§ MR. D. CRILLY (Mayo, N.)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if he can now inform the House as to the result of his inquiries respecting the death of the old woman, Margaret Ross, upon whose body an inquest was held in the Hackney Coroner's Court on 3rd May, when it appeared in evidence that the deceased had been an inmate of a City union workhouse, that her age was 77 years, and that she had been found dead on the previous Thursday beside the washing pail which she had been using in her work, and that the workhouse authorities had been in the habit of compelling this old woman to clean out a large ward containing twelve beds?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
I have been in communication with the Guardians of the City of London on the subject, and I have also obtained copies of the depositions taken at the inquest in the case. It appeared from the medical evidence and a post-mortem examination that the death of the poor woman was instantaneous—from natural causes, and due neither to syncope nor weakness. It is not the case that the workhouse authorities compelled her to clean out a ward. She had, up to some nine days before her death, been employed in the needle-room, and it was at her own special request that she was allowed to undertake the duty of keeping a dormitory clean, as she 1036 preferred this to the more sedentary work, and said she was quite capable of undertaking it.