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Andover Workhouse 7Created 13/11/2007 20:42:48  Updated 07/03/2008 20:28:29
Andover Workhouse
Sketch Outside Workhouse
Upwards of half-a-dozen girls in the workhouse, some of them verging on adulthood, have at times been stripped naked in the most brutal and indecent manner, by the Master, for the purpose of inflicting cruel floggings; and the same girls, at other times, have, in a scarcely less indecent manner, been compelled by him to strip the upper parts of their bodies naked, to allow him to terrorise them with birch rods on their bare shoulders and waists, and which, from more than one of the statements from the lips of the sufferers, appears to have been inflicted without mercy.
One girl says, "My back was marked with blood". Another, a witness, who had not herself been punished, says, "We women were called to hold one of the girls while the Master flogged her; but we went down in the yard out of the way, because we could not bear the sight; afterwards we got ointment out of the sick ward to rub her back, for it was all cut to pieces". One Sunday the Master flogged little Jemmy (a pauper's illegitimate child, then two years of age) with a birch rod, so that the child carried the marks for a month,. All because the child cried for its mother, who had gone to church, and for its little brother, who was put into breeches, and taken away from the children's ward."' Left is how part of the kitchen looked back in the 1960's. Mr Eaton who took a horses leg from the pile of bones, removed the hair and ate the flesh. It had not been cooked it was totally raw. Mr.Hugh Munday was one of the elected Guardians of the Andover workhouse. He was a borough councillor and a farmer. He was one of a very few that actually cared about the poor.
Mr.Munday heard the rumours that were circulating about life in the Andover workhouse. He decided to find out for himself. He did discover many atrocities. He contacted Ralph Etwall, Member of Parliament for Andover who then raised the matter in the House of Commons. Sir James Graham The Home Secretary thought the stories to be totally untrue and asked the Poor Law Commission to send an Assistant Commissioner to investigate. This investigation was not carried out properly. In January 1846 Ralph Etwall brought the matter up again in the House of Commons and asked for a Select Committee Inquiry. Because of all the publicity the stories of the Andover workhouse had received in The Times newspaper the request was granted and all the rumours were found to be true.
The Andover Workhouse was described in its time as "A place of Horror". It was built in 1836 in Junction Road. People believed that to be poor was a crime and that vagrants and shirkers should be discouraged by hard work and subsistence living only. The Andover Workhouse was known as "The Spike" locally.  
Here are a couple of cartoons that were in the national papers at the time the scandel was uncovered.

Workhouse Cartoon DrawingWorkhouse Cartoon 

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