Deanhouse Workhouse was built in 1861 and received its first inmates in September 1862 and in 1880 an infirmary was added. In 1938 the Workhouse, now a Public Assistance Institution, was taken over by Upper Agbrigg Guardians Area and its function changed to being a hospital and it was called St.Marys. On Tuesday, January 16th. 1968 it ceased to be a hospital and the 53 patients still resident were transferred to other hospitals in the area. It was demolished in 1970 and a housing estate, called St.Marys, after the name of the hospital, was built in its place.
The Express and other sources of information referred to it by a variety of names which can be quite confusing. Rather than correct them, I have left them as recorded. Hence you will come across – Holmfirth District Workhouse ( Slater Directory of 1864 ) : Deanhouse Workhouse : Deanhouse Institution : Public Assistance Institution : Deanhouse Sanitarium : Deanhouse Hospital : St. Mary’s Hospital.
Prior to the reformation , it had always been considered a Christian duty to carry out the instructions in Matthew Chapter 2, e.g. feed the hungry, visit the sick, clothe the naked but after the reformation many of these values disappeared and the poor were left without help.
In 1552, Parish registers of the poor were introduced and in 1563 Justices of the Peace were given power to raise funds to support the poor and categories were drawn up for the different types of poor beggars on the street.
Deserving Poor : This category was for those people who wanted to work but were unable to find suitable employment. These people were to be given help in the form of clothes, food or maybe money ( Outdoor relief ). Those who were too old, too young or too ill to work would be looked after in almhouses, orphanages, workhouses or hospitals. Orphans and children of the poor were to be given an apprenticeship to a tradesman ( indoor relief ).
Undeserving Poor : They were also called idle beggars or sturdy beggars. This category was for those who could work but chose not to. They were to be whipped through the town until they learnt the error of their ways.
In 1572 it was made compulsory that all people pay a local poor tax and five years later in 1597 it was made law that every district must have an Overseer of the Poor. His role was to work out how much money was needed for the poor in that district and set the poor rate accordingly. His other responsibilities were to collect the poor rate from the property owners, relieve the poor by dispensing food or money and supervise the Parish Poor House.
The following three items from 1826 and 1832 relate to the role of the Relief of the Poor. The first is the approved assessment for Netherthong at 2/- in the £ , signed 28 December 1832. The next two items are accounts of money paid weekly by Joseph Mallinson, Overseer of the Poor. The first is from Oct 8 1825 to 31 March 1826 and the second is dated October 7 1926.
In 1601 an Act of Parliament called the Poor Law was passed and incorporated all the measures stated above. Another New Poor Law was enacted in 1834 which was to be administered in areas larger than the old parishes. These new areas were called Unions under the national leadership of the Poor Law Commissioners and locally were to be under the control of elected Boards of Guardians. These Guardians were citizens of the parish and were normally well-to-do. Every Union had to have a workhouse.
In the Poor Law Amendment Act it stated :
a) no able –bodied person was to receive money or other help from the Poor Law authorities unless they were in the workhouse,
b) the conditions in the workhouses were to made very harsh to discourage people from wanting to receive help.
c) the workhouses would be large in size and contain separate places for the insane and elderly. Men and women were to be separated.
The Huddersfield Poor Law Union formally came into being on 10 February 1837.
A Parliamentary report of 1777 recorded that there were local workhouses in Almondbury, Kirkheaton and Lockwood. There were also early ones in Honley and Lepton and by 1815 workhouses had been established at Golcar and Marsden. Wooldale and Thurstonland set up their own workhouses after 1815 and by 1834 they had also been established at Slaithwaite, Upperthong and Lindley and there was a note that Netherthong, Scholes and Holme might had one each round about the same time . During my research I came across a comment that stated ” Netherthong’s first Workhouse in 1860 was based in an old building in Moor Lane which was known locally as the Bastille and inmates were transferred to the one in Deanhouse in 1862.” This Bastille building was marked on the Ordinance Survey Maps of 1854,1888 and 1918 but by 1922 it was referred to as Lydgett farm. The building , pre 1950, was used and owned by Malcolm Hawkswell who had lived in Netherthong for more than 50 years and he used it as part of his farm . There were 3 floors, corn etc on the top floors and cows on the ground floor. He sold it in the 1990s and it was converted into terraced housing.
I spoke to Peter Higginbotham who runs an excellent web site all about the history of workhouses in the Huddersfield area complete with diagrams and maps. He said that he had not found any reference that Netherthong had a workhouse in place in the post 1834 period and, in the absence of any hard facts, he could only offer that the word Bastille was a popular name given to workhouses after, but not before,1834 and the Netherthong Bastille may have served for a period as a Parish workhouse.
” The South & West Yorkshire Village book” written by members of those Federations of Women’s Institutes had a chapter devoted to Netherthong and one paragraph stated ” the Bastille is a 3-storey building built after the Poor Law was passed in 1834 authorising Union Workhouses to be built. The inmates were confined to the premises, married couples were kept separated with a Master and Mistress to control food and lodging “. It is now likely that when the Deanhouse Workhouse was opened the inhabitants from the Bastille were transferred across.
Allan Place wrote a superb book on the Poor Laws and Huddersfield which was published by the Holme Valley Civic Society. It is complete with maps,sketches and ephemera and covers many of the small villages in the Holme Valley. He devoted several pages to the question of the Bastille and its possible use as a workhouse. He states ” that the building shown on the old maps as the ” Bastille ” is steadfastly reported by many of the native inhabitants to have been a workhouse before Deanhouse was built. It is difficult to prove the non-existence of anything but all evidence points to the “Bastille” never having been a workhouse.”
He listed eight points to prove his argument and I have summarised some of them. The Enclosure Map of Netherthong drawn between 1826 – 1829 seems to date the building post 1829. In the 1841 census no paupers were shown to be living in the village. The Tithe Map dated 1850 shows the Bastille as comprising eight cottages each in separate occupation and the landowner as Thomas Dyson. The only reference to a poorhouse is a cottage down Deanbrook Road owned by the Netherthong overseers of the poor. The 1851 census lists only two paupers, neither of whom was living in the Bastille. The 1861 census shows the Bastille occupied by eight families, with ages ranging from 23 to 64, and all engaged in occupations concerned with textiles.
After his very detailed research he concludes ” as no paupers ever seemed to have lived in this property and the Bastille was never owned by the township of Netherthong or by the Huddersfield Guardians, the reports of this building ever being a workhouse seem to be inaccurate folklore “.
Honley had a new workhouse erected in 1763 on land donated by the Earl of Dartmouth. It was also used by the Netherthong and South Crosland townships and stayed in operation until October 1862 when its inmates were transferred to the newly opened union workhouse at Deanhouse. The Poor Law Board assented to the Deanhouse site and the land was purchased for £1.250 and conveyed to the Huddersfield Guardians in 1860.
Work on the Deanhouse Workhouse began in 1861 and Mr.Trotter, the M.O. for the new Workhouse, certified it was ready to receive its first inmates in September 1862. It was designed by John Kirk, could accommodate over 200 inmates and had a two –storey, T-shaped main block. The Guardians resolved later in 1862 that instructions be given to prepare a vagrant ward for 10 men and 10 women and in 1880 an infirmary was added. The building of the Workhouse did not take place without criticism and people made it their business to keep a close eye on the activities. The residents of Netherthong were very much distressed and called a meeting of ratepayers and a list of their complaints was passed to Mr. Jagger, the Guardian for Netherthong, for him in turn to pass on to the Board of Guardians. The Slater Directory of 1864 called it the Holmfirth District Workhouse.
A request was made by the Guardians in 1863 by St. Mary’s Church ( does this mean the Wesley Chapel ?) for help in extending their burial ground as a result of the increased number of burials from the workhouse.
In 1881 a full census was carried out and the total number of residents was 169. It listed their age, sex, occupation, handicap and birthplace. There were five staff, Jonathan Hinchliffe was the Head, his wife, Elizabeth, was the matron and Hannah, their daughter, was assistant matron. The remaining staff were Dinah Stamford, nurse, and Mary Stead a general servant.
The majority of the inmates were unmarried with some widows/widowers. They came from all over Yorkshire with the exception of seven from Ireland, one from North America and one each from Faversham,Hereford,Manchester and Lincoln. There were only four inmates from Netherthong.
Elizabeth Bates, 32 years, Idiot. Sarah Garside, 36 years, Idiot .
Abel Littlewood, 60 years, wool weaver. Alfred Wimpenny, 41 years, donkey driver.
In the category of handicap, they were listed either as a lunatic, an idiot or blind. The workhouse had seven lunatics, 35 idiots and two blind. The dictionary defines an idiot as .. a foolish or unwise person, a person having the lowest level of intellectual ability. The definition for a lunatic is simply ..a madman/madwoman. Occupations were generally listed as weavers, farm labourers, slubbers and stone quarrymen.
Since writing this chapter back in 2008, I decided to include the information from the National census for 1871 which was the first one after after the Workhouse was opened. I have also added the Census for 1891 and both of these have been given separate Chapters.
In April 1870 the Huddersfield Examiner & West Riding Reporter carried an article on an imbecile inmate, named John Curley, who was placed in the dock at Huddersfield Police Court charged with damaging the property of the guardians. Mr.James Wood, the master of the workhouse, showed that the prisoner possessed sufficient intelligence to discern between right and wrong and that for sometime he had manifested a great contempt for his bedclothes having frequently torn blankets and sheets. He had been before the court seven times for the same offenses and on six times had been committed to Wakefield House of Correction. Punishments seemed to have had no effect and the master had tried leniency again with no effect. Curley had nothing to say to the charge and the justices decided to inflict the most severe punishment which the law allowed, namely to commit him to prison for 42 days.
The Huddersfield Chronicle reported in July 1871 that at the County Court in Huddersfield, Christopher Inchcliffe, a pauper at the Institution, was charged with misconducting himself. He had left the house in the morning and didn’t return until the following day. He had done this several times and on each occasion had been cautioned. The Magistrates sent him to prison for 21 days. Another pauper, Charles North, was charged with a similar offence but, on promising not to offend again, he was discharged.
The paper referred to January 17 1874 as one of the red letter days , the occasion being a treat to the inmates provided at the sole expense of Mr.James Bower, one of the Guardians for the township of Upperthong. The dining hall, which was used on Sundays as a preaching hall, projected a pretty gay appearance. At 1pm the inmates, numbering 173, sat down to dinner, which included plum pudding and beef besides a variety of pies and deserts. Mr.Wrigley, the chairman of the Board of Guardians, made very witty observations during the dinner and praised the generosity of Mr.Bower. At 3pm , 16 Guardians along with a few favoured friends sat down in the D room for a dinner. A company of Glee singers, including Miss Stead, Mr.J.Meller, Mr.Townsend and Mr.Hirst, entertained. Many toasts were proposed and seconded and Mr.Wood , the Master, gave thanks on behalf of the inmates.
For the Annual Christ treat in December 1874 roast beef and plum pudding was given to the inmates in the dining room which had been nicely decorated. The public were admitted to view the premises and a large number availed themselves of the opportunity. The following year in October, Mr.Jonathan Morehouse Lockwood of Sycamore, who was one of the Poor Law Guardians, gave a treat to the inmates. Almost 200 sat down to the fare provided for them and served up by the Matron, Miss Wood, and her assistants. After dinner they were entertained by various amusements. Mr.Lockwood also entertained the Guardians and officers of the Union to a first class dinner. The cloth having been removed the usual loyal and other toasts were given and a Glee Party of Miss Stead, Miss Renshaw, Mr.B.Hirst, Mr.M.Stead and others with Mr.Sandford the pianist provided the entertainment. The Annual Christmas treat in 1876 was given to the inmates. For the previous few years the public had been invited to inspect the place and view the proceedings but much mischief had been created by this privilege being granted and it was decided not to throw the place open on the day. As a consequence many people who were not aware of the fact had a wasted journey. The 1877 Christmas treat followed the normal pattern and, in addition to the customary beef and plum pudding, the inmates were given a pint of beer. Several Guardians were in attendance and acted as servers and waiters. At the close of dinner, Mr.Henry Butterworth , an old Guardian, addressed a few suitable words which were loudly cheered. On the following day the matron provided a good tea and to round of the festive season the master on New Year’s day invited the services of a brass band ( not specified ) which performed during a selection of music during the evening. On October 6 1881 the inmates were given a treat and the tables in the dining room were laden with beef, ham and a variety of confectionery which were a gift of Miss Brooks and Miss Siddon of Honley. After the meal, the master, Mr. Hinchliffe, addressed them on the generosity of the ladies and called for three cheers. In the evening there was another distribution of confectionery and the smokers received one ounce of tobacco.
In June 1882, at the meeting of the Huddersfield Board of Guardians, the Deanhouse visiting committee recommended that the salary of Miss Hinchliffe be increased from £3 to £20 a year on condition that she performed the duties of cook and assistant matron. Also that the joint salaries of Mr.& Mrs. Hinchliffe, the master and matron, be increased from £100 to £120 a year. Both proposals were passed . A letter from the Local Government Board, dated 10 June, approved a proposal from the Guardians to allow the children at the Workhouse to have their bread and dripping at 8.45 instead of 12.30. The Board of Guardians received a letter at their September 1883 meeting from Miss Hannah Hinchliffe, assistant matron of the Workhouse, whose father and mother had been called upon to resign their appointments. It read -” If the office I hold requires a notice to quit, take this for one. Hannah Hinchliffe.” The newspaper reported that when the letter was read out to the members it caused a lot of laughter ! In March the following year Elizabeth Whitehead was appointed as general assistant matron at a salary of £26 pa.
The Holmfirth Express regularly reported news and events to do with the Workhouse as well as recording the minutes of the Board of Guardians. The style of newspaper reporting in the late 1800s and early 1900s was to give details of virtually everything and everyone associated with an event. This can be seen in the details of the food supplied to the inmates at the Christmas and New Year festivities.
Christmas and Royal events such as Jubilees & Coronations were always celebrated at the Workhouse. Another important feature was the large number and diversity of groups, bands, choirs who voluntarily came to entertain the inmates and they are detailed in this chapter. Christmas Day and New Year parties were always highly anticipated. On New Year’s Day in 1885 a beautiful treat was provided for 236 inmates through the liberality of Miss Seddon and Miss Brooks. The inmates sat down to an ample supply of food and the sick patients were provided for in their own wards. As usual tobacco and snuff were given by Captain Jessop. Mr. & Mrs. Heastie, master and matron, gave thanks on behalf of the inmates. For the Christmas festivities at the end of the year the workhouse had been decorated by Mrs.Heastie (matron ), nurse Miss Grimshaw and laundress Miss Whitehead. At 7 am the strains of the Philharmonic Band reverberated through the building. Dinner was at 12.30 and served by the Guardians and each inmate had roast beef, parsnips, potatoes, pickled cabbage and a pint of beer. Miss Bidden and Miss Octavia Brooks presented Christmas cards to each of the 235 inmates. The evening meal was at 5.30.
December 1886. The inmates had an ample treat on Christmas Day. At 7am the Netherthong Brass Band and the Philharmonic Band played in front of the house and in the hospital. At 10am, 1 oz. of tobacco, a packet of snuff and an apple and orange were distributed and 213 cards, individually addressed, were handed to each inmate. At 12.30 they all sat down to a dinner of roast beef, potatoes, mashed turnips, pickled cabbage and plum pudding plus a pint of beer. They all joined in singing “ Christians Awake “ accompanied by Miss Edith Grant on the harmonium and at 6pm. they all sat down for tea which consisted of tea, bread and butter, plum loaf and cheese and finished off the evening by singing hymns accompanied on the harmonium and also the violin by Allan Rowsbottom, one of the inmates.
On January 4 1887, the inmates were entertained in the evening. It started at 4pm with a knife and fork tea ( beef and ham with tea cake, bread and butter, spice cake and sweet loaf). After the tea, 170 were entertained by songs by Miss Brooke, Mr.Whittell, Herbert Hinchliffe & Mr. Beastie, there were recitations by Mr.Jubb and piano solos by Edith Grant and the Honley Hand Bell Ringers finished the evening off. Thanks to Captain Jessop they all received apples, oranges and cake plus an ounce of tobacco or a packet of snuff.
At the Christmas dinner at the end of the 1887 they all received a gift of 2d. The Guardians who helped at the party were : Mr. Kilburn ; Mr.Brook;Mr.Scissett; Mr.Mellor; J.Kilner ; Firth Hobson ; Eli Whitwarm ; W. Haigh ; Mr. Wilshaw and Miss Siddon plus the chairman, Mr.H.Butterworth.
1888 – The Annual Christmas party was held with 213 inmates having a full treat. In February they were entertained by Mr.Piggott of Huddersfield who exhibited his magic lantern show using various selections of slides illuminated by limelight . This was followed by the Netherthong Juvenile Carbonised Minstrels under the conductorship of J.J.Jackson
1889 – 204 inmates enjoyed their Christmas party and listened to a poem ( anon ) entitled “ Christmas treat at the Deanhouse Workhouse “. A few weeks later they had their 1890 New Year entertainment.
1892 – a children’s concert was given at the Workhouse by members of the various Bands of Hope.
At a meeting of the Board of Guardians it was reported that at a meeting of the Imbecile Location Committee, it was resolved that it be a recommendation that all the inmates of the Workhouses of the Union classified as imbeciles be accommodated at Deanhouse. A male and female imbecile attendant should be appointed.
The annual Christmas dinner was held with 174 inmates.
1893 – mindful of safety regulations the Local Government Board sanctioned an expenditure of £341 for provision of fire-escapes. It wasn’t until August 1921, 28 years later, that the Board of Guardians discussed precautions against fire and were informed that for a subscription of £2 2s per annum, they would enjoy the privileges of subscribers to the Holmfirth Fire Brigade. They agreed and also requested that the master would institute a periodic fire drill.
In July the inmates were allowed to honour the Royal marriage of the Duke of York with a dinner, concert and gifts. And in June 1897 they also celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen.
Later that year the contract for coffins was let to John Batley of Netherthong.
1898 – the inmates were entertained by the St.George Troupe of Minstrels with plantation songs and sketches.
1902 . In July , Deanhouse Workhouse had planned to celebrate the Coronation but when this was postponed the management decided not to disappoint the inmates and instead to make it a “Peace rejoicing on the end of the Boer War “. So at the end of the month the Workhouse inmates were invited to a picnic at Harden Moss with the remit “ To join with the old folks in celebrating the conclusion of the war in South Africa“ . The “old folks” were to be the poor, maimed and blind sojourners in the workhouses of Deanhouse and Crossland Moor and 31 men and 21 women were conveyed in waggonettes and chara-a-banc. They had a substantial meat tea and prior to going home the men had a glass of beer and a bun and the women a cup of tea with “something in it “and a bun. Those old folks, who through feebleness or other causes could not go to Harden Moss, had a special high tea.
Mr. J.Heastie, master at the workhouse, had written to Netherthong District Council asking for a temporary supply of water as he said they were completely without water. The surveyor said that as water was flowing into its own reservoir they could spare some. The workhouse received 80,000 galls at 1/3 per 1000 galls.
At the beginning of August the ladies of the Huddersfield Parish Church gave a treat to the children by taking them to the Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds. In addition to the entertainment they were provided with a substantial tea and each child was given a present when they left to return back to the Workhouse.
Later in the month the Workhouse celebrated the Coronation of King Edward VII. The buildings had been decorated inside and outside and in the afternoon the inhabitants of Netherthong , including the children from the 3 Sunday schools, who were also celebrating the Coronation, marched down in procession with banners flying. They were headed by a brass band and along with the Netherthong Philharmonic Band they played national airs. The procession moved from the main gates to the quadrangle and cheered the sick people with hymns. The inmates had a breakfast of ham and bread and butter and for dinner they had lamb and mint sauce, kidney potatoes, beer served in a coronation mug followed by gooseberry, raspberry and rhubarb tarts,
In September the Netherthong District Council received a letter from Mr.J.Heastie. He said that the Board of Guardians had placed 4 additional lamps on the frontage which cast some light on the road but there was one part they could not reach and that was under the Council’s control. There was a distance of 227 yards without a light from the workhouse entrance to the junction near Dockhill. The Council agreed to fix a gas lamp and have the lamp lit and extinguished by their lamplighters on condition that the Guardians pay for the gas consumed as the road is mainly for use by the workhouse. The Guardians replied that as the lamp would be for the benefit of the general public, they were not prepared to pay for the gas.
At the Board of Guardians meeting in October they discussed a report from the Commissioners in Lunacy that they had received of the visit of one of their visiting commissioners. It stated that there were 35 men and 25 women classed as persons of unsound mind. The report was generally favourable , portions of both sexes went out for walks in the country weekly. 5 men and 1 woman had to be restrained by means of a straightjacket.
1903 – the Workhouse approached the local Council to see if they were prepared to let them have a permanent supply of water for domestic use. The Council were unanimous that they could not undertake to offer a permanent supply.
On Shrove Tuesday 1904 the residents were entertained to a musical evening by the choir of the Parish Church. A few months later in July , 100 inmates were conveyed in 9 vehicles ( waggonettes and char-a-banc ) to Skelmanthorpe. They went to the assembly room in the WMC and were entertained with lots of food , games and music. The Skelmanthorpe people paid for the event by public subscription. The Board of Guardians approved that the salary of Mrs. Emma Ramsden, a wardwoman at the infirmary be increased by £2 to £22 pa. At the end of the year they enjoyed their customary Christmas party – as usual they received tobacco and snuff from Col.Jessop and Miss Seddon gave all the over 65s a shiny 6d coin each.
In February the Guardians resolved to accept from the Council a private supply of water at the rate of 1s per 1000 gallons at a minimum annual charge of £25. The cost of easement and the lengths of pipes was £180 and the Council gave permission to lay them.
1905. In February, Mrs.Scott a female imbecile attendant resigned and was replaced by Mrs. Pavor of Leeds. Miss M. Haigh , the cook and assistant matron, resigned and Miss Turner was appointed to the position.
In June at the Huddersfield West Riding Court, Charles Bentley, a pauper, was charged with absconding from the Workhouse with clothing belonging to the Union ( his clothes were stamped “ Deanhouse Workhouse “ ). The prisoner made the excuse that he had only left for a few days and was coming back. He had been committed to prison the previous month for a similar offence and this time was committed to jail for 31 days with hard labour.
In December the Board of Guardians approved by 28 votes to 17 that beer could be supplied for the annual Christmas treat. The pre-Christmas concert party was given by the girls of the Brockholes Embroidery Class with lots of songs and dances.
For the Annual Christmas party the whole place was decorated with holly, plants, ivy, lanterns, banners and a big tree. Captain Jessop made his normal presentation of tobacco and snuff and the evening concert was given by the Netherthong Church choir.
On Shrove Tuesday in 1906 the Parish Church choir paid a visit and gave the inmates the usual Shrovetide entertainment. The following month, Dr. Marriott Cook visited the Workhouse to make an inspection on behalf of the Commissioners on Lunacy. He reported that at the time of his visit there were 34 men and 25 women classed and detained as imbeciles. 3 of the women were in bed and looked comfortable. The remainder were in good health and in the wards specially set apart for them. Their clothing was suitable, bed and bedding well kept and they seemed to be on good terms with the attendants. A number were usefully employed and most were taken for weekly walks beyond the grounds. He noted that a fire main had been laid, there were 8 hydrants around the building, a shelter had been placed in the women’s court and that telephonic communication had been installed in the house.
The Board of Guardians received a letter from the engineer at Deanhouse asking for an increase in salary, a ½ day holiday a week and a Sunday off once a month. He said his present hours were 72/week.
In April 1907, the Board of Guardians received a letter from Mr. Heastie resigning because of bad health. His wife also resigned, 15 applications were received for the post of master / matron and in June Mr. and Mrs. Hoyle were appointed. Miss M.Barton, the assistant matron, resigned. Miss Hughes of the Leeds Union Workhouse infirmary was appointed assistant nurse.
In June a retirement party was held for Mr.& Mrs. Heastie in recognition of their 23 years service. They were presented with a porcelain dinner service in gold and blue pattern plus some art pottery by Mr. Robinson, the senior officer on the staff. In August they had their official presentation by the Guardians and received a silver tea and coffee service and a massive salver in the Queen Anne pattern.
Also in June it was reported that William Swallow, 73 years, was found on removal from Deanhouse gate lodge to the hospital that he had £1 2s 2d in his possession. As the amount consisted chiefly of gifts it was decided that the sum should be retained for him ( should he recover from his ailment ) and given to him in installments.
In September one of the Commissioners for Lunacy paid his regular visit and reported that there were 32 men and 25 women classed as certified imbeciles and all were suitable for workhouse treatment. He added that 4 men and 6 women imbeciles were in special wards.
In November the Board of Guardians committee had declined an application from the master for his son to be able to spend week-ends with him. The Local Government Board had sanctioned his daughter living with him but not the son who was only permitted to go as a visitor. Some of the members said that although the decision might be legally right it was morally wrong. At a previous committee meeting it was proposed that a piano be purchased for Deanhouse this was approved provided that the cost did not exceed £30.
To round off the year , the inmates had two treats. The first was a concert organized by Frances Littlewood, a Guardian. The artistes were the misses Littlewood and Mr. Robinson one of the house officers. Mr. Platt gave some recitations.
The second was the Christmas day treat. Besides the traditional breakfast and dinner, the matron distributed cards to the inmates and gave 6d. to 40 old women. The usual 1oz. tobacco and ½ oz. snuff plus apples and oranges were issued and Miss Seddon presented every inmate over 60 with 1/-.
In January 1908, Mrs.Mary Caine from Cheshire was appointed laundress. Later that month a concert was given by a party of children from Honley Wesleyan Sunday School.
Miss King was appointed in August as the attendant to the female imbeciles at a salary of £25p.a. Milnsbridge Socialist Choir entertained the residents in September.
Dr.J.Dyson resigned as the medical officer to the Workhouse after 14 years. The Board of Guardians confirmed that all inhabitants of the Workhouse who were in receipt of out-door relief during Christmas would be given an extra allowance of 1/- for the adults and 6d per child.
The Milnsbridge Pierrot Troupe visited for the first time but not knowing the way they were rather late in arriving. The annual Boxing Day entertainment was organized by Mr.J.Sykes and his party which consisted largely of his own family.
At the start of 1909 Miss Charlotte Lord, the charge nurse, resigned.
The inmates were treated to three concerts in February.The first one was by Mr.France Littlewood and the misses Littlewoods and the brass quartet from Honley Brass band. A few weeks later it was the turn of the Queen Street Mission Choir to entertain. The last one was by the Netherthong Parish Church Choir.
The same month the Board of Guardians visiting committee recommended that two additional nurses be appointed, certain rooms at the old hospital to be provided for the use of nurses on night duty and finally that the old washhouse in the women’s yard be prepared for the accommodation of female tramps.
At the Board of Guardian’s meeting in May, the report was read from the Lunacy Commissioner on his annual visit made in March. He saw 27 men and 30 women under detention orders as persons of unsound mind. 21 of the men and 23 women were in special wards. The rest were in the hospital and confined to bed. He said the wards and dormitories were in a good order. All the inmates who are able are employed in some form of work and are taken for walks beyond the grounds once or twice a week. Mechanical constraint had been used on one occasion since his last visit.
July saw the Buxton Road Wesleyan Choir give a concert and several months later it was the turn of the Crosland Moor Wesleyan Prize Choir to entertain the inmates.
Miss S.Ramsden, general assistant, was appointed as laundress at £25 pa. and at the end of the year Miss Edith Race of Barnsley was appointed assistant nurse.
More entertainment followed in October when the Slaithwaite Socialist Choir visited and additional fun was added by Mr. Rowcroft, a conjurer. The year ended with the normal Christmas festivities and as usual the Express detailed the food that was supplied – roast beef, roast pork, boiled leg of mutton, chicken , carrots, turnips, potatoes followed by rich plum pudding, beer,tea,coffee, tobacco, snuff and sweets.
The first concert of 1910 was given by the Crosland Moor United Handbell Ringers accompanied by Misses Margaret and Gertrude Littlewood and Professor Spencer. The report said that the dining hall was packed. The next occasion was when the Young Women’s bible class connected with the Milnsbridge Baptist Chapel paid a visit and entertained them. The following month, June, Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Tinker of Upperthong brought along one of the latest gramophones and lots of records by great singers. Honley Brass Band spent an afternoon in August entrtaining the inmates. The same month the Board of Guardians received the annual report on the visit by Mr.Trevor the Lunancy Commissioner to the Workhouse. He said that the conditions were good and that 23 men and 27 women were permanently detained as persons of unsound mind.
In April the Workhouse was thrown open for 2 days to adult visitors and they were given the following details. It provides accommodation for 275 inmates and is reserved for the better class of aged, chronic sick, imbeciles and harmless lunatics. The staff consists of master and matron, cook, matron’s assistant, laundress, male and female attendants upon imbeciles, baker, engineer, farm man, superintendent nurse and nurses. There was a vegetable garden and piggery. The present attendance is 180 inmates. The total cost of Deanhouse had been £14, 220 and it stands on 11 ½ acres.
At the beginning of February 1911, the Clifton Glee Party along with Mr.G.W.Gledhill, Miss Whitwam and Miss Jennie Lodge gave a concert. The Party was under the care of Joseph Gledhill , a member of the Board of Guardians. The following month it was the turn of the Carlton Comedy Company to entertain the inmates.
The Coronation festivities at the Workhouse were a great success with lots of food with music provided by by the Hepworth Brass Band.
The last concert of the year in November was given by members of the “ Jumped up “ Pierrots from Linthwaite.
1912. Honley Brass band played a concert to the inmates in June. Later that year the Board of Guardians agreed to increase the salary of the Medical officer, Dr.Smalles, to £70pa on the understanding that he also acted as the MO for the staff and that his salary included all fees for certifying lunatics etc. In October the staff presented a silver flower stand to Mr.& Mrs. Hoyle, master and mistress, who had been promoted to take charge of Crosland Moor Workhouse. The Hoyles had been there for 5 years and had succeeded the Heasties.
Mr.T.Robinson, an attendant at the Workhouse, had made an application to the Board of Guardians for an increase in salary as he worked 100 hours a week and his duties were very trying. The outcome was not reported.
In November the Board of Guardians had received a letter from the National Amalgamated Society of House and Ship Painters and Decorators drawing the committee’s attention to the fact that the house painter at the Workhouse was not a member of the Union. They wanted him to join the union and they thought the time had come when the Board of Guardians should not employ people who were not members of a trade union. A sub-committee was set up to look into the matter. If I now fast forward to the Boards meeting in March 1913, they had received 3 applicants for the job of painter at Deanhouse and prior to the interviews they discussed whether the successful applicant should be a member of a trade union. The chairman ruled that the applicants should not be asked the question. Mr. Cheetham was appointed.
At the annual Christmas party the music was played by the Holme Brass Band.
1913. 21 applications had been received for the posts of porter/bookkeeper and portress/launderess. Mr. & Mrs. Durrant were appointed.
In March the inmates were entertained by the Honley Rag Time Coons, a troup of 20 members and the programme consisted of songs and selections by Coon Johnson, Coon Jones and Coon Tambo. At a meeting of the Board of Guardians later that year in September the following items were passed : that suitable accommodation be provided so that phthisis cases can be transferred to Deanhouse and also that, as soon as the drainage on the estate is completed the Workhouse should be known as Deanhouse Sanitarium.
In May Mrs. Jane Brown was appointed assistant nurse and Miss Riddle needle mistress and general relief attendant. The salary of Miss Richmond, imbecile assistant, was increased from £28 to £32 and Mr.Froggatt, the farm assistant, was granted an increase of 2/- a week.
At the Board of Guardians meeting in July, Mr.Dirk referred to the new dietary table for the officers at Deanhouse and said that it seemed that the meat allowance of 5lb./week was extravagant. The Clerk said the table was legal and each officer was entitled to the allowance.
In August the Honley Band entertained the inmates. The Annual Christmas party with Miss Siddon, now the chairman of the Guardians Board, assisting was its normal success.
In January 1914 a concert was given by Mr. Scholfield Haigh, a famous Yorkshire County Cricketer, and his party. They were Lillie Miller ( soprano ), Miss M.Dawn ( contralto ), Mr. N. Sanderson ( bass ) , Leslie Lynch ( humorist ) and Jas. Brooks ( accompanist ).
The following month the Board of Guardians approved that Mr. E.Quigley ( matron’s assistant ) should have his salary increased from £15 to £18 per annum.They also increased the salaries of Mr. and Mrs. C. Durant, the porter and porteress, by £3 and £2 10s a year respectively. During the month the Honley Wesleyan Choir gave a concert for the inmates.
In August there was a presentation at the Workhouse. Mr. & Mrs. Crockett, who for the past 20 months had been joint master and matron were appointed to Derby Workhouse and were presented with an inscribed silver combination flower vase.
A reporter from the Express made a detailed visit and they published a very flowery effusive report.
The Guardians agreed in August that Mrs. Kate Weekes, cook attendant for the nurses, should be re-appointed for a further 12 months at £30 pa plus rations.
In September Mr. and Mrs. S.F.Rowbottom were appointed as the new master/matron at a salary of £120 pa for the master and £100 for the matron. They had both been at Southwall Workhouse.
In October the Board of Guardians agreed that Jepson Brook, the painter at Deanhouse, should be paid his full salary, less the separation allowance paid to his wife by the War Office, whilst on active duty.
1915. The salary of Miss A.Richardson, imbecile attendant, was increased from £28 to £32 pa. At the July 1914 meeting of the Board of Guardians, the minutes of the Deanhouse Committee including the Medical Officer’s half-yearly report were read out. They recommended that the repairs in regards to the drainage should be put in hand without delay, the dining hall needed ceiling ventilation,the meat cellar was badly ventilated, separation of disagreeable and noisy cases from other inmates and double attendance in the lunatic wards were necessary . Better accomodation was required for the nurses and epileptics should be separated from other cases. The Master’s report showed that there were 244 patients compared to 191 in July 1914.
In August there was a garden party at Deanhouse. The inmates listened in the afternoon to the Honley Brass Band which played first in the garden and then on the front drive. The band members proceeded to a neighbouring inn and were treated by Miss Sidon, chairman of the Board of Guardians, to a high tea. All the patients were supplied with tobacco and sweets.
In September it was decided that that temporary arrangements should be made to the inmates diet. Cheese, bread and a coffee dinner would replace roast on every Wednesday. In October, Mr.J.E.Boothroyd, baker at the Institute made an application requesting permission to join HM Forces and the request was referred to the Committee.
In December the Master reported to the Board of Guardians that an Inspector to the Board of Agriculture had come to inspect the land and the potato crop and that no cure for the wart disease was known. He said that the gas had been unsatisfactorily for the last two weeks but added that the electric light mains were likely to be brought within a reasonable distance of the Institution. The Board would submit a scheme to install electricity .
The photograph below was taken some time in 1915 and shows members of staff. I’m assuming that the Master & Matron, Mr. & Mrs. S.F. Rowbottom are among them.
For the history from 1916 to the closure in 1968 see separate chapter.