Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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The Workhouse Children 1884

The Workhouse, Carisbrooke

On Friday 25 July 1884, the Ryde and St Helens members of the Board of Guardians, with a kindly feeling deserving of the greatest praise, gave a treat to the workhouse children. The little ones, who numbered over 100, arrived at Ryde by train about the middle of the day, and, after a goodly lunch, were allowed to stroll about the Esplanade Gardens and shore, and enjoy themselves to their heart’s content.

The good-natured Guardians furnished the youngsters with 6d. each, and, as was natural, they made their way to the Arcade, where they quickly disbursed the greater part of the money. Headed by the fife and drum band they then marched to the Town Hall, where they sat down to a substantial tea. There were plenty of waiters to attend to their wants, the Guardians themselves superintending. Those who seemed to take the greatest interest in carrying out the arrangements were the Mayor (Alderman C. Colenutt) and Miss Colenutt, Mr. E. Sweetman, sen., (who was assisted by Messrs H. and C. Sweetman and the Misses Sweetman), Capt. Brooke Leeds and Mrs. Leeds, Capt. Laity, Mr. Osmond Brook, Professor Simonds, Ald. Barton, and Mr. Joseph Ellery.

The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy the outing so kindly provided, and before leaving they testified their gratitude by hearty cheers for the Guardians. It is evident that the children who are compelled by adverse circumstances to take refuge in our Island workhouse are treated with kindness and consideration. They all looked clean, happy, and well fed, and it is evident a great change has taken place since the eminent novelist exposed the cruelties of the Poor Law system of his day. There were no Oliver Twists amongst the children who came here on Friday, and the Guardians are evidently very different to the type Dickens depicted.

Source: IW Observer 
Image: RSHG Archive
Article: Ann Barrett