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The Workhouse at Whiston


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Pondering on this the other day..


Never mind that you were so destitute that you needed to go there in the first place, but it was also a hell of a trek from most parts of St Helens. Imagine being cold, hungry, old or maybe ill (or with some small children/babies in tow). That walk must have half-killed some of the poor devils. Then the humiliation of the entry process and all that followed.


Just awful.

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Hi Mummyfoo, Yes I agree it must have been awful, they must have done a lot of walking in those days,

or maybe they got a ride from someone with a horse and cart, or similar transportation? I hope so.


Did you ever read Jack London "The People of the Abyss" and Charles Dickens "A Walk in a Workhouse"?

Very sad, but gives an insight into what it was actually like back then.





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I can remember my Grandad taking ill in his later years and being absolutely terrified of going into Whiston hospital as he was convinced he was going into the workhouse and would not be coming out again. To be so ill and refusing treatment just shows how terrible it must have been in the place, eventually got him to go into St Helens as that wasn't a 'workhouse'!

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This reminds me of a time I spent when I was about 14 or 15. For some reason I helped an old lady for a week or 2 . Her name was Mrs Nevitt and she lived in Harris St (about 110) My jobs included emptying her chamber pot, helping her lay the fire. I shopped for tripe and fish. When the doctor came, I think it was Dr Dukerly from the doctors at the corner of Cowley Hill lane (his father was a doctor as well) When he came to the door, before he got into the living room she would shout. "I don't want the young one and I am not going in the workhouse" I was scared to death to listen to her scream at him. She would go on for ages after he had gone telling mye about the workhouse which I knew nothing about. Who sent for the doctor I don't know, she was not ill, just old and her daughter lived in Nottingham. Did doctors really just pop round to see you in the 1950's?!!!

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I think they did Joyce, if as you say, she was old, she must have had some medical history with the Dr.,

especially if she mentioned 'the young one', she must have known the older Dr. Dunkerley too.

So I think in those days, the patient and Dr. relationships were more personal than they are these days.

I remember we knew our Dr. very well and he was always popping round, even if we just had a slight cold etc.


Another book I found online, which I would love to read, is "Shadows of the Workhouse"

by Jennifer Worth, the same author of "Call The Midwife".



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We definitely had a more personal relationship with our GP 'back in the day'.


Mum tells the story of how, when he was about six years old, she once smacked Dr Michael Rosen on the bum - then frogmarched him around to the back of their house (Cowley Mount, Cowley Hill Lane) to deliver him back to his mother. He had ridden his tricycle down the driveway and straight onto the main road (without looking) .. with his younger sister (Elizabeth?) in 'hot pursuit'. When she got into the Consulting Room she snitched to his father, 'Dr Isadore Rosen', about what had happened.


Nowadays, she'd have got the entire family banned from the premises and removed from the GP's List :rolleyes:!

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