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1879: Deserted wife and family obliged to seek sanctuary at the Workhouse

West Sussex County Times - Saturday 29 November 1879


-At the Cuckfield police court, on Thursday, before Captain Sergison, a labourer, named John Broomfield, of St. John's Common was brought up in custody of Sergt. Verrall charged with deserting his wife and family.

Mr. Riches, master of Cuckfield Union House, stated that prisoner's wife and four children were admitted into the house on the 18th inst, and had been chargeable since to the Union.

Prisoner's wife, who had a child in her arms, also stated that he had left them in a state of destitution, she being obliged to apply for an order to go into the Union. He was a labourer and had work but left them in a state of great destitution.

Entrance to the workhouse circa 1900

Prisoner said he had employment, but from the state of the weather could not work. He admitted leaving his wife as stated, but on his return he found they had left, and he could not ascertain where they had gone to.

He also admitted that on a previous occasion he had also deserted his family, for doing which he was committed for six weeks to prison. He was willing to take them out, but he had no place at present to take them to.

He was released on his promise to provide for them at once.



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