Punch,  50 (1866), 255.

'Never Say Die'



News-Commentary, Drollery


Class, Industry, Utilitarianism, Medical Practitioners

Institutions mentioned:

St Pancras Poor Law Union

    Begins by noting the common phenomenon, in 'parochial circles', of 'suspended animation' and the acceptance of being 'prematurely "laid out"'. This leads to a discussion of a meeting of poor law guardians at St James's Hall, where a speaker criticised those who had unjustly attacked St Pancras poor law guardians for prematurely laying out a child 'as dead while yet living' and for failing to give the child proper 'medical attendance'. The speaker added that there was nothing 'disagreeable' about being prematurely laid out. Punch ironically concludes that the hostility of Angela G Burdett-Coutts and her allies towards the Poor Law Board was 'entirely sensational'. Argues that the public 'must be tickled' by this because of their knowledge of many instances of medical incompetence and malpractice in workhouse infirmaries. After a discussion of the remainder of the guardians' meeting, Punch notes that they will not amend their policy on laying out paupers, but insists that while the 'Guardians have good reasons for wishing to preserve their "parochial" dignity and patronage [...] we are afraid Bumbledom is on its last legs'. (The reference is to the parish beadle Bumble in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist.)

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