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1836: Beef and Bread for local poor

Brighton Patriot - Tuesday 05 January 1836



SIR - on Thursday last, a distribution of beef and bread to the poor was given at our National School Rooms, on a principle which I think gave universal satisfaction. A subscription was sometime since set on foot for this purpose, which was managed by a committee; and, as the bills expressed it, the intention was to give “a quantity of beef and bread to every poor man's family, belonging to or residing in the parish of Cuckfield”. The very handsome manner in which the gentry of the neighbourhood came forward with their subscriptions, enabled the committee to fulfil their original intention of giving one pound of beef, and one pound of bread to every poor man, woman, and child in the parish; and on Thursday last, nearly sixteen hundred pounds of beef, and the same of bread, was distributed to as many poor persons, by whom it was gratefully and thankfully received as a needy and well timed gift.

The Cuckfield Band (a predecessor of 'The Cuckfield Town Band) kindly volunteered their services on the occasion; and by a succession of sprightly airs gave an éclat to the proceedings of the day. The committee and their friends, afterwards dined together, at the Ship Inn, with a feeling of satisfaction, (not an every day one), that in beginning a new year, they were aware that everyone of their poor neighbours had wherewithal to welcome it with a full belly and a contented heart. A correspondent of yours, chose to assert a few weeks back, when alluding to that then contemplated distribution, that the Tories were about getting up a subscription for that purpose.

The Ship Inn circa 2010

I thought proper, at the time, to allow such a remark to pass in silence; but now I can assure your correspondent, that no political feelings were mixed up with the intentions of the contrivers of the plan, which first arose with Mr Parker, whose spirited exertions deserve the thanks of the public at large.

The committee consisted of young men professing Liberal, and not Tory principles; and the whole concern was managed and carried through without the idea of politics entering the minds of either managers or subscribers.

I cannot pass over the name of Mr Trotter without doing him and justice his liberal deeds deserve.

Let the political opinions of a man be what they may, it is his actions that speak to the heart. It would be invidious to name the amount subscribed by him towards the fund, but it far exceeded that of any other person, although the liberality of the gentry, generally, was to be on the most sanguine expectations of the committee. This gentleman, not only subscribed largely towards this charity, but his private gifts to the poor were as bountiful as on former occasions; and when it was proposed, at a meeting of the Guardians, that the inmates of the Union Workhouses should be allowed roast beef and plum puddings for their Christmas dinner, he not only ordered it to be given them, but added that if not allowed by the Poor-Law Commissioners, he would pay for it from his own purse.

Our worthy vicar, Reverend H.Plimley, subscribed with his usual liberality, and in addition, ordered a quantity of clothing to be distributed at his own expense and at the same time, to the poor children of the National School. If the same thing should be established another year, I hope that the public will continue their subscriptions in favour of so praiseworthy an object; and that every other parish in the county will follow their example, as it is far better to feed the poor, than to starve them under an infamous poor-law enactment; and pleasanter to see happy and contented faces around, than a distressed and despairing population, driven almost a madness by the ill usage and ill feeling of those who ought to protect their interests.



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