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The inmates, other than the sick and aged, worked according to their ability — and of course without pay; this being the current system.Many of them seldom handled money, unless friends outside sent them small sums.I can just remember three or four men working together at the pump at intervals during the day.Then an electric pump was installed, and later an emergency supply was laid on from the public mains, which had not always been available.Looking back, one of the clearest of my childhood recollections is of The Bell.The bell punctuated the daily life of the closely-knit community which was 'home': The Workhouse. There were Master and Matron (my father and mother); a small staff called the Officers; and the Inmates.Many of the men worked in the garden, which provided nearly all the fruit and vegetables needed.The garden covered about four acres and a nearby field also belonged to the Workhouse.
It included a length of chain, and made a fearful clatter.
Other men looked after the pigs; some cleaned the rooms, some chopped wood or did other domestic or maintenance work.
When I was very small, the water was pumped by hand from the well to the storage tank in the roof.
There was also a cook, a laundress and one or two 'attendants'. Each had a fortnight's holiday a year — I think the head-nurse-midwife had three weeks — but otherwise they rarely had a whole day off duty.
They were free after the mid-day meal once in the week and on alternate Sundays, and had one other evening 'off' during the week.