HC Deb 14 June 1888 vol 327 cc107-8
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he can now state the result of his inquiries into the case of Thomas Ward, a pauper inmate in the Medway Union Workhouse?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I have made inquiry respecting Thomas Ward, an inmate of the workhouse of the Medway Union. He was allowed leave of absence from the workhouse on the 1st of November last. He returned about 8 o'clock and went to his ward. He was while there drunk and disorderly, causing a great disturbance, swearing and using bad language. The circumstances were reported to the House Committee the next day; and they, having examined several of the men in the ward and ascertained the facts, directed that he should be charged before the magistrates. He was accordingly, on the following day, given in charge of the police. Before leaving the workhouse he was requested to change the workhouse clothing for his own; but he refused to do so, and the clothing was forcibly changed. This took place at 12.30 in the daytime, and not at 12.30 at night, as suggested. Ward was charged before the Justices, was convicted, and sentenced to 21 days' imprisonment with hard labour. The wife of Ward died in the infirmary in March, 1886, having been an inmate for many years. Ward was with her till late in the evening, the matron having given permission that he should visit his wife at any time during the day until 8 o'clock, and he had been continually in the infirmary. As there were 21 other patients in the ward, the matron did not feel justified in allowing a male visitor after 8 o'clock. Ward was informed of his wife's death early in the morning. It does not appear to me that any further inquiry as to the management of the workhouse is necessary.