HC Deb 16 May 1898 vol 57 c1368
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the guardians of St. George's-in-the-East are compelling aged male inmates of their workhouse in Old Gravel Lane to work at picking oakum, the material being old rope, as thick as a man's fist and almost as hard as wood, and in some cases to labour at this kind of work for nine hours a day; and also that the same guardians allow to aged inmates of respectable character only one day's holiday a month, which may be either a Sunday or a week day, but that on other Sundays such inmates are only permitted to leave the workhouse between the hours of 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and are then required to bring back a signed certificate of attendance at Divine service; and whether he will inquire into the facts, and take steps to induce the St. George's Guardians to comply with the spirit of his circular letter, dated 31st July, 1896?


I communicated with the guardians as soon as the Question appeared on the Notice Paper, and have to-day received a reply, but I think it is desirable that one of the inspectors of the Local Government Board should visit the workhouse for further inquiry, and I have given directions accordingly.