The Newmarket Union (and workhouse)

The old Newmarket Union workhouse up Exning Road - see map below, and also see the page on Newmarket Hospital (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 1).

The old Newmarket Union workhouse up Exning Road – see map below, and also see the page on Newmarket Hospital (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 1).

The Newmarket Union is a fascinating institution that ran for nearly a century, from 1835 to 1930. It was the health and social care system for the poor during that time. It’s interesting to consider how the NHS emerged from such institutions (see the end of this long account), and what went before.

The 16th century saw the dissolution of the monasteries with their associated charitable work. Much health and social care had been delivered through their activities for centuries, funded by charitable giving and income generated by the monasteries themselves, e.g. through farming, and even fees from medical work (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for some early examples of that in the Newmarket area). Their demise, alongside other social changes, led to the Elizabethan poor laws.

These laws made parishes the main providers of relief for the poor, funded largely through local taxation (although it’s of note that throughout history medics have often cared for patients free of charge or beyond the remit for which they were paid – see 1919 in the references below as an example). Relief was given as ‘out relief’ or by admission ‘in’to the emerging workhouses, which initially at least were often ordinary houses used for the purpose. From a medical point of view, out relief involved parishes meeting the costs of health care provided for the poor treated in the community, whereas other such folk were admitted into the workhouses, which functioned partly as infirmaries for ‘in’patient treatment. Much medical care in the ‘work’houses was provided to the chronically sick and infirm, housed there on a long term basis, not capable of any actual work, which was only done by the ‘able-bodied’ poor – see below.

There are various entries from the 1740s in the Newmarket St Mary’s vestry book regarding the local medic William Sandiver 1 being paid by the parish for treating parishioners (see the page on William Sandiver 1 for an image of one such entry). A newspaper notice from 1788 implies that his son, William Sandiver 2, was perhaps the official St Mary’s parish medic, with John Edwards the same for All Saints’ (see the page on John Edwards for an image). Later the St Mary’s vestry book records that Robert James Peck was employed as the parish medic in both 1822 (see image below) and 1832, so likely in between as well, and for a few years afterwards until the formation of the Newmarket Union.

A note from the Newmarket St Mary's vestry minutes book about Robert James Peck being paid to attend the poor of the parish in 1822 (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 2).

A note from the Newmarket St Mary’s vestry minutes book about Robert James Peck being paid to attend the poor of the parish in 1822 (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 2).

Interestingly, in 1750 the Searancke family of Newmarket medics occupied a house known as ‘the workhouse’. It’s not known whether they were in some sense medical officers to a local workhouse, and living in a section of it, or perhaps more likely they were living in a property that had earlier been used as a workhouse. However, it’s known that there were workhouses in both Newmarket parishes, one in the High Street for St Mary’s (sold in 1836) and apparently also one somewhere in St Mary’s Square. In 1783 the Newmarket St Mary’s vestry minute book mentions rent being paid for ‘the Work-House’. It’s not yet known where any workhouses in the All Saints’ parish were situated. In the surrounding villages there were later properties referred to as the ‘old workhouse’ in Stetchworth (in 1849, obviously after it was no longer a workhouse) and Dullingham.

Changes in the law resulted in for formation of Poor Law Unions in the mid 1830s, of which the Newmarket Union was one. These united together groups of parishes to perform the health and social care functions that previously had been the responsibility of each individual parish. Similarly, rather than lots of small workhouses scattered amongst the parishes, this development saw the building of one large workhouse per Union, in Newmarket’s case in what was, at the time, open land in between Newmarket and Exning, up Exning Road (the building is still visible today next to Newmarket Community Hospital, converted into housing – see image at the top right of this page and map below).

The 1901 OS map of Newmarket, showing even then the building was well out of town (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 3).

The 1901 OS map of Newmarket, showing even then the building was well out of town (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 3).

Each Union had a Board of Guardians running the system in their patch; a central Poor Law Commission oversaw the whole process nationally (later replaced by other similar national bodies). The Newmarket Union comprised the parishes of Ashley, Borough Green, Bottisham, Brinkley, Burwell, Cheveley, Chippenham, Dalham, Dullingham, Exning, Fordham, Gazeley, Isleham, Kennett, Kirtling, Landwade, Lidgate, Moulton, Newmarket St Mary’s, Newmarket All Saints’, Ousden, Soham, Snailwell, Stetchworth, Swaffham Prior, Swaffham Bulbeck, Westley Waterless, Wicken and Woodditton. It’s of interest that this was a selection of parishes from both Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, so crossing county boundaries – not least Newmarket St Mary’s in Suffolk and Newmarket All Saints’ in Cambridgeshire at that time.

Most of these parishes would be regarded as part of the practice area of today’s Newmarket GP surgeries. At the start of the 21st century, the Rookery Medical Centre regarded Bottisham, Lidgate, Soham, Swaffham Bulbeck, Swaffham Prior and Wicken as outside of their practice area, with all of the other villages mentioned above within it. Soham in particular has a large practice of its own, which covers Soham, Isleham and Wicken. Bottisham and Burwell also have surgeries of their own today. Historically, during the time of the Newmarket Union, there were non-Newmarket medics based in Soham, Bottisham, and Burwell too, and at least at times in Isleham, Wicken, Lidgate and Gazeley. Sometimes medics from outside the Newmarket Union area served within it, such as medics from Barrow and Wickhambrook. However, it’s of note that contrary to what is often thought, historically, just like today, most of the parishes listed above did not have medics of their own, but were served from Newmarket based practices (see more details below).

This page, and talkingdust.net more generally, concentrates on the Newmarket based medics operating in the Newmarket Union area, rather than those based in Soham, Bottisham, Burwell and Isleham etc., but does include details of the Newmarket based practices where they were active in the peripheral parishes that didn’t have their own medics.

The first meeting of the Newmarket Union took place on New Year’s eve 1835. Over the next 94 years they left 37 volumes of minutes, which this page attempts to summarise. It necessarily concentrates on the medical aspects of the Union’s work, but first some aspects of its wider social care remit are noted here as well. Often there’s overlap, then as now.

One of the main roles of the workhouse was to discourage the ‘able bodied’ from claiming relief (i.e. primarily the wider non-medical relief). Out relief was granted to such people only under special circumstances, like during a fever/influenza outbreak at the workhouse in 1839, or an interesting case of rehabilitation in 1843 (again see details in the references below). Generally, if the able bodied wanted relief they had to enter the workhouse, where they were given tasks to do (as a disincentive from seeing it as an alternative to work). The Newmarket workhouse employed a miller, presumably so that entering it would be like being put through the mill! Likely partly as a result of that, it seems at times there were very few able bodied workers in the Newmarket workhouse, like in June 1843 when ‘the Miller was discharged there being only three able bodied men in the House’. However, this lack of usable workforce appears partly to have been because during the summer months it was easier to find work on the land. The more agricultural nature of the economy back then is evident from interesting population figures that appear periodically in the minutes. For example, in November 1841 the population of Newmarket St Mary’s and All Saints’ combined was just under 3000, but the population of Kirtling was 796 and Woodditton 1016, both villages significantly smaller in proportion to Newmarket town’s size today (further details of this are not included in the references below, just what’s mentioned here, unlike with most other facts on this page, some of which hyperlink to the references section as above, but most can be found by simply scrolling down for anyone interested in more details). A minute from 1848, when the workhouse was too full, records ‘a great change is perceptible in the minds of the Rate-payers who a few years since cherished a hope that the sending able bodied Labourers into the House in the Winter Season [underlining mine] would prove such a punishment as would induce them to use their utmost exertions to support themselves and their families without assistance, but in that they have been much disappointed; an order for the House has become so common and so frequently accepted that it ceases to be considered by them a disgrace to go there’. Also, perhaps the conditions weren’t actually that bad. A government inspection in 1876 recorded ‘all the Inmates whom I questioned assured me they were well cared for’, although this might have referred primarily to the sick and aged. In December 1841, on another occasion when the workhouse was too full, it was suggested that out relief be granted to able bodied men only in return for braking up ‘large hard stones’ bought in for the purpose! This attitude to the able bodied poor is also evident from a couple of considerable charitable donations recorded in the minutes in 1864 and 1871. The first was specifically for ‘the aged and the Boys and Girls in the Workhouse’. The second large donation was for ‘promoting the comfort of deserving inmates of the Union Workhouse’ (as opposed to those regarded as undeserving?), and resulted in ‘a dinner of roast Beef and plum pudding being provided for all the inmates of the Workhouse excepting the adult able bodied Paupers’ and ‘taking the workhouse school children to Harwich… by Rail and Boat by the Great Eastern Railway Company’s advertised excursion’.

The school was another significant non-medical feature of the workhouse. A minute from 1848, and others later, show that funding for schoolmasters and school mistresses came from central government – Newmarket had both (they went down with Scarlet fever together in 1849). It’s of note that some of the medical officers funding came from central government too. In 1846 an interesting minute regarding the workhouse school recorded that ‘the Bible & Testament are the only Books required for the Instruction of the Children’, and another in 1848 that it ‘is well known that many children have been sent into the house more for the sake of getting some education than from the inability of their parents to maintain them’, although it went on to mention that ‘national and other schools are springing up in almost every village’. Nevertheless, the workhouse school persisted. Later the Union had dealings with children’s homes too, such as Barnardo’s and ‘The Waifs and Stray’s Society’ (see examples from 1900, 1923 and 1927 in the references below). It’s of interest that in the early 20th century the Newmarket Union contributed to the funds of the NSPCC as well (see the 1912 reference below).

After school age the Union was involved with the funding of apprenticeships etc. (the Waif’s and Strays reference above was about someone being placed in service as a maid at a college). There are numerous other examples in the minutes of this sort of thing, including those apprenticed to shoemakers (in 1853 and 1861), Newmarket Trainers (1859 and 1868) and another to a basket maker in 1858. The details in these references show that sometimes the apprenticeships were funded partly by the Union and partly by the individual’s family, &or an institution such as the Deaf and Dumb Society in the 1853 case. Also, sometimes medical certificates were required, certifying the individual’s fitness to undertake the apprenticeship. Interestingly, some apprenticeships weren’t local, such as to the ‘sea service’ at Yarmouth in 1860 and the Grimsby Steam Trawling Co. in 1902.

Even further afield the Union was involved with the 19th century mass emigrations. In 1844 it funded emigration from Borough Green to Canada. In 1848 large scale emigration of ‘paupers’ to Australia was commented on in the minutes, and the impact this might have on the need to expand the workhouse (i.e. they hoped it might not be necessary).

The numerous contracts entered into and payments made in the Newmarket Union minute books give a flavour of its wide remit beyond the simply medical (see also the Relieving Offer section below for how some of these things were used). For example, in March 1843 contracts were entered into to supply flour, bread, coal, beer, milk, clothing of various forms and blankets, paper of various forms, pens, ink glasses, ink, pencils, slates with frames, wax, wafers (for communion at the workhouse chapel?), and red tape (for the bureaucracy?!), brandy, gin, port wine, sherry and porter ‘for the sick’ (interestingly), haircutting at the workhouse and pauper funerals. Details regarding the latter reflect the high childhood mortality rate; there were separate categories of funeral specified for those aged under 8, 8-14 and over 14 (incidental evidence for this is found in some later vaccination officer returns too, showing that 6-7% of Newmarket children died in their first year of life – see 1889 in the references). The minutes are full of such non-medical contracts, payments and activities. Another of particular interest is an early equivalent of the winter fuel allowance in 1923, when a weekly amount of money was ‘granted to all paupers in receipt of outrelief [written as one word on this occasion] who are house-holders to meet the cost of coal’, during January to March. A couple more entries of interest with a more medical flavour again include 10 shillings spent from the proceeds of Rag & Bone sales in 1860 on ‘slippers for the sick’, and clarification in 1898 that if a blind person received charitable aid from the Royal Blind Pension Society this would not reduce the out relief granted to him by the Union.

In view of the above, aside from the Medical Officers discussed in more detail below and elsewhere on this website, the Relieving Officers also feature prominently in the minutes. Their role, noted in January 1844, involved ‘the visitation of the poor, the enquiry into their circumstances and the granting of relief’. As with some of the examples already mentioned, this was not necessarily financial. Often it was given as flour, and sometimes other forms of relief such as someone from Exning in 1845 being granted 10 yards of calico as relief (a type of fabric), presumably to help clothe his six children? Interestingly, this was recorded in a list of names granted out relief because smallpox was prevalent at the time. In 1845 a labourer from Dullingham described as ‘a feeble and infirm man, in irregular work, and consequently with fluctuating wages’ was granted relief ‘in the shape of a pair of shoes’ for one of his seven children.

A significant part of the relieving officer’s work included involvement with medical issues though, not least because, as already mentioned, sickness can lead to poverty and vice versa. Their role included assessing applications for medical relief, not always an easy task, as the 1844 minutes acknowledge (again see the references below for details). They are also found providing extra food for sick individuals (e.g. in 1845), even brandy in childbirth (or failure to do so in 1849), procuring a building as a pop-up fever hospital in Stetchworth during an 1847 outbreak there, doubling up as vaccination officers in 1870 (this was recording vaccinations, not administering them), controlling the admission of patients with TB to the infirmary in 1919, and many similar roles. The minutes go through phases of recording the names of those receiving relief of various forms for medical conditions, and at times what was given, which might be financial (essentially like sick pay) but could be in the form of meat, broth, ale or porter etc. The medical conditions recorded include things like asthma / chest disease / bronchitis / pneumonia, phthisis (typically TB of the chest), scrofula (TB of the neck nodes), and tuberculosis generally, influenza, ulcerated sore throat, scarlatina (scarlet fever), measles, whooping cough, small pox (which they tended to write as two separate words), diarrhoea, worms, abscess, ‘rupture’ i.e. hernia (they even had a ‘trusses account’ – see 1858 below), rheumatism, lumbago, paralysis, broken leg, fractured rib and other fractures, ‘bad leg’, ‘bad finger’, burn, scald, ‘injury to eye’, and other general injuries/accidents, kidney disease, jaundice, anaemia, general ‘debility’, ‘senile debility’, tumour, childbirth, miscarriage, and interestingly even the more modern banes of cancer and angina pectoris were mentioned (see further below for some examples of what they did).

A 19th century medic in a poor cottage pondering the case of a sick child (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 4).

A 19th century medic in a poor cottage pondering the case of a sick child (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 4).

And so to the medical officers (again see further below regarding exactly who covered the various medical districts and workhouse at various times, from a Newmarket perspective, and more details in the references). The pages about individual medics include cases from the Newmarket Union minute books, as well as describing the life and work of each individual more generally. This page gives a flavour of the sort of work they did specifically as part of their Newmarket Union role, including more about some of the conditions listed in the paragraph above.

As would be expected, infectious diseases feature prominently in these essentially 19th century minutes, in a way that’s not characteristic of medical practice in Newmarket today. However, it’s interesting to note influenza outbreaks, like the one in 1839 mentioned above, which are still an issue today, although increasingly tackled by vaccination. For them vaccination was specifically against smallpox alone, which is discussed in detail on the page dedicated to Newmarket and smallpox, including the Union’s significant role in the fight against that disease during the 94 years of its existence.

Some of their ideas regarding infectious diseases are fascinating to observe, such as in 1849 when ‘a more dry and solid dietary than that usually used in Workhouses for the pauper children’ was recommended, ‘during the existence of the present morbific state of the atmosphere, which increases the tendency in those partaking, in too great a degree, of fluid diet, to bowel complaints’, so they ‘ordered that the Dietary of the Children be altered by substituting in their Broth Rice for Peas.’ They did recognise that limiting contagion was key with these diseases though, such as in 1874 when the Local Government Board recommended ‘that the workhouse nurse should in no case do duty in both the ordinary sick wards and the infectious wards’. It was even possible to compulsorily detain people thought to be contagious (see an 1870 example in the references below). They had a concept of contagious ‘nuisances’ being responsible for spreading disease as well, such that in 1864 Dr Mead was of the opinion that ‘certain serious nuisances existed in the parish of Woodditton and that in consequence of the prevalence of fever it would be dangerous for the Guardians to inspect them’. An interesting letter from Floyd Peck to the Board of Guardians in 1843 about a problem in Moulton with typhus fever illustrates their thinking well (click here for details). Buildings themselves were sometimes regarded as ‘pestilential’, as with a building in Snailwell in 1847. Much effort was put into identifying and dealing with such ‘nuisances’ as a matter of public health, like when Dr Mead was helped by some labourers to clear ‘nuisances’ in 1865, again from Woodditton. There was even an official ‘Inspector of nuisances’ mentioned in 1877. Obviously this line of thinking would have been more relevant with some infectious diseases than others, and some interventions more likely helpful in preventing disease than others, such as dealing with a problematic Newmarket drain in 1850. Such efforts would have helped prevent cholera in particular, an ever present threat they faced, as recognised by Richard Faircloth in 1854 when he reported ‘a case of Cholera and other cases of Diarrhoea in Newmarket and the defective state of the sewerage in the District where they occurred’. Despite ‘immediate attention to it and the consequences likely to arise from the evil’, it seems a small outbreak did ensue, so they took various other measures including setting up a ‘House of refuge’ – apparently a pop up cholera hospital, although during a cholera epidemic affecting Soham and Isleham the year before children had been received into the workhouse (but perhaps that was more likely because their parents were unwell than that the children themselves had cholera?). Aside from cholera, another disease that caused similar epidemics was typhoid (not to be confused with typhus), which caused a spike in the need for poor law relief in District 1 (i.e. Newmarket town) in 1873, recorded in the 1874 minutes.

The medics of this era must have been at significant risk themselves, given the high proportion of serious infectious disease cases they dealt with, against which there was no vaccination etc. (aside from for smallpox), and the limited effective treatment available aside from avoiding contact. It’s surprising that so many of them lived to quite such an advanced age. However, some did succumb to documented diseases possibly acquired during the course of their work, such as Walter Hutchinson who in 1905 died from TB, aged 52. It’s thought that the Pecks might have emigrated to Australia partly because TB was prevalent in the family, which they might have acquired through Robert Peck’s grandfather Richard Hawes having a special interest in that disease. Robert Peck himself died from pneumonia in 1848, also in his 50s (not necessarily related to TB, but possibly through something he was exposed to at work, in an era without antibiotics).

Psychiatric cases also feature prominently in the minute books, perhaps sometimes thought of as modern phenomenon, but not so. It appears they tended to blur the distinction between psychiatric illness, learning difficulty and even epilepsy, although separate institutions did emerge (see below). Then as now, such problems would often lead to poverty, so naturally a poor law institution would have such cases to deal with. The terminology they used requires some explanation. They used what we would regard as terms of abuse, not intending to be abusive at all – simply using what were normal clinical words at the time (which only later became abusive language, so new clinical labels that we’re more familiar with evolved). Similarly, we see in the minutes ‘surgeons’ dealing with psychiatric cases, since as explained on the page about The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulations, and elsewhere on this website, the term ‘surgeon’ was used for generalist medics back then, hence GP ‘surgeries’, although their practice was much more surgical than GPs today, as outlined further below as well, but they did deal with psychiatry.

So the minutes contain things like Richard Faircloth, the workhouse medical officer, reporting in 1841 that someone was ‘a dangerous Idiot and an improper subject for the House’ (i.e. workhouse) and should be ‘removed to a Lunatic Asylum’, and payments being made in 1845 to ‘Mr Fred Page Surgeon for examining + certifying as to the state of mind of Lunatics’. In fact Frederick Page appears to have had a particular interest in such cases, although later he moved away to become a hospital surgeon. It’s also of note that the later Newmarket medic Sidney Winslow Woollett worked in the ‘Peckham House Lunatic Asylum’ and ‘Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum’ before coming to Newmarket – see the pages on Frederick Page and Sidney Winslow Woollett for more details.

West of Newmarket the ‘Suffolk Lunatic Asylum at Melton’ was mentioned from early on in in the minute books, such as in 1845 when ‘an Inmate of the House’ was ‘removed’ there for being a ‘dangerous Lunatic’. In 1916 this asylum had its official name changed from the ‘District Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ to ‘“St. Audrey’s Hospital” –  for mental diseases’ because they’d become sensitive to their ‘rather objectionable name’, wanting to ‘convey to the poor people to whose troubles we do our best to administer, and their relatives’, a better ‘atmosphere’. The equivalent institution for Cambridgeshire at Fulbourn didn’t open until 1858, when ‘Orders of Removal of certain Lunatics from the Metropolitan Asylums to the County Lunatic Asylum’ were issued and carried out by one of the Relieving Officers. Before this, Newmarket Union patients from Cambridgeshire (which was most parishes in the Union – see 1894 note on 1869 in the references) found themselves in one of the London (i.e. Metropolitan) Asylums, such as St Luke’s / Bethnal Green in 1844/5, and others. Even after that sometimes patients ended up in outlying asylums for other reasons but were allowed to stay there if it was felt appropriate, such as a patient in 1856 who remained at an asylum near York, funded by the Newmarket Union. Funding for mental health and other issues was defined by someone’s parish of ‘settlement’ (which was not necessarily their place of birth – it could be their place of apprenticeship etc.). This York patient officially belonged to Chippenham just outside Newmarket, for reasons not specified.

Even though these asylums sprang up, some such patients were still managed in the local workhouse, but seemingly the less florid cases, as would be expected. For that reason periodic inspections of the workhouse by the ‘Visiting Commissioner in Lunacy’ took place (see 1907 in the references below, which also illustrates the blurred terminology mentioned above). Conversely, the Newmarket Guardians had committees for visiting the local asylums as well (see 1894). In 1921 there was even an example of the workhouse facilities being used as respite care for someone with learning difficulties so that her parents could go on holiday.

As mentioned above, it’s of note that patients with epilepsy were treated in such institutions at this time, but by 1920 medics like Newmarket’s Dr Crompton (the workhouse medical officer at the time) didn’t agree with that practice: ‘in my opinion [epileptics] should be treated as such, and if possible sent to a suitable institution, and not a lunatic asylum’. Likewise, regarding children with learning difficulties, he felt ‘strongly that children who are incapable of being educated at the Board school should be sent to special institutions where they would have every chance of improving, and not as will certainly happen if they are simply certified, and detained without proper treatment becoming hopeless imbeciles’. As with the other terminology discussed above, word ‘imbecile’ was a technical medical term back then, meaning someone of low IQ, not as low as someone defined as an ‘idiot’. There was even an institution in Colchester where suitable Newmarket folk could go called the ‘Essex Hall Asylum for Idiots’ (1887) or ‘Eastern Counties Asylum for Idiots’, who apparently later updated their name for the early 20th century to the ‘Royal Eastern Counties Institution’, obviously an improvement, but it’s interesting how even that name seems a bit dated to our ears (as would be expected another century on). The Newmarket Union gave a loan to the father of a pupil going to this Essex Hall facility, mentioned in the 1887 reference, for him to buy her clothing, rather than the Union simply providing the clothing for her. There are other examples of partial self-funding in the minutes too, like the workhouse tailor voluntarily taking a significant salary reduction in 1862 to fund his wife’s treatment in an asylum. A ‘Lunatic wandering at large’ in 1903 had a significant amount of money on him that was used to fund his treatment in an asylum. He was given back what was left on discharge. If they had the means, families were expected to fund their relatives to some degree, not just for mental health issues but more generally too.

We might imagine that patients rarely emerged from such institutions in Victorian times, but as above not so. Even as early as 1845 someone from Borough Green who’d been admitted to St Luke’s in London ‘was so far recovered that she should be removed upon trial for 2 months’. Again it was the Relieving Officer’s job to fetch her, as with other cases to and from the various asylums. Many similar discharges are mentioned in the minutes, not only recovered but even ‘cured’ in an 1846 example. Interestingly, with one patient ready and wanting a trial of discharge from Fulbourn in 1894, the Chairman of the Board of Guardians ‘promised to endeavour to find some employment for him’ first, before he was allowed to leave, illustrating the fascinating mix of benevolence with harshness often displayed in these minutes.

Despite some of the terminology mentioned above, the minutes don’t mention a specific psychiatric diagnosis most of the time, but occasionally they do, such as with someone improving from ‘melancholia’ in 1894 who was likely soon for discharge (not the same patient as above). The most interesting case recorded with a specific diagnosis was perhaps someone with ‘puerperal mania’ managed by Richard Faircloth in 1873, seemingly in the community, at Westley Waterless.

Regarding the number of patients involved requiring admission to asylums, the 1894 inspections include some statistics. At the start of that year the Newmarket Union had 15 men 27 women and 3 boys in the Fulbourn Asylum (although these were just the Cambridgeshire patients, as mentioned above the Union was comprised primarily of parishes from Cambridgeshire, so this would have been a good proportion of their asylum patients, but in addition it must be born in mind that these numbers includes patients from as far away as Soham etc.). It’s also important to note that these figures only include patients funded by the poor law. There were private asylums too, such as one in Norwich mentioned in the 1898 minutes.

Finally with regards to mental health, it’s interesting that one of the last initiatives of the Newmarket union was to campaign for dementia patients to be managed in special facilities separate from the asylums.

Another role often mentioned in the minutes is ‘midwifery’ (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation regarding man-midwifes). This was particularly with regards to difficult cases requiring instrumentation etc. The 1907 and 1908 minutes record a couple of cases in more detail involving Dr Woollett, one in which he had to break the child’s thigh in order to save both the mother and baby (!), and another in which he used instruments (presumably forceps). However, the most extraordinary case took place in 1883 when Clement Gray performed a Cæsarian section in someone’s house, assisted by several medics from other practices (including Walter Hutchinson manning the ‘ether-spray’ anaesthetic, who was not an officer of the Union at that stage). Clement Gray was reimbursed for this effort by the Newmarket Union because the patient was ‘a dwarf pauper residing in Grosvenor Yard Newmarket’, which was in his District 1. A full account can be found on a separate page dedicated to this extraordinary event, which he wrote up in the BMJ, by clicking here. Obviously home birth was the norm (even for a Cæsarians!) but in 1926 a pregnant patient was transferred to the workhouse infirmary ‘in view of the unsatisfactory conditions of the home of this woman’.

Regarding other medical activities, it was normal at this time for generalist medics to perform post mortems on their patients. Most often these are mentioned in Newspaper reports, regarding their practice not necessarily connected with the Newmarket Union. However, when appropriate they performed post mortems on poor law patients too, like one minuted in 1869 regarding a case of George Mead’s with an interesting kidney disease. Related to this very anatomical side to their work, it’s of note that the workhouse supplied bodies to the Anatomy Department of Cambridge University, under strictly controlled conditions (see 1861 below), although it’s not clear whether they did that very often. Also reflecting the more surgical nature of general practice at this time is their involvement in amputations, mentioned in 1875. Obviously therefore they managed simple fractures too, documented by a case of Richard Faircloth’s in 1867 (the page on Richard Faircloth includes a detailed account regarding how he managed a more complicated fracture in 1847). He even managed a case of compound fracture of the skull in 1856 – virtually neurosurgery! – John Hansby Maund was involved with a similar case at the Rous Memorial Hospital in 1901 (click on his name for the details), and likewise Dr Randall from Alton House surgery at the Rous Memorial Hospital in 1940! (click on the hospital link for the details).

In 1852 Mr Bay(e)s, the assistant to Richard Faircloth (who was the workhouse medical officer), was involved in a case who’d died from apoplexy (stroke) in which the patient suffered scalding from being put in a hot bath, which was an attempt at treatment. On a more positive and modern sounding note, in 1851 Richard Faircloth organised water cushions and mattresses at the workhouse hospital for the treatment of a patient suffering from ‘excoriation and sloughing’. Other more medical (as opposed to surgical) cases include in the 1870s a patient with dropsy (oedema/swelling) again managed by Richard Faircloth. In 1843 ‘an inmate labouring under the disease of the Itch having refused to submit to the treatment of the Surgeon was ordered to be discharged from the House’, again showing ‘surgeons’ treating a likely medical condition. In 1926 some form of disinfection carried out in the home of some patients suffering from scarlet fever damaged their bedding, so they applied to the poor law guardians for compensation!

Sexually transmitted diseases also get a mention in the minutes. In 1840 the Workhouse Committee ordered that ‘Inmates of the House having the venereal Disease shall in future be compelled to wear a badge of Disgrace’ (!), although even by Victorian standards it appears that was regarded as a bit harsh, since shortly afterwards the measure was suspended pending further discussion and not mentioned again. In contrast, their benevolence came to the fore again in 1841 when they allowed the Governor of the workhouse to keep his terminally ill children in their facilities, presumably free of charge even though they weren’t paupers. Likewise in 1852 out relief was agreed for a frail old man who wanted to leave the workhouse provided his son would take him in, presumably even though the son had an income and under such circumstances normally out relief would not have been granted.

Perhaps given the limited efficacy of medicines at this time, the medical officers paid particular attention to diet (the importance of which has come to the fore again in recent decades). Their priority though often seems to have been simply improved nourishment. In 1840 the minutes went through a phase of recording medical certificates by officers of the union that were essentially a cross between sick notes and prescriptions, as mentioned above often for things like meat & porter, broth or nourishing/generous diet, alongside straight forward rest, and the more expected bleeding, tonics, purgatives, aperients, astringents, expectorants, ointments, bandaging, dressings, plasters, strapping, formentations, blisters and poultices. A similar prescription for nourishment is implied in a case involving Floyd Peck in 1851 detailed in the references below. As late as 1912 Dr Woollett advised that a patient ‘requires more nourishment when it was resolved that the Relieving Officer be directed to watch this case’. It’s also of note that the workhouse medical officer was responsible for setting and reviewing the general ‘Dietary of the House’, as recorded with Richard Faircloth in 1854. The provision of a good diet in the hospital was even regarded in 1874 as a major reason for admitting patients, in preference to them being treated at home. However, the diet was the cause of a complaint in 1842. Interestingly, such complaints were formally investigated, just as would be the case today.

Aside from the workhouse infirmary, served by just one local generalist medical officer at a time, and later the Rous Memorial Hospital and Fever Hospital (also covered by local generalist medics), there was no hospital in Newmarket until after the Second World War – see the page on Newmarket Hospital. Despite this, aside from the asylums already mentioned, consulting specialists and referral to hospitals outside of Newmarket was relatively rare by today’s standards, but is mentioned occasionally in the minutes.

An early rare example of a consultant opinion was in 1839 when Dr Probart, a physician from Bury St Edmunds, was consulted by the Board / Richard Faircloth (the workhouse medical officer) regarding the cause of an unspecified ‘Sickness in the House’, which was possibly a continuation of that diagnosed the month before by Richard Faircloth as ‘Fever and Influenza’. It’s not known what Dr Probart’s recommendations were, but part of the response appears to have been ‘that one experienced Nurse for the Sick be forthwith Engaged and assistant nurses selected from the Inmates of the House’. It’s of note that the workhouse infirmary did not always have a nurse in these early years (see the page on Newmarket Hospital for more details).

Another much later example of a consultant opinion being sought was in 1915 when the workhouse medical officer, at that time Dr Crompton, sought the advice of a Dr Deighton of Cambridge regarding a nurse who’d become seriously ill. He advised an operation. It’s not clear whether this was done in Newmarket or Cambridge, likely the former, but transfers to Hospitals like Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and further afield do feature occasionally in the minutes.

The Union paid an annual subscription to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Suffolk General Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. For the latter they got a say in who was appointed as surgeon and apothecary to the hospital, voting for the alarmingly named Mr Robert Death in 1854! It’s of note however that as late as 1921 the cost was only £10 and 10 shillings for the Union’s Addenbrooke’s subscription and £2, 2 shillings for the Suffolk General, at a time when the annual salary for a new assistant nurse for the workhouse infirmary appointed that year was £26. A few years later (in 1925) increasing demand for hospital services led Addenbrooke’s to ask for an increase in the Union’s subscription. It appears however that some funding from the Union came in via other means, such as in 1889 when they had to pay a small amount per week to cover ‘“tea and other small necessaries”’ for a patient admitted to Addenbrooke’s from the workhouse. Possibly the same principle in 1873 paid for the washing of linen, which the patients had to take with them! Interestingly the Union paid for ambulance transfer too, for example with a case mentioned in 1926. Nevertheless, clearly the volume of patients admitted must have been very low. It appears the Board had to approve the admissions even (see 1913 below), although it’s not clear that this was always the case – such approvals were not commonly minuted, but perhaps that’s because they were rare? An example from 1858 involved the medical officer presenting a certificate to the Board who then sanctioned the admission. It’s also of interest that, even before the Union, St Mary’s parish paid an annual subscription to Addenbrooke’s Hospital (see 1830 in the references below).

They did occasionally refer patients further afield, such as to hospitals in London for eye, orthopaedic and fistula surgery (e.g. 1851, 1858 and 1859/66 below). It’s of interest that in 1867 the District 3 Medical officer suggested referral of two children from Ashley to an orthopaedic hospital in London, but then Newmarket’s Frederick Gray stepped in and performed the operations gratuitously (incidentally, it’s also of interest that the word orthopaedic literally means the straightening of children i.e. ortho, which is Greek for to straighten – paedic, as in paediatrics). Earlier, Newmarket’s Frederick Page seems to have had particular skill in orthopaedic operations (see the page on him for some further Newmarket Union references regarding cases that he was involved with). A later example of referral to a London Hospital is a girl from the workhouse to a ‘Skin Disease Hospital’ in 1926.

Another important category of hospital which patients were referred to is sanatoria for the treatment of TB. Such patients were managed in the workhouse to some degree, and ‘a shelter for out-door treatment to consumptive cases’ was provided there in 1912. However, in 1919 the minutes noted that ‘there was a great tendency on the part of the medical officers to send cases of tuberculosis into the infirmary without enquiring whether they can be received into sanatoria when it was resolved that cases of tuberculosis cannot be admitted into the infirmary without an order from the Relieving Officer’. Increasingly these were the appropriate places for such patients, but in 1921 a ‘letter was read from the Cambridgeshire County Tubercul-osis Officer… stating that only 100 beds are provided for cases suffering from tuberculosis for the whole county…’ Nevertheless, there was The East Anglian Sanatorium in Nayland 30 miles south East of Newmarket from 1901; Dr Maund organised for a Newmarket patient to go there ‘at the request of Dr Paton Philip the Cambs. County Tuberculosis officer’ in 1928 from ‘the Institution’, which is what the workhouse was known as in later years. The same year Papworth ‘Hospital’, which started as a TB sanatorium in 1917/8, was first mentioned in the Newmarket Union minutes as ‘the Papworth Village Settlement’.

From a wider medical perspective, in 1911 funding for a patient’s spectacles was agreed, including their travel to Cambridge to obtain them. It’s not yet known at what point Newmarket acquired its first Optician, but perhaps after 1911? However, in 1924 the Union also paid for someone to obtain false teeth from a Cambridge based organisation, although a dentist was operative in Newmarket as early as 1857, on a visiting basis (see The History of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation). District nurses were mentioned in the minutes from 1897 onwards, with subscriptions to associations based in the various villages of the Union and Newmarket itself.

A diagram illustrating the settled nine medical districts of the Newmarket Union in 1842, including which parishes were involved, highlighting the central three served by Newmarket based medics (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 5).

A diagram illustrating the settled nine medical districts of the Newmarket Union in 1842, including which parishes were involved, highlighting the central three served by Newmarket based medics (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 5).

As is evident from the above, the Newmarket Union was divided up into medical districts, with a medical officer appointed for each district, and there was also a medical officer appointed specifically for the workhouse/infirmary. The medical officers were required to submit weekly reports on their activities for the Union, at least in 1851 ‘every Friday morning punctually by 10 o’clock’. During the early years of the Union there were several reorganisations regarding how the Union was divided up into its medical districts. Things settled down in 1842, from which point nine districts emerged, three served by Newmarket based medics (see image on the right), and they covered the Workhouse Medical Officer role too. These were District 1: both Newmarket parishes (All Saints and St Marys), District 2: Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’, Westley [i.e. Waterless], Dullingham, Stetchworth, and Snailwell, and District 3: Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett (the history of these is detailed further below).

In the seven years prior to 1842, the key points from a Newmarket perspective were as follows. On 11th March 1836 the Union started with a plan of seven medical districts, the boundaries of which were not defined in the minutes. Walter Norton and John Thomas were allocated District 2, Robert James Peck District 5, Robert Fyson District 6 and Richard Faircloth District 7. Very shortly after that Robert Peck resigned from District 5, to be replaced by the non-Newmarket medic George Le Neve from Barrow. It seems likely District 5 comprised a similar patch to that covered by George Le Neve in the next reorganisation a few months later, namely Ashley, Gazeley, Lidgate, Dalham, Ousden, Moulton and Kennett – numbered District 4. Possibly Robert Peck had regarded some of these places as a bit far flung to cover from Newmarket, especially Lidgate, and if as recorded above, he had been the St Mary’s medic before the Union’s creation, he might well have been hoping to retain that role. In this new reorganisation Newmarket St Mary’s was covered by Robert Fyson, his patch also comprising Exning, Burwell with Reach, Landwade and Snailwell, and named District 1. Perhaps Robert Fyson had been allocated the St Mary’s role earlier in 1836 too? The other District of relevance to Newmarket in this late 1836 configuration was District 3, comprising Newmarket All Saints, Cheveley, Woodditton, Kirtling, Stetchworth, Dullingham, ‘Boroughgreen’ Brinkley and Westley, covered by Walter Norton and John Thomas.

Robert Fyson resigned from his district in February 1837, which perhaps precipitated the next reorganisation the following month. This time the Districts were re-organised into six, with those relevant to Newmarket being District 2, comprising Burwell with the whole Hamlet of Reach, Exning, Landwade and Newmarket St Mary, covered by Walter Norton and John Thomas, and District 6, which comprised Newmarket All Saints, Woodditton, Stetchworth, Dullingham, ‘BoroGreen’, Brinkley and Westley, covered by Richard Faircloth – Cheveley was taken from District 5 and added to District 6 on 20th March 1838, which was then referred to as the Cheveley District as opposed to District 2, which was referred to as the Newmarket District. Following the deaths of John Thomas then Walter Norton close together, Mark Bullen their successor replaced them as medical officer for this Newmarket District 2 in December 1837, but just over a year later, in January 1839, he also died. Then it was decided to divide this ‘Newmarket District’ into a new District 7 comprising Burwell with Reach, with the residual (i.e. Exning, Landwade and Newmarket St Mary) remaining as District 2. Thomas Lucas of Burwell was elected to cover the new District 7, and Robert Fyson District 2.

1840 and 1841 saw yet further reorganisations! September 1840 saw Frederick Page become the only Newmarket medic of relevance from a district point of view, covering a huge area made up from the old District 2 with bits from 4 and 6 added in, i.e. both Newmarket parishes, Dullingham, Woodditton, Stechworth, Moulton, Exning, Burwell with Reach, Snailwell, Chippenham and Landwade. This didn’t last long, with March 1841 seeing a new District 1 (like the old district 6), comprising Newmarket All Saints, ‘Boro Green’, Westley, Dullingham, Stetchworth, Woodditton and Cheveley, covered by Frederick Page and District 5 comprising Newmarket St Mary, Exning and Landwade covered by Robert Fyson.

Finally in 1842 a configuration was adopted that lasted (with a few minor adjustments) for the rest of the Union’s nearly nine decades of history. As mentioned above, from the Newmarket perspective the relevant Districts were conveniently the first three, there being nine in total. These were District 1 comprising both Newmarket parishes (All Saints and St Mary’s), covered by Robert Fyson, District 2 comprising Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’, Westley, Dullingham, Stetchworth and Snailwell, covered by Richard Faircloth, and District 3 comprising Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett, covered by Floyd Minter Peck. For completeness and to briefly show the broader picture before focusing in on these three districts and the workhouse, the others were District 4: Kirtling, Lidgate, Ousden, Dalham, and Gazeley, covered at this point by a Wickhambrook based medic, District 5: Burwell with part of Reach, Exning, and Landwade, covered by a Burwell based medic, District 6: Bottisham, Swaffham Prior with part of Reach, and Swaffham Bulbeck, covered by a Bottisham based medic, District 7: Soham, covered by a Soham medic, District 8: Wicken, Fordham, and Chippenham, covered by a different Soham based medic, and District 9: Isleham, covered by an Isleham medic (see these illustrated on the image above as well).

So to the history of District 1, very much the Newmarket District, comprising both Newmarket parishes and nothing else. Robert Fyson continued as the medical officer for this district until 1873 (so over 3 decades). See the page on Robert Fyson for some details about his time in that office – likewise with his successors. He was succeeded in 1873 by Clement Frederick Gray. Then a couple of years later in 1875 District 3 became vacant (see details under District 3 below). There were no applicants for the post, so the Guardians of the Union decided to merge Districts 1 & 3, calling it all District 1 (District 4 shortly thereafter becoming District 3 right up to District 9 becoming 8). Clement Gray had become the workhouse medical officer as well the year before in 1874 (see below), so the Grays’ practice then covered the whole of Newmarket (both parishes), the workhouse, as well as Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett. He continued in the role for nearly 40 years, resigning in 1912, when as a mark of appreciation he was granted an extra year of pension allowance so that he could claim the full 40 years maximum (although he continued some non-Union work for several more years – see the page on Clement Gray for more details on his amazing life and work, and the August 1860 reference below for more on pensions). He was succeeded in the District 1 role by a medic from another practice, John Hansby Maund, who held the post up to the end of the Union in 1930. It appears however that these posts continued for a while at least beyond the time of the Union itself. Dr Maund left Newmarket in late 1931 / early 1932, but his 1932 Medical Directory entry (likely compiled before he left) records him as Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for Newmarket’s District 1, and a newspaper report from May 1932 suggests the transition took place then (although later evidence suggests he left Newmarket in 1931). Interestingly, the successor to his practice, Norman Charles Simpson, is recorded as Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for District 1 of the ‘Newmarket Guardians Committee of the West Suffolk County Council’ as late as 1937, apparently showing that the role continued within the Union’s successor organisations for some time.

It’s logical to consider District 3 next, given its merger with District 1 in 1875 as mentioned above. From 1842 Floyd Minter Peck continued in the role until he resigned and moved to Kent in 1844. He was succeeded by his father Robert James Peck, on whose death in 1848 Floyd returned to the role, having returned to Newmarket earlier that year. He continued as Medical Officer for District 3 for nearly a decade until emigrating to Australia in 1858. Although his partner in practice and successor William Henry Day applied to succeed him in this District 3 role, it went to George Borwick Mead from a rival practice. He continued until 1875 when the post came up for re-election and he didn’t apply. He’d resigned from the workhouse role in 1874 (see below) following alleged problems with the way in which he’d vaccinated some patients and some other issues. Perhaps because of that there were no applicants for the post, so the Guardians decided to merge District 3 with District 1 as explained above. It’s of note that no medics lived in the villages of District 3 (Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett), as noted for example in March 1859 (and later, e.g. 1874), as with District 2 below.

And so to the history of District 2 (Brinkley, Borough Green, Westley Waterless, Dullingham, Stetchworth and Snailwell, the latter being an odd outlier in that patch, in the opposite direction from Newmarket, north-east rather than south-west). As with District 3 above, there were no medics living in these villages, so they were served by Newmarket practices (e.g. see 1878 and 1928 in the references below). Richard Faircloth was the District 2 medical officer from 1842 until his retirement several decades later in 1878. He was succeeded by his apparently relatively new business partner John Rowland Wright, who interestingly had taken on the District 2 public vaccinator role in 1877 (normally the two roles were held by the same person in each district). Faircloth and Wright had a brief handover partnership (see the pages on Richard Faircloth and John Rowland Wright for details). John Wright continued until his ex-partner Walter Hutchinson succeeded him to the role in 1884 in an election against each other. Walter Hutchinson resigned in 1903 (his resignation letter written from a sanatorium, where he was terminally ill with TB as mentioned above). The successor to his practice, Sidney Winslow Woollett, succeeded to his Newmarket Union role as well. He served until his death in 1928, when he was succeeded in turn by the successor to his practice, Dr Joe Davis. As with District 1 above, he was still mentioning a similarly named role well after the Newmarket Union ceased to exist, with a successor organisation (see his 1938 Medical Directory entry below).

And finally the Workhouse. The first workhouse medical officers were Water Norton and John Thomas in 1837, but they both died the same year and Richard Faircloth from a different practice took on the job (although Norton and Thomas’ successor in practice, Mark Bullen, took on their district role, as mentioned above). Richard Faircloth was the workhouse medical officer from that point for over three decades, succeeded by George Borwick Mead in 1868, again from a different practice (Richard Faircloth continued to practice in Newmarket for another decade, including in his District 2 role mentioned above). Dr Mead resigned in 1874 and was succeeded by Clement Frederick Gray, from yet again a different practice. Clement Gray was workhouse medical officer for even longer than Richard Faircloth, retiring in 1912 after nearly 40 years (at the same time as his retirement from the District 1 role mentioned above, which he’d held for one year longer). The workhouse role went to Ernest Crompton at that point, again from another practice. He resigned due to ill health in 1922, and with no obvious successor to his practice John Hansby Maund took on the role, obviously once more from another practice. As with District 1 above, Dr Maund left Newmarket in 1931/2, this Newmarket Union role transferring to his successor in practice too, Norman Charles Simpson, who was ‘medical officer of health to the Newmarket Institution’ as late as 1937, showing that the role continued within the successor organisations, and in this case the first time that the role continued in the same practice (see also comments under the Heasman reference below).

Aside from all of the medics listed above, there were of course partners and assistants involved too, like Mr Bay(e)s in 1852 mentioned with Richard Faircloth further above. Many these are mentioned in connection with Newmarket Union work on the more detailed pages about each main medic’s practice. An example of a partner being named as a substitute is included from 1856 below (Gamble for Fyson). Another example from 1852 mentions an assistant to Floyd Peck called Osborne. Aside from assistants, there are also examples of medics from different practices covering each other (for example Dr Maund for Dr Woollett in 1915 during the latter’s war duties, and later in 1922 as well for unspecified reasons) and some locums being employed, for example a Dr Noding covering for Dr Maund in 1917 for a holiday.

Regarding the workhouse and infirmary themselves, aside from what’s already been mentioned in passing above in this wider account of the Newmarket Union (see also the page on Newmarket Hospital regarding the infirmary specifically), a distinct infirmary appears to be mentioned as early as July 1836, as a ‘Sick Ward’, although at that time the new workhouse was still under construction so the comment possibly refers to one of the earlier Newmarket workhouses. Certainly though the ‘hospital’ was mentioned as early as 1838, and presumably was part of the original construction. This mention was with regards to adding ‘Water Closets’, which presumably therefore were not part of the original design. The following year the ‘Medical Officer of the workhouse’ (by that stage Richard Faircloth) was involved with discussions regarding increasing the capacity of the workhouse. Then in 1841, on the same subject, he wrote to the Board about overcrowding and the effect that might have on the health of the ‘Inmates’. It appears that they even had to share beds (see the reference below!), although this comment likely relates to the general inmates, not those in the infirmary specifically. The benevolent face of the system did take such things seriously though, such as in 1843 when the minutes include a reminder from the Poor Law Commissioners of ‘the consideration which they must ever have both for the health and welfare of the poor’ in relation to overcrowding and the need for expansion. The medical officer was regularly involved in discussions about such matters (see 1847 and 1853 below). It’s important to note the distinction between the workhouse and the small sub-section that was the infirmary, and that the medical officer for the workhouse covered wider medical issues with regards to the workhouse, but not the districts of the Union (unless he was a district medical officer as well). By 1912 there was mention of separate male and female infirmaries, each with two floors, and a nurses’ home on the site (again, see the page on Newmarket Hospital for more on the relative size of the infirmary in relation to the wider complex of workhouse buildings over time). A bespoke adaption in 1928 involved adding a French window so that a patient with arthritis could easily go out for some fresh air. In that regard, in 1866 it was noted that ‘the old and infirm men – inmates of the Workhouse… had for a long time… enjoyed… assembling for exercise &c. in the Garden in front of the House in the day time’, albeit in the context of that no longer being the case.

It seems the staff did their best to make the workhouse and infirmary a happy place, especially at Christmas. The nurses were thanked for putting up decorations in 1904, and in 1877 the whole Gray family were involved with various others from the town in festivities at the workhouse on Christmas Day.

Regarding the duties of a workhouse medical officer, other than those already mentioned above in relation to disease areas and cases etc., there is also an account about what it was like in Richard Faircloth’s time on the page specifically about him, showing how often he or his assistant visited, the number of patients involved (together with general type) and what their work involved. It’s interesting that as late as 1920 the minutes include a circular from the Ministry of Health suggesting that ‘in the event of any death under Anaesthetics in the workhouse there should be a scientific investigation into the actual cause of death’ implying that operations under anaesthetic could have taken place in the workhouse in the early 1920s at least, presumably carried out by Dr Crompton the workhouse medical officer at that time.

Other interesting historical facts regarding the workhouse and infirmary include that the workhouse had a chapel from very early on, which initially was integral to the building, in at least two different positions (see one in an image of some plans from 1842 on the page about Newmarket Hospital), but the stand alone building still on the site still today, dedicated to St Etheldreda (and St Philip later), was built in 1895 (visible in the image at the top of this page). In 1898 the Union had the opportunity of connecting themselves to a telephone service for £10 per year, but decided against it, eventually giving in to new technology in 1907. Gas was connected to the workhouse hospital/infirmary in 1896, for lighting.

So this system ran for nearly a century until the Poor Law Unions’ functions were transferred to County Councils. At that point the Newmarket Union workhouse/infirmary became the Newmarket Public Assistance Institution under the control of the West Suffolk County Council. Then during the war it became the White Lodge Emergency Hospital. This was incorporated into the NHS after 1948, becoming Newmarket General Hospital in 1951 (unofficially still referred to as ‘White Lodge’ locally – it’s of note though that the term ‘White Lodge’ was used as early as 1904 for the registration of births in the workhouse, so the name goes back much further than the Second World War). Interestingly the old workhouse building, which as mentioned above is now housing, is still called White Lodge today.

From a wider healthcare point of view, it’s also of note that in 1911 National Insurance began, which entitled contributors to a certain level of medical care. This essentially covered the working poor pre-NHS, who became registered with GPs as so called ‘panel patients’. Practices were funded through this scheme according to the number of such patients on their books. Poor patients not covered by National Insurance were still dealt with via the Poor Law system. Other members of society remained private patients, paying for their care either directly or via private insurance schemes (often called medical clubs – see 1840 in the references below, and also The Rookery practice chain, who were involved with something called the ‘Cambridgeshire Medical Club’ during this period).

 

Image sources and acknowledgements:-

Image 1: Photograph taken in 2019, by the author of talkingdust.net.

Image 2: Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book 1822, reference FL610/1/2a (cropped); image ©, reproduced with kind permission of the Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket St Mary’s parish.

Image 3: Map of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1902 (revised 1901), sheet 42.6 (cropped); image © Crown Copyright 1902, used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, reproduced with kind permission of the National Library of Scotland and the Ordnance Survey. [Note: click here for the source.]

Image 4: The Doctor, Leon Salles (after Fildes), from the Wellcome Collection (cropped); image used under CC BY 4.0, reproduced with kind permission of the Wellcome Collection. [Note: click here for the source.]

Image 5: Diagram drawn in 2019, by the author of talkingdust.net.

Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well. 

Relevant references in chronological order

Note: Given the nature of this page, it has an unusually large number of references and quotes from one particular source, i.e. the Newmarket Union minute books. However, in proportion to the total volume of these records (94 years’ worth of minutes in 37 volumes, each with several hundred pages) the amount used is extremely small and selective (about 200 quotes/references from roughly 14,000 pages of minutes, each quote being only a small part of a page). As unpublished but publicly available government archives the ‘Open Government Licence’ should apply, which appears to be the case, having discussed the status of such local workhouse minutes with The National Archives, aside from other copyright exceptions etc. that likely would apply as well in this context, (see the Usage &c. page, and footnotes).

1744, 26th March:Dr Sandiver for Betty Dockleys arm – 1:11:6’ in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see the page on William Sandiver 1 for an image.]

1745, 14th April:Wm. Sandiver Surgeon’s bill – 0:8:0’ in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1748, 11th April:Mr. Will: Sandiver Surgeons Bill – 3:3:0’ in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1749, 29th March:Doctor Sandiver for curing young Floyds wife of the French Disease} 8:8:0’ in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1750, 13th September: The will of John Scotman of Newmarket… Clerk (probate 27th September 1750). Reference: IC500/1/204(46), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this mentions a house he owned in Newmarket known as ‘the workhouse’ occupied by Thomas Searancke, apothecary and surgeon. This could have been Thomas Searancke 1 or Thomas Searancke 2, but was probably the latter who was likely the Thomas Searancke junior witnessing the will (possibly both lived and worked there – were they perhaps medical officers to the workhouse?). In his will this property was left to Simon Clements the nephew of John Scotman, son of Simon Clements the apothecary, possibly an apprentice of Thomas Searancke 1?]

1783, 24th November: The Newmarket St Mary’s vestry minute book mentions paying rent for ‘the Work-House’. Reference: FL610/1/1, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: turning the book upside down and reading it from the other direction reveals money paid out in relation to the ‘WorkHouse’ on 15th April 1783.]

1788, 9th June: John Edwards listed as the surgeon heading up All Saints’ parish alongside William Sandiver as the surgeon heading up St Mary’s parish declaring with others listed underneath, ‘Whereas a Report has been propagated, that the SMALL-POX is in Newmarket: We, the Churchwardens, Overseers, and other principle Inhabitants of St. Mary’s and All Saints parishes, in Newmarket aforesaid, do certify, that no persons have got the Small-Pox in either of the said parishes.’ Reference: The Ipswich Journal. Saturday Jun 14 1788: 3. [Note: see an image of this on the page about John Edwards.]

1822, 26th December: ‘At a Vestry meeting held this twenty sixth day of December 1822 it was agreed that Robert James Peck shall attend the poor of the parish as surgeon from 22nd day of November 1822 to the 22nd day of November 1823 for the sum of twenty five pounds, and to be paid ten shillings and sixpence for every midwifery patient’, in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/2a, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see image above.]

1830, 9th November: The Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book churchwarden’s accounts for 1830-1831 show a ‘one year subscription to addenbrookes [sic] Hospital’ for £2 and 2 shillings. Reference: FL610/1/2a, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note. this is also shown the following year.]

1832: ‘It was agreed that Mr Robert James Peck Surgeon should attend the Poor of the Parish upon the same Terms as was agreed upon at a Vestry Meeting held in this Parish on the 26 Day of December 1822’, ‘Mr Robert James Peck Surgeon propose to attend all casual Poor for the annual Sum of Ten Pounds, when such proposition was [ordered/advised?] to be taken into consideration and determined upon at the next meeting’, in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/3, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1834, 11th April: ‘It was agreed that Mr. Robt. James Peck surgeon should attend the Poor of this Parish, and all the casual Poor and attend six Midwifery cases, and cases of fracture included for the sum of thirty six pounds from 25th. March last to the 25th. of March 1835’, in Newmarket St Mary’s parish vestry book. Reference: FL610/1/3, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it goes on to mention ‘Casual fractures or Illness of Paupers not belonging to the Parish’ but it’s not clear what it goes on to say about them.], [Note also, Robert James Peck’s signature appears on this page, very similar to that in the image above and on the page about Robert James Peck, with his name written out in full and underscore with characteristic loops.], [Note also, it’s not clear how they knew in advance that he would attend six cases, unless any beyond six would attract additional fees?]

1835, 31st December: The first meeting of the Newmarket Union took place, and amongst other things they elected guardians from each village of the Union, which were: Ashley, ‘Boroughgreen’, Bottisham, Brinkley, Burwell, Cheveley, Dalham, Dullingham, Exning, Fordham, Gazeley, Isleham, Kennett, Kirtling, Landwade, Lidgate, Moulton, Newmarket Saint Mary’s, Newmarket All Saints, Ousden, Soham, Snailwell, Stetchworth, Swaffham Prior, Swaffham Bulbeck, Wesley [i.e. Waterless], Wicken and Woodditton. They grouped these into four districts. Also, ‘It was at this Meeting determined that the future Meetings of the Board shall, until otherwise altered be held on Friday in every week to commence at 10 O’Clock in the forenoon, at the Kingston House Room in the parish of Newmarket all saints’, ‘Resolved that it is inexpedient to interfere with the existing Medical Contracts until after the twenty fifth of March next’, ‘a Committee for visiting the several Workhouses in the Union’ was set up ‘to report thereon to the Board’ and they set about advertising for a Reliving Officer to cover each of the four districts. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see March 1837 below for the meeting moving to the new workhouse.]

1836, 12th February: ‘Resolved that the following Guardians be appointed a Medical Committee’ i.e. to consider issues with regards to medical care rather than the wider remit of the Union. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: interestingly this committee of nine was dissolved and a new one appointed on 26th February (611/11).]

1836, 11th March: The Union appointed medical officers for seven districts, the boundaries of which are not described, but the place of residence of those appointed gives some clue where each district was (as does the reorganisation in September below): 1: ‘Henry Jackson of Bottisham Surgeon’, 2: ‘Norton and Thomas of Newmarket Surgeons’, 3: ‘Edward Lloyd Knowles of Soham Surgeon’, 4: ‘William Clark of Isleham Surgeon’, 5: ‘Robert James Peck of Newmarket Surgeon’, 6: ‘Robert Fyson of Newmarket Surgeon’ and 7: ‘Richard Faircloth of Newmarket Surgeon’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: regarding the use of the term surgeon to mean generalist medic – see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for more on that.]

1836, 25th March:Mr Peck’ resigned from medical district 5 of the Newmarket Union. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: he was replaced by George Le Neve from Barrow – see September 1836 below.]

1836, 10th May: The parish of Newmarket St Mary as part of the Newmarket Union applied to the poor law commissioners to sell various properties, including ‘the old workhouse situate in the High Street’, some of the proceeds going towards ‘the contribution of the parish to the union workhouse about to be erected’. Reference: an image of the original document in the research notes of Peter May, HD1584, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds), which he appears to have obtained from the National Archives at Kew, referencing it as PRO (Kew) MH12/1684. [Note: amongst other properties in the proposed sale were ‘two double cottages situate in the Rookery or Diddery’.]

1836, 15th July: ‘Ordered on the recommendation of the Workhouse Committee that a Gate be provided for the Sick Ward in the Newmarket Workhouse / [i.e. new paragraph] The architect and the clerk of the works reported to the Board that the Building of the new workhouse was progressing favourably’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it’s not clear from this whether the first paragraph refers to an existing workhouse in Newmarket having a separate sick ward (which seems a little unlikely?) or more likely it’s with reference to the new one under construction for the new Union.]

1836, 9th September: ‘The Workhouse Committee afterwards reported to the Board that they had divided the Union into Districts having regard to the residence of the medical officers of the Union who were eligible as follows’. District 1 (Newmarket) comprising Newmarket St Mary, Exning, Burwell with Reach, Landwade and Snailwell was covered by Robert Fyson, District 2 (Bottisham) comprising Swaffham Bulbeck, Swaffham Prior and Bottisham was covered by Henry Jackson, District 3 (Cheveley) comprising Newmarket All Saints, Cheveley, Woodditton, Kirtling, Stetchworth, Dullingham, ‘Boroughgreen’, Brinkley and Westley was covered by Walter Norton and John Thomas, District 4 (Gazeley) comprising Ashley, Gazeley, Lidgate, Dalham, Ousden, Moulton and Kennett was covered by George Le Neve, and District 5 (Soham) comprising Soham, Wicken, Fordham, Chippenham and Isleham was covered by Edward Knowles. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it’s odd that the workhouse committee and not the medical committee did this – perhaps it’s an error in the minutes?], [Note also, George Le Neve was based in Barrow, just outside the eastern border of District 4.]

1837, 3rd February:Mr Fyson medical officer sent in his resignation’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1837, 10th March: The medical districts were reorganised again, as follows. District 1, comprising Bottisham, Swaffham Prior without the Hamlet of Reach and Swaffham Bulbeck was covered by Robert Thompson, District 2, comprising Burwell with the whole Hamlet of Reach, Exning, Landwade and Newmarket St Mary was covered by Walter Norton and John Thomas, District 3, comprising Soham, Fordham and Wicken was covered by Edward Knowles, District 4, comprising Isleham, Chippenham and Snailwell was vacant (it was filled by William Addison of Soham on 25th March), District 5, comprising Gazeley, Moulton, Dalham, Ousden, Lidgate, Kirtling, Cheveley, Ashley and Kennett was covered by William Clarke, and District 6, which comprised Newmarket All Saints, Woodditton, Stetchworth, Dullingham, ‘BoroGreen’ Brinkley and Westley [i.e. Waterless] was covered by Richard Faircloth. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Cheveley was taken from District 5 and added to District 6 on 20th March 1838, which was then referred to as the Cheveley District as opposed to District 2 referred to as the Newmarket District (611/12).]

1837, 17th March: ‘Resolved that the Guardians meet at the new Workhouse next Board day’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it had been meeting in Kingston House – see 1835 above.]

1837, 25th March: ‘Messrs Norton and Thomas were elected Surgeons to the new workhouse’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1837, 30th May: ‘The remaining Inmates of the Newmarket All Saints workhouse were ordered to be removed on the following day to the Union House… ’ Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the minute underneath this is about the furniture from the old workhouse that was unfit for use in the new one being sold by auction, and on 2nd January 1838 there’s a minute about the ‘Sale of the Parish Property of Newmarket All Saints’, which presumably was the old workhouse in that parish (611/12).]

1837, 5th December: Following the deaths of John Thomas then Walter Norton in quick succession, Mark Bullen replaced them as medical officer for District 2 and Richard Faircloth took on the workhouse role. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1838, 22nd May: ‘Ordered that every pauper upon admission into the House be washed in the Bath and afterwards removed into the Receiving Ward for the inspection of the medical officer previously to being placed in any other part of the house’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1838, 9th October: the ‘Hospital’ mentioned with regards to ‘building Water Closets’, which presumably therefore were not part of the original design, and they were ‘ordered to be carried into Execution’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1839, 15th January: After the death of Mark Bullen it was decided to divide District 2 into a new District 7 comprising Burwell with Reach, with the rest (i.e. Exning, Landwade and Newmarket St Mary) remaining as District 2 (cf. 10th March 1837 above). Thomas Lucas of Burwell was elected to cover the new District 7, and Robert Fyson District 2. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1839, 9th April: ‘The Medical Officer having reported to the Board that it would be dangerous to admit any paupers into the House during the present week in consequence of the prevalence of Fever and Influenza – Out-door Relief was afforded to certain able bodied male paupers’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1839, 21st May: The minutes mention a ‘Report of Doctor Probart of Bury St Edmunds M.D. upon the causes of the Sickness in the House and the proposed Remedies’ (which unfortunately it does not record) followed by ‘A check [sic] upon the treasurer… was drawn in favour of Mr Richd Faircloth for the fee paid by him to Dr. Probart for his attendance and Report’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1839, 21st May: The workhouse committee recommended ‘that one experienced Nurse for the Sick be forthwith Engaged and assistant nurses selected from the Inmates of the House’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1839, 28th May: ‘Coln. Wade proposed that a Committee of the Board should be formed to take into consideration with the assistance of an architect + the Medical Officer of the workhouse in what manner the House can be but rendered capable of  accommodating 450 Inmates’. Reference: 611/12, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1840, 7th April: ‘Ordered that the Clerk write to the Surveyors of the Highways of the Parish of Dullingham with the Report of the Surgeon of the District [this would have been Richard Faircloth] upon the state of a certain unhealthy Locality there arising from want of proper Drainage with a Request that the nuisance may forthwith be abated’. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: dealing with public health ‘nuisances’ of various kinds reported by medical officers of the Union is a regular feature in the minutes.], [Note also, in this particular case, the minutes on 14th April record that it was discovered that ‘the Nuisance complained of there was private Property’ so the Clerk was ‘directed to write to the owner’ (611/13).]

1840, 30th June: ‘Ordered that the Clerk summon the Board on Tuesday next at 9 o Clock to enable the Guardians to attend the Meeting at the Rutland Arms at 11 on the question of establishing a self aiding Medical Club’. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see the page on Richard Faircloth for details about this club, with which he was very much involved.], [Note also, there appears to have been some sort of similar scheme or schemes before this that the Union had some involvement with, hinted at by a minute from 10th March 1837, which reads ‘the Subscription of all single persons above the age of 16 to the independent Clubs be increased’. Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds), and perhaps also on 25th March 1836 ‘The permanent Lists of the several Parishes for the sick clubs were revised by the Board and delivered to the Clerk for Insertion in the Medical Contracts’, although perhaps that simply refers to the ‘paupers’ on the sick list for each parish rather than clubs they paid into? Reference: 611/11, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).], [Note also, not long after this, adjustments were made regarding ‘those paupers on the permanent Lists who have become subscribers to any independent Club’, and new ‘permanent Lists of the different parishes’ were published ‘upon the Church Doors’ – this seems to have been a list of names of those officially defined as paupers and entitled to help from the Newmarket Union. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union Minutes 18th August and 1st September 1840, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).]

1840, 29th September: The medical districts were redefined as follows. Mr J Dunthorn of Wickhambrook covered Lidgate, Ousden, Dalham, Ashley, Kirtling, Cheveley and Gazeley (the previous District 5, with Cheveley back in from 6), Mr Robert Thompson of Bottisham covered Bottisham, Swaffham Prior and Swaffham Bulbeck (the previous District 1), Mr John Prince of Balsham covered Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’ and Westley [i.e. Waterless] (previously part of District 6), Mr Frederick Page of Newmarket covered Dullingham, both Newmarket parishes, Woodditton, Stechworth, Moulton, Exning, Burwell with Reach, Snailwell, Chippenham and Landwade (a huge new district made up from the old District 2 with bits from 4 and 6), and Mr Edward Knowles of Soham covered Soham, Fordham, Isleham and Wicken (the old District 3 with part of 4). Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1840, 1st December: ‘Ordered on the recommendation of the Workhouse Committee that Inmates of the House having the venereal Disease shall in future be compelled to wear a badge of Disgrace’. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this measure was suspended on 15th December pending further discussion and not mentioned again (611/13).]

1841, 9th February: ‘The medical officer reported that … is a dangerous Idiot and an improper subject for the House ordered that he be removed to a Lunatic Asylum’. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1841, 9th March: The medical districts were redefined again. 1: The Union House, 2: Newmarket All Saints, Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’, Westley [i.e. Waterless], Dullingham, Stetchworth, Woodditton and Cheveley, 3: Kirtling, Lidgate, Ashley, Moulton, Gazeley, Ousden and Dalham, 4: Kennett, Chppenham, Snailwell and Isleham, 5: Soham, Wicken and Fordham, 6: Newmarket St Mary, Exning, Burwell with part of Reach (this was moved to a new District 7 on 23rd March – see below) and Landwade, 7: Swaffham Prior with part of Reach, Swaffham Bulbeck and Bottisham. It’s not specified who covered which districts, but see 23rd March below. Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1841, 23rd March: The medical districts were clarified from above, with a new numbering system and medical officers allocated: 1: Newmarket All Saints, Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’, Westley [i.e. Waterless], Dullingham, Stetchworth, Woodditton and Cheveley (covered by Frederick Page of Newmarket), 2: Kirtling, Lidgate, Ashley, Moulton, Gazeley, Ousden and Dalham (covered by John Dunthorn of Wickhambrook), 3: Kennett, Chippenham, Snailwell and Isleham (covered by William Addison of Isleham), 4: Soham, Wicken and Fordham (covered by Edward Lloyd Knowles of Soham), 5: Newmarket St Mary, Exning and Landwade (covered by Robert Fyson of Newmarket), 6: Swaffham Prior with part of Reach, Swaffham Bulbeck and Bottisham (covered by Robert Thompson of Bottisham), 7: Burwell with part of Reach (covered by Thomas Lucas of Burwell). Reference: 611/13, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the Poor Law Commissioners wrote to the Newmarket Guardians (minuted on 14th April) expressing some concern that Wickhambrook was rather a long way from Moulton and Gazeley, and so the arrangement was not ideal.]

1841, 5th October: ‘Mr Martin Governor of the House returned his grateful thanks to the Board for the Kindness he experienced from the Board in allowing his son and daughter to remain in the House during their illness to the time of their decease’. Reference: 611/14, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1841, 14th December: Richard Faircloth, the workhouse medical officer, wrote to the Board of Guardians ‘During my visit to the House this day my attention was directed to the crowded [underlining in the original] state of the apartments especially the dormitories on the women’s side: these apartments contain already too many beds; and each bed is made to contain too many inmates [underlining in the original] / I should be wanting in my duty were I not to notice these facts respectfully for the consideration of the Guardians urging the propriety of thinning the apartments so as to secure the health of the Inmates, which I believe to be endangered by being too thickly packed’. Reference: 611/14, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note the letter from Richard Faircloth was dated 6th December.], [Note also, it appears that they had to share beds!]

1841, 21st December: In a letter from the Poor law Commissioners to the Newmarket Union ‘the Poor Law Commissioners would recommend the Guardians to purchase and lay in a store of large hard stones and to give no Relief to able bodied men, either in kind or in money except in return for labour performed by them in breaking such stones’. Reference: 611/14, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was for granting out relief to them because the workhouse was over crowded, and was plan B, their first suggestion being to hire a separate building to temporarily house the ‘aged and infirm’ elsewhere, making more room in the workhouse where able bodied men and their families could be put instead – see reference to the Mill in 1843 below.]

1842, 5th April: The medical districts were reorganised yet again, as follows: 1: both Newmarket parishes (All Saints and St Marys), 2: Brinkley, ‘Boro Green’, Westley [i.e. Waterless], Dullingham, Stetchworth and Snailwell, 3: Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett, 4: Kirtling, Lidgate, Ousden, Dalham and Gazeley, 5: Burwell with part of Reach, Exning and Landwade, 6: Bottisham, Swaffham Prior and part of Reach, and Swaffham Bulbeck, 7: Soham, 8: Wicken, Fordham and Chippenham, 9: Isleham. Reference: 611/14, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: on 19th April these new districts were allocated as follows: District 1 to Robert Fyson of Newmarket St Mary, District 2 to Richard Faircloth of Newmarket All Saints, District 3 to Floyd Minter Peck of Newmarket St Mary, District 4 to Messrs Dunthorn & Stutter of Wickhambrook (subsequently revised to just Dunthorn as it was preferred to have only one named, although they were partners in practice), District 5 to Thomas Lucas of Burwell, District 6 to Henry James Calthrop of Bottisham, District 7 to Edward Lloyd Knowles of Soham, District 8 to Henry Miller of Soham and District 9 to Alfred Jones of Isleham (611/14).], [Note also, on 17th June 1845 the whole of Reach was subsumed under the Burwell district (611/16) – interestingly someone has written this in the margin of the 1842 minutes (it wasn’t me!).], [Note also, on 22nd February 1870 Chippenham was moved from district 8 to 9 (611/27).], [Note also, on 9th March 1875 district 3 was added into district 1 (not immediately but soon after this the districts above 2 were referred to as their previous number minus 1 – although all outside the focus of this website.]

1842, 9th July: A mother appeared before the Board of Guardians to complain that the death of her child was caused by ‘the unfit state of the rice milk given to her. The Matron and Medical Officer were called up and the case was fully investigated’. They were found to have done nothing wrong, but it’s interesting that such complaints were made and investigated in this way as early as 1844. Reference: 611/14, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there are other such cases noted on the pages relating to individual medics – see the page on Richard Faircloth.]

1843, 23rd May: Floyd Peck wrote to the Board of Guardians about Typhus fever in Moulton, proposing some causes to be dealt with, and flagging up the negative consequences of delays in treatment caused by the system of the time. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: click here for the full account.]

1843, 13th June: ‘On the recommendation of the Workhouse Committee the Miller was discharged there being only three able bodied men in the House’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this appears to have been a temporary discharge, since the same thing happened on at least one other occasion in May 1845, (611/16).]

1843, 24th January: Regarding the case of ‘an able bodied Labourer with a wife and seven children to whom the Board of Guardians of the Newmarket Union have ordered Out relief of two stone of flour per week’ the Poor Law Commissioners stated that ‘they sanction the allowance of the Relief proposed for a fortnight but in the event of any further relief being needed in this case the commissioners can only sanction its allowance by the admission of one or more of the children into the Union Workhouse’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see a slightly more compassionate proposal in a different case from the next week below.]

1843, 31th January: Someone was given permission ‘to go out [from the workhouse] leaving his wife and 4 children remaining therein on condition that at the end of a fortnight he will take his wife and children away and that the Board was induced to grant this permission in consequence of the ill state of Health of the said [‘Inmate’] and believing that it will contribute to his recovery and be a means of enabling him to maintain his family who would otherwise continue Inmates of the House for a much longer period’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this interesting case appears to have been an attempt at rehabilitation for someone who perhaps found it difficult to cope with the strains of work and family responsibilities combined, for some unspecified health reason.], [Note also, this relatively compassionate idea can be contrasted with the minute from the same month the week before, above.]

1843, 21st March: Contracts were entered into to supply flour, bread, coal, beer, milk, clothing of various forms and blankets, paper of various forms, pens, ink, ink glasses, pencils, slates with frames, wax, wafers (for communion at the workhouse chapel?), red tape (for the bureaucracy?!), ‘for the sick’ brandy, gin, port wine, sherry and porter, and for haircutting at the workhouse and pauper funerals, which reflected the high infant mortality rate, in that there were separate categories of funeral specified for those under 8 years old, 8-14 and over 14 years of age. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1843, 4th July: ‘an inmate labouring under the disease of the Itch having refused to submit to the treatment of the Surgeon was ordered to be discharged from the House’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1843, 26th December: In relation to overcrowding and the need for expansion of the workhouse the Poor Law Commissioners reminded the Board of Guardians of ‘the consideration which they must ever have both for the health and welfare of the poor’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it’s of interest that this minute was recorded regarding a meeting they held on Boxing Day!]

1844, 9th January: Following an inspection, in a letter from the Poor Law Commissioners in London to the Newmarket Union (dated 8th January – the post seems to have been very good back then!) they stated ‘the duties of Relieving Officers are most satisfactorily performed by the present efficient officers as respectively regarding the visitation of the poor, the enquiry into their circumstances and the granting of relief’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1844, 7th May: In a letter from the Poor Law Commissioners in London to the Newmarket Union (dated 4th May) they impressed that the Relieving Officers should ‘not… throw difficulties in the way of casual paupers receiving Medical Relief’ but went on to add that they were ‘not unmindful of the fact that the Relieving Officer has a duty to perform towards the Ratepayers, as well as the poor, and that it is not easy always to exercise a correct discretion in dealing with the applications of casual paupers for Medical Relief’. Reference: 611/15, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the casual poor appear to have been those not on the permanent list (see 1840 above) but granted relief on a case by case basis. At this time the medical officers were paid to provide medical care to those on the permanent list on a capitation basis (i.e. x amount per year per pauper on the list), but it seems on an item of service basis for the casual poor – i.e. fee paid for each episode. Other special cases such as fractures and midwifery cases apparently were paid on an item of service basis too. The remuneration system changed over time and later in the history of the Union became more salary based, a system it appears Newmarket were quite slow to adopt compared with others, it being a regular item up for discussion in the minutes and gradually introduced in the various districts, not all at the same time.], [Note also, there was some concern at this time that ‘the paupers seeking assistance by the special order system are often deterred from applying so early as they would otherwise do, from the diffi-culty of prevailing on the relieving officer to consider their illness sufficiently serious to grant such order; often being told, too, the order can only be granted as a loan, and thus, by delay in proper attendance, urgent, or in some cases mortal, symptoms have set in’ as stated in a letter published in the Provincial Medical and Retrospect of the Medical Sciences (forerunner of the BMJ), from Richard Faircloth and the other medical officers of the Newmarket Union, including Newmarket’s ‘A. Fyson [sic] and F. M. Peck. Reference: Provincial Medical Journal and Retrospect of the Medical Sciences 1844;7(182):493, – see also Floyd Peck’s letter to the Board from 1843 along similar lines, by clicking here.]

1844, 20th August: ‘The Medical Officer reported to the Board that… a pauper belonging to and now resident in the parish of Dullingham was in a state of Lunacy and dangerous whereupon the Relieving Officer for the District was ordered forthwith to take the necessary steps for her removal to Bethnal Green Asylum’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the medical officer would have been Richard Faircloth.]

1844, 1st October:Mr F M Peck the Medical Officer for the District of Cheveley sent in his resignation of the Office, at the same time stating that if accepted, his father, if approved by the board, would fulfil his contract entered into with the Board for the performance of his duties until 25th March next whereupon the Clerk was instructed to ascertain whether Mr Peck Senr posessed the requisite qualification’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1844, 8th October: ‘Upon the board being satisfied that Mr Rob James Peck the father of Mr F M Peck the Medical Officer for the district of Cheveley, was duly qualified according to the Medical Regulations of the Poor Law Commissioners the Board accepted the resignation tendered by Mr F M Peck as well as the offer made by Mr R J Peck for the fulfilment of his sons [sic] contract with the the Union by performing the duties of the Office until March next when he would offer himself as a candidate for the vacant office’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this is followed by reference to a letter from ‘Mr Page’ offering himself as a candidate for the role, to which the board replied stating that his ‘application was premature’.], [Note also, the qualifying criteria referred to included various qualifications that R J Peck didn’t have, or ‘A warrant or commission as surgeon or assistant-surgeon in Her Majesty’s Navy, or as surgeon, or assistant-surgeon, or apothecary in Her Majesty’s Army, or as surgeon, or assistant-surgeon in the service of the Honourable East India Company, dated previous to the 1st day of August, 1826’ – see the next reference also, and the page on Robert James Peck regarding his earlier qualifying army role. Reference: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1845/feb/11/medical-officers-of-poor-law-unions – accessed 11th February 2017).]

1844, 10th October: Letter from the Newmarket Union to the Poor Law Commissioners stating that Floyd Minter Peck had resigned and that ‘Mr Robert James Peck, the father of Mr F M Peck, and the substitute named by the latter at the time of his election, offered to fulfil his son’s engagement with the Board for the current year’. Reference: MH/686, Newmarket Correspondence 1843 to 1846, (The National Archives). [Note: this is followed by a note that they should request to be informed of the cause of Mr Peck junior’s resignation if known, followed by a draft form of a letter dated 14th October to the Newmarket Union requesting to be informed of that – the actual letter sent is in 611/2, Letters to Guardians from Poor Law Commissioners (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).]

1844, 22nd October: Letter from the Newmarket Union to the Poor Law Commissioners stating that ‘The cause for Mr. F.M. Peck’s Resignation was his leaving Newmarket to practice in his Profession in the County of Kent’. Reference: MH/686, Newmarket Correspondence 1843 to 1846, (The National Archives).

1844, 25th October: Letter from the Poor Law Commissioners to the Newmarket Union sanctioning the appointment of Mr Robert James Peck in the place of Mr Floyd Minter Peck. Reference: 611/2, Letters to Guardians from Poor Law Commissioners (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1844, 29th October: ‘The poor Law commissioners having issued their Certificate for payment to the contractors for passage of Emigrants from Boro Green to Canada a Check [sic] was drawn upon the Treasurer’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was charged specifically to the Borough Green parish account.]

1845, 4th February: A list of 15 ‘paupers’ and their families granted out relief in the form of flour or in the case of one from Exning 10 yards of calico (a fabric). Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this minute has the footnote ‘The Cause for giving Out Relief in the above Cases being the prevalence of the Small Pox to a serious extent in various parts of the Union’.]

1845, 11th February: The medical officer reported that someone ‘an Inmate of the House was a dangerous Lunatic, the Board directed him to be forthwith removed to the Suffolk Lunatic Asylum at Melton’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1845, 25th March: The medical districts were defined again, with no changes in boundaries from 1842 above. The medical officers at this point were: 1. Robert Fyson of Newmarket St Mary, 2. Richard Faircloth of Newmarket, 3. Robert J Peck of Newmarket, 4. John Dunthorn of Wickhambrook, 5. Thomas Lucas of Burwell, 6. H J Calthrop of Bottisham, 7. George Willis of Soham, 8. Henry Miller of Soham and 9. Mr Gleadow of Isleham. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1845, 29th April: ‘A letter having been received from the Secretary of St Luke’s Hospital that [someone] of Boro’Green was so far recovered that she should be removed upon trial for 2 months Ordered that the Relieving Officer remove her at the time appointed’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1845, 6th May: ‘Relief in the shape of a pair of shoes was ordered for the Child of… a Labourer of the parish of Dullingham with a wife and seven children, he being a feeble and infirm man, in irregular work, and consequently with fluctuating wages’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1845, 23rd December: Payment was made to ‘Mr Fred Page Surgeon for examining + certifying as to the state of mind of Lunatics’. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1845, 8th July: ‘a Certificate for Extra Diet or other articles of necessity for a sick Person’ mentioned. Reference: 611/16, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it was the Relieving Officer’s role ‘after due enquiry, being satisfied that the party is unable to bear the cost’ to start the relief so prescribed (it was essentially a good nutrition prescription).]

1846, 11th August: ‘the Committee are of the opinion that the Bible & Testament are the only Books required for the Instruction of the Children’. Reference: 611/17, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1846, 11th September: ‘The Relieving Officer of the Newmarket District was directed to remove [someone] from the Melton Lunatic Asylum she being reported to be cured’. Reference: 611/17, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1847: As the Medical Officer, Richard Faircloth was involved in discussions regarding plans to enlarge the workhouse. Reference: 611/17, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: such discussions were a regular feature in the minutes whenever improvements or extensions etc. were discussed – see below also.]

1847, 23rd February: ‘Upon the Medical Officer of the parish of Stetchworth stating that a fever raged in the parish and recommending a Hospital to be provided for the patients to prevent its spreading… it was resolved that a temporary Hospital be provided… for the paupers affected with fever, and… the Relieving Officer was ordered to find a proper Building for that purpose.’ Reference: 611/17, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: not surprisingly, the minutes record quite a lot of relief being given to the people of Stetchworth with a diagnosis of fever during this period.]

1847, 31st August: ‘A certificate signed by Mr Robt Fyson and Mr Richd Faircloth, two Medical Officers of the Union, pointing out the pestilential condition of a certain building at Snailwell’. Reference: 611/17, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1848, 23rd May: The Newmarket Board of Guardians sent a letter to the Poor Law Board stating ‘the facilities afforded by Her Majesty’s Government for Emigration… is likely to take several hundred Paupers from this District many being already on their Voyage and numbers more about to leave for Australia’ and ‘a great change is perceptible in the minds of the Rate-payers who a few years since cherished a hope that the sending able bodied Labourers into the House in the Winter Season would prove such a punishment as would induce them to use their utmost exertions to support themselves and their families without assistance, but in that they have been much disappointed; an order for the House has become so common and so frequently accepted that it ceases to be considered by them a disgrace to go there’ and ‘It is well known that many children have been sent into the house more for the sake of getting some education than from the inability of their parents to maintain them; and as national and other schools are springing up in almost every village that inducement will be removed’. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: these were presented as arguments not to enlarge the workhouse.]

1848, 12th September: ‘Grants made by parliament for the whole of the salaries of the schoolmasters & schoolmistresses of workhouses and a moiety of the salaries of the medical officers’ mentioned. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there were subsequent mentions of the same in the minutes, showing that some funding for the poor law came from central government rather than local taxation. In 1877 (20th February), ‘the Grant made by Parliament in respect of the cost of maintenance of Pauper Lunatics in County Asylums’ was mentioned too (611/30) and subsequently in the minutes.]

1848, 7th November: ‘The death of Mr Peck the Medical Officer of District No 3 was reported to the Board and the election of his successor was fixed for Tuesday the 19th Decr next, the notice whereof was to be confined to the present entry on the minutes. The Clerk was instructed to report the same to the Poor Law Board and to inform them that his son Mr Floyd Minter Peck, who was his partner in his profession and substitute in his office, would perform the duties for the remainder of the quarter ending at Christmas next and that the appointment of a successor to commence from Christmas will take place on Tuesday the 19th Decr’. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1848, 14th November: ‘A letter was laid before the Board from Mr Floyd Minter Peck consenting to perform the duties of Medical Officer of District no 3 rendered vacant by the death of his father until Christmas as requested by the Board and offering himself as a candidate for the future appointment to that office.’ Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1848, 19th December: Floyd Minter Peck elected Medical Officer for no 3 District ‘on the same terms as the late Mr Robert James Peck held the Office’. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1849, 13th February: ‘A Letter from the Poor Law Board, accompanied by a copy of one to them from the General Board of Health, suggesting a more dry and solid dietary than that usually used in Workhouses for the pauper children during the existence of the present morbific state of the atmosphere, which increases the tendency in those partaking, in too great a degree, of fluid diet, to bowel complaints, the existence of which was recognised to be a state of danger. / The Board ordered that the Dietary of the Children be altered by substituting in their Broth Rice for Peas.’ Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1849, 10th July:Mr Faircloth, the Medical Officer of the Workhouse, reported that the Schoolmaster and Schoolmistress were both laid up with scarlet fever, and recommended that the strictest caution should be used in preventing any intercourse between them and other inmates in the house excepting a nurse.’ Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1849, 10th July: A coroner complained to the Board after an inquest regarding a patient who died in childbirth that ‘the Relieving Officer had not supplied her with brandy which the Medical Officer considered essential, and which, if administered in time, might have saved the womans life.’ Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: apparently it was not supplied because it was only a verbal not written order.], [Note also, this took place in neighbouring Soham, which was under the jurisdiction of the Newmarket Union.]

1849, 11th September: ‘Mr Faircloth Medical Officer having reported that the premises at Stetchworth lately known as the Old Workhouse was dangerous to the health of the inhabitants of the locality there and that one case of Diarrhoea had occurred which had been much aggravated thereby the Relieving Officer was directed to require the immediate removal and abatement of the nuisance’. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: on 23rd March 1926 the minutes referred to ‘the old workhouse, Dullingham’ (611/46).]

1850, 9th August: ‘A certificate signed by Mr Faircloth and Mr Fyson, two Medical Officers of the Union, stating that upon certain premises situate in the parish of Newmarket All Saints… there is a foul and offensive Drain constructed so as to be a nuisance’. Reference: 611/18, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1851, 8th August: ‘A letter was read from Mr. Faircloth, the Medical Officer of the Workhouse, pointing out the necessity of providing Water Cushions and Mattresses for the Hospital of the Workhouse’ including the immediate need for a water mattress for a patient suffering from ‘excoriation and sloughing’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: they subsequently ordered two cushions and a mattress.]

1851, 29th August: Letter from ‘Mr Peck the Medical Officer’ minuted regarding a delay in implementing an order that he had made for a particular diet for a child. The Relieving Officer whose duty it was to carry out the order gave the interesting explanation that ‘the order was not delivered to him till a week after it was given to the parents of the child’, showing that such orders must have taken for form of a written note, almost like a prescription. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see July 1845 above also.]

1851, 12th September: The Medical Officers were required to submit their weekly reports to ‘the Union house every Friday morning punctually by 10 o’clock’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this edict came as the result of a debate regarding who paid for postage, but it usefully reveals that they had to submit some form of weekly return regarding their activities for the poor law.]

1851, 7th November: ‘a patient in the Hospital of the Workhouse, suffering from fistula’ was transferred ‘to the Institution in Lower Bentley Street, London for the treatment of that disease, and also’ another ‘patient in the Hospital suffering from an affection of the eyes’ was transferred ‘to the Opthalmic [sic] Hospital, Westminster’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note:in 1891 (10th November) another patient was sent to St Mark’s Hospital, London, for a fistula operation (611/34), but interestingly after medical assessment and before the operation he was sent ‘to the Convalescent Home at Worthing to recruit his strength before being operated upon.’ 2nd February 1892 minutes (611/34).]

1852, July: Mr Bay(e)s, assistant to Mr Faircloth the workhouse medical officer, involved with a case from the workhouse who had died from apoplexy (stroke), but suffered from scalding caused by putting the patient into a hot bath as an attempt at treatment. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). Also reported in: The Bury and Norwich Post. Wednesday Jul 07 1852: 3. [Note: entries regarding this case appear in the 9th, 16th and 30th July Newmarket Union minutes.]

1852, 2nd July: ‘an aged and feeble minded man, labouring under a complaint of the lungs and other infirmities’ who ‘had no home, or other place to resort to, if he left the House alone’ and who ‘would be unable to take proper care of himself, and his health’ and ‘would be exposed to danger’ applied to leave the workhouse on out relief. The Guardians ‘felt it their duty not to permit him to leave at present; but they ordered the Master to write to his son, informing him that if he would provide a home, and proper attention for him, out door relief would be allowed’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1852, 16th July: Mr Osborne, assistant to Mr Peck, mentioned on attending a meeting of the Newmarket Union and that he was ‘in the habit of occasionally accompanying Mr Bays to the Workhouse to see the medical practice’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Mr Bays was assistant to Richard Faircloth the workhouse medical officer – see above.]

1853, 4th March: It was noted in the minutes that ‘at the present time the sick wards would only accommodate 47 patients, while there were 58 sick in the House, and it was resolved That the present sick wards being insufficient be enlarged’. Reference: 611/19, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Richard Faircloth submitted a letter a couple of weeks later, perhaps having been requested to do so by the committee that had been set up. It included, ‘The number of sick and infirm persons admitted into the House having largely increased within the last 2 or 3 years renders it necessary to enlarge the Hospital & infirm Wards, taking care to retain the command of the Contagious Wards, in case of anything like an epidemic infectious disease breaking out. / Several cases of fever have originated in the House, and the symptoms have been aggravated, if not actually induced, by local circumstances, such as bad drainage, imperfect ventilation and overcrowding’ (18th March) – this was supplemented by some similar comments in another letter the next month, on which occasion he had ‘ordered the inmates and nurses to be removed from the infirmary & lying in wards and would suggest that immediate steps be taken for the purification & thoroughly [sic] cleansing all sewers, drains, water closets, privies’ etc…. (611/19).]

1853, 22nd April: ‘On the application of the Chairman on behalf of the parish of Stetchworth it was resolved to authorize an expenditure of £5 by the parish for the apprenticeship of… a deaf and dumb boy to William Briggs of Stetchworth shoemaker for 4 years the further sum of £10 having been contributed by the Deaf and Dumb Society and £5 by his father, the master to provide his apprentice with Board Lodging Clothing Washing Medical attendance and every other necessary [sic].’ Reference: 611/20, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1853, 25th November: ‘a number of children having been received into the workhouse from the parishes of Soham and Isleham in consequence of the prevailing Epidemic’ mentioned. Reference: 611/20, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was a cholera epidemic.]

1854, 5th May: ‘The Board authorized the chairman to give the Proxy of the Guardians in favour of Mr Robert Death as Surgeon and apothecary of the Bury Hospital’! Reference: 611/20, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1854, 22nd September: ‘A letter from Mr Faircloth Medical Officer was read reporting a case of Cholera and other cases of Diarrhoea in Newmarket and the defective state of the sewerage in the District where they occurred when the Clerk was directed to forward a copy to the Chairman of the Newmarket Local Board of Health requesting immediate attention to it and the consequences likely to arise from the evil suggested.’ Reference: 611/20, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: two cases of cholera were reported in Newmarket All Saints’ on 29th September, then on 6th October the medical officers were directed to ‘furnish the Local Board daily with a report of cases of Cholera’ and ‘during the prevalence of cholera’ it was ‘Resolved that the Guardians of Saint Mary and All Saints be a Committee to act in co-operation with the Newmarket Board of Health for procuring a House of refuge and making necessary Arrangements for attending cases of Cholera.’(611/20).]

1854, 29th September: ‘The following change in the Dietary of the House… upon the certificate of the Medical Officer… “1 pint and a half of Gruel for Breakfast daily for the Old Men, and that a Dinner of Meat the same as on Sunday be substituted for cheese on Tuesday for the whole of the inmates” (signed) “Richard Faircloth”’. Reference: 611/20, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there are other examples of the medical officer being involved with diet.]

1856, 4th April:Mr Rob [the b is crossed like a t] Fyson Medical Officer of District No 1 named to the Guardians his partner Mr Samuel Gamble being a legally qualified Medical Practitioner to whom application for medicines and attendance may be made in his absence’. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1856, 18th July: ‘The Clerk laid before the Board and read a letter from… Leeds informing them that a Pauper Lunatic… belonging to the Parish of Chippenham had been sent by a legal Warrant of Commitment dated 23rd June last to Claxton House Asylum near York and asking the Guardians consent to this arrangement. Ordered that the clerk do so inform … it will be better for him to remain in the asylum where he is now confined and the amount of his maintenance will therefore be paid through this Board.’ Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1856, 25th July: Richard Faircloth used ‘surgical skill’ in a case of compound fracture of the skull. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: unfortunately it’s not recorded what he actually did.]

1858, 15th January:Mr. Peck’s resignation of medical district no. 3 was received and accepted when the Board resolved to proceed to the election of his successor… Dr. Day Mr. Peck’s deputy to be requested to attend the sick poor in the mean time until the election.’ Reference:611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1858, 5th February: Mr. George B. Mead elected as medical officer to District 3, having received 18 votes compared with 10 for Dr. William H. Day. Reference:611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1858, 9th February: ‘At a meeting of the Board of Guardians, on Friday last, there were two candidates for the appointment of Surgeon for No. 3 District, comprising Ashley, Cheveley, Kennet, Moulton, and Woodditton, namely, Mr. Day, successor to the practice of Mr. Peck, the late officer, and Mr. Mead, of the firm of Page and Mead, Newmarket, when Mr. Mead was successful, having gained the appointment by a majority of ten.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Feb 9 1858: 3. [Note: according to the minutes above the majority was 8 – don’t believe everything you read in the papers!], [Note also, it’s of interest that Frederick Page had his eye on this role in 1844 – see above.]

1858, 26th February: Sarah Rogers paid for ‘Trusses supplied to the Newmarket Union for the Half year ended Christmas last’ from the ‘“Trusses account”’. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Sarah Rogers was a local ‘Chemist + Druggist’, who can be seen aged 47 in the High Street on the 1861 census, the widow of Robert Rogers mentioned on The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation page.]

1858, 23rd April: ‘a cripple aged 18 years belonging to the Parish of Wood Ditton was bound Apprentice to George Howe of Kennet a Basket Maker for three years the premium of £10..10 to be paid, Half on the Execution of the Indenture of Apprenticeship and the remaining half at the end of the first Twelve Months of the binding. The following Medical Certificate having first been laid before the Board. / “I the undersigned Robert Fyson being a Medical Practitioner residing at Newmarket in the County of Suffolk Do hereby certify that I have examined… and that he is deformed, the nature of the deformity being distortion of the feet occasioned by atrophy of the bones which renders him unfit for out of doors or any laborious employment but he is suited to any sedentary occupation such as that of a Basket maker”’. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1858, 11th June: ‘A Cheque for £2..2..0 was given… to “The Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital” being one year’s subscription to the Hospital’. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there were later subscriptions to this hospital too.]

1858, 20th August: Robert Fyson was requested to attend a Newmarket Union meeting to explain why his deputy Mr Gamble had admitted a patient to the Suffolk General Hospital deemed to be an inappropriate admission. It’s of note that he’d presented the Board with a certificate to say that a patient ‘was a fit and proper person for an Inmate in the Suffolk General Hospital, the Board having on the faith of such Certificate duly recommended him’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the following week an explanation was given and ‘deemed satisfactory’ – no actual details are recorded.]

1858, 19th November: ‘Orders of Removal of certain Lunatics from the Metropolitan Asylums to the County Lunatic Asylum having been laid before the Board William Fletcher Relieving Officer was directed to execute the same forthwith’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was when the Fulbourn asylum opened, before this many Cambridgeshire patients being managed in London asylums.]

1859, 25th March: George Borwick Mead reappointed as medical officer for District 3 ‘there being no other Medical Practitioner resident in either of the Parishes comprised in the third District’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: George Mead lived in Newmarket (see the pages on George Mead and Mentmore House) but there were no medics resident in the villages of District 3 (Woodditton, Cheveley, Ashley, Moulton and Kennett) during its history as far as I’m aware, the same phrase being repeated e.g in 1874 (14th April – 611/29).]

1859, 29th July: ‘The Guardians having agreed to apprentice a Pauper child… under the age of 14 years belonging to the Parish of Isleham to Mr.. William Harlock of Newmarket Trainer for the Term of Seven years and obtained the requisite certificate from Mr. Faircloth the Medical Officer of the workhouse in regard to Bodily health and strength of such Child’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1859, 2nd December: Expenses incurred by the parish of Dullingham for transporting a patient ‘to and from the Orthopaedic Hospital London’ mentioned in the Newmarket Union minutes. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there was a later reference in 1866 to a patient from Gazeley being maintained in ‘the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Great Portland Street, Regents park, London’ (7th August – 611/25), but see also 1867 below.]

1860, 10th August: ‘Charles Clarke Master of the Workhouse’ was reimbursed from the ‘“apprenticeship account”’ for ‘his expenses to Yarmouth with some Boys who are about to be apprenticed to the Sea Service there’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: as an aside, it’s of interest that when Charles Clarke retired in 1871 (7th February – 611/27) he was granted a quite generous ‘superannuation allowance’, as was his wife Mary Clarke the late Matron, their combined pension being three times the annual salary of the nurse in 1877 (however, the nurse who retired that year received a pension that was only slightly less than the new nurse’s salary; 28th August & 11th September – 611/30). It appears that pensions for the various forms of poor law officer started quite early and are mentioned often in the minutes from this point onwards. In 1880 (21st December) a rule of one sixtieth of the officer’s annual salary at retirement for each year or service up to a maximum of forty sixtieths (2/3) was mentioned (611/31).]

1860, 2nd November: 10 shillings spent on ‘slippers for the sick’ from funds generated by the sale of ‘Rags and Bones during the last half year’. Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: most of the money generated went towards the wages of the tailor and shoemaker; it’s not clear in what way the slippers for the sick were not incorporated within the shoemaker’s wages. Some money from this was spent on trusses too, and various other non-medical items such as buttons, matches, rods for baskets, etc.]

1861, 25th January: ‘A letter to the Chairman from Dr. Humphrey Lecturer on anatomy and licensed teacher in the Cambridge University School of Medicine was read requesting the Guardians of the Newmarket Union to permit the Bodies of those happening to die in the House whose Friends are unknown to be removed to Cambridge for anatomical investigation – the expense of the removal and interment being borne by the school and the proceedings conducted in every respect according to the provisions of the Act of Parliament in such cases made and provided when the Board unanimously consented.’ Reference: 611/22, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: interestingly pretty much the same thing was agreed on 3rd January 1922 (611/45) there not being much mention of this in between, except there was a specific example minuted on 29th November 1864, regarding someone who had died in the workhouse and no-one had come forward to claim the body, who was subsequently removed ‘for anatomical purposes’ (611/24), and another case minuted in 1920 (3rd February) was allowed only ‘after giving the matter very careful consideration’ (611/44). So it appears to have been a rare event?]

1861, 29th November: The minutes record ‘a poor Boy of Newmarket All Saints’ funded by the Union to be an apprentice to a Shoemaker in Cambridge, followed by a certificate from Robert Fyson the Medical Officer for District 1 of the Newmarket Union at that stage (which included Newmarket All Saints’): ‘“I certify that I have this morning examined… a deaf and dumb Boy residing at All Saints Newmarket and consider him free from any disease to disqualify him for being apprenticed to a shoemaker”’. Reference: 611/23, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the poor law guardians funded the apprenticeship.]

1862, 28th March: The workhouse tailor ‘had his salary reduced at his own request… being his contribution towards the maintenance of his wife in the Lunatic Asylum.’ Reference: 611/23, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it was a 20% reduction.], [Note also, there were other examples in the minutes of part payment towards such costs, as much as people were deemed able to afford.]

1864, 6th May: ‘The Clerk reported to the Board that Baroness Rothschild had deposited in the Hands of Mr. Faircloth £5 for distribution amongst the aged and the Boys and Girls in the Workhouse as he might think proper to which the Guardians assented’. Reference: 611/23, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: to put £5 in perspective, Dr Mead was reappointed as medical officer to District 3 the same month with an annual salary of £45 per year, although ‘£5 Bonus chargeable to Woodditton Parish subject to the sanction of the Poor Law Board was granted to Dr. Mead in consequence of extra duties performed by him during the past year in Fever cases’ was minuted on 4th April 1865. The Poor Law Board agreed to this (minuted 25th April) except it be chargeable to the same fund as his salary (611/24).], [Note also, see July 1871 below also.]

1864, 18th October and 1st November:Dr. Mead Medical Officer of District No 3 having stated to the Board that certain serious nuisances existed in the parish of Woodditton and that in consequence of the prevalence of fever it would be dangerous for the Guardians to inspect them. [sic] Dr. Mead and the Relieving Officer were authorised to make a further examination and report to the Board thereon with the names of the owners of the premises infected’ ‘The report of Messrs. G. B. Mead and Chas. Millington upon the nuisances existing in Woodditton was presented and the Clerk was directed to write to the owners of the respective premises requiring purification’. Reference: 611/24, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1865, 12th September:Dr Mead having reported the prevalence of epidemic disease at Woodditton the Clerk was directed to write to the Parish Officers requesting them to place 2 or 3 Labourers at Dr. Mead’s disposal to enable him more effectually to explore the localities of certain supposed nuisances’. Reference: 611/24, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: a week later on 19th it was minuted, ‘Dr Mead having presented his report upon the result of his exploration of a certain portion of the Parish of Woodditton the Clerk was directed to write to the parties upon whose premises nuisances were found to exist to remove the same. Dr Mead was directed to proceed with his investigation.’ (611/24).]

1866, 13th March: ‘A letter from the Poor Law Board was read enquiring what arrangements have been made for carrying into effect the recommendation of the select Committee of the House of Commons as regards the supply of Cod Liver Oil, Quinine, and other expensive medicines to the sick poor in the Union and the Clerk directed to reply that as the Medical Officers of the Union provide all medicines of every description for the sick poor in their respective districts out of their Salary the Guardians see no reason for altering their present arrangements.’ Reference: 611/24, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: in 1869 (16th November minutes) Dr Mead suggested ‘the desirability of the Guardians providing drugs for the Inmates of the Workhouse’; they declined to do that, but agreed ‘whenever he is called upon to render extraordinary [underlining in the original] services connected with his duties they will be willing to consider the circumstances of such services with the view of awarding reasonable compensation’ (611/26). It wasn’t until Dr Crompton in 1913 that this was changed – 22nd April (611/42), accompanied by an approximate 1/5th reduction in his salary. However, it’s interesting that there were payments to chemists in the minutes as early as 1857 (to ‘Thomas Dunning Druggist &c Newmarket’ for ‘goods supplied to Union House’ on 1st May – 611/21), and for trusses (see 1858 above).]

1866, 17th April: ‘the old and infirm men – inmates of the Workhouse… had for a long time… enjoyed… assembling for exercise &c. in the Garden in front of the House in the day time’. Reference: 611/25, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was in the context of it no longer being the case.]

1867, 19th February: Dr Mead (Medical Officer for District 3) recommended that two children from Ashley ‘suffering from spinal disease’ be ‘removed’ (i.e. referred) to the ‘National Orthopaedic Hospital Great Portland St., Regents Park, London’ and ‘the clerk was directed to ascertain from the secretary of the hospital, in the event of their removal, the cost of their maintenance there and any other information requisite for procuring their admission as in-patients’ (but Dr Gray stepped in – see 19th March below). Reference: 611/25, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1867, 19th March: The cases of the two children from Ashley ‘suffering from spinal affection’ were again discussed (see 19th February above). ‘A letter from Dr. Gray of Newmarket was read stating that instruments are necessary and generously offering to undertake the charge of both cases and give his assistance gratuitously’. Instruments were provided by the Parish of Ashley for one case and the Newmarket Union for the other. Reference: 611/25, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1867, 19th November:Mr Faircloth Workhouse Medical Officer’ recorded treating ‘two cases of simple fractures of the leg’. Reference: 611/25, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1868, 9th June: ‘A letter from Mr. Richard Faircloth resigning the Office of Medical Officer for the Workhouse…’ Reference: 611/26, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1868, 23rd June: Dr. G. B. Mead elected Medical Officer to the Workhouse and it was minuted ‘Upon the retirement of Mr. Richard Faircloth from the Office of Medical Officer to the Union Workhouse the Guardians… unanimously res-olved to record on the minutes of their proceedings their appreciation of the very valuable services rendered by Mr. Faircloth in the attentive and skilful discharge of his duties, his uniform kindness to the sick poor under his charge, and his respectful and courteous demeanour towards the Board during the time he has held the appointment = a period of upwards of 30 years’. Reference: 611/26, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1868, 4th August: ‘Indentures of apprenticeship of… of Moulton to Charles Rayner the elder of Newmarket St. Mary Trainer of Racehorses and Jockey were executed by the apprentice and the common seal of the Board affixed thereto’. Reference: 611/26, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1869, 13th April: Dr G. B. Mead was granted permission by the Guardians to perform a post mortem on a patient from the workhouse who had died with no known relatives and ‘had suffered from a rare and interesting form of kidney disease’. Reference: 611/26, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1870, 12th April: Dr G. B. Mead certified that a patient was ‘suffering from disease of a contagious character’ and was ‘in an unfit state to be discharged from the Hospital’ so she was detained in the workhouse by law ‘until the Medical Officer shall in writing certify that such discharge may take place’. Reference: 611/27, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: for anyone interested, the law in question cited was ‘Section 22 of the 30 and 31 Vic.cap.106’.]

1870, 25th October: ‘A letter from the Poor Law Board was read consenting to the employment of Messrs.. Isaac Anderson Henry Malden and Charles Millington Relieving Officers as Vaccination Officers within their respective districts’. Reference: 611/27, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1871, 18th July:Doctor Mead Medical Officer of the Workhouse reported that the Baroness de Rothschild had requested him to expend a sum not exceeding £20 in promoting the comfort of deserving inmates of the Union Workhouse and requested the Board to sanction and suggest what means the intentions of the Baroness can best be carried into effect [sic] when after some discussion permission was granted to a dinner of roast Beef and plum pudding being provided for all the inmates of the Workhouse excepting the adult able bodied Paupers.’ Reference: 611/27, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: again to put this in perspective (see May 1864 above), in 1877 when the Union advertised for a new nurse, the annual salary was £20 per year (28th August 1877 – 611/30).], [Note also, on the 1st August it was minuted, ‘The Master having reported that a sufficient sum of money remained out of Baroness de Rothschild’s Gift to defray the expense of taking the workhouse school children to Harwich the Board consented to their being taken by Rail and Boat by the Great Eastern Railway Company’s advertised excursion on Friday next and the clerk was directed to convey the thanks of the Guardians to the Baroness de Rothschild for her munificient [sic] gift.]

1873, 13th May: ‘A letter from the secretary Addenbrookes [sic] Hospital Cambridge was read intimating that as great trouble is experienced at the Hospital by Patients coming unprovided with change of linen and money to pay for washing it in future no patient can be admitted unless the rule to that effect be complied with; and that the money (1s/- per week) for that purpose on account of Pauper Patients is expected to be sent without any application. A copy thereof was ordered to be handed to each Relieving Officer’. Reference: 611/28, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1873, 27th May: Mr. Richard Faircloth recorded as caring for a ‘pauper’ from Westley ‘who for a period of three months has been under treatment for puerperal mania after confinement’. Reference: 611/28, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1873, 2nd September: Robert Fyson resigned from his Newmarket Union medical officer role (District 1). Reference: 611/28, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1873, 23rd September:Clement F. Gray Esq of High Street Newmarket’ elected Medical Officer for District 1 of the Newmarket Union. It appears he was the only candidate – likely Ernest Fyson was not in Newmarket at this stage, ‘Mr Gray to enter upon his duties on the 30th Instant’. Reference: 611/28, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1874, 17th March: ‘an increase was shown in medical relief only [underlining in the original] in the first District owing to the number of cases of Typhoid Fever on the Books of that District during the greater portion of the 1873 Half year’. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1874, 17th March: ‘where medical relief is recommended it would in the opinion of the Committee be far more advantageous to the patients with a chance of more speedy recovery if those cases could be treated in the Workhouse Hospital where they would have the benefit of a regular and superior diet and be under the almost daily supervision of the medical officer’. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it’s interesting to see hospital admission encouraged rather than discouraged here.]

1874, 21st April: The Local Government Board recommended ‘that the workhouse nurse should in no case do duty in both the ordinary sick wards and the infectious wards it being advisable when cases of infectious disease are admitted into the infectious wards that the Guardians should employ temporarily a person to take the sole charge’. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1874, 29th September: Mr. Richard Faircloth recorded as caring for a patient from Dullingham ‘suffering from Dropsy.’ Reference: 611/28, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this same case was mentioned in the minutes for 2 years.]

1874, 6th October: Dr Mead resigned as medical officer to the workhouse. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this resignation was required following alleged problems with the way in which he had vaccinated some patients and some other issues. His relationship with the Newmarket Union deteriorated after this for a few years, but then after a disputed election in 1880 he was appointed to the Board of Guardians. Reference: 611/29-31, Newmarket Union minutes. However, it appears the relationship perhaps remained strained and either way came to a head in the mid 1880s, and he does not feature in the minutes after 1886. Reference: 611/32-33, Newmarket Union minutes.]

1874, 27th October: Clement Frederick Gray elected ‘Medical Officer of the Workhouse’, apparently unopposed (this was following George Borwick Mead’s resignation minuted on 6th October above). Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1875, 16th February: ‘The appointment of Dr. G. B. Mead as Medical Officer of District number 3 expiring on the 25th of March next the clerk was directed to advertise for a Medical Officer of that District upon the same terms, the election to take place on the 9th day of March next’. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1875, 9th March: ‘This being the day fixed for the election of a Medical Officer for District number 3 and the clerk having reported that although an advertisement had appeared in the Local and Medical papers announcing the vacancy no application for the office had been received the Guardians proceeded to consider the best means of providing for the medical attendance upon Paupers in that District when it was ultimately… unanimously resolved to add the parishes comprising that District to the first District and to increase the salary of Mr. Clement F. Gray the Medical Officer of the last mentioned District’. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1875, 25th March: ‘UNION MEDICAL DISTRICTS.- The Union medical district comprising the parishes of Ashley, Cheveley, Kennet, Moulton, and Woodditton, for several years held by Dr. Mead, has been annexed to that held by Mr. Clement F. Gray, son and partner of Dr. Gray, of Newmarket, who will commence his new duties on the 25th inst. About 12 months ago Mr. Gray was appointed to the district of Newmarket St. Mary’s and All Saints, on the resignation of Mr. Fyson, and after the small-pox epidemic, during which he was hospital doctor, he was unanimously elected successor to Dr. Mead as medical officer of the Workhouse.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuseday Mar 23 1875: 8. [Note: the hospital referred to was a temporary hospital set up in the heath during the epidemic – see the page on Newmarket and smallpox.]

1875, 22nd June: District Medical Officers performing amputations mentioned. Reference: 611/29, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1876, 28th November: ‘The Master reported that on the 23rd. instant W.A. Peel Esqre. Local Government Inspector had visited and inspected the Workhouse and had made the following Report in the Visitors’ Book viz:- “I inspected the Workhouse to day [sic] and found all the Wards clean and in good order all the Inmates whom I questioned assured me they were well cared for.”’ Reference: 611/30, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1877, 5th June: ‘Mr William Lamb (Inspector of nuisances)’ mentioned. Reference: 611/30, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was in the context of him being appointed ‘“School attendance officer”’ as well.]

1877, 11th September:Mr John Rowland Wright was appointed Public Vaccinator of No. 2 District in the room of Mr Richard Faircloth resigned and a contract entered into upon the same terms as his predecessor…’ Reference: 611/30, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this might be the point at which John Rowland Wright entered a handover partnership with Richard Faircloth – see the pages on John Rowland Wright and Richard Faircloth for more on their handover partnership.]

1877, 25th December: ‘CHRISTMAS-DAY AT THE UNION-HOUSE.- On Christmas-day the inmates of the Union-house were greeted at an early hour by the fife-and-drum band of St. Mary’s, con-ducted by Mr. John Turner, who promenaded the yards and played several lively airs. The inmates of all classes were made as comfortable as the bountiful supply of roast beef, roast pork, plum pudding, ale, &c., could possibly make them, and they appeared well satisfied, adding that “they wished there was a Christmas-day every month.” Mrs. Gray and family, C. F. Gray, Esq., Medical Officer, and the Rev. J. Denman, Chaplain, visited the various wards, and all seemed much pleased at the content and thankfulness exhibited by the aged, sick, and children, the latter looking remarkably clean and healthy under the care of their recently appointed teachers, Mr. Wm. Eade and Mrs. Eade. Mr. Richard Barrow, a Guardian, provided a very liberal supply of tea and loaf sugar for the infirm and aged women. Miss Seaber, Mrs. C. Hammond, and several other ladies and gentlemen gave their usual gifts.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Jan 1 1878: 8. [Note: I used this as the basis for a Christmas card sent to all staff at The Rookery Medical Centre, Christmas 2013.]

1878, 5th March: ‘A letter from Mr. Richard Faircloth Medical Officer of the second District of the Union tendering his resignation of that appointment was read. Upon the motion of the Chairman it was unanimously resolved that in accepting such resignation the clerk was directed to express to Mr. Faircloth the high sense of the Guardians of the valuable services rendered by him to the Board as well as to the poor under his charge during the very long period of forty years he has held office under them and of the uniform courtesy and urbanity which have characterised his intercourse with the members. That the Guardians hear with much concern that the retirement of Mr. Faircloth is rendered necessary by consideration of health and they trust that the rest which he will now enjoy may have the effect of speedily restoring him to health and prolonging his life.’ Reference: 611/30, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1878, 26th March:Mr. John Rowland Wright of High Street Newmarket’ elected Medical Officer of District 2 ‘in the room of Mr. Richard Faircloth’ with the added remark ‘his residence being beyond the boundary of the District and there being no Medical Practitioner resident in any of the Parishes comprised in that District’. Reference: 611/30, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: he lived in Newmarket – see the page on John Rowland Wright for details.]

1883, 18th December:Mr Clement F. Gray Medical Officer No 1 District’ applied to the Newmarket Union for some renumeration for a Cæsarian section he’d performed in the house of ‘a dwarf pauper residing in Grosvenor Yard Newmarket’, which was granted. Reference: 611/32, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: click here for the full account of this case, which was written up in the BMJ.]

1884, 11th March: ‘This being the day fixed for the appointment of a Medical Officer for the second District of the Union the Clerk read a letter from Mr John R. Wright the present officer offering himself for re-election Also a letter from Mr Walter Hutchinson of Newmarket Surgeon applying for the appointment in the event of the Guardians being desirous of a change.’ Someone then brought up ‘instances of neglect of duty’ presumably referring to an incident in October 1883 (see the page on John Rowland Wright), so Walter Hutchinson was elected to the role, including that of vaccinator. Reference: 611/32, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1884: ‘Union Workhouse’ shown on the Ordnance Survey map of Newmarket. Reference: Map of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1886 (surveyed 1884), sheet 42.6. [Note: the outline looks virtually identical to that on the 1901 OS map, except for the addition of St Etheldreda’s Church on the latter – see image of the 1901 map above.]

1887, 1st November: The guardians provided a loan to a hurdlemaker from Kirtling ‘for providing an out-fit of clothing for his daughter preparatory to being admitted into the Essex Hall Asylum for Idiots at Colchester’. Reference: 611/33, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this institution was otherwise known as ‘the Eastern Counties Asylum for Idiots’ mentioned in a letter minuted on 24th July 1888 (611/33) which described ‘the training and instruction provided for Idiots and Imbeciles’ that they offered. Later in the minutes it appears to have been called ‘the Royal Eastern Counties Institu-tion’ (14th June 1927 (611/46).]

1889, 14th May: ‘A letter from the Secretary of Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge calling the attention of the Board to Rule 82 which enacts “That each patient shall be required to pay 1s/-d a week for tea and other small necessaries” and requesting that this allowance be made by the Board on behalf of… a patient in that Hospital admitted from the Workhouse of this Union.’ Reference: 611/33, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1889, 6th August: ‘The return of the Vaccination Officer respecting the vaccination of children whose births were registered between 1st July and 31st December inclusive was laid before the Board from which it appeared that the number of such births was 444. / Successfully vaccinated 389 / Dead unvaccinated 35 / Postponements by medical certificate 15 / Removals to Districts the vaccination officer of which has been apprised 2 / Removals to places unknown 3’. Reference: 611/33, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this shows incidentally an infant mortality rate of just under 8% in the first year alone. A similar minute from 18th August 1891 shows just under 7% (611/34). It’s of note that this minute passes without further comment, showing that this was an expected state of affairs, whereas an infant mortality rate that high today would be a source of great alarm and debate as to the cause and what could be done about it!]

1893, 21st November: The building of a workhouse chapel discussed. Reference: 2706/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: apparently the chapel was built in 1895, according to the Heasman book referenced below. Oddly, it appears on page 26 of that book on a ‘Plan of the Newmarket Union Workhouse 1836’. It appears this plan should be dated later, which is perhaps implied by comments on page 35 of the book. Also, the OS map of 1885 does not show the chapel but the 1901 map does – see image above of the latter. The plan on page 26 of the book resembles the even later 1926 OS map, not the 1885 map. The notes used to write the book are still in the Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds (see the bottom of page 4 of the book), and a version of the plan from page 26 appears in there labelled ‘Public Assistance Institution of the 1930s’ not 1836. The notes include another plan of the much smaller original workhouse. Reference: HD2187/11036, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). Also, this smaller version is consistent with original plans regarding alterations to the early workhouse, which show the original chapel integral to the main buildings. Reference: ADA500/31-39, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds) – see an image from its position in 1842 on the page about Newmarket Hospital – which also shows the 1925/6 map referred to above.]

1894, 27th February: In a report dated 22nd February the Guardians of the Newmarket Union visiting the Fulbourn Asylum ‘interviewed all the pauper inmates belonging to our district. There were 15 men 27 women and 3 boys and all appeared well cared for’ but ‘in a rather hopeless condition’ except one who was ‘fit to be discharged on trial’, nevertheless ‘Some of the more recent cases have we learn considerably improved now they are removed from the harassing circumstances that brought them here. All seem to be well disposed towards the medical officers whom they seem to regard as their friends. The buildings were clean and appeared to be in good order’. Reference: 2706/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: interestingly, regarding the patient ready for a trial of discharge, there was a letter from him ‘asking to be allowed to be discharged’ but this wasn’t done immediately since the chairman ‘promised to endeavour to find some employment for him before discharging him.’], [Note also, a similar report in December of the same year mentioned 20 men, 25 women and 3 boys; it also mentioned a different patient from the one mentioned in February who ‘was gradually strengthening in mind and he [the doctor] thought he would not be an inmate for long, he was still suffering from melancholia.’], [Note also, the Newmarket Union covered more Cambridgeshire than Suffolk parishes (22 in Cambridgeshire and 7 in Suffolk noted in the 16th November 1869 minutes – 611/26). The accounts reflect this, with payments to the Cambridgeshire asylum being much higher than those to the Suffolk asylum over the years after the former’s opening in 1858, although this difference seems to lessen in the early 20th century, yet still remaining to some extent.]

1896, 8th September: ‘The Master reported the necessity of having gas laid on for the lighting of the Hospital Wards of the Workhouse, when it was resolved that the Gas Company be asked to furnish an estimate for the cost of the same.’ Reference: 611/36, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: an estimate was produced and accepted, as recorded in the minutes of 22nd September (611/40) – in that minute it’s called the ‘Workhouse Infirmary’.]

1897, 2nd November: ‘the advisability of the Guardians becoming subscribers towards any Nursing Associations which might be formed within the district or otherwise giving their patronage and support’ mentioned. Reference: 611/36, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the first actual subscription appears to have been in 1904, when the Newmarket Union subscribed to ‘the Exning and Landwade District Nursing Association’. Reference 26th January (611/39). From that point various other similar associations were subscribed to over the years.]

1898, 5th April: ‘A letter from Mr. L. Roberts, Local Agent of the National Telephone Company, Newmarket –  dated the 2nd instant was read enquiring whether the Guardians would require to be connected on to the telephone, the rate being £10 per year. When the Clerk was directed in reply to state that the Guardians were not desirous of making use of the telephone.’ Reference: 611/37, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: later, on 12th November 1907, the minutes include, ‘The workhouse committee reported that they had considered the question of connecting the workhouse with the Newmarket Telephone Exchange and recommended that this should be done’ (611/40).]

1898, 18th October: Someone is recorded in the minutes stating ‘that he had for some time maintained a girl… aged 19 years in a private Lunatic Asylum at Norwich but that he was not prepared to continue such maintenance and suggested that she should be removed to the Cambs County Asylum at Fulbourn’ which was then set in motion. Reference: 611/37, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1898, 18th October: A letter from the Royal Blind Pension Society asking ‘whether in the event of a pension from the funds of such society being granted to a blind person… of… Newmarket; his Out Relief would be withheld or curtailed in any way and whether such relief would be considered quite independently of any aid from this society, When it was resolved that the clerk be directed to inform the society that such relief would be considered quite independently of any charitable aid which the society might see fit to grant him provided such aid did not exceed the scale referred to in their said letter’. Reference: 611/37, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was in the same minutes as the above.], [Note also, it’s of interest that later, in 1919 (29th April minutes) ‘A letter was read from the National Institute for the Blind enclosing a box of dominoes and a pack of playing cards marked in Braille figures for the use of the Blind Inmates of the workhouse when it was unan-imously resolved that the National Institute be thanked for their Gifts.’ (611/44).]

1900, 17th April: ‘Resolved that the crippled child… now an inmate of the workhouse should be sent to one of Dr. Barnardo’s homes’. Reference: 611/37, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was funded partly by the Newmarket Union and partly by his father.], [Note also, for the interesting history of Dr. Barnardo see this link: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/who-we-are/our-history.]

1902, 17th May: ‘the old Hospital which is now used as day rooms for the old people’ referred to. Reference: 611/39, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1903, 10th February: Someone was ‘brought to the workhouse by the police as a Lunatic wandering at large’ with a significant amount of money and a watch in his possession. The clerk was ‘appointed as Trustee as required by the Lunacy Act and… authorised to make the necessary application to the magistrates for an order to reimburse the Board for any expenses incurred in the removal of the man to the Asylum and his maintenance while there’. Reference: 611/38, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the watch was given to his mother, and when he was discharged from the Melton Asylum later in the year (8th September minutes – 611/39) he received what was left of the money back.]

1903, 17th November: ‘The following letter was read from Dr Walter Hutchinson resigning his appointment as Medical Officer of the No2 District / Stourfield Park Sanatorium / Bournemouth / 4th Novr 1903 / Dear Sir, / It is with great regret that I write to place my resignation of medical officer of the Second District of the Newmarket Union in the hands of the Guardians my health has so completely broken down that there is no chance of my being able to do any work for many months my partner + successor Dr Woollett has been performing my duties since my illness + I feel sure that if the Guardians appoint him to the post they will find him a very efficient officer. And in conclusion I should like to thank the Guardians for many acts of courtesy + kindness that I have received at their hands / Believe me / Faithfully yours / Walter Hutchinson… whereupon it was resolved… the Newmarket Board of Guardians receive with deep regret the resignation of their medical officer for the No2 District (Dr Hutchinson) caused by his severe illness and beg to convey to him and Mrs Hutchinson their sympathy with the hope that he may have a speedy and complete recovery ’. Reference: 611/39, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the fact that he was in a sanatorium would suggest that he was suffering from TB, a fact confirmed by his death certificate in 1905. Reference: Certified copy of an entry of death, given at the General Register Office, 15th June 2016.]

1903, 17th November: After the above reference: ‘The following application for the appointment as medical officer for No2 District was read from Mr S. W. Woollett / Newmarket / Nov 6 1903 / Sir / I beg to apply for the post of medical officer to the No2 District of the Newmarket Union, as Mr Hutchinson informs me that he has resigned this appointment, including the duties of Public Vaccinator. I have been in practice 25 years and I am well acquainted with the routine duties of a Poor Law appointment as I have been on a Public Health Committee of a Town Council for some years I understand the working of the Public Health and Vaccination Acts – I attend at a Surgery at Dullingham two afternoon [sic] a week where I am able to attend to Parish Patients – / I remain / Yours faithfully / Sidney winslow woollett [sic] / MRCS Eng LSA London’. Reference: 611/39, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: he was appointed unanimously with immediate effect.]

1904, 11th February: ‘A letter dated the 8th instant was read from the Grimsby Steam Trawling Co with reference to the apprenticeship of… and it was resolved that the Boy be examined by Dr Gray and if found satisfactory that he should be sent to Grimsby as soon as possible for two months on probation’. Reference: 611/38, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1904, 15th November: ‘The workhouse Committee reported that as the workhouse was not numbered in the census returns but was a separate institution and described as the workhouse they had again considered the question of the name to be given for the purposes of the Registration of births therein and recommend that the workhouse be called “The White Lodge, Exning Road.” Reference: 611/39, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1904, 27th December: ‘On the recommendation of the House Committee it was resolved that the thanks of the Board be given to the Officers of the House and the Nurses in the Infirmary for the excellent manner in which the decorations had been carried out for the Christmas festivities’. Reference: 611/39, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1907, 19th March: The ‘Visiting Commissioner in Lunacy’ reported that, ‘There were in this workhouse today when I paid my visit 1 man and 5 women detained as imbeciles, all of whom I saw and can report that they are proper subjects to be detained on that footing’… ‘The imbeciles appear well cared for, and were tidy in their dress and expressed themselves as being contented’… ‘The health of the imbeciles is good. Three of the women are employed in the laundry, and two in the household work in the infirmary.’ Reference: 611/40, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: another visit in 1911 (12th September) apparently referring to the same three women in the laundry described them as ‘insane’, illustrating the blurring of terminology discussed in the main text above (611/42).]

1907, 15th October: The Newmarket Union minutes noted a midwifery case of Dr Woollett’s at Snailwell in which ‘it was necessary in order to save the life of the mother and child to break the child’s thigh’. Reference: 611/40, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was not a complaint, but a note about him requesting direction from the Board of Guardians regarding what his fee should be in this presumably out of the ordinary case.]

1908, 26th May: It was noted in the minutes that Dr Woollett had been required to attend a midwifery case in Ashley, outside of his poor law district. It ‘required a long attendance and the use of instruments’. Reference: 611/41, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was part of Clement Gray’s district; it’s not known why he could not attend the case instead.]

1911, 15th August: The minutes note that a patient ‘be allowed new spectacles and her railway fare to Cambridge Hospital for the purpose of obtaining them.’ Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 13th February: A minute about fire hydrants reveals that there was a female infirmary with two floors and likewise a male infirmary with two floors on the site at this time. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 4th June: The ‘Nurses Home’ mentioned in the minutes regarding refurnishing. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: interestingly, the nurses home was given the suite of furniture from the Master’s sitting room and he was allowed to obtain some second hand furniture from elsewhere to replace it.]

1912, 18th June: ‘A circular letter was read from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children asking the Guardians to contribute towards the funds of the Society when it was resolved that subject to the consent of the Local Government Board an annual subscription… be given to this Society.’ Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 27th August: ‘The committee considered the report of the medical officer with regard to providing a shelter for giving out-door treatment to consumptive cases, when it was resolved to recommend that a shelter be obtained’. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 22nd October: Clement Gray resigned from his Newmarket Union roles (District 1 and the workhouse). Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 22nd October: Gilbert Gray sent the following letter dated 21st October (recorded in the minutes of the meeting on 22nd): ‘Gentlemen / As my father is resigning his appoint-ments shortly, I thought I might let you know that I intend to become an applicant for the Number one district + workhouse of the Newmarket Union. I have the double qualification + was house surgeon + after-wards Senior Resident to one of the Large London Hospitals. Since then I have been three Years with my father + have helped him in the work of these posts, thereby gaining a good insight into the duties of a medical officer’. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: oddly, after this initial expression of interest in filling these roles, Gilbert Gray did not apply.]

1912, 17th December: John Hansby Maund, Sidney Winslow Woollett and Ernest Crompton applied for the roles vacated by Clement Gray above (i.e. medical officer to the workhouse and District 1 of the Newmarket Union). The workhouse role went to Ernest Crompton and District 1 to John Hansby Maund, neither of whom had a role until that point. Sidney Winslow Woollett was already medical officer for District 2. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 31st December: ‘It was unanimously resolved… that the Guardians desire to place on record their appreciation of the faithful services rendered by Dr C.F. Gray as Medical Officer of the workhouse and No1 District during the long period of 39 1/4 years and that the clerk be directed to write to Dr Gray in suitable terms.’ Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1912, 31st December: ‘A letter was read from Dr Woollett who had been attending [a patient] stating that she requires more nourishment when it was resolved that the Relieving Officer be directed to watch this case’. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1913, 28th January: ‘having regard to the excellent services rendered by Dr Gray during the whole period of 39 years the committee resolved to recommend that one year be added… that Dr Gray be awarded a maximum pension… based upon the full period of 40 years service allowed’. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this decision is minuted again on 25th March. Reference: 611/42.]

1913, 28th January: ‘It was resolved on the recommendation of the medical officer that… an inmate of the workhouse be sent to Addenbrookes Hospital for treat-ment’. Reference: 611/42, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there are other similar examples in the minutes.]

1915, 1st June: ‘A letter was read from Dr Woollett stating that Dr Maund would act as his Deputy as District Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator during his absence with the Royal Army Medical Corps. when it was resolved that this appointment be approved’. Reference: 611/43, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1915, 21st September: ‘The workhouse medical officer reported that [a nurse] was seriously ill and had found it necessary to call in Dr Deighton of Cambridge for consultation when it was decided that an operation must be performed.’ Reference: 611/43, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the workhouse medical officer at this time would have been Ernest Crompton – Frederick Deighton was an Addenbrooke’s Hospital surgeon.]

1916, 14th November: A letter from the ‘District Asylum’ Melton, Suffolk, dated 27th October with the heading ‘District Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ [underlining in the original] was minuted explaining that they had ‘unanimously decided to change the name of this institution from the above rather objectionable name to “St. Audrey’s Hospital” –  for mental diseases. / We feel that your Board will sympathetically welcome the change of name and the atmosphere that it caries and will recognise that it conveys to the poor people to whose troubles we do our best to administer, and their relatives, an entirely different and better idea’. Reference: 611/43, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: a footnote reads ‘The name is derived from the Ancient Liberty of St Etheldreda (or Audrey) in which the institution is situated’ –  interesting considering other connections this website has with St Etheldreda (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation).]

1917, 20th July: ‘A letter was read from Dr Maund stating that he would be absent on a short Holiday, and that Dr Noding would act as his locum…’ Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this is not the earliest example of a holiday being taken by a Newmarket medic – see Sidney Winslow Woollett in 1904.], [Note also, Thomas Edward Noding was in the Medical Directory for this year as a retired Lt.-Col. R.A.M.C., obviously doing some locums in his retirement, and likely a relative of John Maund’s wife – see the page on John Hansby Maund.]

1919, 1st April: ‘there was a great tendency on the part of the medical officers to send cases of tuberculosis into the infirmary without enquiring whether they can be received into sanatoria when it was resolved that cases of tuberculosis cannot be admitted into the infirmary without an order from the Relieving Officer’. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1919, 24th June: It was noted in the minutes that ‘the medical officers are doing a considerable amount of voluntary work in attending Old Age Pensioners and indigent cases’. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: indigent means poor and needy.]

1920, 17th August: Letter from Dr Crompton, Rutland House, Newmarket in the minutes, disagreeing with some recommendations made by a recent ‘Visiting Inspector of the Board of Control’ regarding the management of some patients in the workhouse. His letter included the view that some epileptics ‘in my opinion should be treated as such, and if possible sent to a suitable institution, and not a lunatic asylum’, and regarding some separate children with learning difficulties ‘I feel strongly that children who are incapable of being educated at the Board school should be sent to special institutions where they would have every chance of improving, and not as will certainly happen if they are simply certified, and detained without proper treatment becoming hopeless imbeciles’. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the inspectors report is in the 20th July minutes – in ref. 611/44.]

1920, 7th December: ‘A circular was read from the Ministry of Health suggesting that in the event of any death under Anaesthetics in the workhouse there should be a scientific investigation into the actual cause of death when it was resolved that a copy of this circular be handed to the Medical Officer Dr Crompton’. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this is included primarily to show that by implication operations under anaesthetic must have taken place in the workhouse at this time, presumably carried out by Dr Crompton the workhouse medical officer.]

1921, 24th May: ‘An application was received for the admission of… into the Infirmary for a fortnight to enable the parents to take a short holiday the girl being a mental deficient when after considering all the circumstances of the case it was resolved that the application be granted subject to the parents paying the full costs of her maintenance’. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1921, 21st June: A new assistant nurse was appointed at a salary of £26 per year. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1921, 20th September: ‘A letter was read from the Cambridgeshire County Tubercul-osis Officer… stating that only 100 beds are provided for cases suffering from tuberculosis for the whole county…’ Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1921, 11th October: The list of annual subscriptions paid by the Guardians included £10, 10 shillings to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and £2, 2 shillings to the Suffolk General Hospital. Reference: 611/44, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1922, 23rd May: ‘A letter was read from Messrs Rustons & Lloyd on behalf of Dr E. Crompton resigning his appointment as Medical Officer of the Workhouse as from 30th June next when it was resolved that such resign-ation be accepted and that the clerk write to Dr Crompton and express the regret of the Guardians at his continued ill health and the hope that he will soon recover.’ Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1922, 20th June:Dr John Hansby Maund’ was ‘appointed as Medical Officer of the Institution’. Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: he was the only applicant.], [Note also, ‘the Institution’ was a term for the workhouse in use by this time.]

1922, 12th September: ‘A letter was read from Dr Woollett stating that he proposed to be absent from his District for about 10 days from August 16th and that Dr Maund would act in his absence…’ Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1923, 2nd January: A weekly allowance was ‘granted to all paupers in receipt of outrelief [written as one word on this occasion – and in 1924 below] who are house-holders to meet the cost of coal’ during the quarter ending 31st March. Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: it’s not known whether this was literally paid once per week or perhaps monthly or even as a full sum for the quarter; whereas the latter might be more likely now, perhaps it was literally weekly in the 1920s?]

1923, 9th October: ‘It was resolved that [a patient] now in the workhouse be sent to Lord Mayor Treloars [sic] Cripple Homes Alton if they will accept her for an 18th months course of treatment…’ Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: a subsequent minute on 2nd December 1924 (611/46) reveals that the patient was ‘improving in her general condition and the disease in the spine was less active’, then on 2nd October 1928 there’s a very interesting follow up letter from Dr Barnardo’s stating ‘You will remember that this girl was admitted to these Homes, as a charge upon your Board, on the 5th August 1926, having been discharged from the Treloar Cripples’ Hospital on that date, and until the 12th inst. was an inmate of our Hospital Home at Folkestone. We are glad to report, however, that her condition has now so far improved that she has been transferred to our Girls’ Village Home, Barking-side, Essex. This branch of our Homes is for normal girls but at the same time our Medical Officer reports that although she has now no open sinuses and does not require to wear a spinal jacket she will require to be in the open air as much as possible and will require extra food and nourishment in the way of eggs, milk and cod-liver oil and malt. It will also be necessary for her to attend the out-patients’ dept. daily for treatment for slight otorrhoea.’ (DC1/4/1). – so it seems likely she had TB of the spine?]

1924, 15th July: An application was received from the Cambridge Surgical Aid Association, for a grant towards the cost of a new set of teeth for [someone from Brinkley] who is in receipt of outrelief [see 1923 above]’, which was agreed. Reference: 611/45, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1925, 8th September: ‘An important circular was read from the Association of Poor Law Unions calling the Guardians’ attention to the proposals which were on foot with the view of the abolition of Boards of Guardians when it was resolved that a Special Committee consisting of…. be appointed for the purpose of watching the interests of the Board in this matter and taking such action thereon as the Committee may in their discretion deem advisable’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1925, 6th October: ‘A letter was read from Addenbrookes [sic] Hospital making a special appeal for contributions towards the heavy and increasing expenses of the Hospital when such letter was referred to the Finance Committee’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the 3rd November minutes record that the ‘committee considered the application from Cambs Addenbrookes [sic] Hospital for an additional subscription towards the funds of the Hospital when it was resol-ved to defer this application until a later date…’]

1925: ‘White Lodge (Poor Law Institution)’ with infirmary at the back marked on the Ordnance Survey map. Reference: Map of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1926 (surveyed 1883, revised 1925), sheet 42.6. [Note: see the page on Newmarket Hospital for an image of this.]

1926, 23rd February: A minute regarding someone from Exning requesting help to replace ‘bedding which had been damaged during disinfection in consequence of three cases of scarlet fever’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1926, 23rd March: ‘An application was received from [someone] of Exning with regard to the cost of the Ambulance for conveying (under the medical officer’s direction) the late [patient] who was in receipt of relief to the Addenbrookes [sic] Hospital… when it was resolved that this charge be paid by the Guardians’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1926, 20th April: ‘It was resolved that a girl who is now in the work-house be sent to the Skin Disease Hospital, in London for medical treatment and that the master be authorised to arrange for this.’ Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1926, 25th May: A patient was transferred ‘to the infirmary for her confinement [i.e. pregnancy] in view of the unsatisfactory conditions of the home of this woman.’ Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1927, 17th May: ‘A notice was received from the Waifs + Strays Society’ about an individual being ‘placed out in service at St Oswald’s College Ellesmere as Matron’s maid’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1927, 12th July: ‘The committee recommend that a letter be written to the Minister of Health impressing upon him to have in view the desirability of providing in any revised Scheme of Poor Law for the provision of accommodation outside mental Institutions for senile cases’. Reference: 611/46, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this appears to be a suggestion that patients with dementia should be cared for in accommodation catering for such patients’ particular needs and not in general psychiatric hospitals.], [Note also, there were further proposals locally with regards to this in the 1928 minutes (30th October and 27th November – DC1/4/1), then on 16th April 1929, less than a year before the Union ceased to exist, they resolved ‘whatever changes may take place under The Local Government Act 1929 this Board strongly urges the County Council and Ministry of Health to take such steps as will alleviate the lot of the aged poor who suffer from senile decay, by the provision of Institutional accommodation of a suitable nature and thus avoid certification of those whose mental disability is caused entirely by old age’ (DC1/4/1).], [Note also, as with the 1920 reference above, there was a Minister and Ministry of Health before the NHS (which started in 1948).]

1928, 24th January:Dr Maund medical officer of the Institution’ reported on a case recently admitted there ‘at the request of Dr Paton Philip the Cambs. County Tuberculosis officer’ that ‘sanatorium treat-ment may be beneficial to her… when it was resolved that steps be taken to obtain the ad-mission of this case to the Nayland Sanatorium for such time as may be necessary.’ Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Nayland is about 30 miles south-east of Newmarket. The East Anglian Sanatorium opened there in 1901, run by a Dr June Walker, for the open air treatment of patients with TB. Reference: Sparrow, W, Carver A. Nayland & Wiston 1860s – 1950s. A portrait in photographs. Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society; 2002 (this book is composed of images with brief notes, with images 71-76 of the sanatorium, including pictures of its farm and gardens).]

1928, 12th June: ‘The Chairman referred in sympathetic terms to the recent death of Dr S. W. Woollett Medical Officer for the No2 District of the Union and it was unanimously resolved that the clerk be directed to convey to Mrs Woollett and the family an expression of the Board’s sympathy and condolence in the loss they have sustained. / It was further resolved that an advertisement be issued for applications for the appointments of District Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for the No2 District, there being no medical man residing within that District’. Reference: DC1.4.1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1928, 10th July: ‘In response to the Board’s advertisement two applications were received for the appointment of District Medical Officer and Public vaccinator for the No2 District and after considering the same it was resolved that Dr Joseph Davis be and he is hereby appointed…’ Reference: DC1.4.1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: the minute does not say who the other applicant was.]

1928, 10th July: ‘A letter was received from the Papworth Village Settlement’ regarding the charges for admitting patients there. Reference: DC1.4.1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: Papworth Hospital began as a place for treating tuberculosis in 1917/18. Reference: https://www.papworthtrust.org.uk/about-us/our-history/ (accessed 18th September 2018).]

1928, 4th September: ‘The Master reported that a patient suffering from arthrit-is had requested to be allowed to be out in the open and stated that it was not convenient for the patient to be taken through the wards and corridors and asked for permission to make a French window in place of the existing window so that the patient could pass through direct to the open air when it was resolved that the permission asked for be granted.’ Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1929, 11th June: ‘A circular letter was read from the Association of Poor Law Unions calling attention to the Public Assistance Administration under the Local Government Act 1929 and suggesting that Boards of Guardians should express their willingness to assist the County Councils in formulating schemes under the Act when it was resolved that this Board agree to assist in the matter if asked to do so by the county councils.’ Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see January 1930 below.]

1930, 21st January: A committee was set up ‘to deal with any matters of urgency which may arise in connection with the transfer to the County Councils’ after ‘Circulars which had been issued to County Councils were received from the Ministry of Health with reference to the Transfer of Poor Law Functions, Institutions and officers’ immediately followed by ‘A letter was read from the West Suffolk County Council asking to be informed when the contracts with the Public Vaccinators have been terminated’ the answer to which was that they would end on 31st March. Presumably this was with a view to the council issuing new contracts, but apparently to the same officers – see 1832, 1837 and 1838 below, and comments in the main text above. Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

1930, 18th February: ‘The Chairman referred to the fact that the next meeting would be the last meeting of the Guardians of this Union inconsequence [sic] of the transfer of the work to the County Councils under the Local Government Act 1929 and asked whether the Board desired any record of the work of the Board of Guardians since its constitution under the Poor Law Act of 1834 be prepared and submitted at the next meeting when after discussion it was resolved that no action be taken in the matter.’ Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: I wonder whether part of the discussion might have included the length of time such an endeavour would take, a week not being realistic!]

1930, 18th March: There was a proposal ‘that the County Councils be asked to hand over to the Cambridge-shire University Library all Minute Books and records which may be of historical interest when the Clerk reported that the Minute books being official records could not be handed over by the County Councils and in view of the fact that this Union was in two Counties the Books would be deposited at the workhouse where they would be available for either County Council.’ Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: obviously the minute books eventually ended up in the Suffolk County Record Office at Bury St Edmunds.]

1930, 18th March: ‘The Chairman referred to the fact that this was the last meeting of the Board of Guardians previous to the duties being taken over by the County Councils and he had made arrangements for a photographic group of the Board and its officers to be taken and hung in the Board room’. Reference: DC1/4/1, Newmarket Union minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this was approved and paid for by the members of the Board; it’s not known what became of the photograph; if anyone knows, please get in touch using the contact details via the footer below.]

1932:MAUND, John Hansby, Heath Cottage, Newmarket, Cambs (Tel.14) – M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. Lond. 1890; D.P.H. Cantab. 1909; (St. Bart.); Surg. Rous Memor. Hosp.; M.O.H. Newmarket U. Dist.; Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. No.1 Dist. Newmarket; Med. Off. Newmarket Infirm.; Certif. Fact. Surg.; Mem. Camb. Med. Soc.; late Sen. Ho. Surg. St. Bart. Hosp. Author, “Two Cases of Submaxillary Cellulitis,” Lancet, 1891.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1932. [Note: this possibly lags behind the time that he left (see the page on John Hansby Maund), but see the reference below also.], [Note also, see the January 1930 reference above regarding the officers under the county councils.]

1932, 28th May: A report on some West Suffolk County Council meetings noted that ‘Dr. J. H. Maund, of Heath Cottage, Newmarket tendered his resignation through ill-health as District Medical Officer for the 1st New-market District and as Medical Officer for the Newmarket Institution, and Dr. Nor-man Charles Simpson, of Heath Cottage Newmarket, applied for the posts’, which he obtained. Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday May 28 1932: 12. [Note: it’s odd that ‘ill health’ was given as the reason – see the page on John Hansby Maund for further details.]

1937:Simpson Norman Chas. M.D.Aberd. surgn. & certifying factory surgn. & medical officer of health to the Newmarket Institution & medical officer & public vaccinator No. 1 district of Newmarket Guardians Committee of the West Suffolk County Council & medical officer to Jockey Club, Lincoln lodge, Rayes la. TN 14’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1937, pg 367. [Note: it’s interesting that this suggests he continued the certifying factory surgeon role of his predecessor, as well as the role of medical officer for district 1 and ‘institution’ of the successor organisation to the Newmarket Union as shown in the reference above, facts not revealed by his Medical Directory entries – see the page on Norman Charles Simpson], [Note also, see the January 1930 reference above regarding officers under the county councils.]

1938:DAVIS, Joseph, Rous Villa, Newmarket (Tel. New-market 18) – M.B., B.S. Durh. 1924; (Durh.); Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. No. 2 Dist. Newmarket R.D.C.; Mem. B.M.A.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1938. [Note: see the January 1930 reference above regarding the officers under the county councils.]

Some other sources consulted include:-

Heasman D. 160 years of service to the community. A history of Newmarket General Hospital. Mid Anglia Community Health NHS Trust; 1996. [Note: on page 36 this book mentions, ‘The first local doctors who attended the sick and infirm patients were Dr. Clement Gray, father of Drs. Norman and Gilbert Gray, and Dr. CromptonDr. Maund and, later, Dr. Norman Simpson were the later doctors’, seemingly unaware of the history before Clement Gray (i.e. George Mead, Richard Faircloth, Norton & Thomas), despite the name of the book. This entry does however seem to confirm that Dr Simpson succeeded Dr Maund in a role that crossed into successor institutions.], [Note also, the focus and remembrances of this book are very much the 20th century, with some earlier chapters touching on the 19th century, whereas the account on this page has the reverse focus. Also, see comments in the 1893 reference above regarding the plan on page 26 labelled 1836, which in fact appears to be a plan of the Public Assistance Institution of the 1930s, the original workhouse complex being considerably smaller.]

Higginbotham, P. The Workhouse. The story of an institution… http://www.workhouses.org.uk/ (accessed August/September 2018).

The Newmarket Union minutes in general. Reference 611 (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: these minutes (aside from a few towards the end) are all hand written. It’s very difficult in places, due to the style of writing, to decide whether a capital letter has been used / intended. Often the hand uses what looks like a capital but in a joined-up style, sometimes where a capital would be expected, sometimes not. Other times a large non capital style letter appears to intend a capital. I’ve tried to interpret the most likely intention in the quotes above, but no doubt have not always guessed correctly.]

Note: For published material referenced on this website see the ‘Acknowledgements for resources of published material’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page. The sources used for original unpublished documents are noted after each individual reference. Any census records are referenced directly to The National Archives, since images of these are so ubiquitous on microfilm and as digital images that they almost function like published works. Census records are covered by the ‘Open Government Licence’ as should be other such public records (see the ‘Copyright and related issues’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page for which references constitute public records, and any other copyright issues more generally such as fair dealing/use etc.).