An earlier posting on this blog entitled ‘Weavers and Workhouse Walk’ contained a section on the scheme used to alleviate poverty in Randwick in the early 1830s.
We thank the Stroud District (Cowle) Museum Service for giving us permission to make transcripts of the two documents that follow. Copyright resides with the Stroud District (Cowle) Museum Service. Thanks also to Alice Butler for making the transcriptions.
TO THE UNEMPLOYED LABOURERS OF RANDWICK & THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. My good Friends,
As the plan which has been pursued among you for the last six weeks is entirely new, and as few even among those who have been most benefitted, could
explain it to an enquirer, I have determined to give you a printed letter, which you can first read yourselves, and then lead to any one who may want to know what Christian work Mr. GREAVES is about.
You may remember we came amongst you early in December, when we found almost the whole neighbourhood in a state of physical want, and moral degradation, such as I shall not attempt to describe, neither shall I say how much of this was the necessary consequence of waste, extravagance, and profligacy. When times were good, I fear you never thanked God for then present mercies, but perhaps like the prodigal, you wasted your substance in riotous living, so when hard times came, you were not prepared to meet them. The depth of your misery then, we fear, is attributable to yourselves; but as your merciful God and Saviour will not that any of his children should want the absolute necessaries of life, so he stirred up his faithful Ministers to make an earnest appeal to him in behalf of those who thus suffered, and it is in answer to their prayers, that this plan was put into my mind, and that sufficient energy was given, to try the execution of it; to God then and to God alone, belongs all the glory for whatever good has been done, or evil prevented; so love and praise Him all ye people. When I first met you assembled on the Camp Green, you were almost famishing, without any decent apparel to go forth in search of work; you were idling not from choice it is true, but this idleness added greatly to your misery; you were completely wretched, and none seemed at hand to help you. You asked me to furnish you some occupation by which you might get food for your suffering wives, and crying children; but having neither land nor money of my own, I thought it were impossible to relieve so great a multitude; we had already laid our as much as we could spare, in materials intended for clothing, purporting to give them you by degrees; but your wants were so urgent that you offered to work for them immediately, – I consented to this, and promised that every man should be supplied in exchange for time (he could have done worse with than lose it) with potatoes almost sufficient to feed his family, and that the surplus value of his labour should be paid in excellent articles of clothing. Numbers came to me, and your neighbours, hearing there was corn in Egypt, came to earn a portion also, but none of you had any tools, so I was obliged to purchase considerable stock. I set you to a labour for the public good, and you did so cheerfully in the highways and byways as sons of the soil, seeing clearly enough that you would derive even more benefit from this than the rich; they have not to fetch water, and they can ride over a bad road, while poor men and women must walk, winter and summer, over rough stones, through mire and clay, or up and down such steep ways as are dangerous to the infirm, the aged, and the children. Six weeks hard labour, with only potatoes for your food, and not a drop of fermented liquor of any kind, has somewhat changed your neighbourhood and yourselves; and many among you now come into the house of God, wearing the appearance of decent, healthy, happy labourers. My plan has not quite satisfied the Parish Officers, as my object was not the reduction of the Poor Rates, but to relieve the poor themselves. I therefore firmly insisted that your small allowances should be continued to you, even while you were working under my direction, but if we live until next Winter, I trust and hope, the Parish will have its full share of benefit from all we are doing. Another objection has also been made, which is that the advantages of working on this plan, are sufficiently great to make you careless, and even reluctant to seek work elsewhere; this inured me to make the experiment of paying you all off, thus urging you to strive to provide for yourselves. Only a few went forth were able to get more than two or three days’ employment, and the rest pressed me most earnestly to provide them occupation a little while longer, offering again to
work only for potatoes, if we cannot go on furnishing them with clothes: but I doubt not the Giver of our mercies will enable us to do this, and thus to fulfil that sacred duty which as a God of love he has imposed upon us.
And now my good friends I finish in the words of the holy men of old, – “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together, for he has regarded the poor when he cried, the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.”
I am, in the bond of universal love, Your Christian brother,
Randwick, Gloucestershire March 18th, 1832
Personal Decency promoted, AND IMMORALITY CHECKED,
Exchanging Men’s idle time for the Blessings of Food and Raiment. Randwick 1832.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________ For 2 days, Child’s Shift Cloth.
The Man who cannot find Work may have Employment, as a public act, on the following comparatively beneficial Conditions – (Food.)
A Basket of potatoes for one day’s work. Six Quarts of Soup, for one ditto. One Quart to be delivered daily to his Wife.
For 8 days’ work, a Sunday Hat. 3 ditto, Calico for a Sunday Shirt. 1 ditto, A large coloured Neck Handkerchief. 12 ditto, Pair of excellent Shoes. 4 ditto, Pair of knitted worsted Stockings. 12 ditto, Sunday Waistcoat.
2 ditto, 4 ditto, 2 ditto,
2 ditto, 1 ditto, 6,7,or
Shirt Cloth. Pinafore for Boy, made up,
Flannel Petticoat. Leather Cap. 8 ditto, Pair of high Shoes
30 ditto, 13 ditto, 12 ditto, 6, 7, or 8 ditto,
Frock, according to length. 3 ditto,
6 ditto, 1 ditto, 4 ditto, 6 ditto,
Coat. Trowsers. Breeches. A workman’s Smock-
A common round Hat. Russia-Duck Trowsers. Flannel Belt. under Waistcoat.
A working Waistcoat.
days, A good single Bedstead. 6 ditto, Three Straw Mattresses. 5 ditto, A Blanket. 12, 14, or 18 ditto, A Pair of ditto. 7 ditto, Rag Cover for the Bed. 6 ditto, One Pair of strong warm Sheets.
When the Man works for his Wife and Children, he may have
For 8 days, A Pair of Women’s Shoes 2 ditto, Cloth for a Shift.
1 ditto, Apron 2 ditto, Stockings. 1 ditto, Neckhandkerchief. 3 ditto, Flannel Petticoat. 6 ditto, Upper ditto 6 ditto, Gingham Gown and Lining. 1 ditto, Cap. 8 ditto, Straw Bonnet.
14 ditto, Duffle Cloak.
Tools, for the Labour on Land.
6 days for a Pickaxe. 4 ditto, Spade. 5 ditto, Broad Shovel. 4 days for a Rake.
No. 1, – The Labourer may give the number of Pays with intervals, as it may best suit with his other engagements, – the dole object being the employment of his idle time in some publicly useful act. No. 2, – The sample of each thing is to be shown to the Man before the engagement for work is made. No. 3, – Nothing to be delivered till three Days after they are earned.
No. 4, – As it is wished that every Person in the Village should have his or her hair cut to promote external decency, a Hair-Cutter is employed to go from House to House for this purpose. No. 5, – Not more than one Basket of Potatoes to be delivered to a single Man, and two to a married Man per Week, that they may have the more Clothing.
No. 6, – The Boys are to have a quartern of Potatoes per Day, for Stone-breaking. – Each Man after his work must claim a Randwick Token which is a round piece of Metal, impressed on one side with the words “Practiced Christianity,” and “Randwick” on the reverse.
__________________________ BUCKNALL, PRINTER, STROUDWATER LIBRARY
15 ditto, ditto, ditto, 1 ditto,
Wheelbarrow. Hoe. Grubber. A Packet of Garden Seeds.
for a Child. Worsted Stockings.
2 ditto, 14 ditto, Sunday Jacket and Trowsers. 5 ditto, Gingham for Girl’s Frock.
1 ditto, for the loan of Garden Tools for a week. 1 ditto, One Cwt. of Coals, delivered at Ebley.
Books of Religion
days, A Bible. ditto, Prayer Book. ditto, Testament. ditto, Hymn Book.