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1903: Too cold to break stones at the Workhouse

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 06 January 1903


Before Major Maberly (in the chair) and Mr. T. White.

“Too Cold to Break Stones” —Cuckfield.

George Gladwin, George Brooks and John Harris, of no fixed abode, were brought up in custody charged with refusing to perform their allotted tasks as inmates of the Cuckfield Casual Ward.—Prisoners pleaded guilty.

John Howe, Master of the Workhouse, said prisoners were admitted to the Casual Ward on Tuesday night. About ten minutes to nine that (Wednesday) morning, in consequence of communication from the Labour Master, witness went and saw prisoners walking about the yard. They said it was too cold to break stones, and complained that they were not warm enough during the night. Witness went into one of the cells, which was then fairly warm.

Cuckfield Workhouse c1900

Prisoners said the pipes were stone cold during the night. “If I had to sleep there it would have been the death of me,” said one, I had to get up and walk about, and I am shivering with cold now.”

The Magistrates (probably thinking that work would produce the required warmth) sent prisoners to Lewes for twenty - eight days’ hard labour.



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