top of page

1880: Cuckfield Workhouse inmates destroy 'worn out' clothes to be 'rigged out afresh'...

West Sussex County Times - Saturday 27 November 1880


POLICE COURT.—On Monday, at the Police Court, before Admiral Pakenham and Mr. T. C. Lister, two more of these now frequently recurring cases were brought up, in which William Kelly, of Limerick, and George White, of London, were charged with having that morning destroyed their own clothing at the Cuckfield Workhouse. They both pleaded guilty, and both gave the same excuse—that their clothes were worn out, and they wanted to go to prison so that they might be rigged out afresh on their discharge. They were each sentenced to one month's imprisonment with hard labour at Lewes gaol. The Bench suggested that a printed notice of the penalty for the offence should be placed conspicuously in the tramp ward. The labour-master at the Workhouse, Mr. King, said they had from 20 to 80 or 40 tramps in the ward every night, and everyone of them knew what was the penalty of tearing their clothes, but it did not deter them from doing it.

Cuckfield Workhouse circa 1900s

MORE CLOTHES TEARING — On Wednesday, at the Cuckfield Court, before Captain Sergison, another clothes destroying case was brought up, it had just the same features that some dozen others have had during the last months.—James Brown, a tramp, was charged with destroying his own clothes at the Cuckfield Workhouse. It appeared from the evidence of Mr. King, the Labour Master, that the prisoner had been admitted as a tramp the night before, and having had his night's lodging and his breakfast the morning after, he deliberately tore them into small strips, including his old boots, avowedly for the purpose of being newly clothed on his discharge from prison.—Captain Sergison sent him to gaol, with hard labour, for 14 days, and expressed his regret that there was not another Magistrate present that a longer term could have been legally given.

A TRAMP DESTROYING HIS CLOTHES.— Another case—the fourth this week—of a tramp destroying his clothing, was disposed of on Wednesday, before Messrs_ C. T. Lister J. N. Norman, at the Cuckfield Police Court. —John Shore was sentenced for this offence to one month's hard labour in Lewes Gaol. The same reason was acknowledged as in the previous cases—to get fresh clothing found him after serving out his sentence—and though the penalty being well known to him beforehand, it had no deterrent effect upon him.



bottom of page