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After taking careful consideration of the conditions in the Andover workhouse by studying the sources provided and conducting further research into the conditions in this workhouse and other workhouses I have concluded that,

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Introduction

Andover Workhouse 1) Source A is not very useful for a local study of the Andover workhouse. This is because source A is about national developments in the poor law, ie it gives general information on the changes to rules and regulations set by the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834. These rules describe how the poor were to be dealt with nationally, although these are the same rules that the Board of Guardians of the Andover workhouse were given to follow, they do not describe how the Board of Guardians interpreted these rules. Using the information in the source one can see what the general structure at Andover was like, 'the rate-payers were to elect a Board of Guardians who were to supervise the work of the officials and see that the new regulation were carried out.' The Andover Workhouse is not mentioned at all in the source, no particular information is given as to how the commissioners treated a plea from an able bodied man, how well Andover's board of guardians supervised the implementation of the new laws or anything else of the sort. A person could make use of this source if they were investigating the workhouse of Andover by comparing the way the Andover workhouse was run or any other information specific to this workhouse with the general rules set and use the general rules as a point of reference. ...read more.

Middle

He himself did not eat the meat off the bones or the marrow in them because he had a weak stomach. Although he complained of severe hunger, he was still not hungry enough to ignore the stench, and the idea of eating raw meat to resort to doing so. This could mean that, although some of the other inmates, who no doubt had stronger stomachs, regularly ate meat off the bones they would have survived even if they had not done so. This does not mean that the conditions in the Andover workhouse are justified but at the same time the pauper in source G shows that the actually not so bad that the inmates had no choice but to eat the meat off the bones. If that was the case then I would have expected most, if not all, of the survivors from the workhouse to have resorted to raw meat. "The official ration in HM Prisons was 292 ounces of food a week. The workhouse diet was between 137 and 182 ounces a week only."2 Once these figures are considered, one would not be surprised if eating meat off the bones was common practice in workhouses where bone crushing was practised. However, it is not possible to generalise because the other workhouses had not been investigated as thoroughly. I believe that if conditions in other workhouses were thoroughly investigated there would have been evidence of people eating raw meat and marrow there too. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even though this visitor was a doctor, and was no doubt able to form an accurate assessment of a person's health from appearance, I question whether he went beyond the board room and whether he was only shown carefully chosen inmates. In the Huddersfield workhouse there were many complaints made by the medical officer and eventually causing the workhouse to be investigated by its overseers in 1848. The investigation revealed that the 'sick poor' were shamefully neglected, they were forced to remain in extremely unhygienic conditions so much so that they were covered in their own excrement, they were not given necessary medicines even after continuous requests by the medical officer, extremely crowded dormitories and there were many complaints about the diet of the establishment being extremely insufficient4. These reports resulted in another scandal. After taking careful consideration of the conditions in the Andover workhouse by studying the sources provided and conducting further research into the conditions in this workhouse and other workhouses I have concluded that, the conditions suffered by the poor in the Andover workhouse were indeed very harsh, but they were typical of other workhouses of that time. This was due to the government's insistence on the practice of less eligibility and their refusal to allow outdoor relief, all of which was to reduce the cost of looking after the country's poor. There were many workhouses at that time and the conditions at the workhouse of Andover were definitely amongst the worst but apparently not the worst. 1 http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/ 2 http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/ 3 http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/ 4 http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/Huddersfield/Huddersfield.shtml ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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