received the check from the prisoner, which he cashed.
Verdict – Guilty. Sentence – Two years’ hard labour, on hearing which the prisoner fell down insensible in the dock with great violence.

Note that in the above report Spicer's position as Master is not mentioned. In the 1851 census James Spicer was in Aylesbury Gaol, where he was recorded as a carpenter & joiner aged 30, born at St Albans.


The next master of the Workhouse was William Vincer Minter, appointed in 1850, who served until 1894, assisted successively by two wives and several of his children. Mr Minter did not run the Workhouse in the way you might expect, as this account from the Northampton Mercury of 1 Sep 1855 shows:

TREAT FOR THE INMATES OF THE UNION – On the 25th. ult., the inmates of the Winslow Union Poor House were treated to an excursion by rail to Buckingham, where a field had been kindly granted by Mr. Parrott, banker of that town. A day’s diversion was had in the meadow. Swings were erected for the juveniles, and the adults had a game at cricket. On the sward an excellent repast was partaken of. Later in the day the weather became unfavourable, and the company retired to the large room of the Yeomanry barracks, where tea, cake, &c., was freely supplied. The happy party returned home by the last train, grateful to their friends who had treated them. To meet the expenses, the guardians had entered into a subscription. Such of the inmates as were unable to go to Buckingham were regaled in the house.

These are the residents of the Union Workhouse in the 1851 census, transcribed by the Buckinghamshire Family History Society. Please note that the alphabetical order is rather loose.

Winslow Workhouse 1851

Name
Age
Occupation Place of birth
William Minter Mar
31
Master of Workhouse Margate Kent
Mary Ann Minter Mar
26
Matron of Workhouse Southwark Surrey
Frederick Meads Unm
17
Schoolmaster of Workhouse Box Moor Hertford
John Hill Unm
26
Porter of Workhouse Stony Stratford
James Ash Wid
54
Pauper Ag. Lab. Swanbourne
Robert Ash Unm
15
Pauper Scholar Swanbourne
Jane Ash Unm
12
Pauper Scholar Swanbourne
Joseph Brown Wid
70
Pauper Tailor London Middlesex
John Bates Unm
64
Pauper Ag.Lab. Drayton Parslow
Alice Burt Unm
73
Pauper Lace Maker Great Horwood
Joseph Clark Unm
87
Pauper Ag.Lab. North Marston
Jemima Chetwood Wid
42
Domestic Servant Richmond Surrey
William Eeeles Wid
67
Formerly Farmer Pauper Cranwell Waddesdon
William Faulkner Unm
48
Pauper Ag.Lab. Whaddon
Harry Fareman Unm
14
Pauper Scholar Little Horwood
Ambrose Fareman Unm
9
Pauper Scholar Little Horwood
Thomas Goodger Wid
73
Pauper formerly Ag.Lab. Winslow
John Grace Wid
72
Pauper formerly Ag.Lab. Whaddon
William Gilks Mar
32
Pauper Ag.Lab. Granborough
Elizabeth Gilks Mar
24
Pauper Lace Maker Mursley
Catherine Gilks
4
Pauper Scholar Granborough
Mary Gilks
1
Pauper Granborough
William Gibbs
8
Pauper Scholar Little Horwood
Titus Hurst Unm
82
Pauper formerly Ag.Lab. Mursley
Elizabeth Edens Unm
71
Pauper Lace Maker Winslow
Catherine Hurst Wid
86
Pauper Lace Maker Stony Stratford
Thomas Hurst Unm
16
Pauper Ag.Lab. Mursley
Joseph Hogston
12
Pauper Scholar Dunton
Jesse Hall
10
Pauper Scholar Great Horwood
Daniel Hall
13
Pauper Scholar Great Horwood
George Illing Wid
72
Pauper Ag.Lab. Little Horwood
Elizabeth Illing Unm
22
Pauper Lace Maker Little Horwood
Joseph Illing
9m
Pauper Little Horwood
James McLellen Wid
42
Pauper f'ly Attorney's Clerk Paisley Renfrew
Robert McLellen
9
Pauper Scholar Glasgow Lanark
John Lambourn Unm
60
Pauper Ag.Lab. North Marston
William Ludgate Unm
68
Pauper Ag.Lab. Swanbourne
Elizabeth Linny Wid
33
Pauper Lace Maker Westcot
Elizabeth Labrum Mar
32
Pauper Lace Maker Mursley
Mary Labrum
12
Pauper Scholar Mursley
George Labrum
10
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
Thomas Labrum
7
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
Jane Labrum
4
Pauper Scholar Simpson
John Labrum
1
Pauper Scholar Simpson
Henry Linney Unm
15
Pauper Scholar North Marston
Robert Linney
13
Pauper Scholar North Marston
Thomas Lambourn Unm
16
Pauper Ag.Lab. North Marston
John Lake Mar
36
Pauper Ag.Lab. Stewkley
Mary Lake Mar
33
Pauper Lace Maker Sherington
Henry Lake
8
Pauper Scholar Sherington
Edwin Lake
4
Pauper Scholar Newport Pagnell
Mark Norris Wid
72
Pauper formerly Baker Winslow
Elizabeth Noxon
8
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
William Noxon Mar
38
Pauper Ag.Lab. Stewkley
Ann Noxon Mar
37
Pauper Plaiter Stewkley
Ann Noxon
10
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
Martha Noxon
7
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
William Noxon
4
Pauper Scholar Stewkley
George Noxon
1
Pauper Stewkley
Catherine Norman Unm
55
Pauper Lace Maker East Claydon
Lydia Norman Unm
18
Pauper Domestic Servant East Claydon
William Norman Unm
16
Ag.Lab. East Claydon
Sarah Norman Unm
16
Pauper Lace Maker Granborough
Eliza Pitkin M
32
Pauper Domestic Servant Stewkley
Eliza Pitkin
12
Pauper Scholar Granborough
John Pitkin
8
Pauper Scholar Mursley
William Pitkin
5
Pauper Scholar Mursley
William Payne
12
Pauper Scholar Little Horwood
William Radwell Wid
83
Pauper formely Weaver East Claydon
William Ratlage Unm
63
Pauper formerly Shepherd Stewkley
Caroline Reynolds Unm
12
Pauper Scholar Little Horwood
Thomas Sharp Wid
58
Pauper Ag.Lab. Dunton
George Smith Unm
21
Pauper Ag.Lab. Winslow
Mary Smith Wid
79
Pauper Soldier's Widow Fritwell Oxon
Charles Spooner Unm
37
Pauper Ag.Lab. Drayton Parslow
Eliza Vickers Unm
29
Pauper Lace Maker Great Horwood
Thomas Vicker
2
Pauper Scholar Newport Pagnell
Matthew Warr Unm
48
Pauper Ag. Lab. North Marston
James Walker Unm
38
Pauper Ag. Lab. Winslow
Caroline Walker Unm
29
Pauper Lace Maker Winslow
Georgiana Walker
5
Pauper Scholar Winslow
Selenda Walker
2
Pauper Scholar Winslow
John Bradbury Unm
67
Pauper Ag. Lab. Mursley

1853: Diminution of pauperism in Bucks

Bradford Observer, 4 Aug 1853
The poor-house for the Winslow Union was erected for 250 inmates It has contained 270 residents; but now, for the 17 parishes in the union, there are but 40 inmates, and there has not since March been an able-bodied pauper in the house. The expenses have decreased to a similar extent. Some of the parishes formerly paid upwards of 20s in the pound on the assessment, and now the average of the union is about 9d in the pound


1861: Winslow Workhouse in the Census (transcribed by Glenys Warlow; PDF file of 28 KB)


1868: Christmas at the Workhouse

Bucks Herald, 9 Jan 1869
At this festive season of the year, when we read of unbounded charities in every direction, we are glad to state that on Christmas-day the inmates of the workhouse were not forgotten. The Guardians had arranged for a supply of beef and plum pudding, unlimited in quantity, that those less fortunate than themselves might spend a merry Christmas. The old men and women were supplied with snuff and tobacco, and also some good foaming ale. The children and others had an allowance of nuts and oranges. The chapel of the workhouse was very tastefully decorated; on the walls were several texts well suited to the season. Mr Minter, the master, had kindly collected a sum of money from the Guardians and tradesmen, and provided a monster Christmas-tree for their amusement, the contents of which were distributed among the inmates on New Year’s Eve. The master and matron of the house, by their exertions contributed considerably towards carrying out a season of rejoicing among the inmates of Winslow Union


1871: Winslow Workhouse in the Census (transcribed by Glenys Warlow; PDF file of 32 KB)


1872: The land of milk and honey

Introduction by Ed Grimsdale

The cold, wet years experienced in North Bucks and throughout England during the 1860s were accompanied by severe outbreaks of cattle plague – mainly rinderpest. Crops failed, and the scarcity of food increased prices.  Times were hard not only for agricultural labourers but also for their masters, or employers. The labour force contracted, and that situation was exacerbated by the gradual introduction of mechanised implements, such as the steam ploughs created by Ricketts and Beard at the Castle Iron Works in Buckingham.  In their desperation to avoid the ignominy of the workhouse, labourers and their families left their homes in search of work.  Below is the beginning of a fascinating letter, perhaps a rant, from a farmer in Devon. What a shame that it was published in the South West. Had it been sent to the Bucks Herald, the side-effects being felt by Mr Minter and the Guardians of Winslow’s workhouse might have evaporated. The letter suggests that the Winslow Workhouse may have been a more attractive option than others in the area under the regime of Mr Minter and his family. Word of mouth may have spread the message from tramp to tramp that it was worth going an extra mile or two to enjoy the delights of the Winslow tramp ward.

Daily Western Times, 1 Nov 1872

SLAPTON
To the Editor of The Daily Western Times
Sir, - I see in your yesterday’s issue an account of the Agricultural Labourers. At the meeting of the Winslow Board of Guardians on Wednesday, Mr Minter, master of the Workhouse, stated that if the applications for admission to the tramp ward should continue as numerous as they have lately the accommodation would have to be increased. On Sunday last no less than twenty agricultural labourers were admitted, some of them accompanied by their wives and children. They stated that they had gone north in search of employment, but had been unsuccessful, and were making their way as best as they could to their native places in the southern counties, which they had left in the hope of bettering their condition. …
[The rest of the letter is about the good conditions enjoyed by the writer's own employees]
A LARGE EMPLOYER

1876: Arson at Winslow Workhouse (section by Ed Grimsdale)

The parents of James Price deserted him in London. Sometime afterwards, James became an inmate of Winslow Workhouse at the age of 13. On 26 Sep 1876, according to the Master of the House, Mr Minter, James had been given work in the Old Men’s ward alongside a smaller boy called Higgins. Hearing the sound of a fire alarm at 9.45am, the Master searched the East Ward and at its furthest end discovered the seat of the fire: six pillows, two mattresses and some beds were alight.

W. Higgins, a boy of 10 years, told Warwick Assizes that he saw Price enter the room, strike matches and put them under the mattresses. Because he was afraid of being hit by the older prisoner, Higgins didn’t tell anyone at the time. Elizabeth Marks, an inmate, and the Matron confirmed that they saw Price, out of bounds, around the East Ward before the fire started.

That was sufficient to convict James, although a statement from him had been read out denying his involvement. The Jury recommended mercy on account of Price’s age. The Judge called James “mischievous” and “wicked”. His sentence was a comparatively harsh one:  a fortnight’s imprisonment to be followed by a five year term in a reformatory, but firstly he was to be given twelve strokes of the birch.

The Bucks Herald reported that when James heard the Judge ordering the flogging, he burst out crying, and was led sobbing from the dock. Later, his Lordship remitted the flogging and enlarged the term of imprisonment to three weeks so that James would be “eligible” for a reformatory.

(Incidentally, this was one of the first group of  “Bucks” cases to be tried at  Warwick after the introduction of the Winter Assizes Act  that grouped Bucks, Beds, Northants & Warws together as Winter Assizes County no.5.)


Relative workhouse costs (from a Parliamentary Return, year to Lady Day, 1879, compiled by Ed Grimsdale)

Buckinghamshire Union % of Paupers Per Capita Maintenance
Eton 3.0 £5 1s 9.75d
Aylesbury 3.5 £6 19s 1.75d
Newport Pagnell 3.6 £6 0s 5.75d
Winslow 3.7 £6 0s 2d
Amersham 4.9 £5 2s 10.5d
Wycombe 5.2 £5 2s 9.25d
Buckingham 6.2 £6 0s 2.75d

Comparative figures across the 3 Unions within Oxfordshire

Oxford 2.7 £6 16s 1.75d
Bicester 3.2 £5 1s 7d
Banbury 4.9 £5 9s 9d

Baseline Figures (1871 Census) across England & Wales

The ratio of (workhouse) paupers to the population was 1:28  (3.5%).
Average cost per head of maintaining paupers was £5 8s 5d
(£1 = 20s ; 1s = 12d )


1881: Winslow Workhouse in the Census (transcribed by Glenys Warlow; PDF file of 32 KB)


In 1894 there was controversy when William Vincer Minter retired as Master of the Workhouse, aged 75 and after 44 years' service, and the Board of Guardians refused to give him a gratuity.


31 July 1899: Letter from the Master, Cyrus Evans, to the Buckingham Advertiser, thanking the Guardians and the Flower Show Committee for providing "the poor old souls" in the Workhouse with a "splendid tea" and "a few hours’ recreation and comfort". The emphasis was clearly on the grateful poor and generous Guardians now, a long way from the original workhouse concept. Read the letter.

27 Oct 1899, Northampton Mercury
The impropriety of paupers since the days when Oliver Twist asked for more porridge has gone to daring lengths. An extraordinary case comes from Winslow this week. Two aged recipients of relief formed an attachment, which ended in marriage. The bride was close on eighty, and the bridegroom was about seventy, and when the news of their nuptials reached the ears of the Guardians they stopped their relief, as according to their own words, they did not like the arrangement. They have since relented, however, and allowed the couple 5s 6d a week, with which to spend the rest of their connubial bliss.

Presumably this means that they were receiving outdoor relief and hadn't been sent to the Workhouse.

24 Dec 1900, Bucks Herald
THE BOUNDARY FENCE – The Clerk to the County Council wrote, with reference to the Union Workhouse Boundary Fence, that the Council had instructed him to confirm the decision arrived at with the Visiting Committee, and no objection would be made to the fence being erected provided that the work was done to the satisfaction of their Surveyor, and that the District Council gave up a strip of the Workhouse garden for widening the road. – Only two tenders for the erection of an iron boundary fence to the Workhouse were received, at £154 : 10 and £149 respectively. – Mr. Clarke expressed disapproval of the gates which were to be provided, and said he should like to see something better. – Mr. Illing also said he was not satisfied with the pattern chosen, and suggested that the matter should be referred back to the Committee. –The Chairman thought that by so doing they would stultify themselves now that tenders had been sent in ; and the Surveyor, in answer to a question, said the gates Mr Clarke advocated would cost another £28. – Mr. Mead suggested that they should accept the tender and leave the gates to the Committee; but further objections were raised to the more expensive gates on the ground that tramps were not admitted until seven o’clock in the evening, and in rainy weather they would afford them no protection. – Mr. Clarke said he did not see why they should make it comfortable for a lot of lazy tramps who would not work. – Mr. East agreed with Mr. Clarke, and said he noticed some lines written on the wall of the tramp ward to the effect that “the sailor loves his ship; the soldier loves to tramp; but give me a turnpike road, to live and die a tramp.” (Laughter.) – The Surveyor was eventually instructed to proceed with the fence and obtain another estimate for different gates.

7 March, 1903, Bucks Herald
WINSLOW UNION WORKHOUSE
The following address has been presented to the Master and Matron by the Willesden Inmates:-
“We the undersigned Willesden Inmates of the above Institution, desire to express our grateful thanks for the kind, liberal, and considerate treatment we have received from you during our the time we have been under your care, viz., four years and a half. With the most sincere feelings of regard and esteem, we beg to subscribe ourselves,
yours most respectfully.
[Here follows the signatures of sixty male and female inmates.]
Union Workhouse, Winslow, Bucks
3rd March, 1903”

Later more Willesden paupers were sent to Winslow Workhouse without, perhaps, the same satisfaction for in August 1907 there was a report that six had discharged themselves from Winslow and returned to Willesden. Their excuse “the tea was too weak” was regarded as lame, and four of them were returned to Winslow with a stipulation that the gang leader should have his beer ration removed for a month. The event made the national press: a report appeared in the Daily Telegraph. Comments in the Buckingham Advertiser suggest that behind the Willesden Six tea dispute lay a ruse to obtain free rail trips to London: they had to be discharged from Willesden not Winslow and to be given their rail fares to get there, but once at Willesden they could ask to be readmitted.

19 Nov 1904, Bucks Herald
“THE WORKHOUSE TAINT”
The Clerk [of the Board of Guardians, Mr T.P. Willis] suggested, in accordance with the proposals of the Registrar-General, that children born in the Workhouse should be registered as having been born in Buckingham-road. The Chairman [Mr J. Hedges, acting] thought this would be satisfactory and was what was done in most Unions. Mr [W.] Norman proposed that that should be the style of registration adopted. He thought it would be better than some high-sounding name, which would cause inquiries to be made. The motion was seconded by Mr [G.] Clarke, and carried.

29 June 1907, Buckingham Advertiser
Cyrus Evans retired from the Workhouse, returned as emergency cover, and became embroiled in an argument with Cllr E.A. Illing about the amount of meat consumed at the Workhouse.
... the amount consumed by each officer and servant per day is under ¾lb., and not 2½lb. as stated by [Mr Illing] ... this House is "worked" on very economical lines indeed.
Cyrus Evans was Master of the Workhouse by December 1894, when he had a letter published in the Advertiser. He was born in Breconshire and previously worked as a railway clerk. He left for the second time in July 1907. His death at the age of 56 was reported in November 1907.

1908: dispute about beer

19 Sep 1908, Bucks Herald
BOARD OF GUARDIANS
Mr T. Biggs (Chairman of the Board and Winslow R.D.C.) read a letter which he had received from Mr. Barton, auditor, stating that he proposed to surcharge him, as Chairman, with the sum of £36 5s 6d  [£36.28], the cost of the beer issued to paupers during the half-year ended at Lady-day last. Mr. Biggs said as long as he held the position of Chairman, and if he should be surcharged in this case, he would never sign another cheque for tea, tobacco, or snuff, because he believed that beer was more of a necessity, and had greater sustenance in it than either of the other things. The Clerk [Mr T.P.Willis] said the beer was issued in accordance with the order book of the medical man, and all that the Chairman of the Board had to do was to initial the entries in the medical man’s book. But the beer question had been in dispute for some times past, and it had now been decided to take the decision of the Local Government Board upon it.

1914: Workhouse used for troops

14 Nov 1914, Buckingham Advertiser
An arrangement has been come to between the Buckingham and Winslow Boards of Guardians whereby the female inmates of Winslow Workhouse will be exchanged for a similar number of male inmates from Buckingham workhouse. This will place an entire block of buildings at Winslow Workhouse at the disposal of the War Office for the accommodation of the wounded. No payment will be made by either Board. The proposal now awaits the sanction of the Local Government Board, It was stated that the Winslow Board declined to entertain the question of transferring the whole of their inmates to Buckingham Workhouse, one reason being the position of officers employed at the Workhouse.

26 Dec 1914, Buckingham Advertiser
TROOPS IN THE HOUSE
The Master reported that Capt Hansell had commandeered one of the wards in the Workhouse for the use of the troops, and two of the bathrooms would also be used by the soldiers.

1920: Workhouse chaplain

30 Jan 1920, Northampton Mercury
There is trouble a Winslow between the Vicar [Rev. C.J. Wigan] and the Guardians. The Board, dissatisfied with the omission of the Vicar, who is the chaplain, to hold Sunday Service at The Workhouse, stopped his war bonus. The vicar resigned. There is no other clergyman in the parish so the Board appointed a Nonconformist as chaplain. This appointment the Ministry of Health refused to sanction under an old statute. So for the present there is deadlock. And there is no chaplain. Surely this is pitiable.

The matter being one of principle and precedent, there were two reports in local papers remote from Bucks as the dispute continued: Portsmouth Evening News (14 Feb) and Gloucestershire Echo (27 Feb). Let the Mercury (21 May) signal the resolution of the affair:

The dispute over the salary of the Rev. C.J. Wigan, vicar of Winslow, as the chaplain to the Workhouse has ended. A year ago the Guardians stopped the payment of £10 war bonus which had been added to the £20 salary. Mr. Wigan resigned and the Guardians thought they could appoint a Nonconformist. This was forbidden by the Ministry of Health as the chaplain must be a member of the Church of England. The Guardians then advertised the post at a salary of £20. The only reply was from the Rev. E.G.Walmesley, vicar of Granborough, who offered to do the work for £36, and the Ministry of Health has directed the Board to accept this offer. During the interregnum, a Nonconformist has been doing the work gratuitously and the Guardians have either to remunerate him out of their own pockets or risk being surcharged.

1925: Workhouse cinema
24 Dec 1925, Nottingham Evening Post
Inmates of Winslow Workhouse are to have their own cinema.
1926: Fox in the Workhouse

2 Jan 1926, Tamworth Herald
FOX'S ADVENTURE
The staff and inmates of Winslow Workhouse were considerably alarmed on Boxing Day by the appearance of a large fox. The animal, which was being hunted by the Whaddon Chase pack, rushed through the building and disappeared. Some hours afterwards it was found in the cook’s bedroom, where it had apparently been asleep on the bed. In its attempt to escape the animal became wedged in a small window. Through this it was pushed by the Master and Porter of the workhouse. It fell a distance of 26ft on to the roof of a conservatory, smashing two panes of glass and made off  to a cover nearby. The incidents were watched by several hundred people.

The hunt met in Winslow market place early in the morning and quickly ran a fox to earth. After it had been unearthed and killed a fresh line was picked up at Addington, two miles away. The fox ran straight to Winslow. It crossed the railway line, narrowly  escaping a train, and entered  the workhouse garden. It ran up the garden path, and entered the front door.

As the animal rushed through the hall, it knocked down a nurse who was carrying an armful of Christmas parcels. Thinking it was a mad dog, she ran out of the building, shouting for help.  [The Dundee Courier added, "Meanwhile, the fox ran out by another door, squirmed through some iron railings, leaving part of its coat behind, and gained the woodpile."]

The fox was next seen in an adjoining garden, belonging to Dr Leapingwell, where it took shelter under a large stack of wood. It was not possible to dislodge it, and the hunt was called off. [The Dundee Courier commented, "But, Reynard won, and Lord Dalmeny, the master of the hunt, finally decided to leave him and go to a near-by spinney for another draw."]

Nothing more was seen of the fox until five o’clock in the evening, when the Master of the workhouse heard screams from an upper room. It appeared that the animal had doubled back to the workhouse and, entering the cook’s bedroom, had gone asleep on the bed. Later in the afternoon, when the cook opened the bedroom door, the fox jumped out into the room and knocked her down. She screamed for help, and locked herself in the room.

The fox then ran upstairs into a dormitory where a girl was filling a hot-water bottle. As soon as she saw the fox, she dropped the hot-water bottle and screamed. The animal, in attempting to jump through a small window on the top floor, became wedged in it. The workhouse Master and Porter who had run upstairs, pushed the fox through the window. It fell onto the roof of a conservatory below, a distance of 26 feet, and made off for cover nearby.

Lord Dalmeny, Master of the Whaddon Chase, interviewed later, said that he heard nothing of the exploits of the fox. "When we lost the fox in Dr. Leapingwell’s garden, we thought no more about it," he said. "We were ten minutes behind it all the way, and did not ever catch sight of it. I am amazed to hear of its adventures."

 


Board of Guardians outside the Master's House
The Board of Guardians and staff outside the Master's House
Photograph by J.H. Turnham, undated (1930s?)
The man in the centre of the back row with a white moustache is William Norris Midgley, the Clerk


Hospital

Winslow Hospital (The Heart of a Bucks Market Town) was written by the late Dr Peter Rudd in 1984 and is reproduced here by permission of his family. It describes the origins of the Workhouse, how it changed to a Public Assistance institution in the 1930s, and then a hospital from 1946 onwards, with wards for geriatric and "mental defective" patients, a short-lived maternity unit, and out-patient facilities, until it closed in 1978 and was largely demolished in 1983. It also includes a foreword about Dr Rudd himself by V.E. Lloyd Hart. Click on the image below to read the pamphlet in PDF format (581 KB):

Cover of Winslow Hospital pamphlet

See also:

Copyright 22 December, 2016