Home
Photos
Stories

We need
your help!

Maps

www plumstead-stories.com

including Woolwich & Districts

Here below are the part case histories of two young sisters, known only as 'A' and 'M', that had a brief stay in the Plumstead Workhouse.

Case 942

Case number:

942

Application year:

1887

Name:

M

Gender:

Female

Year of birth:

1879

Home:

Olive House Home For Girls, Hemel Hempstead

 

Description:

This case file relates to two sisters, A. and M. Their mother had died of consumption in March 1884. They lived in one room in a house in Woolwich with their 12 year old brother and their father who was an “indigent and worthless man” and who was co-habiting with a single woman. The house was being used as a brothel: two married women, whose husbands were abroad, were living there and working as prostitutes. The children earned a few pence by waiting on the prostitutes and running errands for them. They had also worked in this way for prostitutes who lived in an adjoining house. The children had hardly any clothing and were in a wretched condition. The night before the application was made the woman with whom the father was co-habiting had given birth to a child. The children were the subject of orders made at Woolwich Police Court sending them to the Certified Industrial School at Hemel Hempstead. They were admitted to the Home on 10 March 1887.

In August 1890 the Revd Rudolf wrote requesting that A. be transferred immediately to St Chad's Home for Girls, Far Headingley. This did not happen. On 12 August 1890 A. was transferred to a Marylebone Home, possibly in Blandford Square. It is not clear whether this was one of the Society's Homes: it seems likely that it was not. She went to a situation in Dover with children from the Home. A letter from Hemel Hempstead written on 8 September [1890] records that A. had left her situation and was thought to have gone to her sister in Woolwich. It was hoped to persuade her to go into service in a good house otherwise her future was uncertain and the writer of the letter felt that “if we lose her now we lose her altogether”. On 16 September A. was at back in Blandford Square, Marylebone with a Miss Lee who was going to get her a situation. A. is next heard of in June 1894. She was in a Female Mission in Greenwich, pregnant and destitute. She did not know the father of the baby and “her friends were bad”. The Committee of the Mission had decided that she must go into the Workhouse, but before this happened it was decided to ask the Waifs and Strays' Society if they could help in any way. The woman who had been living with A's father had just gone into the Workhouse with her children as A's father had left them and it was not thought desirable for A. to be with them. If A. went to the Workhouse it might be the “ruin of her” but she needed financial help for any other course of action. No Home would take a pregnant girl without payment. There is no record of the Society's reply on the file.

M. remained at the Hemel Hempstead Home until she went into service in Harrow on 31 March 1894. On 27 April 1895 she was readmitted to the Home and from subsequent correspondence it appears that she stole money from her employer. There was a dispute lasting some months about the exact amount which was taken, the employer claiming that it was a much greater sum than the girl would admit to. M. was sent out to another situation in Hemel Hempstead on 23 May 1895. In late 1895 M. came back to the Home because she was ill. She was treated in the West Herts Infirmary for a gastric ulcer and it was proposed to send her to a convalescent home at St Leonards on Sea for a change of air. Her employer was concerned about her and was willing to have her back. On 7 March 1896 M. was sent to a farm in Hemel Hempstead but she was removed in April as it was too rough and she had difficulty in getting to Church. It was decided to send her to Bayswater to be a housemaid. On 10 August 1896 M. returned to the Hemel Hempstead Home. There is an undated [1896?] newspaper clipping in the file concerning M's employer who was sentenced to hard labour for acts of gross indecency. He had been convicted in September 1894 for indecently assaulting a young servant girl but had been released from his term of imprisonment by the Home Secretary apparently in consequence of ill health.

Case 942.

Application to Waifs and Strays' Society for A. 22 February 1887

1. Give the child's christian name and surname.
A

2. State the exact age, and give the date and place of birth.
13 Next May Born at Chatham 14th May 1872

3. Legitimate?
yes

4. If baptized, state place and date of baptism.

5. Parents living?
Father Living

6. If, however, either or both are dead, state of what disease they died, and give the date of their death
Mother to [consumption] 12 March / 84

7. If living, give their exact places of abode, and state how long they have resided there.
Father Living at 2 Mary Ann Cottages Back Lane Woolwich
since 14th Aug

8. Give the christian names and surnames of his parents (in full) and state their ages.
Father G 43 Next Augst

9. What was or is the nature of the father's occupation and the amount of his weekly earnings? Give the name and address of his present or last employer.
At Present No occupation
In Williams Union House, Chatham

10. What was or is the nature of the mother's occupation and the amount of her weekly earnings? Give the name and address of her present or last employer.

11. Have the parents or guardians ever received parish relief? If so, to what extent?
No

12. Give the names, addresses, ages, occupations and earnings (if any) of all the brothers and sisters of the child NAME, ADDRESS, AGE, OCCUPATION, WEEKLY EARNINGS
R, Wilmington St Woolwich, 18, In service 4s
S, Mary Ann Cottages Back Lane, 12, at school

13. At what address and with whom is the child now living?
Mary Ann Cottages, Back Lane, Woolwich,
Living with the father

14. Give in full the names, addresses, ages, occupations and earnings of each living relative the child is known to possess either on the father's or mother's side such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, &c. DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP, NAMES, ADDRESS, AGE, OCCUPATION, WEEKLY EARNINGS
None

15. State whether any of the child's relatives are in your judgment in a position to maintain the child, or to contribute in any degree to its support.
Relatives not known

16. Can any payment for the child be guaranteed from any source.
None

17. Has the child ever been convicted? Is so, state the nature of his offence and term of imprisonment.
no

18. Has it ever attended day school? If so, where and for how long?

19. Ever attended Sunday School? Is so, where and for how long?

20. Has the child ever been in the workhouse? If so, for how long and where?
The Plumstead Workhouse five weeks

21. Has the child any affections of the limbs, joints, skin or eyes which may have the affect of preventing him from entering domestic services?

22. Is the child subject to fits? or has ie ever had one? If so, state its nature. Is this child subject to incontinence of urine?

23. Is the child at present affected with any infectious or contagious disease, or with scrofula requiring medical treatment?

24. Has the child had scarlet fever, or whooping cough or measles, or small pox? If not the latter, has it been vaccinated?

25. Is the child's general health good?
Copy of Medical Certificate attached - I hereby certify that I have this day examined A & M & they are in a good state of health
Woolwich
Feb.23.87.
W. M.D.

26. Are the child's parents, grandparents or next of kin, willing to sign an agreement to commit it wholly to the care of the Managers of the Home, to obey the rules in force, and to permit the said child when fully trained to be sent to any situation in the United Kingdom, which may be obtained for it by the Managers?
yes I certify that the foregoing questions have been correctly replied to, to the best of my belief.
Name
S

Address
The Rectory, Woolwich
Incumbent of Woolwich Date 22 February 1889

This is the application form for admittance to the Waifs and Strays Society for younger sister 'M' (see also referance to question 20)


1. Give the child's christian name and surname.
M

2. State the exact age, and give the date and place of birth.
8 years 30th August next 1887

3. Legitimate?
Yes

4. If baptized, state place and date of baptism.
5. Parents living?
Father living
6. If, however, either or both are dead, state of what disease they died, and give the date of their death.
Mother Consumption 12 March /84
Brought on through a cold
7. If living, give their exact places of abode, and state how long they have resided there.
Mary Ann Cottages. Back lane Woolwich [?]
8. Give the christian names and surnames of his parents (in full) and state their ages. Father G 43 Next August
9. What was or is the nature of the father's occupation and the amount of his weekly earnings? Give the name and address of his present or last employer.
No occupation at present
Mr Williams 12 Union St Chatham
10. What was or is the nature of the mother's occupation and the amount of her weekly earnings? Give the name and address of her present or last employer.
11. Have the parents or guardians ever received parish relief? If so, to what extent?
Nil
12. Give the names, addresses, ages, occupations and earnings (if any) of all the brothers and sisters of the child NAME, ADDRESS, AGE, OCCUPATION, WEEKLY EARNINGS
R, Mrs P, [?] Wellington St Woolwich, 18, In Service, 4d
G Mary Ann Cottages Back Lane, 12 School
13. At what address and with whom is the child now living?
Mary Ann Cottages Back Lane Woolwich
Living with the Father
14. Give in full the names, addresses, ages, occupations and earnings of each living relative the child is known to possess either on the father's or mother's side such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, &c. DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP, NAMES, ADDRESS, AGE, OCCUPATION, WEEKLY EARNINGS
None
15. State whether any of the child's relatives are in your judgment in a position to maintain the child, or to contribute in any degree to its support. Relatives not known 16. Can any payment for the child be guaranteed from any source.
None
17. Has the child ever been convicted? Is so, state the nature of his offence and term of imprisonment.
no
18. Has it ever attended day school? If so, where and for how long?
19. Ever attended Sunday School? Is so, where and for how long?
20. Has the child ever been in the workhouse? If so, for how long and where?
In Plumbstead Workhouse five weeks
21. Has the child any affections of the limbs, joints, skin or eyes which may have the affect of preventing him from entering domestic services?
22. Is the child subject to fits? or has ie ever had one? If so, state its nature. Is this child subject to incontinence of urine?
23. Is the child at present affected with any infectious or contagious disease, or with scrofula requiring medical treatment?
24. Has the child had scarlet fever, or whooping cough or measles, or small pox? If not the latter, has it been vaccinated?
25. Is the child's general health good?
Copy of Medical Certificate attached. I hereby certify that I have this day examined A. & M. & they are in a good state of health.
Woolwich
23 Feb /87 W. M.D.
26. Are the child's parents, grandparents or next of kin, willing to sign an agreement to commit it wholly to the care of the Managers of the Home, to obey the rules in force, and to permit the said child when fully trained to be sent to any situation in the United Kingdom, which may be obtained for it by the Managers?
Yes I certify that the foregoing questions have been correctly replied to, to the best of my belief.
Name
S

Address
The Rectory. Woolwich
Incumbent of Woolwich Date 22 February 1887

 

Some typical photos of the Waifs & Strays children pre admission to The Waifs and Strays Society

Brother & sister admitted c.1890
Two brothers admitted c.1890


refer to www.victorianlondon.org for this and other fascinating facts and pictures

Hidden Lives Revealed A Virtual Archive - Children in Care - 1881 -1918 © The Children's Society

This site is © Copyright Colin Weightman 2006, All Rights Reserved.
Free web templates