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1913: Violent clash at the workhouse

West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 03 July 1913


LIVELY TIME AT THE WORKHOUSE. 

Defiant in the dock at Haywards Heath Police Court, Frank Parsons, who was charged with refusing to work at Cuckfield workhouse, threatened to "bash" the Master, Mr. Gosden, the task-master, Mr. White, and the Justices' clerk, Mr. Waugh, and he said, ”I plead not guilty, and wish to reserve my defence for the Assizes." Previous convictions for smashing a plate glass window and for begging were recorded, and he was now sentenced to a month's hard labour.


Cuckfield Workhouse c1900 (colourised)

Arthur Lee, another inmate, was charged with assaulting Frank White, the labour master. The latter said he and the tailor, William Anderson, were in the old men's yard trying to take Parsons to the receiving ward, and, as soon as witness laid his hands on Parsons, Lee hit him with the stick (produced broken) across the arm and hand, and tried to hit his head, and he also threatened to kill witness. Prisoner went into the young men's day room, barricaded the door with the table and forms—so witness was informed, and then got the poker and threatened that if witness or anybody else went in there he would "do for" them. They had to leave him there till the police came.


Prisoner said Parsons was roughly handled, and he (Lee) told the taskmaster to let him go. Parsons wrenched himself free, and when the taskmaster "squared up" to him (Lee) he struck the taskmaster with the stick. Prisoner was sentenced to a week's hard labour.

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