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1848: No fear of the treadmill

Updated: Dec 5, 2023


Cuckfield Workhouse

We have not been so much hampered lately by travelling vagrants, as we were in the middle of the summer; this may be partly attributed to the stringent rules laid down by our Guardians, which have operated well so far. Government have taken up the matter, and the expense will not in future fall so heavily on local parishes as it has done, but will go to the general charges of the Union.


It seems a very difficult job to deal with these hordes of 'lazaroni' that swarm over the country, and puzzle our rulers as much as our brethren of the green isle.


The treadmill has no terrors for them; but, with the gaol before their eyes, they break windows and tear clothes, rather than perform the task prescribed in return for their meals and lodging, well knowing that time is of no note to them, and that in the prison they will be well fed, well lodged, kept clean, lightly worked, and, with medical assistance at their command, be sent forth into the world fresh and healthy, to commence a new campaign of rural vagrancy.


They are an awful nuisance, which another summer we shall expect to have repeated, unless, in the mean time, fuller powers be given to the Guardians with a view to the prevention of the evil.


Brighton Gazette, 12 October 1848


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details https://cuckfieldmuseum.org.

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