Punch,  50 (1866), 259.

The Model Union Workhouse

C H B *


Notes, Drollery

Relevant illustrations:



C H B *


Industry, Utilitarianism, Class, Nutrition, Health, Disease, Medical Practitioners, Natural History, Progress, Politics

    The initial letter forms part of an illustration representing a poor law union workhouse as a giant bee-hive into which stagger a long, winding queue of paupers who have bees' wings and bodies. On either side of the nest stand an enormous (compared with the diminutive paupers) matron and guardian. Flying around the nest are other 'bees' associated with the workhouse, including nurses and a clerk. The text begins by emphasising that the workhouse is meant for 'penal tasks, designed to plague paupers', but then proceeds to outline some of the workhouse reforms being promoted by Ernest A Hart and the Archbishop of York, William Thomson. Anticipates the time 'when the workhouse diet-scale will be raised to a sufficiency of plain, wholesome food; when overcrowding will cease in the sick-wards, and the patients in them will enjoy their due number of cubic feet of air; when competent nurses, and not drunken creatures unable to read, and accustomed to steal their beer and other stimulants, will be employed to tend them; proper washerwomen to cleanse their linen without extorting gratuities of gin for not returning it to them steeped in filth and verminous; when further they will receive due medical assistance duly remunerated, and not be suffered to die of neglected bedsores'. Believes this 'Workhouse of the Future' will be a true 'House of regulated Industry', much like the beehive depicted in the article.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]