Powys: A Day in the Life

1891

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Social Conditions

Christmas in the Workhouse

These reports from the 2 January 1891 Brecon & Radnor Express describe Christmas 1890 at the Brecon and Builth workhouses:

The Brecon Workhouse
Powys County Libraries
"THE WORKHOUSE

The inmates of the Brecon Workhouse at one o'clock on Christmas Day sat down to an admirably cooked dinner of roast beef and plum pudding in the dining hall, the master (Mr H. N. Kettle) presiding, and seeing that all were well attended to. There was cwrw dda to wash the good things down, and after dinner the old men and old women had doles of the "fragrant weed" and snuff. A very cordial vote of thanks was passed to the Chairman (Rev. Prebendary Garnons Williams) and the guardians for the Christmas dinner, on the motion of the Master, seconded by an inmate, the inmates cheering lustily. The appearance of the room had been rendered most attractive by decorations, texts and mottoes, done by Mr and Mrs Kettle and the officers. In the afternoon divine service was conducted in the Board room by the Chaplain, the Rev. Rees Price. The following gifts were received in the morning: Christmas cards and books from the Rev. Prebendary Garnons Williams; Christmas letters from Mrs Price, St. David's Vicarage; Christmas cards from Mrs J D Lloyd; Christmas cards, Mr T Wootton, draper."

(cwrw dda is Welsh for 'good beer')

"BUILTH WORKHOUSE

The inmates of the Builth Workhouse had a very pleasant time of it on Christmas Day. Santa Claus made his usual visit in the morning with the result that each of the adult inmates found a Christmas letter, and the children toys, biscuits, and so on awaiting them upon rising from bed. Breakfast was partaken of in the dining room, which had been handsomely decorated for the occasion by Mr and Mrs Targett. It consisted of tea, cake, bread and butter, and so on. A capital dinner of roast beef, roast pork, vegetables, and plum pudding, was subsequently partaken of in the same room, and the inmates thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the men and women having an allowance of beer with their dinner and the children milk. After dinner, which was presided over by Mr. Targett, the men received doles of tobacco, and the women tea, and the children, apples, biscuits, sweets, etc. The adults also had apples. Afterwards Christmas Carols were rendered; accompanied by Miss Targett, who also at intervals during the evening played selections of pianoforte music. After partaking of a good supper, the inmates retired to rest well pleased with the Christmas festivities. The following sent gifts: tea, sugar, and tobacco, Rev. M. E. Welby; tea, sugar, tobacco, etc., Mr J. Davies, Wye-side; Christmas cards, sweets, oranges, tea, tobacco, Mrs. G. Price, draper; dates and dolls, Mrs Sellis; oranges, nuts, figs, biscuits, Mrs. J. P. Jones. With the permission of the guardians, Mr. Vaughan Vaughan will give the inmates a treat to-day (New Year's Day)."

Builth Workhouse
Powys County Libraries

On 9 January 1891, the Brecon & Radnor published the following report:
Treat to the Inmates
Powys County Archives
 

"TREAT TO THE INMATES OF THE BRECON WORKHOUSE

On Wednesday, January 7th, the usual annual treat and entertainment (by kind permission of the Board of Guardians) was given to the inmates of the above, when through the kindness of many generous donors in the town, a very substantial tea was provided for all, which was most highly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed; after which some very suitable and laughable musical items were given by Mrs Rhys Davies, Miss Lella Davies, Mr Trevor Davies, Mr and Mrs Heins, and the children of the Workhouse, who were all loudly encored. At the conclusion of this part of the programme, Mr George Nott very kindly exhibited his magic lantern, and treated the inmates with some most beautiful dissolving views, both comic and pathetic, which lasted about three quarters of an hour, and afforded immense pleasure to all. The last item put upon the canvas was the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, which was most heartily joined in by all inmates, both old and young. At the conclusion votes of thanks were most heartily given to Mr George Nott and to the ladies and gentlement who took part. Before dispersing, the inmates were given oranges and buns, also toys for the children, tobacco for the men, and tea and sugar for the women. In the absence of Miss de Winton (who has for so many years undertaken the management of this annual entertainment) the arrangements were carried out by Mrs Rhys Davies and Mrs Heins. About £6 18s had been collected; the cost of the entertainment was about £5 5s, the balance being carried forward to next year's account."



Conditions in Llanfyllin Workhouse
Other Charitable Activities

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