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Full text of "Joseph Rogers, M. D. Reminiscences of a workhouse medical officer"



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REMINISCENCES OF A 
WORKHOUSE MEDICAL OFFICER. 



JOSEPH EOGEES, M.D. 

REMINISCENCES OF A JVORKHOUSE 
MEDICAL OFFICER 



EDITED, WITH A PEEFACE 



PEOF. THOEOLD EOGEES 



T. FISHEE UNWIN 

26 PATEEXOSTER SQUAEE 

lilDCCCLXXXIX 



\wiLA*-«,oJL 







PREFACE. 



The author of the brief narrative which I have 
edited, and have seen through the Press, passed 
away before the printing of his work was com- 
pleted. What he wrote was composed under the 
presence of a mortal disease, the issue of which he 
clearly foresaw. But he was unwilling to quit life 
without leaving behind him some record of the evils 
with which he grappled, of the obstacles which he 
had to encounter, and of the changes which he strove 
to effect. He might indeed, and with the acquiescence 
of the profession which he honoured, have claimed 
the credit of those great reforms in the treatment of 
the sick poor, and in the status of his professional 
brethren, to which the labours of his life were directed ; 
but he has preferred to give a narrative of his expe- 
riences, and to leave his reputation to the members 
of the great and beneficent calling which he followed. 



16147 



vi PBEFACE. 

and to those among the public who were cognizant of 
his zeal and perseverance. 

My late brother was the descendant of three gene- 
rations of medical practitioners, who, from the first 
quarter of the eighteenth century, plied the art of 
tending and healing the sick down to the last quarter 
of the nineteenth, for his elder brother relinquished 
his practice only about ten or a dozen years ago. 
And this was in the same locality. But soon after 
my brother Joseph was qualified he went to London ; 
and very speedily after he came to London he began 
the labour of his life — the reform, namely, of the 
medical relief accorded to the indigent poor. To this 
he surrendered the prospects of professional success 
and fortune — prospects which his professional abilities 
might have made certainties ; for this he sacrificed 
popularity, health, and all that a vigorous constitution 
might have assured to him. He literally wore him- 
self out by his labours. 

It is infinitely more difficult for a medical practi- 
tioner to urge necessary but unpopular reforms than 
it is for any other professional person to do so. The 
physician believes that he can succeed only by raising 
no prejudice against himself. He is always tempted 
to be neutral, when partizanship may seem likely to 
imperil his interests. There are no safe prizes to be 



FBEFACE. vii 

won in the one profession which every one allows to 
be beneficent, whatever may be thought of other 
professions. By a code of honour which is rigidly 
adhered to, the process of a physician's treatment 
cannot be kept to himself. By an equally rigid rule, 
the confidences reposed in him are as sacred as the 
secrets of the confessional. It is no easy matter to 
win position and fortune in a calling which is regulated 
by the strictest rules of professional honour. It seems 
easy to imperil the most carefully acquired reputation 
by running counter to obstinacy and prejudice. A 
medical man has every motive to avoid hostile 
criticism. If he determines on doing that which is 
unpopular, the risks which he runs are far greater 
than those of any other person. Now all this was 
encountered by my brother's action, and he never was 
allowed to forget that he had to encounter it. He 
had to reckon with sordid London vestrymen, per- 
haps the worst class of men with whom honest people 
have to deal, and with the officials of the Poor Law 
Board, who were determined, as far as possible, with 
rare exceptions, to shirk all responsibility. In the 
pages of this volume he shows plainly what were the 
obstacles to his endeavours. As might be expected 
from an honest man, who never counted the odds 
against him when he was convinced that he was in 



viii PREFACE. 

the right, his original manuscript commented, with 
no little indignation, on the persons who thwarted 
his eflforts, and would have baffled his ends. But it 
is entirely superfluous to stigmatize such people ; 
and I have excised these just but unnecessary^ judg- 
ments. It is sufficient that the reappearance of such 
persons has been made improbable, if not impos- 
sible. 

The new Poor Law of 1834 was probably a neces- 
sary measure ; but it was suddenly and frightfully 
harsh. The Whigs carried it, in deference to a 
particular school of economists, now happily, I 
trust, extinct. It was exceedingly and reasonably 
unpopular. The working classes had been im- 
poverished in the country by the enclosure of the 
common lands, and in both town and country by 
restraints on the right of combination with the object 
of raising wages. But they had always been assured 
that the maintenance of the poor was a first charge 
on the land, and that it must be satisfied, and should 
be, before the profit of the enclosure should accrue to 
the landlord. When the plunder was completed the 
other side of the bargain was repudiated, and the 
easy-going system of the old method of parochial 
relief was abandoned for the new and severe pro- 
visions of the new departure. I am old enough to 



PEE FACE. ix 

remember the indignation which the change aroused. 
I am sure that indignation and resentment against 
the new Poor Law had a good deal to do with the 
political reverses of 1841, and the entire destruction 
of the popularity which the Whigs had achieved by 
the Keform Act of 1832. 

It is true that the Act established a central 
authority which should control the action of the new 
Boards of Guardians. But these persons were by 
no means willing to check the machinery which they 
had erected. If the legislation of 1834 was distaste- 
ful to the country, they were resolved to limit their 
responsibility to the change which they had them- 
selves made in the law, and to avoid further odium. 
The case of the permanent officials, who are really 
the departments of state, was much simpler. They 
wished to earn their salaries with as little trouble as 
possible, just as they wish now, and always will wish. 
To importunately call attention to the cruelties prac- 
tised under the new system was to diminish their 
ease, to give them trouble, and such action must be 
resented and discouraged. In my personal experience 
of the permanent staff of the Poor Law Board I have 
met with officials who were persistently resolved not 
to give themselves, if they could help it, the trouble 
to rectify evils which were brought before their notice 



X PREFACE. 

by the Eoard of Guardians to which I belonged, if 
they could in any way find a dilatory plea. 

Of course a reformer is always odious to a large 
number of persons. There are people who profit by 
the abuse or malpractice which he tries to remove, 
and such persons are naturally indignant at his 
meddlesomeness. There are others who acquiesce in 
the existing state of things from sheer indolence, and 
are impatient only at being disturbed. There are 
others who hold that all reforms cost money, and are 
alarmed at the expense which they may incur ; while 
the fact is that all reforms which are wise and true 
save money in the end and diminish cost. To build 
a proper hospital for the sick poor, to supply it with 
properly qualified nurses, and sufficiently paid medical 
officers, one must incur initial expense, which is in 
the end constantly overpaid by eventual economies. 
My late brother constantly predicted that the changes 
which he counselled would relieve the rates in the 
end, and his prediction was constantly verified. The 
reader will find these facts illustrated in the pages 
which follow. A genuine reform is a sensible saving. 
But even if this result did not follow, the system 
which he found and attacked was a scandal to 
humanity and a dishonour to civilization. The 
London vestrymen did not see this ; but Londoners 



PBEFACE. xi 

havG found out at last that the average vestryman is 
unteachahle and incurable. 

The courage which will attack abases such as were 
found in those workhouses near forty years ago is 
rare indeed. The person who undertakes the un- 
popular task has to come to close quarters with such 
Guardians of the Poor as are described below, and 
such government oflicials as are resolved to wink at 
abuses. Not but that, even in the worst days, the 
Poor Law Board and the Local Government Board 
were of great public service. They could be squeezed 
in Parliament. A judicious and temperate question 
has often discomfited the most corrupt official, and 
stirred the most letbargic. I am pretty sure that 
nearly all the reforms which have been achieved in the 
administration of the law for the relief of the poor, 
have been derived from persistent questioning in the 
House of Commons. Much indeed remains to be 
done, but much has been done ; and my brother was 
exceedingly fortunate during his lifelong eiforts in 
the advocates which he obtained among Members of 
the House. 

It must not be forgotten that a medical reformer is 
apt at first to be unpopular with his brethren, or at 
least to be discouraged by them. The more fortunate 
members of the profession are apt to feel a serene 



xii PEE FACE. 

indifference to the purposes which he avows. I do 
not think that the reform of those evils with which 
my brother concerned himself has had much assis- 
tance from the more wealthy and influential among the 
physicians. As Arnold said, contemptuously and justly, 
of Isaac Walton, that '^ he fished through the civil 
wars," so these good people held, as a rule, severely 
aloof from the struggle. To the poorer members of 
the profession, who had to make every effort for a 
livelihood, and were constrained to give their services 
for nominal sums in order to get a status in their 
calling, it seemed more practical to get them better 
pay and not to give offence. In the end this was 
part of the result of my brother's labours. He was 
able to assert, towards the close of his active career, 
that he had added iB 18,000 a year to the incomes of 
the Poor Law medical officers in the Metropolis, and 
to allege that the change, with others, had saved ten 
times that amount in the Metropolitan rates. I am 
convinced — having once been a Guardian of the Poor 
in the city where I live — that the adoption of the 
policy which he recommended has effected a still 
gi-eater saving. 

The first reform which my brother undertook, per- 
severed in, and speedily saw achieved, was the pro- 
hibition of intramural interment. He had good reason 



PBEFACE. xiii 

to make efforts in this direction, for he had abundant 
evidence of what came from the old practice in the 
experience of his profession. Most of the Metro- 
politan clergy were very hostile to this reform, and 
for obvious reasons. But it came gradually, finally, 
and thoroughly. The present generation in London 
has a very inadequate conception of the abomi- 
nations, in the midst of which their fathers and 
mothers lived, and not a few of them were born. 
The abandonment of intramural interment, and the 
drainage of London, imperfect as the latter is, have 
turned one of the unhealthiest cities in the civilized 
world into one of the healthiest. One of the first 
churchyards closed was that of St. Anne's, Soho, the 
parish in which my brother lived for many years. 

His next efforts were directed towards obtaining 
a mortuary in the parish. Every one admits how 
serious are the evils of overcrowding, and how 
difficult a problem it is to supply the London poor 
with decent homes at moderate rents. A century 
ago, as I know very well, house-rent, even in London, 
took a small part of the workman's scanty earnings ; 
now his earnings are sometimes very little better 
than they were a century ago, and his rent absorbs 
from a fourth to a half of what he earns in poorly 
paid labour. At best his home is crowded and un- 



xiv PBEFACE. 

healthy enough, but when death occurs in the 
family the condition of things is intolerable. It 
cost my brother three or four years of incessant 
effort and pleading to obtain this concession from 
the Vestry of St. Anne, and for a long time this was 
the only London parish which made this necessary 
provision. 

The next mischief which he attacked was the 
window tax. His experience as a physician proved 
to him that lack of light and air intensified disease 
and rendered recovery difficult. There was a plea 
for the vrindow tax. It seemed to bring a fair charge 
on large houses, which an assessed tax notoriously 
does not. In assailing the tax his principal helper 
was Lord Duncan, at that time one of the Metro- 
politan Members. The tax went at last in 1851. 
The repeal of this tax took nearly twenty years' 
agitation, the first physician who attacked it on 
sanitary grounds having been Dr. Southwood Smith. 

My brother commenced his practice in London 
in 1844. In 1855 there was a serious visitation of 
cholera in St. Anne's, Soho, and he became a super- 
numerary medical officer in the district. Cholera 
had a veiy serious effect on his private practice, as 
he states himself, and nearly twelve years after he 
had taken up his abode in London, he concluded to 



PEE FACE. XV 

become a candidate for the function of medical officer 
to the Strand Workhouse. He was to receive a 
stipend of £50 a year, and find all medicines for the 
sick. It may be doubted whether he knew what he 
was undertaking : certainly they who appointed him 
and the officials who confirmed his appointment at 
the Poor Law Board had no conception of what they 
were doing. The character of his duties, and a 
description of the place in which he had to perform 
these duties is to be found at the commencement of 
his narrative. For its condition it is hard to decide 
whether the Guardians of the time, or the central 
authority were most to blame. 

The Strand appointment was the beginning of those 
systematic labours on behalf of the sick poor and 
the medical profession which thenceforward became 
the principal business of his life, to which he sacri- 
ficed such leisure as he had, health, and money 
which he could ill spare. He gave also what was 
more important — undaunted courage, and accurate 
information. Thus in 1861 he gave evidence before 
a Select Committee of the House of Commons, on 
the subject of the supply of drugs in Workhouse 
infirmaries, such a supply being as essentially part 
of the Guardians' duty as the purchase of food 
and clothing are. His views were adopted by the 



xvi PBEFACE. 

Committee and pressed on the Department. What 
he advocated was the germ of the Workhouse 
infirmary. 

During the last few months of his life he lived at 
Hampstead, in the hope that the air might help him. 
At the back of his new home there was built one of 
those great hospitals for the sick poor which it was 
the principal aim of his labours to render general, and 
to see constructed in such a way as would give the 
fairest prospect of recovery for the patients who were 
treated in them. 

The practice of the Poor Law Board at this time 
was to assert on paper the supremacy of the medical 
officer in his own department, to give him no personal 
support when he did his duty, to visit on his head 
all the consequences of their own negligence or 
dilatoriness, and, right or wrong, to support the 
Guardians when they took ofi'ence at conscientious- 
ness and zeal. Now, in 1865, a scandalous case of 
neglect led to an inquest, to an exposure of the facts, 
and to very severe comments by the Press. Shortly 
afterwards the proprietors of TJie Lancet newspaper 
— a medical journal which has, during a very long 
career, been distinguished alike for its zeal in main- 
taining the honour of the medical profession and 
for its advocacy of humanity in dealing with the 



PEE FACE. 



XVII 



sick and destitute poor — resolved on investigating the 
condition of the London workhouses and their hos- 
pitals. Among other places, Dr. Anstie visited the 
Strand Workhouse, in Cleveland Street, and made 
his own report on what he saw in the columns of 
the paper which he represented. The report was 
candid, graphic, and hy no means flattering to the 
Guardians, to their management, and to their 
oflScials. But it was entirely accurate, for the 
Strand Union and its Guardians at that time were 
probahly the worst examples of a thoroughly bad and 
vicious system. Of course the Guardians were as 
angry as they could have been if they had been 
known for the best of characters and motives and 
had been grossly defamed. 

The time was plainly come for concerted action, 
and one of the Strand Guardians, a Mr. Storr, a 
gentleman of very different character from most of 
his colleagues, convened a meeting at his own ofiQces, 
in order to discuss the situation. It was at first 
suggested to call a public meeting ; but my brother 
pointed out that even if the meeting were a success 
its effect would be ephemeral. It was determined, 
therefore, to create an association under the title of 
the Workhouse Infirmaries' Association, Mr. Storr 
offering to find i'lOO towards its preliminary ex- 



xviii PREFACE. 

penses. But his generous offer was not needed. As 
soon as it was known that the Association was in 
process of formation, names and money poured in 
upon the scheme. New evidence about the Strand 
Union came out, and was forwarded to Mr. Charles 
Yilliers, then President of the Board. An inquiry 
was held, and, as usual, the permanent of&cials strove 
to throw the blame on the medical officers, and to 
exonerate the Guardians. Now, to counteract this, my 
brother called a meeting of all the Workhouse medical 
officers in London. The object of this meeting was 
the formation of an Association for the protection 
of the character and interests of these officials, and 
for supplying information to the public as to the 
manner in which their best efforts were hampered 
and thwarted. This was the nucleus of the Poor Law 
Medical Officers' Association, an organization which 
has extended itself to the three kingdoms. Of this 
my brother was, as long as his health allowed, the 
president and principal administrator. 

In 1867 Mr. Gathorne Hardy, now Lord Cran- 
brook, was President of the Poor Law Board, and 
in this capacity introduced the Metropolitan Poor 
Bill, some of the provisions of which were the 
establishment of Workhouse hospitals and dispen- 
saries, and the supply of all medicines and medical 



PEE FACE. xix 

appliances at the charge of the Guardians. The 
President frankly acknowledged that he owed much 
of the information which he had acquired from m}^ 
brother. It was unfortunate that the provisions of 
the Act were not made general, throughout England 
at least. But London at last got an instalment of 
Poor Law Eeform, and on rational lines. The 
administration of the Poor Law is far from perfect ; 
but the best part of it is that of the sick poor. 
Even here officials for a long time obstructed the will 
of the legislature and the objects of the law, but, on 
paper at least, the ancient abominations described 
in the earlier part of my brother's reminiscences were 
swept away. 

In the eyes of the Strand Guardians, or rather of 
a majority among them, his offences on behalf of 
justice and humanity were unpardonable. He had 
to be got rid of. In this the officials of the Poor 
Law Board, then under Lord Devon, agreed with 
the Guardians. The Guardians picked a quarrel 
with him, the Poor Law Board instituted an inquiry, 
and apparently instructed their Inspector as to what 
he should report, and the President gave solemnity 
to the farce by removing him from his office. The 
ground on which he was dismissed was that ** he 
could not get on with the Board of Guardians." Of 



XX PEE FACE. 

course he could not. No man of sense, honour, 
humanit}^ decency, and conscientiousness, could get 
on with them, or, in those evil days, with the Poor 
Law Board either ; for the President and his 
officials, perhaps unconsciously, leagued with the 
Guardians in the maltreatment and oppression of 
the poor. 

It is a common trait in mean and malignant 
natures to think, if they can injure in fortune or 
character an advocate of justice and right dealing, 
that they can arrest his efforts and discourage those 
of others. Many experiences will occur to those 
who have any knowledge of public affairs which will 
illustrate this policy and its failure. It always fails 
with such men as have any character at all. They 
disregard the loss or the insult, and redouble their 
efforts after the object w^hich they have put before 
them. I do not remember that my brother ever 
dwelt with any peculiar acerbity on the circumstances 
of his dismissal ; but he gave himself more than 
ever to the self-imposed task which became the 
business, and eventually the success, of his life. He 
spoke, indeed, with bitterness, and wrote with 
bitterness of the crew who had sought to injure 
him, but for the reason that they were prolonging 
the miseries of the poor, and for that reason only. 



PREFACE. xxi 

Of course my brother had the sympathy of his 
profession and the support of the medical papers. 
But he resolved to perfect and extend the organiza- 
tion which he had founded. The result was the 
formation of the Poor Law Medical Officers' Asso- 
ciation. In order to give strength and stability to 
this agency he visited most of the principal towns 
in England. He made several journeys to Ireland, 
the infirmary system of which he highly commended, 
and went once at least to Scotland, where indeed 
reform was greatly needed. And in these places he 
inculcated the important truth, that where medical 
relief was abundantly and generously accorded by 
the Guardians, pauperism decreased and rates were 
lessened. In my frequent communications with 
him, I urged him to insist on this as a matter of 
principle and a matter of fact. Generous relief to 
the poor, if it be discriminating and founded on a 
few intelligible rules, is the truest economy in the 
end. Owing to his efforts, many towns voluntarily 
adopted the principle of the Metropolitan Act, and 
with the best results. In the earlier years of his 
campaign he obtained great assistance in Parliament 
from the late Dr. Brady, Member for Leitrim, and 
from Dr. Lush, Member for Salisbury. 

Four years after his expulsion from office in the 



xxii PEE FACE. 

Strand Union, he was elected to a similai- office in 
the Westminster Union. His career here was not 
one of incessant and unavailing remonstrance. The 
Poor Law Board, subsequently the Local G-overnment 
Board, began to awake to a sense of its duties, and 
to see, though reluctantly and haltingly, that Boards 
of Guardians sometimes need supervision. But soon 
his troubles recommenced. The inferior officials 
were harsh, violent, and dishonest, and they were 
abetted by a majority of the Guardians. The in- 
evitable consequences followed. My brother under- 
took the cause of the poor, and the Guardians and 
their tools or accomplices turned on him. They 
tried their old trick of suspending him, in hopes 
that the Poor Law or Local Government Board 
would endorse their ruling. My brother emploj^ed 
his enforced leisure in extending the organization 
which he had founded. In due course he was 
reinstated by the Department, and his enemies were 
baffled. 

The mismanagement of the Workhouse by these 
Guardians, and the outrageous misconduct of the 
master, at length roused the wrath of the ratepayers. 
An influential committee was formed, which re- 
commended a new list of Guardians to the electors, 
and the whole of the old gang were ejected from 



PEE FACE. xxiii 

office by over whelming majorities. I have reason 
to know that the atrocities perpetrated by the master 
roused the anger, and secured the unobtrusive but effec- 
tive co-operation of a very exalted personage. The 
resentment which affected this total change was not the 
act of one section of society or of one party only, and 
it is just to say that my brother had the assistance of 
eminent persons in both political parties. I mention 
this the rather, because my brother made no secret 
of his political opinions, and never omitted any 
opportunity of inculcating them. He belonged, as 
all his brothers did, to the advanced Liberal party. 
During the remainder of his active life he was in 
perfect accord with the Board of Guardians. He 
had the good fortune to see that what he had 
laboured for, and had been persecuted for, was now 
acknowledged to be humane, politic, and economical. 
He even had the opportunity of checking reckless 
and unwise expenditure. He had done great services 
to the poor, though his clients were uuable to express 
more than their personal gratitude to him. He had re- 
cognized and secured the co-operation of some among 
those excellent women who have worked so ener- 
getically and unobtrusively on behalf of the poor 
destitute. He had done great services to his own 
profession, and had secured them a little of their 



xxiv PEE FACE. 

due ; for, I repeat, there is no class of persons who 
do so much, from whom so much is expected, and 
who are more scantily remunerated than medical 
practitioners among the poor. Some of these 
practitioners in 1884 determined to offer him some 
recognition of his lifelong services. There was 
nothing in his whole career which he dwelt on 
with more satisfaction than on the rout of the 
Westminster Guardians, in 1883, and on the testi- 
monial of 1884. 

Two years afterwards he was attacked by heart 
disease, and became conscious of the organic mis- 
chief against which his naturally strong constitution 
struggled for nearly three years. His incessant 
labours had literally worn him out. His disease 
rapidly increased on him, and with great pain 
and effort he wrote out, in the intervals of his 
trying disorder, the reminiscences which follow. 
Had he been in better physical health, they would 
have no doubt been fuller, for his memory was exact 
and tenacious. That which is printed will show 
what manner of man he was. But it will be seen 
that he dwells but little on his own unwearied labours. 
During his sickness he was attended by many 
physicians who knew him and valued him : chief 
and most untiring among them was Dr. Bristow. 



PREFACE. 



XXV 



I can say, without consciousness of partiality, 
that my brother's life was one of incessant devotion 
to a noble object. They for whom he laboured 
were the poor and helpless ; who could make him no 
recompense, could, perhaps, hardly understand 
his purposes. He was met by obstacles which 
would have daunted a less resolute man ; but he 
was sustained by the rectitude of his aims, and by a 
firm belief in their wisdom. Such men change the 
face of the world, as far as their own sphere goes. 
Their reward is generally the approval of their own 
consciences, and sometimes evidence accorded in 
their lifetime as to what has been the fruit of their 
labours. Thousands of our fellow-countrymen have 
been saved from suffering and misery by the life- 
work of Joseph Rogers. 

JAMES E. THOEOLD EOaEES. 

Oxford, 

Ajjril 10. 



^^ 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. PAGK 

THE STRAND 1 

CHAPTER II. 

THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY 104 

RECOGNITION 224 

TESTIMONIAL TO DR. JOSEPH ROGERS . 231 

CONCLUSION 241 



EEMINISCENCES OF A 
WOEKHOUSE MEDICAL OFFICEE. 



CHAPTEE I. 



THE STEAND. 



In the latter part of the summer of 1854 I was living 
in Soho, where I had been engaged in general prac- 
tice for some ten years, and where, by dint of laborious 
attention to my profession, I had secured a suffi- 
ciency on which to live, when I became aware that 
an outbreak of Asiatic cholera might be looked for. 
Some suspicious cases had appeared, when, towards 
the end of the month of August, there was suddenly 
developed an epidemic outbreak of such virulence 
and extent that it became necessary for immediate 
action to be taken, if this fell disease was to be 
effectually dealt with. Having taken an active part 
for some years previously in sundry sanitary mea- 

2 



2 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

sures, I WRS requested by the parochial authorities 
of St. Anne's, Soho, to take charge of one of the 
districts into which the parish was at once divided. 
During the busiest of those very busy days, a medical 
friend and neighbour called on me, and in answer 
to my remark that I was too busy to talk to him, 
replied, *' You are busy now, but you will live to 
regret this outbreak, in Soho. It will ruin the 
neighbourhood and your practice for many years to 
come, for the public will believe that it is too un- 
healthy to live in, and ere long you will have nothing 
to do." 

This casual prediction was amply verified in the 
following year by the death of many inhabitants, and 
by the removal of others. As was the case with 
others in other callings, I had to commence the 
world afresh. When casting about for the best 
course to follow, the medical ofScership of the 
Strand Workhouse, Cleveland Street, and of the 
parish of St. Anne's, Soho, fell vacant. The person 
who held the appointment proposed to resign in 
favour of his son, and I was strongly urged to com- 
pete for it. I elected to try my chance, and, after a 
severe contest, was selected. Here I began my 
experiences of the sick poor, which lasted, with a 
very brief interval, for thirty years. My first im- 



THE STBAND. 3 

pressions were not very exhilarating, and could I 
have foreseen all that was in store for me, I question 
whether I should have applied for the appointment 
at all, but, having been appointed, I resolved to try 
it for a time at least. The Strand Workhouse in 
the year 1856 was a square four-storied building 
fronting the street, with two wings of similar eleva- 
tion projecting eastwards from each corner. Across 
the irregularly-paved yard in the rear was a two- 
storied lean-to building, with windows in the front 
only, used as a day and night ward for infirm women. 
There were sheds on each side for the reception of 
so-called male and female able-bodied people, whilst 
in the yard, on each side of the entrance gate, was a 
two-storied building, with an underground apartment 
lighted by a single window, and with a door for the 
reception of male and female casual paupers ; the 
wards above being for those of both sexes admitted to 
the house. 

The necessary laundry work of the establishment, 
which never in my time fell below five hundred 
inmates, was carried on in the cellar beneath the 
entrance hall and the general dining-room, whence 
it came to pass that the said hail, &c., was for four 
days in each week filled with steam and the odours 
from washing the paupers' linen. A chapel was con- 



4 JOSEPH EOGERS, M.D. 

trived out of one of the male infirm wards on the 
ground floor on the Sunday, and utilized on that 
occasion for both sexes. On the left of the entrance 
hall was the Board -room ; the corresponding apart- 
ment on the right, and the room above on the first 
floor, being the apartments of the master and matron. 
On the right side of the main building was a badly 
paved yard, which led down to the back entrance from 
Charlotte Street ; on each side of this back entrance 
there was — first, a carpenter's shop and a dead-house, 
and secondly, opposite to it, a tinker's shop with a 
forge and unceiled roof. This latter communicated 
with a ward with two beds in it, used for fever and 
foul cases, only a lath and plaster partition about 
eight feet high separating it from the tinker's shop. 

There were no paid nurses. Such nursing as we 
had, and continued to have for the first nine years I 
was there, was performed by more or less infirm 
paupers, with the occasional aid of some strong young 
woman who had been admitted temporarily and was 
on pass. Unfortunately it frequently happened that 
just as she was becoming useful she left, and there 
was nothing for it but to fall back upon the ordinary 
broken-down inmates, the selection of whom did not 
rest with me, but with the master or the matron, or both. 

Just outside the male wards of the House, at the 



THE STBAND. 5 

upjDer end of the yard, there were two upright posts 
and a cross-bar. On this bar were suspended the 
carpets taken in to beat by the so-called able-bodied 
inmates, from whose labour the Guardians derived a 
clear income of £400 a year. In despite of the con- 
tinued noise and dust caused by this beating, the 
Guardians persisted in carrying it on for ten of the 
twelve years that I was there. The noise was so 
great that it effectually deprived the sick of all chance 
of sleep, whilst the dust was so thick that to open 
the windows was entirely out of the question until 
the day's work was over. I attempted repeatedly to 
get this nuisance done away Vv'ith, but so fierce was 
the antagonism of the majority of the Board that I 
had to abandon it. 

The male insane ward, used also for epileptics 
and imbeciles, was on the right wing above the male 
casual and reception ward. To reach it you had to 
go up some four steps ; it was absurdly unsuitable 
for such cases, and when I had lunatic and imbecile 
there together I was always in dread lest some horrid 
catastrophe might happen. One case of an epileptic 
was to me the cause of much anxiety, for he was 
wholly unaware when his fits were coming on. When 
a seizure occurred he always sprang up and then 
dashed himself to the ground on his forehead and 



6 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

face. He contrived bv these means to smash his 
nose, make dreadfully disfiguring wounds on his 
forehead and face, and from a good-looking, became 
a perfectly repulsive-looking person. Poor fellow ! I 
tried all sorts of expedients to prevent his doing him- 
self any further injury, but though he constantly 
wore a stuffed helmet, he sometimes managed to 
injure himself. I got him away at last, but I had 
two or three years of him, during which time I had a 
veiy extensive surgical experience from his case 
alone. I was constantly stitching up his wounds. 

The female insane ward was a rather large room, 
and was situated over the Board-room. As we 
always had the place full the space was desirable or 
necessary. It was immediately beneath the lying-in 
ward. When we had a troublesome or noisy lunatic 
in the ward, it must have been anything but a com- 
fort to the lying-in women above, but then neither 
their interests, nor the feelings of any of the other 
inmates, were at that time officially considered by the 
Guardians, by the Poor Law Inspectors, nor by any 
one else. To be allowed to remain in the House and 
get waited on somehow was all that was looked for 
by these truly wretched women. 

The master of the House, a certain George Catch, 
since deceased, had been a common policeman in 



THE STRAND. 7 

Clare Market, where he had made himself useful to 
the Chairman of the Board, who was the proprietor 
of an a-la-mode beef shop in that locality. Through 
this Chairman's influence he became the porter of the 
Workhouse, and the master falling sick, he had per- 
formed his duty for him. The illness ending fatally, 
through the same influence Catch was promoted to 
the vacant office, though, at the time I first knew 
him, he was so ignorant that he could only WTite his 
name with difficulty. He was single on his appoint- 
ment, but an alliance with the late master's niece, 
who had acted as matron for some time, was talked 
about on my taking office. As this official, Mr. G. 
Catch, appointed with the sanction of Mr. H. 
Fleming, some time Permanent Secretary of the 
Poor Law Board, played an important part in bring- 
ing the Department into deserved contempt, I must 
hereafter again refer to him. 

On the morning of my entering on my duties I 
went over the sick ward with the son of my prede- 
cessor. My curiosity was excited by sundry ill- 
shaped bottles, all of which contained the same 
description of so-called medicine. The salary did 
not admit of an extensive variety of medical neces- 
saries, as it was only fifty pounds a year, out of 
which all druojs were to be found. It is true that 



8 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.I). 

this stipend was supplemented by an occasional fee 
from attendance on parturient women, in cases 
where difficulty or danger arose, or in any illness 
which took place prior to the ninth day after the con- 
finement. That fee was limited to twenty shillings 
only. The decision as to the necessity for such 
attendance was vested in the midwife or matron, and 
until that was given the medical officer was inter- 
dicted from entering the lying-in wards. This 
regulation was in direct contravention of the Poor 
Law Regulations, but then the Department were very 
unwilling at that time to interfere with the so-called 
discretion of the Guardians, however much their 
regulations were disregarded. 

I have stated that the Chairman of the Board was 
the proprietor of an a-la-mode beef shop. During 
my first year of office this dignitary would often 
come to the House on Sunday morning dressed in 
the dirty, greasy jacket in which he had been serving 
a-la-mode beef the night before, and unshaven and 
unshorn, he would go into the chapel with the pauper 
inmates, and afterwards go to the Board-room, and 
have breakfast with the master and matron. Of 
course, between the three, there was an excellent 
understanding, and during this Chairman's reign all 
alterations for the better were resisted. 



THE STRAND. 9 

I have before stated that all my nurses were 
pauper inmates. The responsible duties they had 
to perform were remunerated by an amended dietary 
and a pint of beer. Occasionally for laying out the 
dead, and for other specially repulsive duties, they 
had a glass of gin. This was given by the master 
or matron, but I was expected to sanction the 
supply. 

I have referred to the ward used for foul cases, 
which was in immediate proximity to the tinker's 
shop. It w^as altogether unsuitable for the reception- 
of any human being, however degraded he might be ; 
but it had to be used. I remember a poor wretch 
being admitted with frost-bitten feet, which speedily 
mortified, rendering the atmosphere of the Avard and 
shop frightfully offensive. At first I was at a loss to 
know whom to get to go through the offensive duty 
of waiting on him. At last a little fellow, called 
Wiseman, undertook the task, the bribe being two 
pints of beer and some gin daily, with steaks or 
chops for dinner. Presently the patient was seized 
with tetanus, and after the most fearful sufferings 
died. He was follov/ed almost immediately after- 
wards by poor Wiseman, who had contracted from 
his patient one of the most malignant forms of blood 
poisoning that I ever saw. 



10 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

These two successive deaths took place whilst the 
tinker was plying his business on the other side of 
the partition which separated this ward from his 
smithy. This place was an utter disgrace to the 
Board, but they never attempted to alter it whilst I 
was there. 

I have referred also to the nursery ward. This 
place was situated on the third floor, opposite to the 
lying-in ward. It was a wretchedl}- damp and 
miserable room, nearly always overcrowded with 
young mothers and their infant children. That 
death relieved these vounof women of their illec^iti- 
mate offspring was only what was to be expected, and 
that frequently the mothers followed in the same 
direction was only too true. 

I used to dread to go into this ward, it was so 
depressing. Scores and scores of distinctly preven- 
tive deaths of both mothers and children took place 
during my continuance in office through their being 
located in this horrible den. 

It frequently happened that some casual was ad- 
mitted with her child, or children, to the room below 
the female recei\dng ward. On my visiting the 
House next day I would find that her child had got 
an attack of measles and could not go out ; and in 
spite of my sending the mother and child to the 



THE STBAND. 11 

children's infectious ward above, measles always 
broke out in the nursery some eleven days after, and 
I have had as many as twent}^ down with it at a 
time. I will not horrify my readers by stating the 
proportion of deaths to recoveries, but content myself 
with stating that the latter were very few. 

What made these continuous outbreaks so vexa- 
tious was this, that I had laid down the most 
stringent regulations as regards isolation and disin- 
fection ; but unfortunately my orders could only be 
given to pauper women. I had no other persons to 
act with, and with that habitual carelessness which 
had led to their becoming paupers, they only in 
exceptional instances paid any attention to what I 
said. 

Now and then a decent widow with an infant came 
in, and became an inmate of the nursery ward, 
there being no other place for her to go to. "What 
her feelings must have been when forced into day 
and night companionship with some of the most 
abandoned of her own sex in this miserable Gehenna, 
I will not attempt to portray, and yet the majority of 
the Board looked upon this den as a perfect paradise, 
and looked on me as an irreconcilable fellow for 
troubling them with my complaints respecting it. 
I had not been the medical officer for many 



12 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

months before I found that my pauper nurses were 
frequently under the influence of drink, and that, too, 
in the forenoon. On inquiring, I heard to my sur- 
prise that the master was in the habit of giving out 
the stimulants at 7 a.m., and, as many of the 
inmates sold their allowance, the nurses had become 
partly or wholly intoxicated when I reached the 
House in the morning. 

My first request to the master was that some other 
time should be selected for the issue of stimulants. 
Such request was angrily refused, and it was not 
until I had appealed to the Board that I succeeded 
in effecting an alteration, but my success made the 
master, henceforward, my determined foe. 

As I have stated, the medical officer's salary was 
intended to cover the provision of medicine. The 
Guardians, however, had supplied my predecessor 
with linseed-meal and mustard, but finding that I 
had a great many consumptive and bronchitic 
patients, I was induced to apply to the Guardians for 
some linseed, to enable me to give the patients some 
linseed tea. Now there was one nurse in the female 
sick ward, by name Charlotte Massingham, who had 
been in supreme authority there some years. She 
was nearly always muddled ; to work with her was 
impossible ; Charlotte invariably treated me with 



THE STBAND. 13 

J* 

supreme indifference, not iinmingied with undis- 
guised contempt. I had introduced new-fangled 
notions, w^ould have my medicines correctly given, 
and the patients well attended to. On hearing that 
my application for the linseed had met with success, 
I went un to the Workhouse. On cfoinf:^ into the 
female sick ward I told Charlotte of my having 
gained the assent of the Board, when, suddenly 
springing up at least a foot, she came down slapping 
both sides, with her arms on to the ground, with the 
startling observation, '' My God ! linseed tea in a 
workhouse! " Charlotte's reign, however, was not of 
long continuance after this ; she died, worn out by 
the effects of habitual intemperance. I heard, after 
she Vvas dead, and the inmates were free to speak, 
that she systematically stole the wine and brandy 
from the sick. 

It was obvious that one of the first points to secure 
was the removal of the laundry before referred to, 
situated in the cellar beneath the dining hall. The 
Guardians having assented to my suggestions, a 
contract was entered into with the builder to put up 
a laundry in the back yard. The structure was to 
cost some 56400. On proceeding to dig out the 
foundation, the workmen came on a number of 
skeletons, the yard having been originally the poor 



14 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

burial ground of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, for 
which parish the Workhouse, &c., had been built, 
and had been rented by the Guardians from that 
parish when the Strand Union was formed. So full 
was this yard of human remains, that the contractor 
was compelled to go down twenty feet all round, 
before a foundation for the laundry could be obtained. 
In making this huge trench, they disinterred the 
remains of the poor Italian boy, murdered by Bishop 
and Williams, whose murder was discovered by the 
late Mr. Partridge of King's College Hospital, to 
whom Bishop and Williams had sold their victim for 
anatomical purposes. Similar murders of the same 
kind in Edinburgh, led to the passing of the 
Anatomy Act, and to the suppression of the practice 
of body-snatching by the abandoned wretches who 
formerly supplied Schools of Anatomy with subjects. 
My next endeavour was an enlargement of the 
cellar at each wing so as to secure better accommoda- 
tion for the reception of casual poor, and increased 
space for sick children and others. This was ac- 
complished by nearly re-building the wings. Unfor- 
tunately these suggestions rendered me extremely 
unpopular with many of the Guardians, and delayed 
for some two years any increase of my wretched 
stipend, which would otherwise have been granted, 



THE STRAND. 15 

■It 

if I could have remained a passive observer of 
that which I saw around me. But worse was in 
store. 

My first serious quarrel with the Board happened 
thus. Many of the young women who came in to 
be confined, came under treatment afterwards, suffer- 
ing from extreme exhaustion, and some were hope- 
lessly consumptive. On making inquiry, I found 
that the practice in the lying-in ward was to keep 
the single women on a dietary of gruel for nine 
days, and then, at the end of a fortnight, to dismiss 
them to the nursery ward on House diet, with 
their children. Assuming, as I had a perfect right 
to do, that this dietary had emanated from an order 
of the Poor Law Board, I wrote to the Department 
telling what I had observed, and asking that Board's 
permission to introduce a more generous system. 
My communication was sent to the Guardians, and 
I was informed in a letter from the Board at White- 
hall that it rested with me exclusively to order 
whatever form of dietary I chose, a power which I 
did not hesitate to use. The Board of Guardians 
condemned my conduct in writing to the Poor Law 
Board, in the strongest possible terms, and the use 
I had made of the power vested in me. The course 
taken by me was held to be in the highest degree 



16 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

reprehensible, as it traversed tlie deliberate action of 
the Guardians, who had established the starvation 
dietary for single parturient women, as a deterrent 
against the use of the Workhouse as a place in which 
to be confined. As the number of fresh admissions 
went on increasing, and I had not sufficient accommo- 
dation, I recommended that the side wings should be 
enlarged by carrying the building up a storey higher. 
This was done, and the pressure put on the accommo- 
dation was met for a time, but all these suggestions 
increased my unpopularity with certain of the Board, 
who condemned me for the expense I was putting 
them to. About this time the annoj-ance and obstruc- 
tion I met with from the master and matron com- 
pelled me to apply to the Inspector for support. He 
came to the House to make inquiry, but so large a 
number of the Guardians attended to support the 
master, that after a few questions had been put, he 
closed the inquiry. Some years after he expressed 
to me his regret that at that time he could not see 
his way to aid me. 

At the end of the first year some business took me 
to Scotland. The Board sanctioned my absence, and 
gave their approval of the gentleman who was to act 
as my substitute. On my return journey by the 
niizht train, on oretting out at Peterborough at 6 a.m. 



THE STRAND. 17 

to get some coffee, I was surprised to see the master 
of the Workhouse and the clerk of the Board 
standing on the platform. On reaching King's 
Cross I remained in the carriage till all the 
passengers had alighted and had passed me. I 
was in doubt whether I had been deceived, but I had 
not been, for presently the pair passed the carriage, 
each carrying a small bag. About ten days after, a 
letter was sent from the Board, asking for an ex- 
planation of an alleged neglect of a sick person in 
the House. I forthwith called on my substitute 
and showed him the letter. He denied in the most 
positive terms the allegation of neglect. On visiting 
the House, no information could be gained from any 
one, but it occurred to me on leaving to ask the 
porter whether he could throw any light on the 
matter. After reading the clerk's letter he made 
the remark, " Why, Catch was not in the House at 
the time he alleges the neglect took place, for he and 
the clerk went down to Peterborough from the 
Thursday to the Monday morning, to be entertained 
by the contractor who put up the laundry boiler." 
In my defence, I stated this to the Board, when 
great was the indignation expressed by some of the 
Guardians ; first, at his false charge of neglect, and 
secondly, that he and the clerk should have gone 

3 



18 JOSEPH B0GEB8, M,D. 

away without leave, and for their being entertained 
by the contractor. 

The exposure of course intensified this master's 
hostiHty, in which his friend the clerk cordially co- 
operated. The consequence to me was that I was 
continually sent for on most frivolous pretences. 
The messenger would come to my house and say, 
*'You are wanted at Cleveland Street; " if I asked 
for what, he was studiously ignorant. If I went, or 
if I sent my assistant, Catch would keep us waiting 
in the hall until it suited his humour to come out to 
me, when in a loud voice he would saj^ '* You are 
wanted in such and such a ward." Hard as this 
was to bear with from this ignorant and incompetent 
official, I put up with it for a time, but at last I 
again called on the Poor Law Inspector, and asked 
him his advice, when he informed me that the 
master was bound to send a written order, stating 
the name of the sick person, &c. On my having 
intimated to him that I should not again notice his 
calls unless this requirement was complied with, 
the annoyance was stopped — nearly all of these 
second visits having been wholly unnecessary, and 
arranged with the view of wearing me out. 

I have stated that, unless called on, either by the 
midwife, matron, or master, to visit a woman recently 



THE STBA'ND. 19 

confined, I was debarred from attendance on her, 
and could not claim any fee. The master and clerk 
arranged that no order should be given until nine 
days had elapsed, when it was held that I was bound 
to take charge of the woman as in an ordinary case of 
illness. This callins: one in on the morninof of the 
tenth day was so frequently done that I saw that the 
thing was arranged, especially as I learned on in- 
quiry that the woman had been ill for some days, 
and had asked that I should be sent for. I there- 
upon took on myself to visit the ward daily, and to 
judge for myself as to the necessity for my attend- 
ance. Some half-dozen of these cases occurred 
within three months. On sending notice to the 
clerk that I had visited such and such a case, I 
received the reply : ^^ I have made inquiries and 
find that you attended without getting the neces- 
sary authority." This I afterwards learned was 
done without any authority from the Board. I 
therefore decided that I would give up going into 
this ward for the future. 

Some time after, and in pursuance of this man's 
policy of annoyance, a case occurred just as I ex- 
pected, which enabled me to get rid of him. On 
going to the House one morning, the porter told me 
there was a woman ill in the lying-in ward. On 



20 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

going into my room the pauper attendant came and 
asked me to go to tins ward. To the inquiry, 
" Who sent you ? " "No one," she replied. I then 
said, " Go to the matron, or if you cannot find her, to 
the master, state that the woman is very ill, and 
bring me the authority to visit her." She went away. 
Some half-hour after, I went by the ward door, and 
heard this poor wretch's cries for assistance, but I 
did not visit her. Again the attendant came to me 
and implored me to go up. I asked, "Have you 
seen the master or matron?" "Yes," she said. 
"What did they say to you?" "Why, they only 
laughed." I again declined to visit the ward. 
Shortly after I left the House. I had hardly 
passed the gate when the master rushed into the 
hall and inquired whether I had left ; on hearing I 
had done so, he said in a loud voice, " I have caught 
that damned doctor at last," and directed the porter 
to go for the nearest medical man. Some gentleman 
came and attended to her, and the bill, and a 
garbled statement of the facts, was sent by Catch to 
the Board. I was ordered to attend their next 
meeting and explain my conduct. I requested 
the attendance of the porter and of the pauper nurse 
at the Board's meeting. Catch gave his version of 
the story. When called on for my explanation, I 



THE STBAND. 21 

narrated the course adopted by the master, the 
matron, and the clerk, and pointed out to the 
Guardians the evident intention of all three to 
prevent me being paid any fee ; that in the case in 
question I had asked for an authority to visit the 
vv'oman ; that, although both of these officers knew of 
the poor woman's condition, they had maliciously 
allowed her to remain without proper attendance, 
and would not give any order, so that I should not 
be paid a fee. The defence was so complete, and so 
completely turned the tables on all three, that a 
severe censure was passed on the master and matron 
for their inhumanity, and a hint was given that they 
had better look out for some other appointment. 
This they did, and a vacancy for a master and 
matron having taken place at Newington Workhouse, 
Mr. and Mrs. Catch applied for the post, and, to the 
delight of all the inmates and officers of the Strand 
Workhouse, were selected. So intensely tyrannical 
and cruel had been the rule of this man, that the day 
he resigned the keys, and was leaving the House, the 
whole establishment — at least, all those who could 
leave their beds — rose in open rebellion, and with 
old kettles, shovels, penny trumpets, celebrated their 
departure from the premises. The incoming master 
subsequently told me that he had never witnessed 



22 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M,D. 

anything like it in his life, and that the row was so 
general and spontaneous, that he was powerless to 
check it. Mr. Catch's subsequent career did not 
disappoint the expectations of those who were 
cognizant of his utter unfitness for so responsible a 
post. I shall refer to him again in a subsequent part 
of this narrative. 

Before I had been long in ofQce, I became aware 
that there was a benevolent agency at work, con- 
ducted by some Christian ladies, whose mission it 
was to visit the wards, read to the sick and infirm, 
and generally to help them in the efi'ort they might 
make in re-establishing themselves. At the head of 
this movement was Miss Louisa Twining, who has 
devoted years of her busy life to the amelioration of 
the lot of the workhouse sick ; Lady Alderson, the 
widow of the late judge, her daughter. Miss Louisa ; 
and, though last, by no means the least. Miss 
Augusta Cliff'ord, were associated in this good work. 
It was to Miss Twining's initiative that the abolition 
of the system of entrusting the care of the sick poor 
to the numberless Sairey Gamps and Betsy Prigs 
was mainly due ; but she did not succeed in her 
laudable efforts until after several years of incessant 
appeal to the Guardians of the Poor and the Poor 
Law Board. Ultimately her demand was conceded 
in deference to outraged public opinion. 



THE STRAND. 23 

The efforts of Miss Clifford demand a special 
reference here. Very early in my official life she 
called on me and volunteered to help any deserving 
case brought to her notice. Over and over again 
did she put her hand in her pocket, and give money 
to inmates of her own sex, whose cases I called 
attention to. At last her good doing attracted the 
notice of the Board, who passed a very eulogistic 
resolution, in which they thanked her for her great 
kindness to their sick. 

Here let me remark that, although the majority 
of the Strand Board were wholly unfitted for any 
administrative duties, yet it would be ungrateful not 
to state that there were several kindly-disposed 
persons among them. They were generally, how- 
ever, outvoted, though occasionally their suggestions 
for a milder and more generous regime prevailed. 
Catch had hardly left the house when it was pro- 
posed to increase my stipend, at first to £16, ulti- 
mately to £100 a year ; and I was also entrusted by 
the Board with the duty of certifying as to the 
lunacy of the inmates who were admittedly insane. 

This office had been filled for many years by a 
Dr. Beaman, of Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, in 
deference to a view recently revived by the present 
Lord Chancellor, in his hitherto abortive attempts 



24 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

to amend the Lunacy Laws, and was to the effect 
that it would be hazardous to entrust such a duty to 
the Workhouse medical officer, as he might be 
tempted to eke out his salary by certifying that 
healthy persons were mentally affected, so as to 
secure a fee. The injustice implied in this gratui- 
tous imputation, having been brought before one of 
the Presidents of the Poor Law Board, he was 
induced to get the prohibition removed, and one of 
the results was that my friends at the Board carried 
a resolution that in future I should be the examining 
official, as I had all the trouble of the case, whilst a 
stranger pocketed the fee. Dr. Beaman was much 
annoyed at this ; and as the relieving officer, who was 
a friend of Beaman's, persisted in sending all cases to 
Dr. Beaman, a collision was inevitable. A short while 
after, a lad was brought by the police, found wandering 
at large. I diagnosed that he was a homicidal 
lunatic, and that it was necessary that he should 
le sent away. The relieving officer having called 
in Dr. Beaman, he visited the House, examined the 
lad, and took him down to Bow Street, and 
deposed before the magistrate that he was of sound 
mind. He would have been discharged, but the 
police having testified to the very questionable 
condition in which he was on coming into their 



THE STBAND. 25 

hands, tlie presiding magistrate directed that he 
should go back to the House for further observation. 
This was done, and I again saw and examined him, 
and gave a fresh certificate of his insanity. Dr. 
Beaman was again requested to attend ; he, however, 
sent his partner, who also decided that the lad was 
not insane. He was again taken before a magistrate, 
with the result that he was ordered to be discharged. 
Thereupon Dr. Beaman wrote to the Poor Law 
Board complaining of the action of the Guardians 
in appointing an inexperienced young man as the 
examining medical officer, and stating that neither 
he nor his partner could discover any evidence of 
insanity in the case in question. A copy of this 
letter was sent to the Guardians, who directed the 
clerk to write to me for an explanation of my con- 
duct. I was satisfied that I was right, but I had a 
great deal of trouble in tracing what had become of 
the boy. Ultimately I found his father, who in- 
formed me that the day he was discharged he came 
home and sat down to his dinner ; after the meal was 
over, the father resumed his work, that of shoe 
mending, when his son, without saying a word, 
struck him a severe blow on the head with a 
hammer. The aid of the neighbours and of the 
police was invoked, and after a desperate struggle he 



26 JOSEPH BOGEBS, IiI.D. 

was overpowered, handcuffed, taken before a magis- 
trate, who sent him to Marylebone Workhouse, from 
which estabhshment he had been sent to Hanwell, 
where he had been some days. 

I sent a copy of my reply to the Guardians to the 
Poor Law Board. My judgment was never again 
called in question in cases of lunacy. I found this 
part of my duty an agreeable episode in my daily 
routine of all but thankless work. I also made the 
acquaintance of Sir Thomas Henry, Mr. Flowers, 
and Mr. Vaughan, and from all these magistrates 
received the greatest courtesy. 

Before I had long held office my attention was 
drawn to the marvellous zeal displayed by the 
Catholic priests, who, although unpaid, were untiring 
in their attendance on the sick poor of their persua- 
sion, a large number of whom were always in the 
House. A somewhat ludicrous incident occurred 
about this time. There was a very old woman in 
the infirm ward, across the 3'ard. She was stated 
to be ninety-five ; she had been blind from 
childhood, and the balls of both eyes were gone, 
leaving nearly empty sockets. Although life under 
such circumstances was not very attractive, I never 
met with any one who so strongly objected to dying. 
She was constantly sending for me to prescribe for 



THE STBAND. 27 

her imaginaiy ailments. One very cold niglit, when 
the snow was on the ground, and it was blowing 
strongly from the north-east, at about 11.30 my 
night-bell was rung violently. I had not gone to 
bed, and therefore answered the door, when I found 
a young Irishwoman, cowering in the recess of the 
doorway. On asking what she wanted, she replied, 
*' Oh, if you please, sir, the Father has sent me over 
to ask whether Bridget Gaines is dying, as a 
messenger has just come from the House saying 
Bridget is going, and requesting the Father to go 
there at once. Now the Father has a bad cold, and 
his feet are in hot water, and he has a poultice on 
his chest, and he is afraid to go out as the night is 
so cold." I laughingly told her to go back and tell 
the Father that I thou^rht Bridojet was not near her 
end yet. On the following morning the priest called 
on me. He was very anxious about Bridget, and 
earnestly asked whether I had heard from the House. 
I told him there was no need for anxiety, when, in 
a deprecatory tone of voice, he said, '' I should have 
gone after all, but Bridget has been very tiresome. 
Do you know," he said, "Bridget has had extreme 
unction administered nineteen times." I saw 
Bridget that morning, she was much in her usual 
condition ; she lived a long time afterwards, and 



28 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

probably was anointed on a great many subsequent 
occasions. 

I was constantly encountering odd stones and odd 
people — many of them profligates who had seen 
better days. One person in particular attracted my 
attention, as he had evidently been a gentleman ; 
indeed, he assured me that he had once a large 
estate in Yorkshire, and was Master of the Hounds. 
I had no reason to doubt him. He did not live very 
long after his admission to the sick ward. After his 
death I received from five different solicitors written 
requests for a copy of my death certificate. It was 
accompanied in each case by a fee of a guinea. This 
poor fellow had insured his life in five different 
offices, and had sold the policies. It will be seen 
that I shared in the pecuniary advantages that sprang 
from his death. 

The immediate successor of Mr. and Mrs. Catch 
did not stay very long. The matron's health broke 
down, and she had to resign. They were followed 
by Mr. and Mrs. Thorne, who remained master and 
matron until the death of the former some years 
afterwards. Mr. Thorne was a kind-hearted person, 
who had filled a position of responsibility in the 
parish of Marylebone ; whilst Mrs. Thorne was a 
well-educated, ladylike woman. They managed the 



THE STRAND. 29 

House well, and treated the inmates with kindness 
and consideration, but do as they would they could 
not alter the structural deficiencies of the building, 
make it larger, nor prevent the fearful over-crowding 
with its disastrous results, nor improve upon the 
wretched system of pauper nursing, which was the 
curse of that and all similar institutions, and which 
the powers that were in those days at Whitehall 
made no genuine effort to change. 

Shortly after the collapse of his friend Catch, the 
proprietor of the a-la-mode beef shop ceased to be a 
Guardian, and a wholesale fruit-dealer in Covent 
Garden reigned in his stead. He was a far less 
satisfactory Chairman than his predecessor, as all 
thoughts, words, and deeds were actuated by the 
consideration of his personal and private interests, 
as will be shown by the following, among other 
instances that could be related. One of the earliest 
things very properly done by the new master was to 
find out the previous occupation of those who had 
come in sick, and to utilize them, when recovered, in 
the trade they had followed, for the improvement of 
the House. One day a middle-aged man came in 
very ill. He had evidently seen better days ; in 
fact, he turned out to have been a highly- skilled 
decorator, especially in the representation of marble 



30 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

and in graining. As soon as he was well enough the 
master set him to work to decorate the entrance hall. 
This he did most admirably, and his work was much 
admired by the Guardians, and by visitors to the 
House. This employment coming to an end he was 
allowed, as a reward for his industry, to go in and out, 
ostensibly to look for work. I used frequently to 
meet this man on my daily visits. As he continued 
to go out in this manner, I one day stopped him and 
asked whether he had been successful in finding a 
job. His reply, in the negative, was accompanied by 
a look so significant, that I was induced to push 
my inquiries, when he told me that he was occupied 
in decorating the Chairman's house, and he had 
been engaged at it for some three weeks. To the 
further inquiry, " What have you got there ? " 
pointing to a bag he was carrying, he replied, 
" That is my dinner, which I always take with me, 
from the House." ''Oh, then," I said, ''the 
Chairman does not find you your dinner even ; does 
he give you any beer or any money?" He replied, 
" I have been working there all day long for the 
last three weeks, and he has never given me any- 
thing." As he shortly after disappeared, I made 
an inquiry as to what had become of him, when 
I learned that he had suddenly left the work he was 



THE ST BAND. 31 

doing for the Chairman, and gone off and drowned 
himself. This Chairman did not long continue to 
act as such, as some months after this he died 
suddenly of heart disease, the only evidence he had 
ever afforded that he possessed one. Having occa- 
sion just at that time to go to the Poor Law Board, 
I was waiting in an office for the gentleman I went 
to see, when one of the junior officials said to me, 
" You have lost your Chairman." "Yes," I replied, 
"hut I do not feel his loss very acutely;" on 
which he said, "It is customary for the clerk of the 
Board to write and apprise us of the death of the 
Chairman, and we always send a sympathetic letter 
in reply. On the clerk's letter heing read the 
question was asked, ' Should the usual reply be 
sent ? ' The official reply w^as grim enough : 
' Write and say that we are delighted to hear it.' " 

The successor in the Chair was very friendly dis- 
posed towards me, and remained so until after the 
official inquiry in 1866, when, having attended to hear 
the evidence that was given, and having made him- 
self conspicuous hy some irrelevant interruptions, 
he brought down on himself the criticism of the 
Press, which he most absurdly attributed to me, 
and resented by becoming a most determined op- 
ponent ever afterwards. 



32 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

About this time a Select Committee of the House 
of Commons was appointed to take into consideration 
the administration of the Poor Laws, and to decide 
as to the desirability or otherwise of the maintenance 
of the Central Department. In conjunction with mv 
friend, the late R. Griffin, of Weymouth, who 
distinguished himself so much by an advocacy of 
an amended system of medical relief, and the late 
Dr. R. Fowler, of Bishopsgate Street, I volunteered 
to give evidence before the Committee. Some time 
after, being asked by the late Metropolitan Inspector, 
H. B. Farnall, Esq., C.B., to call upon him at the 
Poor Law Board, I did so. ^'I hear," said he, 
" that you have asked to give evidence before the 
Select Committee ; pray, what are you going to 
state? " *' Nothing," I replied, *'that bears on my 
personal position as a Poor Law medical officer, except 
so far as I may support my views by reference to 
my personal knowledge. I shall give evidence for 
the purpose of urging on the Committee the desira- 
bility of abolishing the system, whereby Boards of 
Guardians for a stipulated sum, often wholly 
inadequate, bargain with medical men to find all 
medicines and appliances, because the inevitable 
outcome of the system is this — that the poor do not 
get the medicines they require. I feel that the sick 



THE STBAND. 33 

of the Strand Union got very little in the way of 
medicine before I was appointed, and the provision 
of such medicines was to me in every sense a 
pecuniary loss, until the Guardians quite recently 
increased my stipend so as to make the strain less 
felt." 

He at once assured me that he would do his best 
to put my views before the Chairman, C. P. Villiers, 
M.P. for Wolverhampton. I did not at that time 
know Mr. Villiers personally, except by repute, but I 
came to know him some years later. Mr. Farnall 
then proposed to put some questions to me and take 
down the answers. This he did, and as each ques- 
tion was put I replied briefly, giving my reasons for 
my suggestion. I had to be guarded in my answers, 
as I was not desirous of bringing the charge against 
my medical brethren that they systematically failed 
to supply medicines for the sick, though very many 
have with more or less questionable candour said 
to me, " Why do you bother about the supply of 
medicines ? Go in and get for us an increase of 
our pay." 

After Mr. Farnall had put me to the question, 
he shook me very warmly by the hand, promising 
that as far as I was concerned the views I held 
should be brought prominently forward. 

4 



34 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

Some time after I received a notice to attend, 
when I found Mr. Kichard Griffin and Dr. Fowler 
in the room. Griffin had come there with evidence 
that would have taken a month to take down. 
Fowler was not so diffuse, a couple of days would 
have got through what he had to say. Appalled by 
the vast body of evidence offered by these two, the 
Committee ordered the room to be cleared ; on our 
re-admission we learned that the Committee had 
decided that Mr. Griffin and Dr. Fowler should put 
in their evidence, which should be taken as if 
delivered. I was then called on. I had neither 
note nor paper, as I relied on Mr. Farnall's promise. 
The questions were mainly put by Mr. Yilliers. I 
amplified briefly the views I had expressed to Mr. 
Farnall. This led to my being asked for some 
additional explanations, which I supplied. Ulti- 
mately I was dismissed, but not before I had 
convinced myself that my day's work had not been 
thrown away. Poor Pdchard Griffin had worked for 
many years with wonderful industiy to call attention 
to the grievances of Poor Law medica] officers, and 
thought he should succeed. But he was destined to 
fail, for although the Committee had allowed him 
to put in his evidence, yet the facts he had collected 
with so much pains were successfully traversed by 



THE STB AND. 35 

Mr. R. B. Caine, Poor Law Inspector, who by 
certain statistics made out to the Committee's 
satisfaction that medical men had no great cause for 
complaint. Poor Fowler's evidence was similarly 
snuffed out ; as regards mine, the Committee re- 
ported in its favour, but not as to the whole of it. 
They probably dreaded the cost to the various 
Union Boards of the provision of all medicines, 
but they suggested a compromise, to wit, that Boards 
of Guardians should be required to supply expensive 
medicines, such as cod liver oil, quinine, opium, 
&c. Small as the concession was, Mr. H. Fleming 
delayed the issue of the Committee's recommenda- 
tion for fifteen months after it had been made, and 
then sent out a letter couched in such official 
language that a great many Boards contented 
themselves with ordering the letter to lie on the 
table. Some years after, I asked Dr. Lush, M.P. 
for Salisbury, to move for a copy of the Board's 
letter and a return of what had been done. I found 
from that return that about half of those bodies had 
not noticed the letter at all. Subsequently, twenty 
years after the issue of the letter, my brother, Thorold 
Rogers, moved for a similar return, only to show that 
there were still several Boards where nothing what- 
ever was supplied. 



36 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

When the letter was read at the Strand Board, a 
suggestion was made that I should be offered an 
increase of my stipend and be required to purchase 
the medicines myself. This I declined. Ultimatel}" 
it was arranged that I should be allowed to order 
drugs of a wholesale chemist, but only to the extent 
of £27 a year : anything beyond that I was expected 
to pay for myself. 

About this time (1862) the matron informed me 
that on the previous day a very aged woman had 
been admitted, and that she had sent her to the 
infirm ward across the jsivd. On looking at the 
order I found it was stated that she was 104. I 
went to see her. She was undeniably of great age, 
but she still retained her faculties and conversed 
with me for some time. She told me that she had 
lived in Chancery Lane between fifty and sixty years, 
and was forty-five years old when she went there to 
live. She also told me that she went down the Lane 
to see Nelson's funeral procession go by, that her 
children and her grandchildren were dead, and that 
she had been looked after lately by her great grand- 
children, who had grown tired of waiting on her, and 
that was w^hy she had come into the House. Her 
eyes were blue and complexion fair. She did not 
live long after her admission, the change from her 



THE STB AND. 87 

own airy room to the close and at times fetid atmos- 
phere of this overcrowded ward was too much for her 
aged frame. She passed away quietly, and I remem- 
ber filling up a death certificate for 105 years. 

One day, I was informed that a very distressing 
case had been passed from Canterbury. It was a 
young woman about twenty-four. She had one 
child, and was about to be confined again. It would 
appear that she had married a coach-builder, who 
was born in St. Paul's, Covent Garden. She told 
me that he was a very good, quiet man, when sober, 
and had been very kind and good to her, but that 
when he took anything to drink he became as one 
insane, and in one of his drunken fits he had 
knocked a man down and killed him ; that he had 
been tried and found guilty of murder, and was then 
lying under sentence of death. I also learned that 
the Guardians of Canterbury had passed her on to 
us, away from all her friends. The poor creature 
was simply broken-hearted. She had a very bad 
confinement, and remained long sick and ill. When 
she got better she made an application to the Strand 
Board for outdoor relief. She was told to come 
before the Board at the next meeting in Bow Street. 
It was unfortunately a very wet night, and being 
thinly clad, she got wet through, and sat in lier wet 



38 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

clothes two hours. She also got wet on her return 
journey. That night she was seized with inflam- 
mation of the lungs, and remained for many weeks 
in the greatest jeopardJ^ Ultimately, she got better, 
when I sent her to a Convalescent Home in Hert- 
fordshire. She was so patient and grateful that 
I wrote an account of her sad story, which was 
published in TJie Morning Star. It evoked dona- 
tions amounting to £25. After buying her some 
additional clothing, I paid her journey for self and 
child to Canterbury (the baby had died), handing 
her as she went away some £20. The Board, at my 
request, allowed her outdoor relief for a twelve- 
month. Some years after, I happened to be in 
Canterbury, when I found her out. She had been 
in the same situation some seven years. She had 
supported herself and child, and had no occasion to 
spend the money I had collected for her ; altogether 
she fully bore out the opinion I had formed of her. 
The reason why the Guardian Board had acted so 
harshly to this young woman was this : If they had 
allowed her to remain in their workhouse until after 
the execution of her husl^and, as a widow they could 
not have removed her for a twelvemonth ; they 
therefore sent her away at once to avoid this dilemma. 
About two years after Mr. Catch's departure, I 



THE STB AND. 39 

was surprised by a visit from the medical officer of 
the Newingfcon Workhouse. He told me that he 
had called to ask me whether I could advise him 
what he was to do ; that Catch obstructed him in 
his duty, swore at him, and refused to obey his 
orders. I told him to go down to the Poor Law 
Board, but that they might or might not assist him. 
Unfortunately, at that time, Mr. Farnall was away 
in Manchester, superintending the special relief 
arrangements in Lancashire with regard to the 
Cotton Famine, and there was no one at the Board 
who could or would advise him. He called on me 
on several occasions subsequently to tell me of the 
misery he daily underwent. On one occasion I told 
him to write down in a journal all instances of 
obstruction, and if possible get every case verified 
by a witness. Sooner or later you will catch him, 
I said. He followed my advice. One day he came 
to me and told me he thought he had got together 
sufficient evidence, and should now ask for an 
official inquiry. Mr. Farnall, one of the most 
honourable Poor Law Inspectors the Board ever had, 
had just then come back to town. I got some in- 
fluence to bear on the Board, and an inquiry was 
granted. It lasted some time, and Mr. Simmonds 
proved the obstruction, &c., so completely, that on the 



40 JOSEPH ROGEBS, M.D. 

last day, and when it was evident how the case would 
go, Catch followed the doctor and paid nurse out of 
the Board-room. They stopped in one of the day 
wards to discuss the case and its probable results, 
when Catch went to his ofQce and wrote in his 
journal that he had surprised the pair holding im- 
proper relations. This charge coming to the know- 
ledge of the nurse, who was a respectable young 
woman, she went at once to the physician accoucheur 
of Guy's Hospital and requested that he would 
examine her. This he did, when he gave her a 
certificate that Catch's allegation was untrue. A 
special meeting of the Board having been called to 
investigate this charge, it was made absolutely clear 
that Catch had hatched this foul accusation. The 
Board immediately suspended him. The circum- 
stances were reported to the Poor Law Board, who 
called on him to resign. It will hardly be believed 
that after this, Catch, mainly through the influence 
of his friends at the Strand Board and the aid of the 
clerk, got appointed to the Lambeth Workhouse, 
where for some time he tyrannized over the sub- 
ordinate officers and inmates, until at last, his cup 
being full, he lost that appointment also. Here- 
after I will give the particulars of this episode, and 
of the notable trial in the Court of Queen's Bench, 



THE STB^^D. 41 

where he attempted to clear his character and to get 
reinstated. 

For five or six years after the departure of Mr. 
Catch my life was a fairly pleasant one. There was 
no obstruction from the master or the matron, and 
as there was nothing to ask of the Board things 
went on quietly, and therefore the daily duty ceased 
to be onerous added to which I had several pupils 
whose instruction in the wards was to me a very 
agreeable pastime. Here let me remark how melan- 
choly it is that the vast field for clinical observation 
and study which the sick, nursery, and lying-in wards 
of large urban workhouses afford, should be utterly 
thrown away. There are certain diseases which can 
hardly be seen anywhere else, such as of those of 
young children and of aged persons, and yet they 
are completely ignored. 

I have said that for a time everything went on 
peacefully, but a rucle awakening was in store, for 
about the years 1862-1865, in consequence of wide- 
spread distress in the metropolis, persons were 
admitted beyond the capacity of the House to hold 
them. This necessitated a representation to the 
Board, and, as a consequence, a revival of the an- 
tagonism from the so-called economical members of 
the Board, who charged me with being too squeamish. 



42 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

and with having brought the influx on myself by 
being too indulgent to the sick. The hostility went 
so far with one Guardian who considered me so very 
troublesome that he put a notice on the agenda to 
reduce my salary. This was renewed by him from 
time to time, indeed, whenever I made a representa- 
tion to the Board on this subject. 

That there was abundant cause for such represen- 
tations will be understood w^hen it is stated that, in 
consequence of the overcrowding and the heated and 
vitiated atmosphere caused thereby, cases of fever 
induced therefrom were constantly cropping up, and 
it was one of my perplexities how to deal with them. 
In those days there were no such facilities as now 
exist for sending fever cases away to separate 
asylums, and we had to do the best we could. 

Having, in 1863, had a succession of boys affected 
with fever sent in from St. Anne's, Soho, I inquired 
of the relieving officer from where they came, where- 
upon he informed me that a Mr. AVilliams, a clergy- 
man in Porter Street, Soho, had opened a home for 
friendless boys. On interviewing this clergyman, 
I told him that I had called to protest against his 
sending these fever cases to the Workhouse, there 
being no room for them. He replied by asking me 
what he was to do with them, as at that time he had 



THE STBAND. 43 

some four or five boys down with fever ; and then he 
took me into an old, disused slaughter-house, where, 
on some straw, I saw these lads lying ill. Before 
leaving him I arranged that he should go over the 
House and see for himself that there were no vacant 
beds. On the morning appointed he came, bringing 
with him a person whom he represented to be his 
secretary, and who he asked to be allowed to take 
with him. No objection being made, he accompanied 
us. I was somewhat surprised at the bearing of this 
so-called secretary, and still more so at his conduct 
in the House, when we went through the wards. I 
thought he was a very intelligent gentleman, and 
wondered at him occupying the position of secretary 
to Mr. Williams, at say, i£l a week. I satisfied Mr. 
Williams that I could not continue to take in his 
numerous waifs and strays, and on leaving, his com- 
panion parted from me with many expressions of 
thanks for my courtesy in allowing him to accompany 
me. I had not the least idea who he was, or his 
name, but I felt pretty sure that he must be a gentle- 
man. It transpired subsequently that he was no 
other than Mr. J. Alexander Shaw Stewart, and my 
chance acquaintance became in after years one of my 
kindest and truest friends. As a result of this 
interview with Mr. Williams a school was opened. 



44 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

called afterwards the Newport Market Eefuge Indus- 
trial Scliool, and for several years it was under my 
medical charge. During the years I was connected 
with that establishment I never had a case of fever 
of any kind, although the school was located in a 
densely crowded and repulsively degraded neighbour- 
hood. It was a striking instance of what could be 
done in keeping schools free from epidemic disease, 
if only the persons having control of them adopt, 
and strictly carry out, judicious sanitary arrangements. 
During my period of office I made the acquaintance 
of the Duke of Westminster, Mr. and Mrs. Glad- 
stone, the latter of whom was a frequent visitor there, 
as well as many ladies of rank, kc. 

About this time there came an urgent request to go 
to the House. On my arrival I found a young German 
woman near her confinement who was in a state of 
great mental distress. On asking for an explanation, 
I was informed that the day before a gentlemanly- 
looking person had called at the house and asked to 
see the matron. To her he stated that he was a 
medical man, and had been commissioned by the 
friends of one of his patients to look out for some 
healthy young woman near her confinement who 
might be engaged as a wet nurse by a lady under his 
care. The master brought down to him this girl. 



THE STBAND. 4:5 

when lie instructed her to send her next day to his 
consulting-room, where the lady's friends might see 
her. She accordingly went. Shortly after her 
arrival there she rushed out of the house, stating 
that she had been insulted by the doctor. Police 
aid coming to her assistance, the doctor's residence 
was visited, with the result that he was taken into 
custody, and brought before the magistrate, who 
remanded him without bail for inquiries to be made. 
The publicity of the case led to the bringing of other 
charges of a similar character, and he was ultimately 
committed for trial. Having been called upon to 
attend the German girl, I was naturally called as a 
witness, and was subsequently subpoenaed to attend at 
the Old Bailey. I found four other young women 
there in a similar predicament, all in charge of a 
police constable, and for three days I spent my whole 
time in their company, for whenever I got up to 
walk anywhere the women and the constable got up 
also and followed me. The situation was suggestive, 
but by no means pleasant. On the Thursday morn- 
ing I was informed by the prosecution that I might 
go away, as the prisoner, who turned out to be a man 
of good family and an officer in the army, had 
pleaded guilty to a common assault, &c., &c. As 
the girl's history was somewhat interesting I sent an 



46 JOSEPH ROGEBS, M.D. 

account of it to The Times newspaper. It was as 
follows : She had been living at Chicago with her 
two brothers, when they received a letter stating that 
their mother in Germany was very ill, and begged 
that her daughter would come home. She started 
immediately, but on arriving at her native town 
found that her mother was dead. She thereupon 
sold all the effects, and with upwards of ^£100 started 
back again for Chicago. She passed through London 
to Liverpool to take passage for New York, but the 
machinery of the steamer breaking down when two 
days out, the captain returned for repairs. She had 
made the acquaintance of a young Frenchman on 
board, who finding she had money, made love to her, 
and induced her to go back to London and become 
his wife. After living with her until all the money 
was gone, he deserted her, and being without friends, 
she had to come into the House. My letter appear- 
ing: ill The T lines ^ some ii45 was sent me, which 
sufficed to enable me to send her and her child to 
her brother in Chicago. I provided her with an out- 
fit, and arranged with the captain of the steamer to 
take charge of her, and send one of his trustworthy 
officers to see her to the station in New York for 
Chicago, and parting with her to put into her hands 
the balance remaining. Some months afterwards 



THE STRAND. 47 

I had a letter from the captain, stating that he had 
carried out my request, and had finally given her the 
£25 or thereabouts. There was every reason to 
believe that one of the subscribers was Her Majesty 
the Queen, though it was not so distinctly stated in 
a letter I received from a gentleman connected with 
the Court. 

In the early part of 1865 the Guardians appointed 
a superintendent nurse. She was a young, and very 
respectable-looking woman. The Guardians had been 
moved to do this by the evidence of Miss Twining 
before the Select Committee, and by the general 
feeling excited by the revelations made in Gibson's 
case in St. Giles's, and that of Timothy Daley in the 
Holborn, Union. In the winter of 1863 and 1864, 
and again in 1864 and 1865, as also in 1865 and 
1866 the admissions had been so many, and the 
crowding so great, as to tax the resources of the 
establishment to the utmost, notwithstanding that I 
had moved the sick ward to the top of the building, 
and gained additional cubic space by removing the 
ceiling and re-ceiling the rafters ; but I could not by 
any contrivance increase the area. The beds therefore 
were placed so close together that the patients had to 
get out at the end of their beds, there being no pos- 
sibility of getting out at the side. It was a task 



48 JOSEPH BOQEBS, M.D. 

beyond this young woman's strength to effectually 
supervise the numerous patients, but she could check 
some of the graver abuses connected with pauper 
nursing. This she did to the best of her ability. 
In the same spring that she was appointed — that of 
I860 — the late Dr. Francis Anstie called on me. 
He said he was deputed by the late Dr. Wakley to 
call and state that he had decided to appoint a 
commission for the purpose of investigating the state 
of London workhouses, and he thought I could 
suggest the best course to follow to obtain admission 
to them. I told him I would introduce him to the 
Chairman of the Board, who alone had the power to 
grant permission to a stranger to enter the Work- 
house, unless special application had been made to 
Board, and leave given. He called on the Chairman, 
who gave him a letter to the master, authorizing his 
admission. Before he left, I told Dr. Anstie that 
when he went over the House I would accompany* 
him. Some short time after, he wrote, making an 
appointment. I showed him through the whole House, 
pointing out the defects and shortcomings, and told 
him of my continued efforts to get the place improved, 
and of the determined hostility of the majority of the 
Board to any efforts I had made. I also showed him 
a list of the fever cases I had attended, and how 



THE STRAND. 49 

constantly fever was developed when the numbers 
increased and the overcrowding was greatest. Dr. 
Anstie took careful notes of what I showed him, as 
the sequel proved. Some month or so after, I had a 
note from him, asking me to look in that week's 
Lancet for the report of his visit. I did so ; when I 
found that he had exposed the rotten condition of 
things with marvellous clearness and fidelity, but as 
he had referred to me and my efforts to clear out this 
Augean stable, I was perfectly convinced that the 
least intelligent element of the Board would be 
incited by their clerk to charge me with having 
written the article in question. As I anticipated, 
this came to pass, for I heard that so it had been 
said at the Board meeting, and in consequence, a 
most insulting resolution was adopted, in which I 
was directly charged with trying to bring the 
Guardians — ' who were my masters ' — into contempt. 
So angry was their language and so bitter their 
hostility, that Dr. Anstie wrote to the Board, stating 
that he had been permitted by their Chairman to go 
over the House, and that the observations he had 
made were his own, and that I had not seen a line of 
his manuscript, or knew of his report, until it appeared 
in print ; he further challenged the Board to show 
where, in his description, he had departed from the 

5 



60 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

truth. The storm he had raised was, after a while, 
allayed. Dr. Anstie continued to visit other work- 
houses, the condition of which he similarly described. 
These reports, which appeared in The Lancet, were 
copied into, and commented upon, in sundry daily 
and weekly journals, and gradually produced a feeling 
of intense public indignation. Dr. Anstie had acted 
so generously towards me in screening me from the 
hostility of the worst elements of the Board, that I 
arranged a dinner-party, to meet and discuss work- 
house abuses. Among the guests was Mr. John 
Storr, of King Street, Covent Garden, who was one 
of the wealthiest, as he was one of the most respect- 
able, members of the Strand Board, and who, since 
his election two years before this, had proved to be 
my most able advocate and friend. When Dr. Anstie 
arrived, he brought with him Mr. Ernest Hart, whom 
he introduced as one of the staff of The Lancet, and as 
one interested in the question of workhouse adminis- 
tration. After dinner a discussion took place as 
regards the general condition of these establishments. 
Ultimately it was arranged that a conference should 
be held at Mr. Storr's offices. King Street, Covent 
Garden, at a time hereafter to be named. Our 
dinner-party was held in December, 1865. In the 
early part of January, Dr. Anstie, Mr. Hart, and I, 



THE STBAND. 51 

met by appointment at Mr. Storr's, when our dis- 
cussion was resumed. At first it was proposed that 
we should call a public meeting and denounce the 
system, when I pointed out that if we only did that 
the agitation would soon come to an end, and there- 
fore it would be better to form an Association for the 
purpose of more thoroughly enlightening the public. 
My suggestion was adopted. Mr. John Storr gener- 
ously offered to put down ^100 to float the Association. 
He also offered to become its treasurer, and to give 
us the free use of one of his offices, in which the 
meetino's of the Association could be held. This 
meeting took place on a Thursday evening, and as 
The Lancet came out next day, Mr. Hart left us and 
went down to The Lancet ofQce, to announce in the 
paper the formation of the society. At our meeting 
it was also arranged that we should respectively write 
to those we knew and ask them to join our Association. 
I wrote, among others, to Mr. Shaw Stewart, who at 
once joined, us, and to Miss Twining, and to many 
other ladies and gentlemen who had been engaged in 
works of benevolence. The Association prospered 
beyond our wildest anticipations, and we were speedily 
joined by Earl Carnarvon, Earl Grosvenor, the Arch- 
bishop of York, &c. ; whilst money came in freely. 
Shortlv after the formation of the Association, of 



52 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

which, in conjunction with Dr. Anstie and Mr. Hart, 
I was one of the honorary secretaries ; Mr. Farnall, 
the Metropolitan Poor Law Inspector, wrote to me, 
stating that he had been deputed b}- Mr. Charles P. 
Villiers, the President of the Poor Law Board, to offer 
his services in giving information to the youthful 
Association, and that he had written to me, as I was 
the only honorary secretary he knew. Mr. Farnall 
subsequently attended the meetings of the committee, 
and afforded us much valuable information. No use 
was ever made of Mr. John Storr's office, as all sub- 
sequent meetings of the Association were held in Mr. 
Hart's house, in Wimpole Street. 

In the month of May, 1866, Miss Beaton, the 
superintendent nurse, informed me that she intended 
to resign her situation, and apply for another as a 
nurse at a general hospital ; at the same time asking 
me whether I would give her a reference. Whilst 
expressing my regret that she was going, I readily 
promised to do all I could for her, and with that object 
gave her a letter of introduction to Dr. Anstie, assistant 
physician to the Westminster Hospital, and to Mr. 
Hart, who was then connected with St. Mary's Hos- 
pital. Dr. Anstie took her name and address, and 
promised to do what he could for her ; Mr. Hart 
asked her to sit down, and proceeded to question her 



THE STRAND. 68 

on the various matters connected with the Strand 
Workhouse I had mentioned at the committee 
meetings, &c. Ultimately he dismissed her, but not 
until he had a promise from her that she would 
write down all her experience of the wrong-doing 
she had witnessed at the Strand. She did this. On 
getting her manuscript statement he sent it to Earl 
Carnarvon, one of the committee, and asked him to 
apply to Mr. Villiers for an official inquiry. I had not 
the remotest knowledge that anything of the kind had 
been done, nor had my other colleague. Dr. Anstie. 
In the early part of eTune Mr. Hart told me that there 
was to be an official inquiry into the management and 
the condition of the Strand Workhouse, and that I 
should be called as a witness, but he did not tell me 
how it had been brought about. A few days after I 
received an official intimation that such inquiry 
would be held, and that my attendance would be 
required. I had hoped that the inquiry would 
be conducted by the Metropolitan Inspector, Mr. 
Farnall ; but it was not so. Mr. Fleming sent 
another member of the staiT. The inquiry was held, 
the first witness called being Miss Beaton. She 
astonished me by the extent and character of her 
revelations, of some part of which I was an eye- 
witness, and therefore knew to be true. Her exam- 



54 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

ination lasted all day. Next morning, the evidence 
she had given appeared in all the papers, which com- 
mented thereon. On the second day I was called. 
On taking my seat Mr. Caine said, ''Oh! we have 
met before ; " I did not know where. I had not long 
been under examination before Dr. Anstie, who was 
in the room, came behind my chair, and said, " Take 
care how you answer questions ; this inspector does 
not mean fairly b}^ you ; he is trj^ing to put you in 
a false position." Forewarned by this, I simply 
answered his questions, and parried those which were 
irrelevant and misleading. The next day my evidence, 
in full appeared in every paper, and all the leading 
journals denounced the Board of Guardians for their 
management of the House. It was unfortunate that 
my Board should have been selected, inasmuch as 
nearly all the workhouses in the metropolis were in 
very much the same condition. After the close of 
the inquiry Mr. E. B. Caine returned to Whitehall, 
and made the remarkable statement in his official 
report that the condition of the House was due to my 
not having made proper representations to the Guar- 
dians. I subsequently heard that on his report being 
submitted to the President of the Board, it was alto- 
gether set aside by him, and that he wrote the report 
himself. It had, however, come to my knowledge 



THE STBAND. 55 

that Mr. Caine had delivered himself of this view ; 
when I wrote to the Poor Law Board complaining of 
his injustice, and pointed out that for some three 
years he had, as Metropolitan Inspector during 
the time Mr. Farnall was away in Manchester, visited 
the Strand, and that he had always entered in the 
visitors' book that he was completely satisfied with 
the state of the House. I am happy to say that Mr. 
E. B. Caine got very little credit out of the whole 
transaction, for his report was severely criticized by 
the press for its transparent bias. Just at this time 
a circular letter was sent by the Poor Law Board to 
all the workhouse medical officers — some forty in 
number — in the metropolis. It was issued evidently 
with the view of entrapping these gentlemen into 
contradictory answers to the questions which were 
submitted to them. It was clearly necessary to take 
immediate action. I therefore sent a letter to each 
of them, asking them to meet me at the Freemasons' 
Tavern, Great Queen's Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. 
The majority of them came. Having been voted into 
the chair, I pointed out to them what was the object of 
the letter, and earnestly urged that we should agree 
as to the form of reply. This view was adopted, and 
the answers as agreed upon were sent by all present to 
the Poor Law Board. On the same occasion it was 



56 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

arranged that an Association should be established of 
metropolitan workhouse medical officers, so that we 
might be prepared to deal promptly with any similar 
departmental trickery. This was done, and I was 
elected as the first president, an office which through 
various changes I have occupied to this day. The 
Association was, during the two following years, 
enabled to play an important part in the settlement 
of many vexed questions in the administration of 
workhouse medical relief, which, without the practical 
knowledge of medical men, would have been wholly 
left in the hands of the officials at the Poor Law 
Board, who at this time exhibited a singular unwil- 
lingness to face the facts. My official life after this 
was a particularly unpleasant one, inasmuch as I was 
credited with having asked for the inquiry, and 
having resolved to state that which would bring " my 
masters " into contempt. I should have survived all 
this misrepresentation, but unfortunately just at this 
juncture the Liberal Government was overthrown, and 
the Derby-Disraeli premiership was established. 
Earl Derby speedily pointed out that he intended to 
deal effectually with the scandal that had been 
brought to light in connection with workhouse in- 
firmary administration, and with that view he had 
selected Mr. Gathorne Hardy — now Lord Cranborne — 



THE ST BAND. 67 

as the President of the Poor Law Board, he being in 
Lord Derby's judgment one of the fittest men in Her 
Majesty's dominions to put things straight. Mr. 
Hardy up to that date had been principally known as 
a Chairman at Quarter Sessions, and an ex-officio 
Guardian of a Kentish Board of Guardians. One of 
the first official acts of this gentleman was to punish 
Mr. Henry Farnall for his conduct in aiding the 
Workhouse Infirmary Association. He was banished 
from London and sent to the northern counties. 
As Mr. Farnall's residence was at Blackheath, where 
his wife and children were living, this act of Mr. 
Hardy's was a serious inconvenience to him. The next 
thing done was to appoint Dr. Markham as a Poor 
Law Inspector and so-called medical adviser. Dr. 
Markham up to this date had been the editor of what 
was at that time an obscure journal. He was not 
known to have ever been associated with any sanitary 
work, nor to have seen the inside of a workhouse in 
his life, and yet out of all the able physicians at the 
time in the metropolis he was selected. The popular 
explanation given for this appointment was that he 
spent the larger portion of the day in looking out of 
the windows of the Carlton, Pall Mall, and that Mr. 
Hardy, making his acquaintance, gave him something 
to do. He fully justified the selection thus made, 



58 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

as Ayill be shown hereafter, as he became in every 
sense one of the most difficult officials of the Board. 

At this time the permanent officials, notably Dr. 
Edward Smith, promulgated the heresy that the area 
and cubic space suggested by our Association for the 
housing of the sick was excessive ; indeed, that the 
area did not so much matter if the roof of the sick 
ward was carried up high enough. These and other 
statements having been promulgated by the staff, a 
meeting of the Workhouse Medical Officers Associa- 
tion was called, to take the subject into consideration. 
"We had the aid of the late Dr. Parkes, the eminent 
Professor of Hygiene, at Netley Hospital, as well as of 
my two colleagues in the secretaryship of our Associa- 
tion. Conjointly, we drew up a paper stating what 
was in our view the minimum area and the minimum 
cubic space that should be sanctioned. This action 
forced the hand of Mr. Hardy, and caused him to 
issue a cubic space commission to determine this 
question. 

Shortly after the formation of the Conservative 
Government a numerous and influential deputation, 
consisting of Earl Shaftesbury, the Archbishop of 
York, Earl Grosvenor, and many others, waited on 
Mr. Hardy, when representations were made to him 
urging extensive alterations on the then system. I 



THE ST BAND. 59 

was so hurt at the intrigues going on at the Poor 
Law Board and the attempt of Mr. E. B. Caine to 
make me solely responsible for the condition of the 
Strand Workhouse, that I availed myself of the 
opportunity to tell the President that in any scheme 
he might lay down for an alteration, I hoped that he 
would he guided by his own judgment, and not by 
that of the permanent officials, who would most 
assuredty lead him astray. This plain speaking was 
not particularly relished by those against whom it 
was mainly directed ; it doubtless intensified ill 
feeling against me. I also handed to him a series 
of Eesolutions drawn up by the Council of our Poor 
Law Medical Officers' Association protesting against 
the misstatements that had been propagated by Dr. 
E. Smith, Poor Law Inspector, against the Metropo- 
litan Workhouse medical officers. 

Immediately subsequent to this our Workhouse 
Association engaged itself in drawing up a scheme 
for a general dietary for all London workhouses, 
which differed in every establishment ; in some 
being, as at the Strand, when I first went there, 
niggardly in the extreme, while in others it v/as 
absurdly liberal. This question had engaged my 
attention many years before, and when I introduced 
an amended dietary at the Strand I was often twitted 



60 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

by the economical element of the Board to the effect 
that my liberality in the way of dietary was the 
reason why the House had filled so much, paupers 
being attracted to the Union by tbe prospect of being 
better fed by the liberality I had evinced. This 
allegation was absurdly unjust. Years before, in 
1863, I had, at the time I amended the dietary at 
the Strand, addressed a letter to the Department 
urging that they should issue a genera^l order to the 
London Boards of Guardians enclosing a copy of a 
uniform dietary to be used in all Metropolitan 
workhouses (acute cases of sickness alone excepted). 
Although this suggestion had the approval of Mr. 
Farnall, who invited me down to the Board to talk 
the matter over with him, it was set aside. Mr. 
Fleming, the secretary, objected to everything of a 
controversial character. About this time, under- 
standing that Mr. Hardy was engaged in drafting 
his Metropolitan Poor Bill, I wrote to him on several 
occasions ; one of the subjects I urged on him was 
the advisability of turning the vast field for clinical 
observations which our Workhouse infirmaries afforded 
to some practical purpose by throwing the wards 
open to medical students, pointing out what had 
been done at the Marylebone Workhouse Infirmary 
some thirty years before ; I also urged that the 



THE STRAND. 61 

hospitals he was about to establish should be officered 
by a resident medical man or resident medical men, 
but that in no instance should they be left alone in 
their control, but that their work should be superin- 
tended by an extern physician. I understood that 
my view was overruled through the opposition of 
certain physicians who thought that the educational 
opportunities thereby proposed would interfere with 
the voluntary hospitals they were connected with 
and the students attached to them. 

I also pointed out how desirable it was that 
pauper schools should be consolidated, and that 
permanent young pauper children should be separ- 
ated from those who were constantly going in and 
out of workhouses. Mr. Hardy always replied 
personally and with marked courtesy to the letters 
I sent him. In the session of 1867 Mr. Hardy 
brought in his Metropolitan Poor Bill. In his 
speech introducing it he referred to my evidence 
before the Select Committee, and said that he had 
resolved to adopt the views I had advocated, namely, 
the provision of all medicines and appliances at the 
cost of the rates ; but although the Bill passed with 
great facility and amidst general approval it was a 
very long time, in some cases four, five, and six 
years, before the dispensary clauses were carried out. 



62 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

The Bill had hardly become law before Mr. Hardy 
was transferred to the War Office and Earl Devon 
became President. This nobleman when Lord 
Courtenay, Poor Law Inspector, or Lord Courtenay, 
Parliamentary Secretary, had entirely supported the 
worst parts of the old system of administration and 
control. He always yielded to Boards of Guar- 
dians, and, when President, entirely deferred to the 
permanent staff. During the short time that he 
held office — for the election of 1868 shortly after- 
wards occurred and with it a strong reaction — he 
instituted a new order of officials at Gwydyr House — 
to wit, Assistant Insi^ectors. 

Of course it was not to be expected that the 
evidence given by me at the official inquiry would 
fail to intensify the bitter hostility of a section of 
the Board towards me, especially as the clerk to the 
Guardians never lost an opportunity of putting my 
conduct before them in the worst light. Conse- 
quently, shortly after my evidence had been given 
an attempt was made to displace me. The Guardian 
who moved my resignation was a lodging-house 
keeper in St. Clement's Danes. Having been told 
that this Guardian contemplated this procedure, I 
forwarded a letter to the Board in which I gave an 
outline of all I had done and had attempted to do 



THE STBAND. 63 

during the ten years I had been the medical officer, 
the amount of antagonism I had provoked, and the 
various resolutions which had been adopted as the 
result of my endeavours. It was not very pleasant 
reading for some of them to hear, as there were 
several still there who had taken an active part in 
thwarting me at all times, and this letter thoroughly 
answered them. In spite of all that was alleged, 
when the resolution was s ubmitted to the vote it 
was found that I had just as many friends as 
enemies, and therefore the motion was not carried. 
I do not know whether at that time the intrigue 
between the clerk and certain permanent officials of 
the Poor Law Board had commenced, but it took 
place not a very long time afterwards, as I found 
out some twenty months after. 

One result of the evidence I had given as regards 
the over-crowding was this : I was empowered to 
send some of the acutely sick to the voluntary 
hospitals, and I did so to a limited degree, but my 
action here was again met by the hostility of a 
section of this Board. It was sug^o'ested that I had 
sent them away to get rid of the trouble of attend- 
ing to them, and it was gravely proposed that I 
should have the cost of the cabs in which they 
were removed deducted from my salary. 



64 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

As an illustration of the mode adopted by some 
Boards to annoy their medical officers I subjoin the 
following : In June, 1867, a person was sent into 
the Strand Workhouse by the district medical 
officer, insane. In conjunction with a Justice of the 
Peace, I examined him, and we certified as to his 
mental condition, whereupon he was sent to Hanwell. 
Three weeks after, he was discharged from the 
asylum, not because he had recovered, but through 
an informality in the certificate given by the justice. 
As this latter gentleman was out of town, I took 
the lunatic before Mr. Yaughan, at Bow Street, who, 
after examining him for a minute or so, threw up 
the certificate, and said he would not sign it, the 
man was not mad. I again implored him to fill up 
the certificate, as the man had been only sent back 
to the House through an informality in the certificate. 
As he again refused, I said, " Then I have to re- 
quest that Sir Thomas Henry be apprised of the 
case." This was done, and Sir Thomas advised 
that he should go back to the House for another 
week. That afternoon the lunatic was interviewed 
by three of the Board, who pronounced the opinion 
that he was of sound mind. Hearing of this irregu- 
larity, I wrote to the Commissioners in Lunacy, and 
asked them to see the man. Thev attended at the 



THE STBAND. 65 

House and examined him, and directed liis removal 
to Hanwell without delay. That night he escaped 
by scaling a high wall, and was not captured for 
three days, when the police caught him. In the 
following September he was discharged cured, when 
I received a letter from the clerk, informing me 
thereof, and stating that the Board was of opinion 
that I had been too hasty in sending the man away, 
and that too by an unusual course. I immediately 
wrote to the Commissioners in Lunacy, enclosing 
the clerk's letter, and asked their opinion, when the 
secretary, Mr. C. P. Phillips, wrote to me stating 
that at the time the Commissioners saw him he was 
clearly insane, and that the Commissioners approved 
of my action under the exceptional circumstances 
of the case. I sent their reply to the Board. The 
evening the clerk read my letter to the Board, the 
man's wife made an application for his re-admission 
to the House, as he had a relapse of his insanity. 
This man went into and out of the asylum on several 
occasions subsequently. Whenever he was at liberty he 
made me aware of it by coming to my house between 
1 and 2 a.m., and ringing my night-bell violently. 
Of course I had to put up with the infliction, as the 
man was not in his right mind. This annoyance 
went on for years, and only ceased when I left Soho. 

6 



66 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

The Guardians also authorized my sending some 
of the infirm women to Edmonton, where the school 
for the pauper children was situated. This school 
was a favourite place of resort for the worst members 
of the Board, and very comfortable parties were kept 
up there at the expense of the ratepayers. A 
certain portion of the Guardians went down fort- 
nightly in carriages to inspect the schools, and every 
scheme was adopted by those not on the School 
Committee to be asked to go out of their turn by 
those who were entitled to go. It meant an outing 
in the country, and a splendid dinner with wine, &c., 
and tea, free of cost, to all who went there. 

Of course the resident officers were always in 
high favour with the majority of the Board, and to 
arraign them or their conduct was a hopeless afi'air, 
as the least competent element immediately stood 
forward to shield them. 

In the September of 1867 a young girl was 
admitted, suffering -Rith rheumatic fever ; she re- 
mained ill some time, but towards the end of the 
month she recovered sufficiently to be sent to 
a Convalescent Home, but as the autumn was a 
cold one I decided that she should be sent to 
Edmonton, and to secure her considerate treatment 
I wrote a special certificate, which was addressed to 



TEB 8TBAND. 67 

the matron, in which I stated what had heen the 
matter with her, and begged that she should he 
kept warm and not employed in scrubbing or any 
damp occupation. 

About a month afterwards I found this girl again 
in the women's sick ward in Cleveland Street with 
a severe relapse of her rheumatic attack. On inquiry 
I was told by the girl that shortly after she had 
gone to Edmonton the matron came into her ward 
and told her to go to the laundry. On her remind- 
ing her that she was still weak, and that the London 
doctor had directed that she was to be kept warm, 
the matron abused her and again ordered her there. 
She went. In a very short time she broke down ; 
the matron, however, persisted in keeping her at 
work, but at last she became so ill that she was 
compelled to put her to bed. On the school doctor 
seeing her it was decided to send her back to town, 
some eight miles distant. She was sent in a tilted 
cart and very imperfectly clad — that, too, on a very 
cold day. It was altogether so improper a proceeding 
that I complained to the Board, who made inquiries 
of the matron, &c., who of course denied the facts 
in toto. This false answer was sent to me. I was 
so enraged that I drew up another complaint and 
sent it to the Poor Law Board and asked for an 



68 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

inquiry. Dr. Markliam was deputed to go through 
the form of an investigation, which he interpreted 
hy going, unknown to me, to the sick ward, asking 
one or two questions of the girl, and sending for 
the matron at Edmonton to come to his private 
house in Harley Street. I did not know this at the 
time. He then reported that I had made a " frivo- 
lous and vexatious complaint." I will leave my 
readers to determine whether this procedure was 
not a mockery of a Departmental inquiry. This 
report, thus obtained, was sent to the Guardians, 
whereupon a man, who had misconducted himself at 
the official inquiry by coarsely asking " whether 
mesenteric disease was not something to eat," moved 
that I be suspended from my office. This was 
adopted by the Board, only four of the members 
supporting me, the fact being that the Board had 
changed very considerably at the preceding election, 
some of the Board ejected from office two years 
before having unfortunately returned again. Of 
course it was necessary for the Board to report this 
suspension to the Poor Law Board. The clerk asked 
permission to absent himself from duty for a time. 
He took with him the minutes of the Board for the 
preceding twelve years, and busied himself with 
extracting all the hostile resolutions which the 



THE STB AND. 69 

Board had adopted against me, frequently at his 
suggestion, in return for my continuous efforts to 
cleanse their augean stable. I do not know who 
had distinctly intimated to the clerk that it was 
desirable to get rid of me, but the mover of my 
suspension stated that he knew the Poor Law Board 
wanted to get me discharged. That was admitted 
some time after by Sir Michael Hicks Beach in a 
conversation he had with a medical gentleman living 
near him in Gloucestershire. 

Some month after my suspension a copy of the 
clerk's extracts was sent me by the Poor Law Board, 
and I was asked what I had to say to it. I acknow- 
ledged its receipt, and asked for an official inquiry. 
This request was ignored, although it was suggested 
by a minority of the Board, by the Yestry of St. Anne's, 
Soho, who unanimously supported me, and by many 
influential inhabitants of the parish in which I had 
lived and worked. That my suspension would have 
been followed by the Poor Law Board calling on me 
to resign my office, without delay, would have been 
certain, but the President, Earl Devon, was away, 
although the most terrible distress prevailed that 
winter in East London. He had gone off to the 
South of France, and there he remained some 
three months. On his return, he at once put me out 



70 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

of doubt by removing me from my office. It is very 
carious, but true, that when I turned on this Depart- 
ment and stated my own case, he made the remark to 
a friend, who repeated it to me, that he was surprised 
at my hostility to the Board, as in calling for my 
resignation no reflection had been made by the 
Department on my character. At this time a general 
order was issued by the Department, imposing, with- 
out payment, additional and onerous obligations upon 
Workhouse medical officers. It was to the effect that 
they should make, from time to time, a return of all 
that was amiss in their respective workhouses to the 
Board of Guardians, the doing of which, on my own 
account, had led to my differences with the Strand 
Board. It had always been understood that this was 
one of the duties of the Inspectors, but it was at- 
tempted to throw the obligation on the doctors. After 
Earl Devon resigned, our Council had an interview 
with Mr. Goschen at the House of Commons, who 
promised an important modification of this unjust 
order. 

When my compulsory resignation was called for, it 
was decided by the Kev. Harry Jones, the late Dr. 
Anstie and others, to call a meeting of the all but 
moribund Infirmaries Association at Mr. Hart's house, 
to discuss the matter, and arrange for action. The 



THE STBAND. 71 

meeting was addressed by both of these gentlemen, 
and by several others, and the action of the Department 
was severely censured by all who were present, except 
one person. Sir John Simeon, M. P., undertook to 
put a question in the House, and to move for papers. 
In due course the question was asked, when Sir 
Michael Hicks Beach made reply that the Board did 
not desire to make any reflection on my character, but 
that I had been called on to resign as I could not get 
on with the Board of Guardians. 

The insufficiency of this answer will be understood 
when I state that it had been already decided to break 
up the Strand Board by taking away St. Anne's and 
joining it to St. James's, in order to make the West- 
minster Union, and by adding St. Martin to the 
remnant of the Strand — thereby making it a perfectly 
new Union. 

I have stated that it was arranged at the meeting 
of the Workhouse Infirmaries Association, called to 
consider the action of the Department in request- 
ing me to send in my resignation, that the papers 
connected with the subject should be moved for in the 
House. This was done, and in due course they were 
presented. On their appearance. The Lancet com- 
mented as follows thereon — 

" At last, after months of delay, the Parliamentary 



72 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Papers concerning the enforced resignation by Dr. 
Rogers of his post as medical officer of tlie Strand 
Union have been published. They amply justify 
everything we have said as to the unwarrantable cha- 
racter of the action of the Poor Law Board and of the 
Strand Board of Guardians in the whole affair. 

"It is impossible for us to afford space for a 
detailed analysis of these papers, but we beg to draw 
attention to the following damning facts. 1. The 
evidence upon the whole case consists {a) of a series 
of quotations by the Guardians, or rather by a party 
among the Guardians, hostile to Dr. Rogers, from 
minutes and other documents extending over many 
years, these extracts being selected without any 
reference to contemporary facts which would throw 
light upon them, and (b) of utterly gratuitous and un- 
founded insinuations that the various leading articles 
in the general press which were written apropos of 
the notorious scandals at the Strand were written 
by Dr. Rogers and his friends. 2. That although 
Dr. Rogers (backed by a most respectable minority of 
the Guardians and by the Vestry of St. Anne's, 
Soho) protested that it was impossible to deal with 
these charges without an open inquiry, such inquiry 
was refused by the Poor Law Board. 3. As regards 
the Edmonton scandal which was the cause of the dis- 



THE STQAND. 73 

pute which led immediately to the suspension of Dr. 
Eogers, the printed evidence distinctly bears out the 
justice of Dr. Rogers' allegations. 4. Nevertheless 
Dr. Markham reported to the Poor Law Board that 
his inquiries had proved these charges to be false. 
He does not, however, venture to specify the nature of 
the inquiry by which he disproved charges which, with 
unblushing effrontery, Mr. Fleming says were made 
on the unsupported testimony of a pauper, but which 
are now seen to be absolutely corroborated by two 
respectable witnesses (one of them a medical man), 
besides the direct observation of Dr. Rogers ; and 
either Dr. Markham did not take, or the Poor Law 
Board has suppressed, the evidence of at least one 
other impartial witness, the master of the Strand 
Workhouse, which we have reason to believe would 
have absolutely settled the matter in Dr. Rogers' 
favour. 

'' It is well-nigh incredible, but we have heard it on 
authority which we cannot discredit, that although 
the so-called inquiry on which the Medical Inspector 
of the Poor Law Board based the unfavourable report, 
which gave the Strand Gruardians courage to make 
their onslaught upon Dr. Rogers, included an 
examination at Dr. Markham's private house of the 
Edmonton officials chiefly inculpated by Dr. Rogers' 



74 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

charges. Dr. Markham never asked Dr. Rogers one 
single question. Volumes of comment could not add 
anything to the ugly emphasis of this fact." 

Sir Michael Hicks Beach has been recently afflicted. 
I would ask him if he does not consider that his suffer- 
ings would have been intensified if his sleep had been 
disturbed by the noise of carpet-beating — if he had 
been waited on by infirm and drunken women, and 
broken-down potmen — if the air he breathed had been 
poisoned by the dust from the beating of carpets, and 
utterly vitiated by over-crowding ? And yet, because I 
had protested against this hideous wrong-doing, and 
had done my best to get it altered, he had to get up 
in the House of Commons and do his best to justify 
the action of the Board. 

The Department thought I was disposed of; it 
was not long before I showed them the contrary, 
as some of them did not subsequently hesitate to 
admit. 

I have stated that it had been decided, owing to the 
all but unanimous application of the ratepayers of 
St. Anne's, Soho, to the Poor Law Board, to take that 
parish out of the Strand Union and join it to St. 
James's, so as to constitute the Westminster Union, 
and within a very brief space of time after my com- 
pulsory resignation this was done. As there was no 



THE ST MAN D. 75 

returning officer for the Union, the Poor Law Board 
directed that the Vestry clerks of each parish should 
act as such for this time, consequently all books and 
papers relating to St. Anne's had to be handed over by 
the clerk, of Peterborough notoriety, who was the 
friend of Catch, when a notable discovery was made, 
to wit, that the proxy book, as it was called, was alto- 
gether illegal, and had been so for years, as by the 
efflux of time the power to vote by proxy in most in- 
stances had expired, and yet this clerk had gone on 
year after year issuing voting papers to persons, 
though he must have known that they had no right 
to vote. We had often wondered how it happened 
that we could not oust the Guardians who sat for St. 
Anne's : they had been returned by illegal proxy 
votes for years. Although the Guardians who had 
recently represented St. Anne's in the old Strand 
Union had lost the kindly aid of the clerk, it was so 
necessary to some of them that they should still be 
Guardians, that they again got themselves nominated, 
only to meet with a unanimous rejection on the part 
of the ratepayers, as the following letter from an 
ex-Guardian for St. Anne's, Soho, who was a supporter 
of Dr. Rogers, but precluded from again standing 
through serious illness, of which he subsequently died, 
will show — 



76 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

" To THE Editor of The Daily News, 

" THE STEAND UNION AND THEIR LATE MEDICAL 

OFFICER. 

'' Sir, — It will be gratifying to the friends of Dr. Rogers, 

who was suspended by the Board for his continued advocacy 

of the rights of the sick poor, to know that at the election of 

Guardians of St. Anne's, Soho, v/hich took place on Saturday 

last, the whole of those who voted for his suspension, &c., 

were rejected by an overwhelming majority of ratepayers. 

'•'I am, Su', 

" Yours obediently, 

" Joseph George. 
"81, Dean Street, 

"yl_2?rim, 1868." 

The story of two of these men I will here relate. 
The first had been appointed Assessed Tax Collector 
for St. Anne's, Soho, but two or three years after my 
resignation of the Strand he was discovered to be a 
defaulter to some hundreds of pounds, which his 
sureties had to make up. He was one of the most 
active of my opponents. The second had commenced 
life as a milkman. Very shortly afterwards he began 
to take tenement houses in the worst part of St. 
Anne's, Soho, which he let out from garret to cellar to 
the very poor. His lodgers lived under the most 
insanitary conditions, and my local knowledge induced 
me always to protest against this man as a Guardian 



THE STRAND. 77 

of the poor. He was always the most energetic of 
my opponents at the Strand Board. At last retribu- 
tion came upon him. It was in this wise : he was a 
freemason, and, though very illiterate, he had managed 
to obtain a high position in the masonic brother- 
hood, so much so that he was deputed to preside as the 
returning officer in an important election. There 
were two candidates, one a Guardian of the Strand 
Union, who was his personal friend— in fact, that very 
person who had recommended the broken-down pot- 
man as one of my nurses — the other was to him a 
comparative stranger. 

After the ballot had been taken, this returning 
officer gave the election to his friend by such a 
majority of voting papers that the unsuccessful 
candidate, who had been promised support to a large 
extent, suspected foul play, and made an application 
to the Prince of Wales, as Grand Master, to order a 
scrutiny. His Eoyal Highness assented, and directed 
the Earl of Carnarvon to hold it, when it came out 
clearly that this ex-Guardian of St. Anne's, Soho, 
had knowingly made a false return, and he was 
sentenced to a deprivation of all his offices in the 
brotherhood, and exclusion from his Lodge for three 
years. He was at this time holding various offices 
in St. Giles, also in St. Pancras, but the different 



78 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

parochial Boards* requested him to send in his re- 
signation forthwith, as they refused any longer to 
associate with him or allow him to remain a member 
of their respective Boards. 

Here let me remark that there is no occupation 
that can be followed at which so much money can 
be made as by the system adopted by some specu- 
lators of taking houses in poor localities and letting 
them out in single rooms to the humbler classes. 
To get therefrom all the benefit possible you must 
be absolutely heartless and unprincipled. If the 
wretched tenants do not pay their rent weekly, they 
must go out— and do go ! Having, after their weekly 
collections, much spare time on their hands, these 
men often get on to Boards of Guardians and 
frequently on to the District Boards as well : at 
the first they are always present when outdoor relief 
is given, which they strongly advocate as a means 
whereby the rent may be more readily secured; 
secondly, on the District Boards, where they are 
always at hand when the Inspector of Nuisances 
and of insanitary tenement houses makes his report. 
They generally try to be on the best of terms with 
this latter official, their scheme being to minimize 
the character of their reports, and to minimize what 
is required to be done, as it saves their pockets. 



THE STRAND. 79 

One of these persons, who had some three hundred 
of these houses, was fined by the magistrate for neg- 
lecting to keep his houses in a sanitary condition. 
I had the honour of his permanent hostility. 
He was, at the time of being fined, not only a 
member of the Board, but of the Health Committee 
also. When I was a member of the Strand Board 
of Works I carried a resolution that the name of 
the owner of these tenements should be alwaj^s 
included in the Inspector's Eeport. In my delibe- 
rate judgment, all persons of this class should be 
disqualified from sitting on a Board of Guardians, 
or on any District Board. The same class of middle- 
men are to be found in all large towns ; they are 
the most dangerous members of the body politic, and 
should be rigorously treated as such. The person 
I have before referred to, was not only a member 
of the Strand Board of Guardians but a member of 
the District Board also. He was also on that of 
St. Giles, and St. Pancras. In all these places, and 
districts, he had tenement houses. 

It having been my habit to go to the Workhouse 
infirmary for twelve years early each morning, I 
found my time at first hang somewhat heavily on 
my hands, but after a short while I made up my 
mind what to do. I resolved to watch the action 



80 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

of the Department, and to do my best to make the 
permanent officials do their duty, so far as my 
observation could aid me. With that object in view, 
I arranged for an aggregate meeting of the profes- 
sion, at the Freemason's Tavern, to discuss the 
composition of the so-called Board at Whitehall, and 
the grievances of the Poor Law medical officers. 
Among other things, I told them that the nominal 
Board never met, and that documents requiring the 
various members' official signature, were taken round 
to the residences of the Ministers, and, it was alleged, 
frequently signed vvithout reading the contents. 

This statement had been made in the House by 
an ex-President. 

This meeting was an immense success, for not 
only was there a very large attendance of medical 
men, but they came from all parts of the country, 
and the Department had an opportunity of learning 
how their permanent officials were w^atched and 
criticized throughout the country as permanent 
officials always should be. Mr. Griffin having 
retired from further vindicating the claims of 
his professional brethren owing to an attack of 
paralysis, to which, unhappily, he ultimately suc- 
cumbed, the balance of the money in his possession 
was handed over to me in trust for carrying on 



THE STRAND. 81 

the objects of the Association. It was also decided 
that the Provincial Poor Law Medical Officers 
Association, of which he was the Chairman, should 
be merged in the Metropolitan Association, which 
had been started by me two years before, and I 
was elected the President, a position I held for some 
years, and which I resigned only when I recognized 
that the objects of our Association would be more 
readily advanced by selecting some medical member 
of the House of Commons to act in that capacity. 
So I contented myself with the humbler position 
of Chairman of Council. 

At this representative meeting of the profession, 
I alluded, inter alia, to my evidence before the Select 
Committee, and to my advocacy of the supply of all 
medicines. I also mentioned the action of one of 
the Inspectors, a Mr. Gulson, when Mr. Fleming's 
letter containing the recommendation of that com- 
mittee was read out by the clerk of the Weymouth 
Board of Guardians at their weekly meeting. The 
Chairman having appealed to this official, who was 
present, as to what should be done, he stated that 
the resolution was only carried in committee by one 
vote, and that the Chairman of the Committee, had 
voted against it. Thereupon the Guardians of the 
Weymouth Qnion directed that the official letter 

7 



82 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

sliould lie on the table, and no expensive medicines 
were found. I took care that a report of this meet- 
ing should be sent to every Poor Law medical 
officer, and to the Department, as well as to every 
influential Member of Parliament I could reach. 
One of the reports having fallen into the hands 
of Mr. C. P. Villiers, the ex -President and Chairman 
of the Select Committee on Poor Pielief, that gentle- 
man wrote to me protesting against the statement 
which had been made, and assuring me that it was 
in direct opposition to what had really taken place, 
as he had warmly supported my suggestion, and that 
he should at once call on Mr. Gulson for an expla- 
nation of his statement. He also stated that he 
had been much annoyed at the long delay that had 
occurred ere the Chief Secretary, Mr. H. Fleming, 
had drawn up and forwarded to the various Boards 
of Guardians the letter containing the recommenda- 
tion of the Select Committee. From other sources, 
I subsequently learned that for a very long period 
of time prior to the resignation of Mr. Villiers as 
President of the Board, he held hardly any com- 
munication with his Permanent Secretary. It will 
be well understood, that if it took some fifteen 
months for the Permanent Secretary to draw up 
and issue the letter containing the Committee's 



THE STliAND. 83 

suggestion as regards expensive medicines, that no 
hurry would occur in the establishment of Poor Law 
dispensaries in the Metropolis, which was only an 
amplification of my original suggestion. And that 
actually happened ; and it was only by our constantly 
pegging away, that at last the Board commenced 
to establish them. But whilst no honCi fide effort 
was made to carry out this portion of the Metro- 
politan Poor Act, an absolute epidemic took place 
as regards the building of asylum hospitals, district 
hospitals for fever and infectious diseases, asylums 
for epileptics, idiots and imbeciles, district schools, 
&c. This arose partly from indifference on the part 
of the permanent officials, but to a greater degree 
from their complete ignorance of the necessary 
details required for economic building. It was never 
my desire, in striving to amend the system — ^that 
is, to substitute for the absence of all system of 
medical relief to the poorer classes the reverse policy 
— that architects, surveyors, and builders, should be 
at liberty to extract all the money they could get from 
the pockets of the metropolitan ratepayers. As it 
was, finding that the absence of all efficient control 
was leading to an enormous outlay, and that the 
public was naturally getting not only alarmed, but 
indignant, at the profligate expenditure of their 



84 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

money, I put myself in communication with Mr. 
Torrens, then M.P. for Finsbury, and asked him to 
question the President of the Poor Law Board on 
the subject, and to move for a return of what had 
been ah-eady spent and what was proposed to be 
spent in such buildings. I also requested him to 
inquire to what cause the delay in establishing Poor 
Law dispensaries under Mr. Hardy's Act was due. 
This action considerably alarmed the permanent 
officials. More important still, it led to a very 
considerable curtailment in the amount of contem- 
plated expenditure on buildings, and, with this, an 
approximation to some control. Soon afterwards the 
establishment of Poor Law dispensaries was com- 
menced, which was an important feature of the Act. 

I cannot but relate the close of Mr. George 
Catch's career. 

I have already stated that after the enforced 
resignation of his appointment at Newington, this 
model master was selected by the Guardians of 
Lambeth, as the master of their Workhouse, not- 
withstanding that he had as opponents some respect- 
able persons who had creditably filled similar 
appointments elsewhere. His election was due to 
the assistance he received from the clerk of the 
Strand Union, and his old friends at that Board. 



THE STRAND. 85 

His appointment was challenged at the time, but 
in spite of the serious evidence afforded by the 
Newington inquiry, it was confirmed by the Depart- 
ment, but with this proviso — that a special report 
as to his conduct should be sent by the Guardians 
to the Poor Law Board at the end of six months. 

It was not very long before the opponents of this 
man's appointment were fully justified in the course 
they took, as he speedily renewed his old course of 
cruelty to the inmates, and of quarrelling with the 
other officers. One of these acts was inquired into, 
and reported on by Dr. Markham. Although it was 
clear that the master was in the wrong, yet Dr. 
Markham, in his official report, managed to throw 
a doubt on the evidence of the medical officer, 
evidently to screen the master ; but he was not 
saved for long, for shortly afterwards a young 
woman, who had been subjected to much harshness 
by Catch, ran away and hid herself, as it was sup- 
posed, in the chimney of one of the women's infirm 
wards, when the master, with the view of forcing 
her to come down, induced the junior resident 
medical officer, to bring from the surgery some 
substance, on which he poured some hydrochloric 
acid, whereby some extremely pungent gases were 
evolved, thinking thereby to compel her to come 



86 JOSEPH BOGEPiS, M.D. 

down ; but as the 3'oung woman was not there 
(fortunately for Catch, for if she had been she would 
have been suffocated), the only effect was that all 
the old women in the ward, were set sneezing 
and coughing. This atrocious proceeding, having 
been reported to the Poor Law Board, Catch was 
called upon to resign. It will hardly be believed 
that certain of the Guardians memorialized the Poor 
Law Board to let him retain his office, when Mr. 
Shaen, the eminent solicitor, on the urgent repre- 
sentation of his wife, who was a lady visitor at the 
Workhouse, and knew a great deal of Catch's doings, 
took the matter up. Mr, Shaen saw me, and asked 
me whether I could tell him anything about Catch. 
I narrated the incident of the false charge which 
he, in connection with the clerk, had made against 
me when I was away in Scotland, and also told him 
the story of his behaviour in reference to the sick 
woman in the lying-in ward of the Strand Union 
which had led to his leaving that Workhouse. Mr. 
Shaen took down my statement, and subsequently 
he sent me a pamphlet of some two hundred pages, 
in which I found not only my own statement, but 
sundry others of a highly damaging character, but 
unfortunately these were so recklessly drawn, that 
it gave Catch the opportunity of bringing an action 



THE STIUND. 87 

for libel. Its publication bad induced Mr. Goscben 
to peremptorily call upon bim to resign bis office, 
Catcb sent out an appeal to all tbe masters of 
workbouses to support bim in bis action, and a 
sufficient sum baving been collected, tbe Attorney- 
Greneral of tbe day, now Lord Cbief Justice Coleridge, 
acted as bis counsel. Having been asked by Mr. 
Sbaen to support my statement in tbe Court of 
Queen's Bencb, I attended. Wben called on, I went 
into tbe witness-box, and after giving my evidence- 
in-cbief, was cross-examined by tbe Attorney- General 
in sucb a manner tbat tbree times during tbe cross- 
examination Lord Cbief Justice Cockburn interfered 
to stop it, giving as bis opinion tbat tbe Attorney- 
General was pressing me unfairly. As I was leaving 
tbe witness-box I turned round and tbanked tbe 
Lord Cbief Justice for bis kindness in screening 
me. I was followed by tbe late porter of tbe Strand 
Workbouse, wbo was tbere to substantiate my 
evidence. A similar attempt to browbeat tbis 
witness afforded fine fun. Tbe v/itness was an 
Irisbman, and at every effort made by tbe counsel 
to confuse bim, Pat was too mucb for tbe Attorney, 
and feeling tbat be could make notbing of bim, be 
told bim peremptorily to stand down, wbicb be did 
in sucb a comical wav as convulsed tbe court with 



88 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

laughter. Unfortunately Mr. Shaen failed to justify 
several of the libels, and the jury, after twelve days' 
trial, gave a verdict in favour of Catch for £600 — an 
amount which the judge said was excessive, and for 
which he refused to certify, thereby affording Mr. 
Shaen the opportunity for asking for a fresh trial. 
Subsequently a compromise was effected at the 
instance of the Lord Chief Justice. In summing 
up the case to the jury, the judge said that my 
evidence, if it stood alone, was sufficient to stamp 
Catch as an improper person to hold the office of 
a Workhouse master. Mr. Goschen would not allow 
Catch to resume his office, and, having no resources 
whatever, he drifted downwards until ultimately, 
being without means and having tired out all his 
friends, he in a fit of despair threw himself in front 
of a Great Western train and was cut to pieces. 

I was so much annoyed by the action of the 
Attorney-General in cross-examining me that on 
my return home I wrote to the Lord Chief Justice 
again thanking him, and enclosing for his perusal a 
pamphlet I had just written on the administration of 
the Poor Laws. To my great surprise he sent me 
by hand the next morning a letter, in which he 
acknowledged its receipt, and informed me that he 
should read my pamphlet with the greatest pleasure. 



THE STB^AND. 89 

There is no doubt that my labours up to that time 
were very well known to his Lordship, as, when at 
the Bar, he was the standing counsel of The Lancet 
newspaper, in which my name had frequently 
appeared. When he became a judge he kept up 
his interest in that journal. This was told me by 
the late Dr. Wakley, to whom I related Catch's 
story and the account of my cross-examination and 
of the courtesy and support afforded to me by Lord 
Chief Justice Cockburn whilst under cross-examina- 
tion. The Lord Chief Justice was a man of 
scrupulous integrity and honour. I remember a 
solicitor of good position in Soho, whose brother 
was then the Treasurer of the County of Middlesex, 
and whose son now holds the position, saying to me, 
''Although I am opposed to him politically, yet I 
have the highest opinion of his conscientiousness, 
and of his extraordinary ability — we are all proud of 
him." I esteem it a high honour to have received a 
letter from such a man written under such circum- 
stances. I have this letter still. 

An illustration of profligate expenditure, and the 
absence of all efficient control at the Poor Law 
Board, was at this time supplied by my old friends, 
the Strand Union Board. Shortly after I resigned 
the Board decided to build a new Woriihouse at 



90 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Edmonton, and plans of the contemplated building 
were issued to builders, &c. Tenders from sundry 
large firms for its erection were sent to the 
Guardians, the lowest tender being from an eminent 
firm that had acquired a great reputation for the 
buildings it had put up in various parts of town, 
as well as in the country. Their tender was rejected, 
and the contract given to a small builder, resident in 
St. Paul's, Covent Garden, whose estimate was some 
^2,000 higher. It was stated at the time that after 
the contract had been signed the members of the 
Board were invited to a dinner given by the lucky 
contractor. The large firm that competed for it, 
feeling that they had been improperly treated, got the 
question raised, and the new President, Mr. Goschen, 
investigated the transaction, but it was too late, as 
the builder had already set to work, and had a 
considerable amount of his plant on the ground. 
Although Mr. Goschen felt that he could not 
interfere to stop this disreputable transaction, he 
did not fail to give this party of jobbers a most 
severe lecture, probably the most severe that ever 
emanated from the Poor Law Board, in connection 
with the doings of a Board of Guardians. The issue 
of it to this Board must have brought about a change 
of policy among the permanent ofiicials who had not 



THE STBAND. 91 

remonstrated against it. I know not whether it was 
this transaction, or Mr. Groschen's general knowledge 
of the laxity of the staff, certain it is that during his 
Presidentship he kept the Secretary in his place, and 
did not permit him or Sir John Lambert (then plain 
Mr. Lambert) to obtrude themselves upon him when 
he received deputations from public bodies and from 
societies. But I am anticipating. 

In the autumn of 1868 a general election took 
place, with the result of replacing the Liberal party 
in power. With the concurrence of the Council of 
the Poor Law Medical Ofdcers ilssociation, I had 
issued a circular letter to the various candidates for 
Parliamentary honours, in which I drew attention to 
the imperfect character of the Poor Law Board, and 
the usurpation by the permanent of&cials of powers 
they were not entitled to, and asked whether the 
candidate would assist us in our efforts to reconstruct 
the Board, and to improve the system of medical 
relief. The replies I obtained were not only very 
numerous, but they held out the prospect of an 
alteration for the better. Looking back at the 
various changes that were made subsequently, I 
have no hesitation in asserting that many of these 
improvements were brought about by the action our 
Council took at this general election. These will be 
briefly referred to. 



92 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

I will here relate an incident that gave me the cue 
as to the line to be taken in the introduction and 
establishment of a Public Health Act. I was 
desirous of visiting an aged relative who lived in a 
■vdllage in Hampshire. The local medical gentleman 
kindly volunteered to fetch me from the station, some 
seven miles distant, and to put me up for the night, 
&c. As I neared his house my sense of smell was 
assailed by one of the most awful odours I had ever 
encountered. To my inquiry from whence it origi- 
nated, my host said, " That is from the farmyard 
over there. Young Green, the son of the corn 
dealer, has taken Miss Smith's farm, and has 
commenced to breed pigs. He has at least 300." 
"Well," I replied, ''if I lived here I should make 
short work of Mr. Green and his pigs ; I would at 
once indict him." " Ah," he said, '' you can afford 
to be independent, you live in London. I dare not ; 
for if I complained, or took any action in the matter, 
old Green would go to all the markets round about, 
and would denounce me for attempting to interfere 
with his son's business, and I should make enemies 
by the score." Some three or four years after Mr. 
Stansfeld brought in his Public Health Bill, one of 
the essential features of which was that every district 
medical officer should be the health officer in his 



THE STBAND. 93 

district. I opposed the proposition with all my 
might. I knew the Act would be absolutely abortive 
if Poor Law medical officers were placed in this 
utterly false position which Mr. Stansfeld proposed. 
In taking this course I encountered much opposition, 
and became for a time very unpopular^ though at last 
my views prevailed, and gentlemen wholly indepen- 
dent of local influences were appointed to large areas. 
Amono" the remonstrants was the medical man who 
was the neighbour of the pig breeder, when I silenced 
him by reminding him of Mr. Green and his pigs, 
and of the fear that he had that if he complained that 
his business as a country medical gentleman might 
be damaged. He said no more. 

Having come to the conclusion that the course 
followed by my poor friend, Richard Griffin, of 
Weymouth, in continually calling attention to the 
grievances of Poor Law medical officers, would 
never eventuate in an improvement of their posi- 
tion, for the general public have never cared for 
our class in any way, I cast about to ascertain 
whether there could be any course adopted by 
which the attention of the public could be drawn 
to the shortcomings of the system, and decided 
that the only chance that existed, whereby an im- 
provement could be effected, was by proving that an 



94 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

amended system of medical relief would eventuate in 
the diminution of the duration of sickness, and 
consequently of its cost to the ratepayers ; and 
having at this time a copy of the annual report of 
the Irish Poor Law Commissioners placed in my 
hands, I studied its pages, and saw that under the 
Irish Medical Charities Acts the poorer classes of 
that country had secured to them the most complete 
system of Poor Law medical relief. I resolved to go 
over to Ireland, and study its administration on the 
spot. I carried out my intention, and during my 
stay in Ireland obtained a complete insight into the 
way in which the Irish dispensary system was carried 
out. I also brought back with me all the papers and 
documents that enabled me to popularize the subject 
here. I also spent much time in examining the 
annual returns of the English Poor Law Board, with 
the result that I was enabled to prove conclusively 
that efficient medical relief was followed by dimin- 
ished poor relief expenditure, not only by shortening 
the duration of sickness, but by the actual saving of 
human life : this latter was shown also by a return I 
got Mr. W. H. Smith to move for, which was as 
follows — 

"A return of the population at the last census ii^ 
England and Wales, in Scotland and in Ireland. 



THE 8TBAND. 96 

'* A return of the mortality from general causes in 
the three portions of the United Kingdom, and of 
preventable mortality." 

That return exhibited the following : That whilst 
one in every 43 died yearly in England, one 
in 44 in Scotland, only one in every 60 died 
in Ireland ; and whilst in England zymotic, or pre- 
ventable diseases, constituted one-fourth of the total 
mortality, or one in 190 of the population, Scotland 
one-fourth, or one in 194 of the population, in 
Ireland it was one-fifth of the total mortality, and 
one in 308 of the population ; the fact being this, 
that in England and Scotland there existed the same 
miserable system of medical relief, whilst in Ireland, 
after the potato famine and the fever v/hich followed 
it, calamities which swept away a large portion of 
the inhabitants, the Medical Charities Act was 
introduced, and led, by its efficient working, to 
the beneficial changes which had taken place in 
the health of the country. 

The views I advanced met with much favour, and 
were .commented on and approved by many general, 
as well as by all the medical journals. Having sent 
a copy of the paper I read at a meeting of our 
^Association to Mr. C. P. Villiers, that gentleman 
wrote to me stating that he had derived much 



96 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

pleasure from its perusal, and tliat I had thrown 
more light on the causes of pauperism, and devised 
better measures for its diminution, than any previous 
writer on the subject. Subsequently, through the 
influence of Mr. Corrance, then M.P. for East 
Suffolk, I was invited to address the Central 
Chamber of Agriculture, which I did, when a 
resolution, couched in very flattering terms, was 
adopted, and further it was moved that a copy of 
the Chamber's approval of my address, and the 
principles contained in it, should be sent to the 
Poor Law Board, coupled with the request that 
the attention of all the provincial Chambers should 
be called to the subject. Subsequently I was invited 
to address the Worcester Chamber on the same 
subject, as well as that of Suffolk. 

At a very early period of the presidency of Mr. 
Goschen, several of the provincial Poor Law In- 
spectors were directed to make inquiry into the 
question of medical relief to the poor, and the 
desirability, or otherwise, of establishing dispensaries, 
modelled on the principles contained in the Irish 
Medical Charities Act. One of the most able and 
exhaustive reports was sent in, as might have been 
expected, by Mr. Farnall, who thus proved true to 
the views he held in his interview with me some ten 



THE STBAND. 97 

at 

years before; whilst the very feeblest of these was 
that preferred by Mr. K. B. Caine, who manifested 
the same lack of heartiness here as he exhibited 
earnestness some jeavs before in upsetting poor 
Richard Griffin's statistics, of which he boasted to 
me during his conduct of the inquiry at the Strand 
Union in 1866. 

One of the results that sprang from my visit to 
Ireland was the establishment of a good under- 
standing between our Association and that of the 
Irish Dispensary Medical Officers, of which the late 
Dr. Toler Maunsall was the honorary secretary. Dr. 
Maunsall was the most indefatigable secretary I ever 
knew. His appetite for work, and his skill in 
getting up statistics was remarkable. He was most 
valuable to me, as he assisted in getting out dry 
figures for my use, which would have given me 
infinite trouble. Poor fellow ! like many others of 
my fellow-workers, he was destined to die early, and 
I sustained a great loss by his premature death. 
Unfortunately, too, he died badly oft\ I started a 
subscription in England for the benefit of his widow 
and children, which helped to swell the sum that 
his friends got together in Ireland. 

During my stay in Ireland it was arranged between 
us that we should mutually help each other, and 

8 



98 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

consequent on that, when the Irish Association 
strove, under the leadership of the late Dr. Brady, 
M.P. for Leitrim, to obtain superannuation allowance 
for dispensary and workhouse raedical officers, I 
called attention to the subject in the medical 
journals, and induced the members of our Associa- 
tion not only to petition, but to interview members 
in their respective localities, in favour of the Bill. 
Dr. Brady, having succeeded in carrying this 
measure, essayed the next year to do the same for 
England and Wales. The success of the appeal we 
had made to members in the general election of 
1868, facilitated the passing of the measure most 
materially, as we had promises of support from 
upwards of eighty gentlemen who were subsequently 
elected. Prior to the second reading of our Bill, I 
interviewed several members, and got promises to 
attend the second reading and vote for the measure. 
Some of these gentlemen, having intimated their 
desire to speak in its support, and having asked to 
be supplied with information on the subject, I 
coached them up. To one of the ablest of our sup- 
porters, who asked me to provide him with facts, I 
said that I was opposed to superannuation on prin- 
ciple, as I held that every one should be able during 
the working days of his life to provide for the 



THE 8TBAND. 99 

exigencies of his old age — but then it was necessary 
if he held an office that the pay should be such as 
would enable him to do so. Now it was notorious 
that the pay of the medical officer was based on such 
a starvation principle as to render it impossible for 
him to save anything. This argument, reproduced 
very much as I have written it, in the House assisted 
a great deal in the success of the Bill. At the time 
this occurred I was out of office, and had not the 
most distant idea I should ever again be a work- 
house medical officer. I did not know what was 
again in store for me, nor that I was destined to 
have another fourteen years of it ; that I should be 
again suspended, restored to office, and eventually, 
through broken health, compelled peaceably to resign 
and to be myself a pensioner. 

After the Bill had become law Dr. Brady most 
generously bore tribute to my efforts, and stated that 
he never could have carried the Bill without my help. 
The Lancet published this statement of Dr. Brady's, 
and I for the time gained from my Poor Law medical 
brethren credit for what was, at that period, abso- 
lutely disinterested labour. 

About this time I was invited by a leading 
physician in Edinburgh to visit that city and address 
a meeting at the College of Physicians on the subject 



100 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

of Poor Law medical relief in Scotland. Altliougli 
I was aware that the condition of things in that 
country was worse even than it was in England, yet 
I had not studied the subject so completely as to 
justify me in asserting it. Consequently I declined 
what was a very great compliment. Some years 
afterwards I went and delivered an address. It took 
place at the time when the annual meeting of the 
British Medical Association was last held there, when 
a highly complimentary resolution was adopted at 
that meeting in reference to that visit and address of 
mine. After occupj-ing the position of president for 
a brief period only, during which time the Depart- 
ment was administered most vigorously and success- 
fully, Mr. Groschen was transferred to another office 
in the Government, and Mr. Stansfeld was appointed 
President, the effect of which became immediately 
apparent, for the leading permanent officials, whose 
influence had been checked during Mr. Goschen's 
presidency, came directly to the front again. 

One of the first measures introduced by Mr. 
Stansfeld was the conversion of the Poor Law into 
the Local Government Board. This was carried out 
by the absorption of the Public Health Department 
of the Privy Council in the destitution element of the 
Poor Law Board — a most disastrous act of policy, as 



THE STRAND. 101 

it subordinated the Health Department, which had 
done its work so well to the discredited section of 
the Poor Law Board as exhibited in the permanent 
officials of the Board, who had always been obstruc- 
tive, and had neither carried out, nor permitted any- 
one else to carry out, any reform whatever. 

This was early made apparent, for at the first 
deputation to the President, at which I was present, 
after his appointment, I saw Mr. H. Fleming and 
Mr. Lambert sitting together with the President, 
whilst Mr. (only just recently made Sir), John Simon 
and his staff, who were the only intellectual element 
of the new Board, were relegated to distant seats in 
the corner of the room. 

That a Public Health Bill started under such cir- 
cumstances should be framed absurdly, seeing that 
those who understood the subject were ignored, and 
those were consulted who had never done anything 
well, was nothing but what might have been expected. 

One of the provisions of the Bill was, as I have 
before stated, that every district Poor Law medical 
officer should be the health officer of his district, and 
that his reports of insanitary conditions should be 
sent to the Board of Guardians, many members of 
which Board would be found to be the principal 
offenders against sanitary requirements. 



102 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

This scheme speedil}^ evoked an opposition, and a 
deputation, representing the British Medical Associa- 
tion, the Social Science Association, and the Poor 
Law Medical Officers Association, had an interview 
with Mr. Stansfeld at the Local Government Board. 
The speakers from the two first Associations 
having addressed the President, Mr. Stansfeld 
announced that he had just received a summons to 
attend a meeting of the Cabinet, but he would leave 
Mr. Fleming to hear any further remarks that might 
be made, which w^ould in due course be communi- 
cated to him and meet with attention. Being the 
sole remaining speaker, I said to Mr. Fleming that 
when I first heard of the proposed utilization of the 
Poor Law medical officers in the Public Health 
measures of the Government, I hailed it as a tardy 
recognition of the valuable services that class of 
official might render. But w^hen I came to look into 
the details I saw it would not work, as medical 
officers would hesitate in aftronting their Board of 
Guardians, many members of which would be found 
to be the principal offenders against the contemplated 
Act, and that in the few cases where the parish 
officers would faithfully carry out the requirements, 
and thereby ofi'end their respective Boards, they 
would be sacrificed to the resentment of their mem- 



TEE STBAND. 103 

bers, and if appeal was made for support to tlie 
Central Department, such honest men would be 
called on to resign for not exhibiting sufficient cour- 
tesy, &c., and working with their Boards. It was 
very evident that my observations went home to this 
Permanent Secretary, but whether they were ever 
communicated to Mr. Stansfeld is open to much 
doubt, for his Bill was eventually brought in on the 
lines he had originally indicated, only to turn out on 
trial a disastrous and ludicrous failure. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 

About a twelvemonth after tlie Act was in operation 
I appealed, through the medical journals, to my 
brethren in the provinces as to the arrangements 
that had been made in their respective localities. A 
large number of letters from all parts of England 
and Wales were sent to me, and with the information 
thus furnished I prepared a paper which I called 
" Chaos," in which I turned into ridicule the arrange- 
ments that had been made, showing that the Depart- 
ment, faithful to its traditions, had made a complete 
mess of the administrative arrangements. This 
paper, read at the meeting of the British Medical 
Association at Sheffield, attracted a good deal of 
attention both in the medical and general Press. It 
materially acted in evolving order out of the chaos 
into which the subject had drifted, owing to the 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 105 

indifference and incompetence of those who had 
drafted the measure. 

In the spring of 1872 I was informed that the 
alterations and enlargement of the old Workhouse of 
St. James's, commenced at the time when the West- 
minster Union was formed, were complete, and that 
Mr. French, who had been the medical officer of the 
workhouse and parish of St. James's for upwards of 
forty years, was about to retire on a superannuation 
allowance of £200 a year. I was told that the 
Chairman of the Board, a Mr. Bonthron, a Scotch 
baker living in Eegent Street, had selected a fellow 
Scotchman, one Dr. S., as Mr. French's successor, 
and as Mr. Bonthron claimed to be omnipotent at 
the Board, this gentleman's appointment to the 
vacancy was considered to be certain. In the course 
of a few days I heard that a formidable opponent to 
Dr. S. had appeared in the person of Dr. M., who 
was also a Scotchman. In due course the election 
took place, when Dr. M. was elected. This resulted 
from a protest on the part of certain members of the 
Board who resented the predominance of Mr. Bon- 
thron. When apprised of the result of the election, I 
remarked that Dr. M. could not take the office as he 
did not possess the necessary legal qualifications. 
On the following Saturday morning a member of the 



106 JOSEPH BOGEPiS, M.D. 



Board told me that a letter had been read at the 
meeting of the Guardians, held the previous evening, 
announcing that the election of Dr. M. was null and 
void, as he held no surgical qualifications. As his 
election had surprised all the Guardians, because it 
proved that the Chairman had not the influence he 
claimed, my informant advised me to apply for the 
office. At first I hesitated, but upon being urged 
again I assented. The same evening I called on Dr. 
M., told him of m}^ intention, and asked him for the 
support of his friends. To my utter astonishment 
he told me he had made up his mind to try again. 
*' Nonsense," I said; ''how can you get a diploma 
from the College of Surgeons?" " Oh," he replied, 
*' I have arranged all that; I have a splendid 
memory, and I remember all my anatomy and 
surgery." As I had every ground for the belief that 
he had never attended lectures on surgery, nor 
attended the surgical practice of an hospital, inas- 
much as I had known him ever since he had come to 
London, I saw that, without collusion with some one 
in authority, it was impossible for it to be done ; but, 
as he appeared determined, I left him. As soon as it 
was known that I seriously intended to compete for 
the appointment, testimonials in my favour were 
forwarded to me by several eminent physicians and 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 107 

surgeons, by Members of Parliament, among them 
one of a very flattering character from Mr. C. P. 
Villiers, M.P., the ex-President of the Poor Law 
Board, who strongly recommended me to the Board 
of Guardians, those lady visitors who had known 
me at the Strand, and others. Two days before the 
election took place I was surprised by a visit from 
Dr. M., who called to inform me that he had passed 
his examination at the College of Surgeons the night 
before, and now asked me to retire in his favour. 
On my declining to do as he wished, he said it was 
very hard I would not, as he had incurred an expense 
of upwards of Ju60 to get the diploma. Prior to the 
election my friends entered into a compact with his 
supporters to the effect that if I was in a minority on 
the show of hands my name was to be withdrawn, 
when they would support him, but if I was in the 
majority his friends would support me. This 
occurring, I was elected, to the great surprise of the 
Chairman, who looked on me as a dangerous person, 
seeing that I had taken an active part in bringing 
about the formation of the Union, whereby St. 
Anne's had been joined to St. James's, which had 
the effect of somewhat increasing his poor rate 
assessment in St. James's — for St. Anne's, a poor 
parish, had considerably improved its position by 



108 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

being put into union with St. James's, which was 
comparatively a rich one. 

Having at this time received an invitation from 
the Irish Dispensary Medical Officers Association to 
address them at the College of Physicians in Dublin, 
I did so, when Sir Dominic Corrigan, Bart., M.P., 
was in the chair ; and I afterwards spent a very 
pleasant week there, visiting the North and South 
Dublin "Workhouses, the latter having 4,000 inmates, 
with a large staff of visiting physicians and surgeons, 
besides resident medical officers. It is one of the 
finest hospitals in Dublin, and the arrangements for 
the efficient treatment of the sick poor were in the 
highest degree creditable to the Irish Poor Law, now 
the Local Government Board. 

I also visited the Richmond Lunatic Asylum, situ- 
ated on the outskirts of Dublin, at that date under 
the superintendence of Dr. Lalor, who, I understand, 
was the first physician who introduced vocal and 
instrumental music as a means of relieving the 
insane. There I witnessed one of the most extra- 
ordinary sights it was ever my lot to see. I will give 
a sketch of the tableau. In the foreground sat a 
young lady discoursing most eloquent music on a 
harmonium, immediately behind her there stood 
some young Irish women, three or four of them. 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 109 

singularly beautiful, with music in their hands, 
accompanying her ; behind them were older women, 
and then on to the old and weird, all joining most 
heartily in the performance. The fringe of this 
female gathering of nearly 100 performers were 
harmless imbeciles and idiots. I stood and listened 
some moments whilst this singular performance con- 
tinued. I was so struck with the beauty of one of 
the Irish girls that I asked her history, when I was 
informed that her condition had been induced by a 
disappointment in a love affair. It was the old story 
of love followed by desertion, and she had been 
admitted some six months before in a state of 
maniacal excitement. She was too young and alto- 
gether too pretty to be an inmate of a lunatic asylum. 
Dr. Lalor also showed me a typical case, exhibiting 
the truth of the opinion I have long held, that of all 
the forms of insanity, none are so uncertain of having 
been really cured as those which have exhibited 
symptoms of homicidal or suicidal violence. The 
patient in question had been admitted when suffering 
with a homicidal tendency but had steadily improved, 
and his name was on the list of those to go before 
the Visiting Committee for discharge on probation, 
when a startling incident occurred. He had secreted 
one of the knives used in the asylum about his person, 



110 JOSEPH B0GEB8, M.D. 

and he had, Tvhen unobserved, whittled away the 
thick, blunt portion used in the asjdum, until he had 
given it a sharp cutting edge, from handle to point ; 
when, raising his right leg up, he cut through the 
calf down to the bone, severing the muscle completely. 
This patient, Dr. Lalor told me, had been employed 
on various offices of trust, and that he was commonly 
considered to be completely cured, and altogether 
harmless. I obtained one of the old knives used in 
this asylum, had it copied, and, having got the sanction 
of the Board for getting several, used them all the 
time I was at the Westminster Union, in the male 
and female insane wards. The cutting edge was 
about two inches in length, but the rest of the knife 
was about the twelfth of an inch thick. It was im- 
possible for lunatics to do any harm either to them- 
selves or others with such knives. 

On my return to London I was informed that my 
appointment to the Westminster Union had been 
confirmed by the Local Government Board. 

A day or so before the 23rd of June an appoint- 
ment was made by Mr. French for me to go over the 
House with him, and to have the establishment 
formally handed over to me. I went, accompanied by 
a young L-ish j)hysician, recently one of the resident 
surgeons of an Irish hospital, with whom I was in 



THE WESTMINSTEB INF1B2IABY. Ill 

treaty to be my assistant. I had never been in this 
workhouse infirmary before. Shortly after my arrival 
Mr. French joined ns, and, in company with the head 
nurse on the female side, we went through the female 
part of the establishment. The nurse was most 
elaborately " got up." We went on and examined 
each patient, a large number of whom were in the 
wards — in fact, although it was midsummer, the 
place was full. I noticed bed -cards over each 
patient's bed, but as I could not make out what was 
given to the patients, I asked what was being done for 
this and that case. To my astonishment Mr. 
French said, " Nothing ; I do not believe in physic, 
and therefore do not give the people anything." 
Presently we entered a large ward where a woman, 
evidently in great pain, was lying in bed, writhing in 
apparent agony. After ascertaining the nature of the 
case, which was one of colicky diarrhoea, I asked, 
**Well, what do you here?" to which he replied, 
*' Nurse, give her a glass of Number Two." With that, 
he pulled me into the centre of the ward, and giving 
me a friendly nudge of the ribs, laughingly said, 
** What do you imagine is Number Two ? Why it is 
peppermint-water coloured ; I never give any physic." 
Feeling by this time somewhat disgusted by these 
remarkable confessions, seeing that his stipend was 



112 JOSEPH EOGERS, M.D. 

£S50 a year, out of which it was arranged by the 
Board that he should supply these medicines. I 
dropped his company, and went on examining the 
people independently. Mr. French speedily button- 
holed my young companion, and went on looking at 
the patients with him. At last our visit came to an 
end, and on coming out of the male sick wards he 
shook me warmly by the hand and wished me the 
same happy official life as he had had. He had 
hardly got out of hearing when the young Irishman 
commenced to reproach me with having transferred 
Mr. French to him ; sajdng, " I take it, sir, as a 
very unkind thing that you should have done so, as 
I was shocked at his boasting that he never did any- 
thing at all for these poor sick people." 

The next day I entered on my duties. On 
taking my seat in the consulting-room the master 
brought in and laid before me a large volume, the 
Workhouse Medical Relief Book. I turned over the 
pages for the week, and noticed the names and extras 
ordered for the sick. I saw that ham, sausages, 
tripe, fish, eggs, were entered rather frequently. At 
last I said to the master, who was standing by, " You 
surely have not all these people on the sick list in the 
House ! I did not see a third of this number when I 
went over the House yesterday." *' Yes," he replied. 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 113 

"they are here; " on which I said, *'Let everything 
remain as entered in the book until I can arrange to 
go over the establishment and see them all, which I 
will do this week." I then went through the sick 
and infirm wards. On going through the wards I 
ordered what in my judgment was necessary for the 
sick in the way of medicines, much to the astonish- 
ment of the head nurse, who stared at me in a half- 
dazed manner. There was one patient with a very 
foul and offensive ulcer, for whom I ordered a charcoal 
poultice : she came to me before I left the House to 
ask me '"'what I meant." I replied, "A charcoal 
poultice." She then said, " I never heard of such a 
thing before." I then asked her how long she had 
been there ; she said eight years. The next day I 
had occasion to order a carrot poultice ; I met with 
the same astonishment and ignorance of what was 
meant. At last she frankly stated that she was about 
to learn her duties, for nothing of the kind had ever 
been used by her before ; and further, she said that 
as she never had any medicine to give the people, she 
had not troubled herself much about the patients ; 
indeed, I learned on inquiry that she used to be in 
waiting to see the doctor each morning, and so soon 
as he was gone she considered her duties were over, 
and she returned to her own sitting-room till next 



114 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

day. I could never get lier to give my medicines as 
directed. Apart from this indifference as to medi- 
cines, she was kind to the patients and respectful to 
me. On the male side I found a superintendent 
nurse who really knew her duties. She confirmed 
the statement voluntarily made.hy Mr. French, that 
no medicines were ever provided for the sick. She 
also said that the Guardians knew all ahout it, and 
that they treated it as a great joke. This was not 
correct as regards some of the Guardians, as I sub- 
sequently ascertained. It was known to the St. 
James's section of the Board, hut repudiated by those 
of St. Anne's. Seeing that we had had a medical 
inspector and self- called medical adviser for five years, 
whose duty it was to visit this Workhouse infirmary, 
his failure to discover these omissions was in the 
highest degree remarkable ; but then the system 
prevailed at the Local Government Board, and our 
Workhouse Infirmaries Association had utterly failed 
to alter it. The reason for all this was not far to 
seek. 

On the day after, in company with a pauper 
inmate, told off to carry the Medical Relief Book, I 
went through the wards for the purpose of seeing 
the infirm men and women who were on extras. I 
found on the women's side that, as it was leave-day, 



THE WE8TMINSJEB INFIBMABY. 115 

many had gone out, and therefore drew the inference 
that if they were well enough to go out they could 
dispense with sausages, ham, tripe, eggs, &c., entered 
against their names, and could eat the ordinary infirm 
diet provided by Dr. Markham's diet table, which I 
saw hung up in the wards, which diet table had been 
drawn up from the form drafted by our Association 
some years before. It is curious that he claimed it 
to be his, without any reference to any one. Whilst 
going through the female wards some of the inmates 
returned drunk, one old woman very much so. She 
at once proceeded to ask me who I was, and what I 
was doing there. On my replying that I had come 
into the ward to see why she was on a diet of daily 
sausages, she tartly replied, pulling up her petticoats 
and showing both her legs, which she struck with her 
hands, " For these bad legs." I at once ran the pen 
through her name. She lived in the House years 
after that, but she ate no more sausages. I learned 
on inquiry that this fat old woman, who could go out 
and return drunk, had had sausages, nominally, as her 
dinner for two years. I write nominally because I 
learned afterwards that in the matter of diets an 
extensive system of exchange obtained throughout 
the House without any check or hindrance on the 
part of the officials. It took me the greater part of 



116 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

four daj's to see all the infirm people on extras, but 
the result was satisfactory, as it enabled me to put 
the establishment so far as the diets were concerned, 
on an economic basis. The clerk of the Board assured 
me at the time that I had caused a saving of some 
hundreds of pounds, a statement which I honestly 
believe was the truth. 

It might be a matter of wonder how this could be, 
but having regard to the very large amount of extras 
purchased from day to day, none of which were 
supplied under contract, it can be well understood 
what an opportunity was given for large prices being 
charged for such extras, as practically no check 
existed on the cupidity of the tradesmen (selected 
by the master) who supplied these things. I do not 
state that such was the case here, but unless some 
good understanding existed between those who 
ordered and those who supplied, how is it possible 
that masters of w^orkhouses, with their limited 
incomes, should succeed in leaving at their deaths so 
much money, as many of them do ? I was informed 
that the old master who preceded Catch at the Strand 
Union had gone there after failing in business as a 
tradesman in Covent Garden, that he held office as 
master twelve years, and when he died that he left 
some ^2,000. 



THE WESTMINSLTEB INFIBMABY. 117 

I found on inspection of the specially infirm, 
paralytic, and wholly infirm, that the women were 
located in wards 16, 17, and 18, and on inquiry dis- 
covered that there were no conveniences whatever for 
the instantaneous removal of excreta, and yet this 
condition of things had not been discovered by the 
Government Inspectors or by the medical advisers, 
or if it had been no steps had been taken to alter 
it. 

On my first visit to these wards I noticed some 
black patches in the corners of the compartments, 
which stood out very distinctly from the recently 
whitewashed ceiling and walls. iSToticing some days 
after that these patches had increased in size, I asked 
the nurse what it was due to, when she quietly said, 
" Those are bugs." So soon as I could I saw the 
master, and told him of it, and asked him to see to 
it. He did not say he would or he would not, he 
only laughed. Finding some days after that nothing 
had been done, I again saw him in his office, when 
I told him that I must insist on those bu^s beinff 
removed. The labour master was present, who 
remarked, ""Well, doctor, as you make such a fuss 
about the bugs I will see to it for you" (evidently 
regarding the matter in the light of a personal 
favour) ; and the bugs were swept down into a dust- 



118 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

pan by liuiidreds and put into the fire and burnt. 
This was told me by an eye-witness, w^ho was present 
whilst it was being done. 

I do not wish it supposed that the master was 
harsh or cruel ; quite the reverse, he was very kind 
to the inmates. Biit he had lived long enough in the 
service of the Poor Law not to be fully aware that 
no good would accrue to him or his by too much zeal 
in the performance of his duty. He calmly let 
things slide ; consequently there was more drunken- 
ness on liberty days than could be possibly imagined, 
and was unchecked, and although I repeatedly begged 
that the names of all persons who were on my sick 
list who had been allowed to go out should be 
reported to me if they came home drunk, I never 
could get my wishes attended to, though occasionally 
it happened that I discovered the circumstance, es- 
pecially when an accident occurred. 

I was not wholly unprepared for this laxity of dis- 
cipline, as some few days before entering on my 
duties I met the ex-chaplain of the Strand Work- 
house, who, whilst congratulating me on my return 
to the Poor Law service, said, " You will have a 
great deal to meet with at St. James's. I have taken 
the duty there for the chaplain occasionally, and the 
scenes of drunkenness and quarrelling among the 



THE Y/ESTMINSTEB INFIBMABY. 119 

inmates on their return home on liberty clays, which 
I have witnessed, exceeds anything you can imagine." 
One of the most terrible exhibitions of this kind 
I ever witnessed was on the first Christmas Day after 
my appointment. The subject having previously 
been brought under the attention of the Board, an 
order was issued that for the future this indis- 
criminate permission to the inmates to leave the 
house on Christmas Day should be stopped. It will 
hardly be believed that on the next Christmas Day 
the Chairman took upon himself, most presump- 
tuousl}", to go to the House and give permission for 
them to again go out. The scene that occurred that 
night was the most disgraceful that ever happened in 
the histor}^ of a workhouse. Several of the drunken 
inmates on their return home fought like demons. 
I and my assistant were engaged for some time in 
dealing with the injuries that were caused. I must 
state that I never saw the master so justly indignant 
as he was at the impertinent interference of this 
Chairman, in setting his authority and that of the 
Board at defiance in the way he had done. 

Finding that no dietary for the sick and infirm 
had been adopted at the House, I at once drew up a 
form which continued in force until ill-health caused 
my resignation. It was similar to that which I had 



120 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.I). 

introduced at the Strand several years before. There 
was one diet for which I claim especial credit. It was 
framed with the view of dealing with capricious appe- 
tites or severe sickness. It was called Number Five, 
or ad. lib., and consisted of either eggs, fish, a chop, 
beef-tea, or arrowroot, or anything else of the same 
value. It was enjoined that the nurse should at 
8 a.m. ask what these special sick would take for 
dinner. When she had ascertained the wishes of 
the patient, a statement on a diet-sheet showing how 
many of each description of diet would be required 
was sent down to the kitchen. At the end of the 
week the cook handed to the master's clerk the 
number of each diets she had supplied, who then 
proceeded to distribute these among all those who were 
on ad. lib. diet. It might appear on the master's 
side of the Medical Relief Book that A or B had 
had a chop daily, whilst in reality the dinner might, 
by this arrangement, have been changed every day. 
This plan of dealing with capricious appetites has 
since been adopted in several workhouses. 

Although five years had passed away since the 
Metropolitan Poor Law Act had become law, no 
attempt had been made to carry out the dispensary 
clauses until after my election, and one of the first 
things I had to do was to put the dispensary in 



THE WESTMINST^B INFIBITABY. 121 

order. I had been taught a lesson in economic 
prescribing whilst at the Strand, and therefore was 
enabled to speedily arrange for a pharmacopoeia. I 
also drevv up a formula for the supply of large bottles 
of simple medicines, which were placed in charge of 
the nurses, for administration in trivial ailments so 
common among the aged poor. I also introduced 
bed pulleys, to enable the sick to assist themselves 
in rising, or in getting in or out of bed. I also 
ordered small shawls for the aged women and 
woollen jackets for the men — a great comfort to those 
who were suffering from consumption or bronchitis, 
the principal affections I had to encounter. 

I have stated that although it was midsummer 
the House was full of sick people, which arose partly 
on account of the sickness that prevailed ia the worst 
part of St. Anne's and similarly in that of St. 
James's, and also to the fact that the Chairman had 
opposed the transfer of any of the sick to the Sick 
Asylum Hospital, at Highgate, to which the "West- 
minster Union, in conjunction with the Strand, St. 
Giles's, and St. Pancras, was affiliated. He had 
opposed the junction of the two parishes on personal 
groundSs and being beaten, had, in conjunction with 
his party, obstructed the removal of the acutely sick. 

As medical officer I did not object to this, for as 



122 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

the sick wards were extremely good and were all 
that I had desired to carry out when I initiated the 
Workhouse infirmary movement, I simply complied 
with the wishes of the majority of the Guardians not to 
send any one away. I had held office some weeks when, 
in the autumn of the year, I encountered Dr. Drydges 
in Regent Street. This gentleman, who had acted 
temporarily whilst Dr. Markham was ill, had about 
this time been permanently appointed to be Metro- 
politan Inspector, Dr. Markham having resigned. 
He came up to me and said, " I was coming to the 
Westminster Union to learn why it was you did not 
comply with the law, and send your acute sick away." 
*' Oh," I replied, " that is soon explained ; it is 
because the majority of the Board will not let me." 
''Indeed," he said; "you must do j-our duty, even 
if the Board object to it." To which I replied, "I 
did that at the Strand, and your Secretary called on 
me to resign because I was not sufficiently respectful 
to the Guardians. I shall comply with the wishes 
of the Guardians now, and not with that of the 
Local Government Board, as they would throw me 
over." To which he rather angrily replied, *' You 
speak to me like that, when I am an Inspector, and 
you only a Workhouse medical officer?" To which 
I answered, " And who, pray, made you a Poor Law 



THE WESTMINSZEB INFIBMABY. 123 

Ins^^ector. AThy, if it had not been for me and my 
initiation, neither you nor Dr. Markham would ever 
have been Inspectors." "Oh/' he repHed, ''I did 
not know you had had anything to do with it." "I 
think," I said, " if you will trouble yourself to in- 
quire you will find what I state to be correct." 
When I broke down in 1886, and he had to call and 
see me, he was then most kind and sympathetic, and 
I take this opportunity of stating as much. 

This refusal on the part of the majority of the 
Board, led on by this Chairman, to allow me to send 
suitable cases of sickness to the Asylum Hospital, 
was in the highest degree absurd, seeing that the 
ratepayers of the Union had to pay their proportion 
of all expenses at the Asylum Hospital, and for the 
beds to which the Union were entitled ; and although 
this Workhouse infirmary was a perfect paradise in 
comparison with the den at the Strand, still the 
House had not been arranged on the principle that 
all the sick should be retained in it. My nursing 
staff was insufficient to enable me effectually to deal 
with the great number of sick persons there at the 
time of my entrance on my duties. One illustration 
will suffice. There was a man in an infirm ward 
who had been under Mr. French some five or six 
years. He did not belong to Westminster, he was 



124 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

kept there because he alleged he was so ill that he 
could not bear the fatigue of journeying some sixty 
miles in the country. He was a healthy-looking 
man about forty years of age. He always lay in bed 
with his knees drawn up, and constantly asserted 
that he could not stand nor walk, nor put his legs 
down. He complained piteously of his sufferings. 
I exhausted every conceivable treatment, but all 
without the least apparent benefit, as he never owned 
to being any better for my attention to him. This 
went on for two years, until I began to get suspicious 
of him. One day an inmate of the ward, who had 
recovered and left the House, called on me at my 
private residence. On seeing me he said, " I have 
called to thank you for your kindness to me, and 
also to tell you that you have been deceived by that 
man ^Yebster, who you have done so much for. He 
is an impostor. He can walk as well as I can, and, 
what is more, does walk about." " Nonsense," I 
replied ; "he says he cannot get out of bed, and the 
nurses confirm it." " Well," he continued, " he 
takes very good care never to allow them to see him 
get out of bed, he takes his constitutional walk about 
the wards between 2 and 4 a.m., when the lights are 
down, and most of the inmates asleep. " But, 
surely," I said, "the night nurse must have seen 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 125 

liim, and if so she would report it to me ! " " Oh," 
he repHed, " she hardly ever comes into the ward 
during the night, she is generally in her own room 
fast asleep — she gets herself called when she is 
wanted." I made some further inquiries, and find- 
ing that there was evidence of deception, I sent him 
to the Asylum Hospital with a letter to the superin- 
tendent medical officer, giving his history, and tell- 
ing him of my suspicions, and asking that he might 
be carefully watched by reliable persons. He came 
back in a fortnight, having been found out. He 
was immediately transferred to his settlement, where 
doubtless he recommenced the game of deception, 
having found it answer so well. 

It may be here said. If you had not confidence in 
your nurses, why did you not get rid of them ? For 
the simple reason that I had no power to do so. 
They were not selected by me, but by the Guardians, 
and therefore v»'ere not my officers, but the Board's. 
I once reported the night nurse on the male side 
(the woman who had allowed the malingerer to 
deceive me) for drunkenness, but I had so much 
trouble to get rid of her that I was not induced to 
repeat the experiment, added to which I was most 
grossly insulted by the master for bringing this 
woman's conduct before the Guardians. 



126 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

In my opinion the medical officer should select 
and discharge all the nurses — of course, reason for this 
latter action being shown. I should have discharged 
several at the Westminster Union for neglect of 
duty and for general incompetence if I had had the 
power. Simple complaint w^ould be attended by no 
beneficial result, as it would be a hundred to one 
that the nurse would be supported in her misconduct 
by some member of the Board, whose protege she 
might be. On mentioning this to an ex-workhouse 
medical officer, he told me that on having occasion to 
represent the conduct of the resident midwife, who 
claimed and exercised the right to go out on every 
Sunday for several hours, leaving the wards wholly 
unattended on every such occasion except by pauper 
helps, the only action taken by the Board as a 
return for it, at the instance of the midwife's friend, 
was the adoption of a resolution that a return should 
be prepared and laid on the Board-room table, show- 
inof the occasions when the medical officer went out 

o 

and the length of time he was out, &c., &c. Of 
course he found out that he had achieved worse than 
nothing by his effort to check this abuse. This cir- 
cumstance occurred in one of the largest of our 
metropolitan workhouse infirmaries. 

When first I entered on my duties at the West- 



THE WESTMINSTEB IXFIEMARY. 127 

minster Union the chaplain there was a very 
energetic little man named Duval. I do not re- 
member his Christian name, for the reason that he 
was known and spoken of as Claude Duval, and for 
a long while I supposed him to possess no other. 
At last I discovered that the name had been given him 
in joke, and that he was in no way connected with the 
celebrated highwayman. He most asuredly did not 
convey the idea that he had any brigand blood in 
his veins. He was extremely attentive to his duties, 
and deserved and had gained the respect of all the 
inmates and officers. 

Frequently he organized entertainments for the 
aged and infirm. These were held in the dining- 
hall, which on all such occasions was crowded to 
excess. After I had held office about a year he 
desired me to provide an entertainment, which I did 
on several occasions, and my efforts met with much 
success. In the carrying out of these entertain- 
ments, which were musical and recitative, I had the 
assistance of my nephew, Mr. Julian Eogers, and his 
wife, who brought with them vocalists of a high 
order, who contributed much to the pleasure of the 
inmates. These entertainments were highly appre- 
ciated by the inmates, and were frequently attended 
by members of the Board, and by some of the rate- 



12S JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

pavers liying iu the neiglibourliood. Now and then 
I used to read extracts suitable for penny readings. 
On two occasions mv efforts took a higher form, 
when I gave a lecture on the *' Ear and Hearing," 
and on " Sight and the Eye." The preparation of 
these lectures and the diagrams to illustrate them 
was a work of considerable trouble and some anxiety, 
but the signal success achieved on both occasions 
amply repaid me for any trouble occasioned. To 
show the appreciation of my audience for a joke, I 
will relate an incident that occurred during the 
delivery of my lecture on " Sight and the Eye." I 
was describing the function of the iris, or coloured 
portion of the eye, as an involuntary movable veil, 
which regulated the amount of light which should be 
admitted to the eye, and said that in order to make 
the veil complete it was covered behind with a 
black pigment, so as to exclude all light except that 
which passed through the pupil. I then told them 
that in certain animals this pigment was wanting, 
and not only there but in the skin generally, and 
instanced the white mouse, ferret, &c., and showed 
that all these animals had red eyes and always 
blinked and winked when exposed to a strong light. 
I then passed on to state that this condition was 
sometimes found in man, where again the winking 



THE WESTMINSJJER INFIRMARY. 129 

and blinking was noticeable as well as the whiteness 
of the skin and hair, from the absence of this dark 
pigment, hence the name of " albinos " applied to those 
thus afflicted. I then went on to state that recently 
we had a notable example of this in the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, who suffered from this infirmity, 
and that his dread of light was so extreme that he 
had attempted actually to put a tax on matches. 
This joke w^as followed by a positive scream of delight 
from visitors and inmates — showing that Mr. Lowe's 
fiscal effort to increase the revenue was known to 
them all. At the conclusion of the night's pro- 
ceedings, Miss Augusta Clifford, who was present, 
came up and said she should repeat my story of Mr. 
Low^e and the match tax wherever she went. At the 
next meeting of the Board, several of the Guardians 
having been present on the occasion referred to, it 
was moved and seconded and carried unanimously, 
that a vote of thanks should be given to Dr. Kogers 
for the entertainment provided by him, and for the 
highly interesting and instructive lecture which he 
had delivered. 

I found in the sick and infirm wards several of 
my old acquaintances of the Strand, who were charge- 
able to St. Anne's, and had been transferred to this 
House when the Union was formed, among them 

10 



130 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

a woman by the name of Maria Hall. She had gone 
into the Strand several years before I left ; her friends 
at first paid for her maintenance. She was an 
epileptic — and something beside. When I knew her 
in the Strand she professed an inability to talk, 
except unintelligible gibberish. She was very artful ; 
she claimed to be a deeply religious character, and 
contrived to take in the benevolent lady visitors to a 
considerable extent. She continually showed me 
letters she had received, and books that had been 
given her by ladies, and would ask me to share with 
her the grapes, cakes, and sweetmeats sent her by 
her dupes. This went on for several years, altogether 
about twenty. She always posed and was spoken of 
as "poor Maria" — in fact, she was the pet of the 
nurse and of the w'ard. At last it came to my 
knowledge that she presumed on her condition to be 
exacting and troublesome. Finding that remonstrance 
was unavailing, I reluctantly ordered her removal to 
the insane ward. It was attended with the best 
result, for, finding that she was at last sternly dealt 
with, she threw off the mask she had worn for 
twenty years and talked as distinctly and clearly as 
any healthy person. She had traded for years on 
her alleged infirmity. It was true she was an 
epileptic, and eventually died from that form of 



THE WESTMINS'TEB INFIBMABY. 131 

disease ; but she had been the most persistent cheat 
I had ever met with. 

On the male side I found a poor fellow who had 
also been transferred from the Strand, where I had 
known him when he was first admitted there. He 
was paralyzed all down on one side. He was the 
most patient, honest fellow I had ever seen. After 
I had been in office some years Sir Charles 
Trevelyan came to call on me respecting a public 
movement that we were both engaged in. Finding 
I was at the infirmary, he came round to the House 
and was shown into my room. I asked him to go 
over the wards with me. He did so. I introduced 
the poor paralytic to him as an honest, patient, and 
grateful poor man. Sir Charles asked him how long 
he had been afflicted, and he answered, " Some twenty 
years." Then I said, " This poor fellow cannot get 
downstairs ; he has not seen the streets for all these 
years, but he is always happy and cheerful." Sir 
Charles kindly left with me .^1 to pay his cab fare, 
so that he might have the chance of seeing them 
once again. As I had to send two people with him 
each time the ^1 soon went. His enjoyment of 
this treat in his daily dull, routine life was, I was 
informed, most pleasing to witness. 

There were several other very interesting persons 



132 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

I found on both sides of the ward. One was an old 
man who was said to be eighty-eight years old. On 
my morning visit he was always standing on the 
staircase smoking. He had lived many j^ears in 
Australia, and his long white hair and beard, which 
reached to his waist, conjoined with a florid com- 
plexion and bright blue eyes, caused me to consider 
him one of the handsomest old men I had ever seen. 
One day I took two young ladies over the infirmary. 
We found the old man in his usual place. I 
jocularly introduced him to them as the Adonis of 
the House. The old man was terribly offended. As 
we walked away I heard him muttering aloud, 
'* That's a pretty name to call a man — 'Donis in- 
deed ! " He did not forgive me for a long while. I 
wonder what he thought the epithet really was in- 
tended to signify. 

I also found in the male infirm ward an old 
French physician whom I had known by sight for 
a great many years when he was practising his 
profession in Soho. He was a tall, fine man when 
I first knew him. He always used to wear a very 
singular-looking broad-brimmed hat. He was in all 
externals a very gentlemanly-looking person. I had 
missed him for a long time, and was surprised and 
hurt to think that he should have drifted to a 



THE WESTMINS^TER INFIRMARY. 133 

workhouse infii'Daaiy. On inquiriiig into the cause 
of his becoming an inmate of the House, for I always 
thought he was well-to-do, as he dressed exceedingly 
well, I learned that he had lived with a lady who 
was an emi^loye at a French milliner's in Regent 
Street, that she was much younger than he was, and 
that he had given to her all his money, which she, 
in preparation for possible consequences, had put in 
the Funds, but in her own name only. Unfortunately 
for him she was taken suddenly ill, and being 
ignorant of English courts made no disposition of 
the property, simply telling him, on her deathbed, 
where it was. When she was dead, he found to his 
dismay that the money could not be obtained, as he 
could not establish any legal claim of ownership. 
Grief at the loss of his mistress and of all his 
money caused the complete break-down of the poor 
fellow, and he had come into the House utterly 
crushed. He was a very interesting old man, 
being the only son of a French noble family. His 
mother and father were both executed during the 
Reign of Terror, and when the family property was 
confiscated he was but a youth. When he grew 
up he studied medicine, and in the year 1802 
entered Napoleon's army as a regimental surgeon. 
After serving with his regiment in Germany, Italy, 



134 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

and Austria, he was attached to the Army of England, 
as it was called, which was stationed on the heights 
of Boulogne. He was there some time. Suddenly 
an announcement came that the encampment would 
be broken up, and that the army would go to Russia. 
He traversed the whole of Europe, taking part in the 
various engagements on the road to Moscow, which 
he saw in flames. He was in the memorable retreat, 
and returned to France without a scratch. On the 
return from Elba he rejoined his old regiment, and, 
as its surgeon, fought against the English at 
Waterloo. After the peace his regiment was dis- 
banded, and as the old soldiers of the empire were 
very much at a discount he elected to come to 
England, where he lived since 1816. He died at the 
age of ninety-five, retaining his faculties to the last. 
After his death I raised a fund to bury him, by 
writing a letter to The Times, in which I gave his 
history, heading my letter, *'A Relic of the Grand 
Armee," and asking any friends of the first Napoleon 
to help me in burying him in some other place than 
a pauper's grave. My appeal having brought me 
£25, the Empress Eugenie being one of the sub- 
scribers, he was buried at the Catholic Cemetery at 
Kensal Green. There were two seamstresses who 
lived in Gilbert Street, Oxford Street, who were his 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMAEY. 135 

countrywomen and his sole visitors, with the ex- 
ception of the Catholic priest of the French chapel in 
Leicester Square. I asked them and the priest to 
accompany me to the funeral, which I attended as 
chief mourner. On our arrival at the mortuary 
chapel, the coffin was placed on a raised bier with 
three others. Presently two lads, wearing long black 
cloaks which reached to the ground, came from the 
altar. When they arrived at the spot where the 
coffin was resting, one lad suddenly produced from 
under his cloak a censer containing fire and pro- 
ceeded to incense the quartette. How he ever carried 
the fiery thing without setting fire to himself was to 
me a wonder. He was immediately followed by the 
other lad, who, taking just as rapidly from under his 
cloak a vessel like a whitewash-pot, proceeded with a 
brush to throw holy water on the coffins. This 
being completed, the coffin was put on a truck and 
we hurried away as fast as we could go through the 
miry ground for a long distance to the grave. On 
reaching it, dov/n went my two lady companions on 
their knees in the clay. My respect for the deceased 
did not carry me so far as that, especially as it was 
raining hard and the ground was a mere bog. 
Presently the acolj'te produced his whitewash-pot 
and brush, and I was courteously asked to sprinkle 



135 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D 



the poor fellow's coffin with holy water, which I did. 
This having heen also done by my companions, I 
was amused by a little girl about fourteen, who, sud- 
denly taking the brush and pot from one of the 
young women, went to work sprinkling in grand style, 
and, what was rather alarming, let me in for more 
than I had expected. On our return journey the 
priest asked me to attend service in the Catholic 
Chapel, in Leicester Square, on the next Sunday. 
This I did. He was a very gentlemanly person. He 
thanked me very much for the little service I was 
enabled to render to the poor old French doctor, 
whom I missed very much, as it was my habit to sit 
beside the old man's bed and hear him fight his 
battles o'er again. 

The opposition to the removal of the sick to 
the Asylum Hospital at Highgate continuing, and 
plausible ground for some action having been shown 
in the fact of that establishment being so far away, a 
move on the part of the Department became neces- 
sary. The old Workhouse in Cleveland Street being 
no longer wanted by the Strand Board (as they had 
built a new House at Edmonton), it was proposed to 
pull down and rebuild an additional Asylum Hospital 
upon the site. The vestry of St. James's, instigated 
by the Chairman of the Board, gave a determined 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 137 

opposition to the proposition. But for once the 
Department was firm and the hospital was built. At 
first the four Unions were associated in its use and 
management, but after a time its use for the recep- 
tion of acute cases was limited to the St. Giles's, and 
St. George's, Bloomisbury, the Strand, and West- 
minster Unions. The Chairman having for a time 
retired from the Board, his place was filled by a fresh 
Chairman, and no obstacle being made to my utiliza- 
tion of Cleveland Street Asylum, suitable cases were 
transferred there, to the relief of the Westminster 
House, which, through the resistance of the Board, 
had become inconveniently full. The new Chairman 
was a very weak man, who was neither by his 
financial position or general intelligence justified in 
aspiring to hold such an office. It is possible that if 
he had devoted the time he spent at the Board and 
at the Sick Asylum to his private business he might 
have delayed, and possibly have staved off, his eventual 
bankruptcy and ultimate death in the Asylum Hospital 
in Cleveland Street, to the building of which he gave 
the most determined opposition. His successor as 
Chairman was a surgeon in Soho, who was a man of 
very fair attainments, and during the time he occupied 
the chair the business of the Board was carried on 
with remarkable success. I received from him the 



138 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

most generous support, and during his tenure of 
office my official life was hardly chequered by a single 
cloud. 

I have spoken of the clerk of the Board as having 
expressed a favourable opinion of the economy I had 
effected on my first entrance on my duties. The 
clerk had occupied a similar position at St. Martin's 
prior to its amalgamation with the Strand Union. 
As I never went near the clerk of that Union after 
the discovery of his perfidy in making, in conjunction 
with Catch, a false charge against me, I was often at 
a loss to know to whom I could go when any diffi- 
culty cropped up. Having had an introduction to 
this clerk, I frequently called and consulted him ; 
consequently I was not surprised when, through the 
loss of his office, as the result of St. Martin's being 
joined to the remaining parishes of the old Strand 
Union, he v.-as without employment, that he should 
call on me and invoke my good offices in favour of his 
being appointed to a similar position in the West- 
minster Union — the gentleman who had filled the 
office and that of vestry clerk for St. James's having 
elected to continue in the latter office only, and not 
to combine therewith any appointment under the 
Poor Law. Having some influence in St. Anne's at 
that time, and being also known in St. James's, I 



THE WESTMINSJ'ER INFIBMARY. 139 

gave him my support, with the result that he was 
elected clerk to the Board. He never exhibited 
gratitude for my doing this ; indeed, on the con- 
trary, he was distinctly hostile to me during the first 
few years after my appointment, more especially in 
all matters relating to lunatics, the truth being that 
he had a sympathy with all those who were alleged 
to be of unsound mind, arising, I consider, from the 
fact that he had a consciousness of not being quite 
right himself. During the two-and-twenty years I 
knew him I never saw him half-a-dozen times with a 
shirt on. I do not state that he never wore one, it 
was simply never visible ; what did duty for it was a 
sheet of more or less crumpled whitey-brown paper. 
His clothes were as torn and ragged as those of the 
most poverty-stricken casual — his shoes down at heel, 
and the legs of his seedy-looking black trousers 
hanging in rags. He always complained of being so 
very poor through the strain put upon him in ha\dng 
to support some needy relatives. His condition and 
poverty-stricken appearance were often the subject of 
conversation and commiseration : " Poor fellow," it 
used to be said, " he has had a great deal of trouble, 
and is very poor." It was therefore a matter of 
great astonishment to find, after his death, which 
took place somewhat suddenly, that he was possessed 



140 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

of several thousand pounds. He died without 
making any will, and there was a legal struggle 
among distant relations as to who should secure his 
very considerable belongings. I have frequently 
noticed on the part of eccentric people this disbelief 
in and morbid sympathy with lunatics, and believe it 
to arise from a species of innate consciousness of 
mental deficiency, and a fear lest they also should be 
incarcerated. 

One morning, some time before his death, he came 
to me in my room and showed me a letter he had 
received from the military Commandant of Devonport 
Barracks Hospital, which was to the effect that they 
had a young soldier under treatment for lunacy, who, 
in his attestation when enlisting, had stated that 
he belonged to St. James's, London, and that the 
authorities determined to send him up to us. The 
clerk said to me, " That does not show that he belongs 
here, as there are several St. James's in London ; I 
shall write and refuse to take him until his settle- 
ment has been determined." But he reckoned without 
his host, for when did the military ever recognize the 
civil power ? The same evening I was requested to 
go to the insane ward, where I found the young 
soldier, and the attendant informed me that he had 
been brought by a corporal and left in the ward, and 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 141 

that the corporal said that he should call the next 
day for the hospital clothes. The attendant also 
stated that when brought in the man's hands were 
tied together behind his back. I could make nothing 
of the poor fellow, as no history was brought with 
him, and he would not speak. As he appeared to be 
very exhausted I ordered him some milk, beef-tea, 
and wine, and desired that when the corporal called 
the next day he should be detained, so that I might 
learn something about the patient, but when asked 
to stay and explain, the corporal would not stop. 

On visiting the man on the next morning I found 
that he had taken nothing, and as he would not open 
his mouth, speak to me, nor do anything, I sent for 
the stomach-pump and some of the strongest of the 
pauper inmates, that he might be fed by artificial 
means. It took four to take him out of bed, secure 
him in a chair, and to assist me to get his mouth 
open, when I made the dreadful discovery that all his 
teeth had recently been broken away in the forcible 
efforts that had been made to feed him. After a 
most desperate struggle I administered some beef-tea, 
arrowroot, and wine. This had to be repeated for 
two or three days, until the necessary certificates 
were ready, which enabled me to send him away to 
Hanwell. I was so disgusted with the barbarous 



142 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

manner in wliicli the young man had been treated, 
that I wrote an indignant letter to the military 
authorities at Devonport, complaining of his treat- 
ment, and their neglect in sending the poor fellow to 
the Workhouse without affording any history of his 
case. The reply was a cool denial of the truth of my 
statement, and an assertion that he took his food 
readily and without artificial feeding. I sent this 
letter to the medical superintendent of Hanwell, and 
asked for his opinion, when he replied that the man 
had been forcibty fed for some time, and that his teeth 
had been destroyed in doing so. I then wrote an 
account of the case and sent it to Dr. Lush, M.P. for 
Salisbury, and asked him to see the Minister for War 
on the subject, and in the House to ask the question 
I had drafted. 

A few days after Dr. Lush replied, telling me that 
he had seen the Minister, who read the statement, 
and said he thought that it was a very shocking 
story, but he hoped that I would not press for an 
official inquiry, as it would ruin the officers in- 
culpated, and promised that he would send out to 
all military hospitals such an instructional letter as 
would prevent the occurrence of such things in 
future. Dr. Lush also added, " I have promised not 
to press the matter, especially as the Minister for 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 143 

War did not hesitate to tell me that he entirely 
believed your statement," and continuing, said, '' I 
know, Rogers, yon do not want to ruin anybody, and 
if the matter is made public there will be a dreadful 
row, and the whole blame will be thrown on the 
doctor." I reluctantly assented to this view, and the 
matter dropped. 

The poor fellow was afterwards proved not to 
belong to St. James's, Westminster, but to some 
parish in the East End. He did not remain charge- 
able to any parish very long, as he died soon after at 
Hanwell. Dr. Eaynor, w^hen I appealed to him for 
his opinion, stated that if I had not written at the 
time of his admission and explained how I had be- 
come possessed of the man, he should have felt it his 
duty to have made a special representation to the 
Commissioners in Lunacy as to the condition he was 
in on admission, and the barbarous usage he had 
received. 

When at the Strand I was required to give the 
certificate in lunacy and attend before the magistrates 
in its support, and was paid a fee for my trouble ; 
when appointed to the Westminster Union it was 
arranged that my salary should include all extra fees, 
particularly because the magistrates at Great Marl- 
borough Street, contrary to the statute, required two 



144 JOSEPH EOGEES, M,D. 

certificates. The Guardians being unwilling to pay 
the fees of two medical men, the medical man called 
upon to give the second certificate was paid. As this 
appointment was dependent on the caprice of the 
Board, it frequently happened that the other medical 
man, who was aware of the feeling of certain of the 
Guardians, w^ould refuse to endorse my opinion, but 
I always succeeded in getting my way in the end. 
One medical man who held this office for some time 
was constantly striving to secure favour by giving the 
most unaccountable certificates as to the condition of 
the lunatic submitted to him. I had the satisfaction 
of getting rid of him at last, but not until he had 
given me and the officers of the House a great deal 
of unnecessary trouble and annoyance. In addition 
to this, the magistrates at Great Marlborough Street, 
forgetting altogether that when two certificates were 
presented their duty became simply a ministerial one, 
would frequently decline to certify for removal of 
undeniably insane persons, and direct the return to 
the House for further observation. No magistrate 
was more original in this way than Mr. Newton, of 
Miss Cass notoriety. Over and over again Mr. New- 
ton has set up his expression of opinion in opposition 
to my certificate and that of the extern, but after 
giving unnecessary trouble and delaying the removal 



THE WESTMIN8TEB INEIBMABY. 145 

of the patient, thereby diminishing her or his chance 
of i:ecovery, he would eventually be obliged to affix 
his signature to the certificate. To such an extent 
did this action prevail, and so much were the officers 
worried by this magistrate, that it became a custom 
on the part of the removal officer to send and inquire 
what magistrate would be on the bench, and if he 
found it was Mr. Newton, to take the case on the 
next day when he was not there. 

As I am on the subject of lunacy, and as I believe 
that much mischief has ensued from the laity 
assuming that persons are improperly confined in 
asylums, I will relate one or two instances of ill 
results that have followed from treating insane per- 
sons as responsible for their conduct when a very 
small amount of consideration of their actions would 
show that they were of unsound mind. Upon one 
occasion, on going into the male insane ward, a 
tall, decent-looking man, turned round and looked at 
me. His aspect instantly told me that he was of 
unsound mind. To my inquiry where he came from 
the attendant replied, "I do not know, sir ; all I do 
know is that his wife brought him here yesterday and 
left him. I spoke to the poor fellow, and was per- 
fectly convinced that he was insane. I directed the 
attendant to go for the wife. On my return from the 

11 



146 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

wards to the consulting-room I found a decent- 
looking little woman w^aiting my arrival. To my 
inquiry what she wanted, she said, ''You sent for 
me." '^ Oh," I replied, ''you are the wife of that 
poor fellow over the way in the insane ward — how 
long has he been out of his mind, and where have 
you brought him from? " To my astonishment she 
burst into tears, at the same time saying, " He came 
out of prison yesterday, sir." " Out of prison," I 
replied ; " why, how could he have got into a prison ? 
That poor man has, to my certain knowledge, been a 
lunatic for a long while." She immediately said, 
" Yes, sir, I have known it for nearly a twelvemonth, 
but no one but you has ever said so before." I told 
her to compose herself and tell me his history, when 
she stated as follows : "We have been married about 
five years, and a better husband no woman could 
have had, but about a twelvemonth ago he complained 
of his head, and could not sleep or work as he had 
done. I did my best to cheer him up, and told him 
to struggle against the feeling and all would come 
right. His occupation was that of a coat-maker for 
one of the best West End master tailors. One 
afternoon, some months ago, he threw down a coat 
he was making, saying he could not go on with it, 
he must go out, which he did. About an hour after- 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 147 

wards a policeman came to tell me my husband was 
in Vine Street Police Station, and that he had been 
taken up for stealing. I hurried there, when I heard 
that, walking along Little Pulteney Street, he came 
opposite a poulterer's shop, when, suddenly springing 
on the show-board, he clambered up by the hooks till 
he reached the top, and, taking off a hare, he put it 
over his shoulder, and jumping down some ten feet, 
he stood there. The proprietor gave him into cus- 
tody. The next day he was taken before Mr. Knox, 
who committed him for a term of six weeks' imprison- 
ment and hard labour, it being his first offence. 

" Whilst he was in prison I had to part with many 
of my things to keep my children. On his discharge 
I met him at the prison gate, and saw he was worse. 
I did my best to cheer him up, and told him if he 
would not do anything of the kind again I would do 
all I could for him. On his reaching home I said 
that I had been compelled to part with some of our 
things, and that, therefore, he must go to work at 
once. The same day I went to one of our employers, 
a master tailor in Maddox Street, and asked for some 
work. A dress coat was given me to make up. My 
husband went to work at it, but he did it so badly 
that when he took it to the shop the master refused 
to pay him, and gave it him back again. During the 



148 JOSEPH ROGEBS, M.D. 

conversation my poor husband took off a pair of black 
dress trousers from a hook, and put them under his 
arm. He had not long left the shop when it was 
discovered, and one of the shopmen, running after 
him, caught him with the property. He was again 
given into custody, and taken before Mr. Knox, who 
committed him for trial. At his trial at Clerkenwell 
Sessions shortly after, he was found guilty, and 
evidence of a previous conviction having been given, 
he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and 
hard labour. That his time was up yesterday 
morning, that she had met him at the prison gate, 
and seeing that he was much worse she had brought 
him straight to the Workhouse, so that he might be 
kept out of further mischief." She followed it up by 
saying (with a burst of tears), *' You are the only 
gentleman who has ever said that he was not right in 
his head, but I have known of it for months past." 
I stood utterly astonished that so gross a mis- 
carriage of justice should have been perpetrated ; that 
a man evidently so bereft of the knowledge of right 
and wrong should have been punished as a criminal. 
After inquiring where she lived, and also for some 
references, I told her if my inquiries bore out what 
she had stated, I would publicly expose the treatment 
her husband had been subjected to. I made inquiry 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 149 

the same afternoon, and found that both the husband 
and wife had borne a most excellent character up to 
the time of his first arrest. The next morning, so 
soon as my official duties were over, I went to Great 
Marlborough Street Police Court, and asked to see 
Mr. Knox. I related the story to the magistrate. 
When I had finished it he was very much aflected, 
and expressed his regret that such a dreadful thing 
should have occurred. He also went on to state that 
they had so many people brought before them, and it 
was all done in such a hurried way, that without 
special attention was drawn to a case, and if the facts 
were not disputed, and if no one appeared for a 
prisoner, a decision was come to at once. He further 
said, "I remember the poor fellow being brought 
before me perfectly. I do not think that it is 
desirable that this story should be made public ; it 
can do no good. Send the wife to me and I will 
give her a present from the poor-box.'' 

When leaving the court the jailor followed me, 
and said, " I am pleased you have been here. I saw 
that poor fellow was out of his mind on each occasion 
when he was brought before the magistrate." On 
reaching the street I met Mr. W. J. Fraser, 
Guardian, and now the Chairman of the Board, to 
whom I told the circumstances. Mr. Fraser was 



150 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.B. 

very much shocked at the treatment this poor lunatic 
had received, and that Mr. Knox had desired that no 
pubHcity should be given to the case, and replied, 
*'Give it every publicity you can." That same 
evening I wrote to the editor of The Times the 
particulars of the case, and, as the poor husband's 
condition was irremediable, I pleaded that monies 
should be sent me to enable me to put the wife into 
some way of earning her liveHhood. The letter 
duly appeared, and caused a great deal of sensation, 
many subsequent letters from gentlemen interested 
in the question of lunacy being published. As a 
result the sum of ^685 was subscribed for the wife, 
and was sent to me. 

It was a puzzle to me to know what to do with the 
money, which was not enough to buy a chandler's 
shop and stock it. I decided to set the woman up 
in business as a laundress at Battersea. I went 
there, took a suitable cottage, and guaranteed the 
rent for six months. Then I went to a firm in 
Holborn and purchased the laundry plant, which, 
under the special circumstances of the case, was sold 
to me at a reduced rate. I got a forewoman Avhom I 
borrowed from one of my patients in a large way of 
business as a laundress, and started her by inducing 
people to patronize her. I could do all this, but I 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 151 

could not make the poor 'woman a laundress, and 
after a few months' trial she came and asked me to 
let her dispose of the business and plant that she 
might go to her friends in the country. I assented, 
for I had discovered that she was a business failure. 
She sold off everything, went away, and I have never 
heard of her since. Her poor husband did not long 
survive, and without doubt his death was hastened 
by prison life and the treatment he had received 
there. He died at Hanwell of general paralysis of 
the insane. 

It would prove instructive if it could be ascer- 
tained how many poor creatures have been similarly 
taken into custody, convicted, imprisoned, and after 
spending more or less time in prison discharged with 
their mental condition hopelessly shattered from the 
treatment received. Some years since I went over 
the Naval Hospital at Yarmouth, for those who had 
become insane whilst in the service. There were 
several men of magnificent physique, who were 
stricken with the same kind of mental infirmity as 
that which had caused the death of my unfortunate 
patient. I inquired of the courteous medical super- 
intendent whether he had any history of these men. 
He said yes. I asked whether the first evidence of 
their mental ailment was not the exhibition of some 



152 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

departure from discipline or of theft, or some other 
action which was totally at variance with their 
previous conduct. He informed me that their 
records showed that such was the case. 

Woful results have followed the action of judges 
and police magistrates in dealing with numbers of 
their fellow-creatures as criminals when they rather 
required a nurse and skilful attention than the rough 
services of a prison warder. But then this deplorable 
condition of things will continue so long as such 
scant consideration is shown to the actions of the 
poor, who, being without means, cannot command the 
services either of barristers or solicitors. 

It was during the reign of the Chairman of the 
Board who subsequently died in Cleveland Street 
Asylum, that one of the most extraordinary cases of 
lunacy I ever witnessed came under notice — extra- 
ordinary in one sense only, viz., in the manifest 
determination of certain officials to prevent me from 
sending to the asylum one of the most artful and yet 
hopeless lunatics I ever encountered. 

Original^ she had been admitted as a woman of 
unsound mind. I examined her at the time, and at 
once filled in a certificate that she was a case for 
removal to an as^dum. She was not, however, sent 
away, as the clerk intervened, and at the next 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 153 

meeting of the Board he showed that the woman 
was the wife of the parish broker, who was a man of 
means and quite able to keep his wife in a private 
asylum, whereupon it was ordered that the husband 
should take her out. After her return home her 
husband asked me to see her : he could not live with 
her, her conduct was in every way so objectionable. 
I saw her again, certified that she was of unsound 
mind, and she was sent to St. Luke's, and her 
husband paid £1 sl week for her maintenance therein. 
Getting tired of this, for he was a most penurious 
person, he took her out. Sometime after he was 
taken ill and died, leaving upwards of £'4,000. 
Dying intestate, his property was divided beetween 
two brothers and the widow, her share, the third, 
being upwards of £1,500. The solicitor who wound 
up the estate, recognizing her mental condition, 
tried to induce her to let him invest the money in 
some security, but she refused. She would have her 
money paid over to her absolutely. This was in 
November. By the middle of the following August 
the money was all gone. She had squandered it all 
away ; and having by her habits, which were to the 
last degree objectionable, caused her ejection from 
one lodging after another, the relieving officer was 
again called in, and removed this wretched woman 



154 JOSEPH ROGEBS, M.D. 

to the Workhouse insane ward. She brought with 
her a large amount of property which was not 
convertible into cash. Now, it may be asked, How 
was the large sum of £1,500 got rid of in but little 
oyer eight months ? The explanation is a sad one. 
The first thing this poor woman did was to buy some 
i624 worth of j)lants in pots, which were taken to 
a furnished room she had hired in Gerrard Street, 
Soho. She never attempted to attend to them in 
any way, and, therefore, in a very short time they 
were all dead. She then sent to a well-known 
drapery business in Eegent Street to buy some 
clothes. Before she left the shop the person in the 
department she went to had induced her to buy some 
£300 worth of personal clothing, which was all sent 
to this single room in Gerrard Street. She also went 
to a pianoforte manufacturer in Regent Street, and 
purchased a sixty guinea piano, at the same time 
being absolutely ignorant of music ; and if any one 
had taken much trouble they must have recognized 
by her appearance her mental deficiency. About two 
months after she first purchased at this draper's 
shop, the shopwoman who had sold her £300 worth 
of clothing, called on her in Gerrard Street, and, 
although this room contained the dead flowers and 
unopened boxes of the first purchase, she induced 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 155 

her to buy ^250 worth more, thus making a total of 
^£550 expended by a poor insane woman. The 
Kector of St. Anne's, Soho, informed me that she 
regularly attended the sacrament, and always put £1 
in the plate in new gold. What made the conduct of 
the shopkeeper of the firm in Eegent Street the 
more inexcusable was that at the time she called on 
her the woman was in such a state, in consequence of 
her dirty habits, as to be plainly insane, and this 
compelled the landlady shortly afterwards to insist 
on her leaving the house, as all the other lodgers 
complained. When she was first admitted to the 
Workhouse her habits were so repulsive that she was 
an intolerable nuisance to the other inmates and 
nurses, for she was alive with parasites. 

I considered the treatment this poor creature had 
received at the hands of the proprietors of the 
drapery establishment so abominable that it merited 
exposure, and with that view I called on a gentle- 
man connected with the Press, and asked him to 
take the matter up. He declined, as it was not 
w'ithin the province of his journal. At the same 
time he gave me an introduction to the editor of 
Truth, who he said would do so. On going home 
I drew up a history of the case, and sent it in a 
letter marked private to the editor, enclosing the 



156 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

letter of introduction, and asking that he would 
grant me an interview, when we might arrange for 
jDublishing my statements without my name appear- 
ing. I received no answer from the editor, but a 
day or two afterwards I was told that my statement 
had been published in cxtenso in Truth. X day 
or two after that the Chairman, who lived nearly 
opposite the draper's shop, called on me and stated 
that he was deputed by the firm to inform me that 
if I did not at once write to the editor of Truth 
and disavow the letter and story an action for libel 
would be commenced against me without delay. 
My answer was as follows : *' Go back to this firm 
and say that I did not give any authority for the 
story to appear as it has done, but as it is all 
absolutely true I shall decline to withdraw or modify 
a single syllable." I certainly did write to the 
editor and complained of the way in which he had 
published the story, and told him of the threat 
which had been made of prosecuting me. The only 
result was that an annotation appeared in the next 
week's issue which, under the guise of an explana- 
tion, made the scandalous story a great deal worse. 
The firm did not prosecute me or the editor of 
Truth. 
It would be imagined by my readers that there 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 157 

would have been no difficulty in getting this poor 
woman sent to an asylum, but I never had greater 
trouble in my life, owing to the action of Mr. 
Newton, the police magistrate at Great Marlborough 
Street. Five times during the five months that she 
was detained in the insane ward, where her habits 
were most disgusting and highly objectionable to 
the other inmates and to the nurses, I certified for 
her removal. On each occasion she was sent back 
by this magistrate. Hearing that he was gone for 
a holiday, I, for the sixth time, filled in a certificate 
and went with her and my out-door colleague to 
the police office. To my surprise I found the 
Chairman of the Board and two of his friends, 
members of the Board, in attendance to give evi- 
dence in this woman's favour. The clerk had 
found out what I was doing, and had sent word to 
them. At the hearing before the magistrate they 
attempted to interrupt me in my evidence, but they 
were very properly put down by the magistrate. He 
at once countersigned the certificate and she was 

o 

removed. But my troubles were not at an end. 
The trio sent to the Commissioners in Lunacy an 
intimation that I had unjustifiably sent a sane 
woman to Hanwell Asylum. Upon this coming to 
my knowledge I went there to see her, when the 



158 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

medical superintendent of the female side informed 
me that a special letter bad been sent from tbe 
Lunacy Commissioners requiring bim, at tbe end of 
tbree weeks, to send a detailed account of tbe case 
to tbem. He said, '' I never met with such a case. 
I was sure from your certificate she must be insane, 
but she pulled herself together so wonderfully and 
was so well conducted that I had come to tbe 
conclusion that you must be mistaken, when sud- 
denly she broke down, and her insanity became 
apparent, and I have reported in that sense to tbe 
Commissioners in Lunacy." This story illustrates 
the utter absurdity of the provision in the Lord 
Chancellor's Bill committing the examination of 
these cases to a county court judge, police magis- 
trate, or Justice of the Peace, who cannot possibly 
understand anything about the varied phases which 
insanity presents. Tbe district medical officer who 
jointly filled in the certificate with me was deprived 
of his office, and a more manageable person, was 
elected by the Board in his stead — that person I have 
before referred to in tbe earlier part of this narrative 
as giving me so much needless trouble. 

Some three years ago I had occasion to go to 
Hanwell. Whilst there I asked whether the woman 
was still in the asylum. On learning that she was 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 159 

I expressed a desire to see her, when the superin- 
tendent medical officer o-ave directions that she 

o 

should be brought down. Immediately on seeing 
me she sprung upon me, and, before I was able to 
defend myself, pinioned me in her arms, at the 
same time imploring that I would take her away 
with me. It took three able-bodied women to re- 
lease me from her o'rasp. Should I ever sfo to 

OX o 

Hanwell again I will keep clear of her. I have 
had quite enough of her. She is a hopelessly in- 
curable lunatic. As she gets older she will become 
more and more demented, and ^vill be eventually 
removed to some imbecile establishment. 

The female insane ward at the "Westminster 
Union was always full, and when a noisy or 
dangerous lunatic was sent in, and whilst the 
necessary steps were being taken to get them away, 
the harmless patients had anything but a pleasant 
time of it. But then the comfort of these people 
was never at any time considered by those members 
of the Board who considered themselves authorities 
in lunacy. Fortunately they could not state that 
my action arose from the desire to get a fee, as I 
was never paid one, but they did say that I sent 
them away as I did not want to attend to them. 

We had on several occasions very amusing cases 



160 JOSEPH nOGEES, Id.D. 

of lunacy. One of the most so was a Welshman, 
who, until he lost his reason, had been a very re- 
spectable journeyman tailor. I was asked to see 
him by a member of the Yestry in whose house 
he lodged, and who gave him a most excellent 
character for honesty and industry. He had saved 
money, and was exceptionally respectable in his 
appearance and conduct. On being shown into his 
room he rose and received me with much politeness. 
I noticed a quantity of ladies' underclothing on the 
table, and evidently intended for some small woman, 
as the various things were all on the same diminu- 
tive scale. On asking what it all meant he said, 
*' Oh, that is for the lady I am about to marry. I 
have just purchased a complete set of ladies' under- 
clothing as a present for my future bride." "In- 
deed," I said, **is it usual for the gentleman to 
buy his future wife's underclothing?" ''^yell," 
he replied, " perhaps not, but I am a very particular 
person, and my wife must dress as a lady." "Just 
so," I said, " but how have you managed to get all 
these things so exactly arranged as to size ? " To 
which he replied, "You see, I am accustomed to 
measure people, and I have taken my dear little girl's 
size exactly." I then took up a pair of some two dozen 
of kid gloves, with the remark, "You have bought 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 161 

her some good gloves, at any rate." " Do you think 
so? " he said. '"'Do oblige me by taking a pair away 
with you; they may suit one of your daughters." 
As his insanity was undoubted, I suggested his 
removal to the insane ward. This was carried out. 
On seeing me next day in the House he spoke 
rapturously of the ward he was in, and of his 
companions, all of whom he had invited to his 
wedding. They would have been sorry-looking 
persons to have made part of a company at a 
marriage-feast ! 

I was so amused at this poor fellow's delusions 
that next day I took one of my young lady relatives 
to see him. On my asking the attendant to bring 
him out into the yard, he came. At first he looked 
dazed, but, seeing a young lady, he ran towards her, 
and, peeping under her bonnet, he looked up and 
said, " She is devilishly like Mary Jane," this being 
the only name he had for his imaginary future 
wife. My 5'oung companion was so tickled that she 
burst into a hearty laugh in which the poor fellow 
joined. Subsequently he was sent to Hanwell. On 
visiting the asylum some months afterwards I asked 
to see him, when he was sent for. On entering the 
room he recognized me instantly, and expressed his 
gratification at my calling to see him. His delusions 

12 



162 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

were as marked as ever. As I had gone there on 
other business I resumed my conversation with Dr. 
Raynor, and forgot our Welsh friend altogether. 
Presently we both went out into the yard, when, to 
our astonishment, we found that he had gone out, 
and would have escaped altogether if he had not 
luckily been observed and taken back to his ward. 
Poor fellow ! Some time after he was removed to 
Wales, where he was settled, and he ultimately died 
of general paralysis, and so the contemplated wedding 
was adjourned sine die. The underclothing, gloves, 
silk stockings, &c., were all sold to help pay for his 
maintenance. I never saw such a genial and abso- 
lutely happy lunatic. He lived in the company of 
his imaginary Mary Jane. It must not, however, be 
imagined that all are so light-hearted as this Welsh- 
man. I have encountered homicidal lunatics, and 
have personally experienced what some are capable 
of, having sometimes sustained severe assaults from 
incautiously going too near them. 

Early in 1872 the present Chairman of the West- 
minster Union, W. J. Fraser, Esq., solicitor, asked 
me to visit the Rev. H. Watson, ex-master of 
Stockwell Grammar School, who was then located 
in Horsemonger Lane Gaol on the charge of killing 
his wife. I did so, and after an interview which 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMARY. 163 

lasted an hour, came away and wrote a report that 
in my judgment he was of unsound mind. I formed 
that opinion from the levity of his manner, his 
self-exaltation, his total indifference to his fate, the 
absence of all regret for what he had done, and the 
absolute want of any feeling on the subject. He 
was lost in the belief that his services in the 
education of youth precluded the possibility of any 
punishment for his deed. At the Old Bailey, as I 
was about being called upon to give evidence, the 
counsel who defended him, the late Sergeant Parry, 
called me over to tell me that they had decided not 
to call me as a witness, but only just to support the 
views of the others. He said, " We think you 
may be a dangerous witness." After asking me a 
few questions he said, " You can stand down." 
But I was not to stand down, for the prosecuting 
counsel, Mr. Poland, immediately proceeded to 
severely cross-examine me. But to all his questions 
I had my reply ready, and after some half hour's 
trial of questions and answers I managed to get out 
all the points on which I relied to prove Watson's 
mental unsoundness. When I got down Dr. Bland- 
ford said, " You have done well ; you have con- 
vinced the judge;" which was shown in his summing 
up and in his after action at the Home Office. 



164 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Whilst nncler cross-examination I spoke of his 
enormous self-exaltation, &c., giving instances, 
whereupon Mr. Poland said, in a professional 
tone of voice, ''Oh, you consider that is a sign of 
insanity, do you ? " '* Well," I said, " seeing he 
was only a schoolmaster, I do." Whereupon Watson, 
who was listening attentively to my evidence, wrote 
on a piece of paper and gave it to Mr. Fraser for 
presentation to his counsel. He had written, "What 

does this d -d fellow mean by calling me *only a 

schoolmaster ' ? " After his conviction and sentence 
he was removed to Horsemonger Lane Gaol. When 
Mr. Fraser went to see him next day the only thing 
he complained of was my having spoken of him as 
only a schoolmaster. He had nothing to say about 
his conviction and fate ; as regards that he was abso- 
lutely indifferent. There was a terrible row in the 
Press about this man, and the doctors were all con- 
demned for their efforts to prove that his mind was 
unhinged. It was therefore some comfort to me 
when, in going down the street in which I then lived 
some few days after, I saw Lord Elliot, the son of the 
Earl of St. Germains. On meeting me he crossed 
over the road, came up to me, and holding out his 
hand and taking mine he said, '* I see you have 
been figuring at the Old Bailey." "Yes, my lord," 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 165 

I replied ; "I hope, however, you do not think 
I have done wrong in giving the evidence I did ? " 
"Oh no," he said; "I have just come from the 
Home Office, and have met there the Lord Chief 
Justice (Cockburn) and Mr. Justice Byles, who have 
both advised the Home Secretary that they consider 
that the plea of insanity was, in their judgment, fully 
sustained: at any rate, he will not be hanged." 
His sentence was commuted to penal servitude for 
life. Poor old Watson was sent to Parkhurst Prison. 
Some years after the governor and surgeon informed 
me that he preserved the same callous and indifferent 
manner which I had described at his trial. His only 
complaint was that he could not get the particular 
copy of the Greek Testament he wanted, and he never 
to the last referred to or expressed any regret for the 
act he had committed.* 

* The attacks upon me were so scurrilous for the evidence 
I had given that I wi-ote as follows to the editor of The 
Lancet, the staff there being divided in opinion whether I 
should be supported or condemned — 

'' REGINA V. WATSON. 

" To THE Editor of The Lancet. 

" Sir, — As I have been made to occupy, through the ex- 
ceptionally severe and not over-courteous cross-examination 
at the Old Bailey, a more conspicuous position than I had 
deshed before the public, perhaps you will permit me to give 



166 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

After I had been at the Workhouse some two years 
I was requested by the Board to go down and take 
temporary charge of the Union school at Wands- 

the reasons why I held, and do hold, that the prisoner in the 
above case was, and is, of unsound mind ; and, subsequently, 
to briefly comment on each head. 

" 1st. There were the evidences of pre-existent melan- 
cholia. 

" 2nd. The ferocity with which the deed was committed. 

" 3rd. The total absence of criminal motive. 

" 4th. The calmness and indifference of the prisoner's 
manner after the deed was done. 

" 5th. His justification of suicide, and the expression of 
his belief that God would forgive the homicide under the 
circumstances. 

" First, as regards the proofs of mental disease prior to the 
act — they were deposed to by the Kev. Folliott Baugh and 
his wife as existing a month before the murder ; by Mr. H. 
Eogers on the preceding day ; whilst further evidence on 
this head, not available for the defence owing to the sickness 
of the deponent, has since been forwarded to the Home 
Secretary, the statement being that some months before he 
was in communication with the prisoner for the purpose of 
employing him in his school, but on an interview he found 
his mental condition to be such that he at once broke off the 
engagement : the evidences of aging and altered aspect de- 
posed to by the secretary of the school a short while after 
his dismissal. And mark, that to him was no ordinary 
event : at sixty-seven he found himself suddenly without 
employment, withoiTt any realized money, absolute penury 
in the not distant prospective, whilst, during the nine months 
he had been thus thrown in upon himself, eyerj attempt to 
add to his means or to obtain an engagement, whether 
literary or scholastic, had entirely failed. 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMABY. 167 

worth Common. It would appear that there had 
been a quarrel between the superintendent matron 
and the medical officer, and an official inquiry 

" Second. Passing to my next point, the ferocity of the act, 
it was argued hj the prosecution that it was done in a fit of 
rage ; but, for the credit of our common human natm-e, I 
would ask, Is it conceivable that mere anger would so trans- 
form a mild, quiet old gentleman, as he was shown to be, 
into such a brutal criminal, so that, not content with slaying 
his victim, he should go on battering her head and body 
long after passion alone would have been exhausted ? It is, 
I contend, ex^Dlicable only as the act of a homicidal melan- 
chohc, not otherwise. 

" Thu'd. The senseless character of the deed. If done con- 
sciously and by premeditation, as the verdict would suppose, 
I would ask, Where could be the gain ? Here, again, I argue 
that the act itself, done without reasonable motive, could 
only be the product of reason overthrown. 

*' Foui-th. The indifference, &c. Here I would submit — can 
a parallel be produced from criminal records in any place 
(Broadmoor excepted) for the remarkable calmness (self- 
possession Mr. Gibson, of Newgate, phrases it) Mr. Watson 
maintains whenever the act is referred to, such as to lead his 
old friend, the Eev. J. Wallis, to state that he seemed per- 
fectly void of shame and remorse ; nay, asserting that he was 
an injured person by being put in prison ' ? 

"Fifth. His justification of suicide, &c. I may here be met 
by the remark that he is probably an unbeliever in the 
Christianity he professed. To this I make reply that there is 
not a tittle of evidence to show that such is the case. Until 
the act was done, a regular attendant at church, a constant 
communicant, his whole moral nature must have become 
utterly changed and corrupt ere such a consummation could 
be arrived at. standing out. as it does, in direct antasfonism 



168 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

having been held by a Poor Law Inspector he 
had reported that he could not decide which was in 
the wrong ; he would advise the Board to call on all 
three to resign at the end of the following Mid- 
summer quarter. 

The medical officer, Dr. Noel, who, strange to say, 
had been a schoolfellow of mine nearly fifty years 
before, at once sent in his resignation. I took over 
the duty at the end of April, and had charge of the 
schools nine weeks. It was a very pleasant excuse 
for an outing, and as the Common at that time was 
not much built upon and the gorse was in full bloom, 
it made for me a very agreeable change. At the 
Midsummer quarter a new medical officer was ap- 
pointed, and my temporary appointment came to an 
end. There was extremely little sickness during the 
time I had charge of the establishment, and I there- 
to his previous life, as portrayed by one who knew him 
well and gives his opinion of his old friend in this day's 
Times. 

"I pass over the subsequent blundering attempts to 
hide the act, as similar things have been done by others 
whose insanity has not been questioned. And as I have 
occupied much of your space, I subscribe myself, 

" Yours obediently, 

" Jos. Rogers. 

"Dean Street, Soho, 
''January 15, 1872." 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 1C9 

fore came to the conclusion that the only possible 
explanation of the quarrelling was because they had 
so very little to do. My successor was appointed on 
the distinct understanding that in the event of any 
serious illness occurring he was to send for me. His 
neglect to do this led, some five years afterwards, to 
his being called on to resign, and to my being put 
again in control of the schools and retention of the 
office for eight months. The occasion for my being 
sent down the second time was a serious outbreak of 
ophthalmia which had taken place, one-half of the 
school, about sixty children, being more or less 
affected with it. I could not aiibrd the time or un- 
dergo the fatigue to go there every day, so on my 
return home I made a report to the Board that on 
condition that the Board gave me full powers to act 
as I thought best I would root out the epidemic. 
This was assented to, whereupon I brought back 
forty-eight of the worst cases to the Workhouse, and 
isolated them in the large wards at the top of the 
main building. I also brought with me the nurse 
and assistant school- mistress. I told the Board that 
some of the cases were so very bad that I must be 
allowed to call in an ophthalmic surgeon to aid me in 
my treatment. This was also assented to. I also 
arranged that the children should go for a run in the 



170 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

l^ark every da}-, weather permitting. I considered the 
dietaiy of the children, and, finding it to be wholly 
insufficient, I amended it. I adopted a similar 
course at the school. Fortunately for the children 
the Chairman of the Board, a medical man, supported 
me in all I advised and did. I had the children's 
hospital at the school whitewashed and painted green 
and varnished, the walls stopped and covered with 
neatly-framed engravings kindly sent me by the pro- 
prietors of The Gra'phic. At the end of eight 
months I gave up the appointment, leaving the chil- 
dren perfectly well, except in a few cases where 
irretrievable mischief had taken place ere I was called 
in. Much of my success was due to the Chairman of 
the Board, the late Mr. Henry Cooper, of Soho, who 
throughout gave me the most generous and unfalter- 
ing support. Many of these poor children would 
have hopelessly gone blind if it had not happened 
that at the period of the epidemic the Board for- 
tunately possessed an intelligent and public- spirited 
Chairman. Not a very long time afterwards he was 
taken ill, and after lingering some time died, to be 
succeeded by another j)erson who, most unluckily 
for the welfare of the House, had again been returned 
as a member of the Board and elected the Chairman. 
About some two years after my appointment a 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 171 

woman, extremely ill, was brought from Vine Street 
Police Station. She was an unfortunate, as it is 
called, who had been taken ill in the cell. Eepeated 
requests from her for attendance met with no at- 
tention. At last, her condition appearing desperate 
even to the constables, the divisional surgeon was sent 
for, who directed that she should at once be re- 
moved to the Workhouse. She was brought in on a 
stretcher, and I was summoned to attend her without 
delay. I found that she was dying, and not a long 
while afterwards she succumbed. A coroner's inquiry 
taking place I made a post mortem, when I found that 
she had died from the rupture on an aneurism of the 
abdominal aorta, which, giving way in the loins, had 
slowly infiltrated the tissues until, a vent being found, 
the whole thing gave way. There is no doubt that 
this rupture had been precipitated by the violence 
attending her arrest. The verdict, under the direc- 
tion of the coroner, led to a censure of the police for 
their inhumanity and indifference. The ultimate 
result was to immensely add to my troubles, as will 
hereafter be shown. 

Just at this time the old and sagacious surgeon of 
the division died, and his place was sought after by 
several medical men living in the neighbourhood of 
the two Dolice stations in St. James's, some of whom 



172 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

were men of acknowledged position. The gift of 
the appointment was vested in the Chief Surgeon of 
Police, Mr. Timothy Holmes, of St. George's Hos- 
pital. He gave the office to one of his old pupils who 
at the time was non-resident, but who at once took a 
house in Jermyn Street. It was not very long before I 
experienced the result of the change. Case after case 
was sent into the House from the two stations with 
certificates that the persons were ill when they were 
undeniably and plainly drunk. At first I complained 
of this to the inspectors, but it led to no result. I 
then wrote to the Commissioners of Police, complain- 
ing of the annoyance. I got only an official reply. 
At last the nuisance became so great, for we were 
always called to these police cases sent in from the 
station in the small hours of the morning, that I 
again wrote to the Commissioners and requested an 
interview. This was granted. I took with me my 
assistant who had been principally called out of bed 
to attend to these cases, sometimes only to dress a 
wound which the police surgeon was too indolent to 
do himself although he was paid a fee for each visit. 
On arrival we stated our complaint, but, although the 
Commissioners listened to us attentively, not much 
benefit accrued. It is true they stated that an in- 
quiry should be made and instructions given and that 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 173 

more care should be exhibited. Some time after this 
I happened to be at the gate when a constable 
brought a perfectly drunken woman, who, he said, had 
fallen down in a fit. I said, " Why, she is only drunk 
and incapable ; take her away to the station ; " and 
turning to the master I said, " Do not admit her." 
An entertainment was being held that evening which 
I had assisted to get up, and I went on into the 
dining-hall. About an hour afterwards the master 
came to me and said, " They have brought that woman 
back with a certificate from the doctor that she is 
dangerously ill." I went to see her. She was only 
a shade more under the influence of liquor than she 
was before, but, not caring to contest the subject any 
further, I directed that she should be sent to the re- 
ceiving ward and put to bed. The next morning on 
seeing her she had got over the drunkenness, and she 
owned to me that she had been only drunk the night 
before. On going to my room I directed that a 
special messenger should take a letter from me to the 
station, telling the inspector on duty that the woman 
that had been sent in the night before alleged to be 
ill, had confessed to having been only drunk, and re- 
questing him to send a constable and take her away. 
The constable came. In the after-part of the day, a 
constable of that division called at mv house and said 



174 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

that Mr. Newton requested that I should attend the 
police court the next morning. I went, when I 
found the woman there and the divisional surgeon. 
The magistrate, before hearing a word from me, pro- 
ceeded to inveigh against me for my action in the 
matter, and peremptorily ordered me to admit the 
woman at once. The divisional surgeon also jumped 
up and protested against my refusal to admit the 
woman, and stated, to my astonishment, that she had 
heart disease, and that she was a confirmed epileptic. 
I mildly replied that she was suffering under nothing 
of the kind, but Mr. Newton told me to leave the 
court. The woman did not come into the Work- 
house until the evening, and she was then under the 
influence of drink. 

On my return to the Workhouse I told the master 
what had occurred, and also asked him if he knew 
where she came from. ''Oh," he said, ''the receiving 
wards woman informs me that she belongs to 
Whitechapel Union, whose clothes she is wearing." 
I then asked him to write to the master of the 
Whitechapel Union and ask him what he knew of 
her. In less than twenty-four hours the reply came. 
It was to the effect that she was one of the most 
abandoned characters ever in their House ; that she 
did not suffer from fits, though she often assumed to 



THE WE8TMINSTEB INFIBMABY. 175 

have one ; that she never went out except to return 
drunk; that she had no heart disease, but was a 
hale, hearty woman ; that on the day she went out, 
wearing the House clothes, it was after three months' 
detention, she having returned on the last occasion 
drunk and disorderly. 

Having received this report, I sent it to Mr. 
Newton. At the same time I protested against his 
having sent for me to attend his court, and for the 
remarks he had made to me on the faith of the 
opinion expressed by a person of very little experience, 
and further informed him that I should continue to 
protest against the use of the wards of the Work- 
house as a receptacle for merely drunken men and 
women, and should advise the master accordingly. 

The annoyance still continuing, I made a point of 
sending for the police each morning after every 
drunken admission. Then a new antagonistic ele- 
ment was imported in the shape of a letter to the 
Local Government Board from Mr. Timothy Holmes, 
containing a complaint against me for the trouble I 
was giving the police authorities in objecting to the 
reception of sick people from the station to the 
Workhouse. The letter having been sent to me to 
answer, I forwarded to the Local Government Board 
the names of some sixty persons brought in by the 



176 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

police under the certificate of the divisional surgeon, 
and showed that two -thirds of the entire numher 
were proved to be only drunk and incapable, and that 
the rest were, in the majority of instances, very trivial 
cases of illness. The nuisance after this was very 
much diminished. 

It may be asked, What are the police to do with 
persons who allege that they are ill ? Are these 
complaints to be disregarded ? Certainly not. But I 
contend that reasonable care should be taken by 
police surgeons, before they send cases of alleged 
illness to a workhouse infirmary ; for it must be 
remembered that they are paid a fee for each visit and 
examination. To go, therefore, to the station, make 
a cursory examination, and then write a certificate 
that the person is seriously ill and must be removed 
without delay, or in the case of a simply cut head 
send it at once away to the infirmary for the work- 
house surgeon to get out of bed and dress it, is, in 
my judgment, an entirely unsatisfactory procedure, 
especially as the latter is paid no special fee, be his 
trouble ever so great. There was nothing in all my 
duty as a workhouse medical ofiicer, which irritated 
me more than these police cases. I remember on 
one occasion a superintendent of police said to me, 
*'I hold that if after our surgeon makes these mis- 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 177 

takes lie were to forfeit his fee, which should be paid 
to you, you would not have many then." 

Sometimes the police brought cases of interest. 
On one occasion two Italian children were admitted. 
One was a boy of nine, clean and well nourished, 
the other was a little fellow of about five, wonderfully 
emaciated, and bearing about his little lean body 
evidence of recent ill-usage. The parents, who were 
Italian Jews, had been taken into custody for mal- 
treating this child, and had been remanded. He 
was dreadfully dirty. I had him weighed and found 
that he was much lighter than he should have been, 
regard being had to his age. He was ravenous ; but 
he had to be fed with care so as to prevent mischief. 
His parents had been remanded for a week, and a 
good-natured constable of the C Division who had 
intervened and got the parents arrested came and 
asked me to attend at the re-examination. Before 
taking the child to the court I again weighed him, 
and found he had gained three pounds. After some 
four remands at each of which I was enabled to show 
he had gained in weight, the parents were committed 
for trial. I attended as a witness at the Old Bailey 
when the trial came on, and the parents were con- 
victed and sentenced to eighteen months' imprison- 
ment with hard labour. The poor little fellow was 

13 



178 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

brought back to our House, whilst the elder brother 
was sent to the school. 

Foreseeing what was probably in store for this un- 
happy child, if he ever passed into the hands of his 
unnatural parents, I wrote to The Times paper, and 
pointed out what would be the inevitable fate of 
this boy when his parents came out of prison and 
claimed possession of him, and pointed out that, as 
the Italian Consul had found counsel for the defence 
of the parents at the trial, I trusted that they would 
find some means whereby the child might be secured 
against further ill-treatment. On the same day that 
the letter appeared, I received a letter from the Consul 
asking me to call on him, which I did, when he told 
me that he would bring the case under the attention 
of the King of Italy. Some three weeks after I 
received a communication stating that the King had 
resolved to take the child, and bring him up at the 
cost of the State, as a ward of the Italian Government. 
Some ten days afterwards a tailor came and measured 
him for clothing, and a messenger from the Italian 
Consul having given an undertaking to the Board, he 
was taken away and I saw him no more. If alive he 
must be now some eighteen years old. I write '* if 
alive," for the poor little fellow had a singular de- 
formity. He had no abdominal muscles ; what did 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRM ABY. 179 

duty for them was a dull, parchment-like-looking 
structure, stretched across the abdomen. One could 
make out without much difficulty the various abdo- 
minal organs. I had never seen anything like it 
before. Strange to relate, just at this time a young 
lady from Natal was sent over to me with a request 
from her parents that I would ask some expert to see 
her. On her arrival I found that she had exactly the 
same infirmity. The late Dr. Alfred Meadows, who 
saw her with me, would not believe my statement at 
all until he had himself seen and examined her. 
Her mother was very anxious to know whether she 
might be permitted to marry the gentleman to whom 
she was engaged. We gave a guarded opinion on 
the subject, and she returned to Natal, and was 
married, and has two or three children. I therefore 
trust that the little Jew Italian boy has also survived. 
I have never heard anything of him since he left the 
Poland Street Workhouse. 

One morning in 1877, shortly after I had left the 
House, the attendant came round to my residence, 
and informed me of the almost sudden death of the 
master, who was at my official visit half an hour 
before apparently in good health. He had never 
been partial to me, as my system of management 
clashed considerably with the stereotyped arrange- 



180 JOSEPH BOGEES, M.D. 

merits that bad prevailed in the House prior to my 
appointment, and I very much question whether he 
ever approved of my having caused almost everything 
consumed in the House to be supplied under con- 
tract. He did not openly quarrel with me, but con- 
tented himself with passive resistance ; and if I 
complained of any order not being carried out, he 
always excused himself by saying, Did you give an 
order for this, that, and the other ? all the time 
knowing full well, that I had given the order. A 
striking instance of this obstructiveness occm-red in 
the first autumn and winter after I took office. I 
had asked the Board's permission that some jackets 
should be supplied for the sick men and some shawls 
for the women, which they might wear when sitting 
up in bed to keep their chests and shoulders warm. 
This application was made to the Board of Guardians 
early in October, and was at once acceded to. Week 
after week went by, and in spite of repeated requests 
made by me, either to the master or matron, no 
notice was taken beyond the same answer which was 
always given when the one or the other thought fit to 
reply at all, " Oh, I have given the order for the 
material and for the shawls, but the contractor is so 
negligent, he has not sent us in the goods." 

In the early part of January I received a letter from 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 181 

Dr. Mouatt, Poor Law Inspector, stating that he had 
been instructed by the Local Government Board to go 
over the House and see how many persons could be 
described as fit to be sent away to the Sick Asylum, 
and, as he wished me to accompany him, he desired to 
know what day would suit me best. In reply I fixed 
the next Sunday, and as I did not wish the master to 
accompany us, for I knew he would report all that 
took place to the Board, I wrote in that sense to Dr. 
Mouatt. Dr. Mouatt came on the following Sunday 
morning. I had told the master he was coming, and, 
just as I expected, he stayed away from chapel, in 
order to go with us. Dr. Mouatt promptly said, " As 
this is a purely medical visit, master, we can dispense 
with your company." He coloured up and looked 
very much put out, but he had to comply. As I 
went through the wards I told the Inspector that I 
had asked the Board three months before to let me 
have some shawls for the women and jackets for the 
men, that the Board had given an order for them, 
but neither the master nor matron had supplied them, 
and that I felt satisfied they did not intend to do so, 
to which he quietly said, " I will soon alter that." At 
the same time I urged on him the necessity of so 
referring to the subject, as not to make them think 
I had said anything about it, but that the necessity 



182 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

for them had occurred to him, " For," I said, *' if you 
do, they will make it the subject of an open quarrel." 
It was humbling to do this, but I knew what these 
people would do. 

At the conclusion of our examination, which lasted 
nearly three hours, we returned to my room, where 
the master promptly joined us. On seeing him Dr. 
Mouatt asked that the matron should be sent for. 
On her arrival he addressed them both as follows : "I 
have been over the sick wards and have seen all the 
sick that should be sent away and taken the number ; 
this I shall report to the Local Government Board. 
I see that jouv House is kept clean and in good 
order, but there is one thing I notice which must at 
once be altered, and that is, the large number of 
patients sitting up in bed without anything over their 
shoulders. I have called Dr. Kogers' attention to it, 
and he tells me that the Board gave an order three 
months ago for jackets and shawls to be provided, but 
that they have never been supplied." Both imme- 
diately began to throw the blame on the contractor, 
but he cut them short by stating, " That excuse, 
master and matron, will not do for me ; you know as 
well as I do you could have got them if you had 
chosen. I shall report the omission to supply them to 
the Board of Guardians and also to the Local Govern- 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMARY. 183 

ment Board." On hearing this they were dreadfully 
put out, and expressed an earnest hope that, as it was 
not their fault, he would not be so severe. "Well," 
he said, " I shall request the medical officer to report 
to me when they are supplied, and if every person 
needing them is not furnished with them before the 
end of the week, I shall carry out what I have said." 
By the following Wednesday all my patients were 
provided with them. At his death the master left 
some £4:,000, notwithstanding he had a large and 
expensive family. After his decease I learned that 
he had signed a quantity of blank orders for my 
attendance, and had given them to the porter with the 
instructions that if any person was admitted who 
either looked ill or complained of being so, he was at 
once to send for me. His death led to the diminu- 
tion of second calls by at least two-thirds. He was 
nearly always out in the after-part of the day. For 
several weeks after his death the duties of master 
were performed by the labour master. At last the 
Board advertised for a master and matron, the 
appointment of matron having come to an end when 
the late master died. As the Guardians were fully 
alive to the bad discipline which had prevailed for so 
many years, they resolved to appoint two officers who 
should more strictly exercise their authoritv. The 



184 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

choice of the Board fell upon Mr. John Bliss, a 
corporal-major of the Life Guards, and a Miss 
Heatley, lately assistant matron of the Manchester 
Workhouse. Both of these officers were strict dis- 
ciplinarians, and something besides, as the sequel 
will show. For the first two or three years, indeed, 
during the whole Chairmanship of Mr. Cooper, the 
surgeon, they were kept in their places and behaved 
fairly well, but unfortunately for them, for the in- 
mates, and the Board, Mr. Cooper was taken ill and 
died, and another Chairman being elected, serious 
results soon followed, for this Chairman was always in 
the House, and when so was constantly closeted with 
the master and matron in their rooms. Speedily 
after that the master began to dispute my orders, 
and the matron did the same, and as the Chairman 
again began to obstruct my sending the acutely sick 
inmates away to the Sick Asylum, the House became 
fu of sick people, who were detained in it through 
the restrictions put in my way. At last the obstruc- 
tion to the performance of my duty, by both master 
and matron, became almost unbearable, especially as 
Mr. Bliss thought fit to accompany his refusals by 
telling me to go to h — 1, and sundry other coarse 
and blasphemous expressions ; and to such an extent 
was it carried, that I felt I could not put up with it. 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 185 

To complain to the Board would have been perfectly 
futile, the majority would most assuredly have gone 
against me. At last the loud-mouthed, coarse, and out- 
rageous blasphemy of the master quite appalled me ; 
and this, coupled with his refusal to obey my orders 
and his general interference with me in my treatment 
of the sick, by deriding my judgment and by openly 
stating that I did not know my profession, caused me 
to speak to Mr. Fraser, a Guardian, in reference to 
the annoyance I was being daily subjected to. He 
advised that I should go to the Local Government 
Board and confer with the Poor Law Inspector. I 
did so, but got very little encouragement by my 
action. Some time after, in a letter to the Depart- 
ment, I did not hesitate to refer to it, and state as 
much. One result, however, accrued from this visit, 
which I foresaw was in the near future imminent, 
and I accordingly took steps forthwith to get some 
influence in the House of Commons so as to secure 
a proper inquiry. On my return I again saw Mr. 
Fraser, and told him of the way I had been treated. 
Just about this time this Guardian came into 
collision with Mr. Bliss. It happened in this way : 
there was a lady living on Wandsworth Common, the 
wife of the chaplain of a public institution, and, being 
very benevolent, she had constantly visited the Union 



186 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

school, and had interested herself in the future 
welfare of the girls. A girl she was much interested 
in had gone to a situation some months before, and, 
not being kindly treated, had left and returned to the 
Workhouse, when she wrote to this lady, who at once 
came up to the House to see her and some other girl. 
The master refused to allow her to do so, whereupon 
she went round to Soho Square and saw Mr. Fraser, 
whom she had known as a Guardian, and told how 
she had been treated, whereupon he wrote to the 
master, stating who the lady was, and asking him to 
allow her to see the girls. The master read the 
letter and replied, with a coarse oath, "I have already 
told you you shall not see the girls, and you shall 
not." On reporting this conduct to Mr. Fraser, he 
was much incensed, and at the next meeting of the 
Board brought the master's behaviour before the 
Guardians. To his astonishment, the majority of 
the Guardians absolutely howled him down. Mr. 
Fraser then formulated a series of charges against 
Ml". Bliss, among them his constant refusal to obey 
my orders, his swearing and generally violent treat- 
ment of the inmates, and moved that these charges 
should be sent to the Local Government Board, and 
an inquiry into the master's conduct asked for. This 
proposition was rejected, but, at the suggestion of 



TRE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 187 

the Chairman, it was resolved that the Board would 
conduct an inquiry themselves. This was done 
evidently with the intention that the whole matter 
as against the master should be quashed. The 
inquiry was held, and I was ordered by the Board 
to attend. At the inquiry by the Guardians the 
Chairman presided, and proceeded to ask questions ; 
but finding he was no match for the solicitor, Baron 
H. de Worms, an ex-qfficio guardian, put in an ap- 
pearance and conducted the inquiry for them, and 
as I declined to recognize his or the Board's right 
to put questions to me, the Baron threatened to 
report my behaviour to the Local Government Board. 
I said to him, however, that if it were a regular 
legal inquiry, conducted by a properly constituted 
authority, I would answer on oath, and prove all 
the charges I had ever made against the master and 
matron. One of my charges was that I had dis- 
covered that my Medical Pielief Book had been 
tampered with, and that entries for wines and 
spirits, neither ordered by me or given to the 
sick, had been placed against certain names. When 
this was gone into by the Baron the master's clerk 
was sent for and insolently denied the allegation. 

The Guardians completely exonerated the master 
and matron, his clerk, and all concerned with them ; 



188 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

but the matter did not end there. During the 
progress of this so-called inquiry the matron brought 
before the Guardians eight of the very worst charac- 
ters in the House, in order to depose to her and 
the master's continuous kindness and consideration 
to all the inmates, and that Mr. Bliss never swore 
at all. After they had given their evidence they 
were entertained by the matron in the store-room, 
a hot supper and brandy-and-water being provided. 
As she knew I was keeping a sharp look-out on 
my books to prevent any additional frauds, the next 
morning she was at her wits' end to make up the 
deficiency in the brandy, but at last she managed 
it by adding some water ; but in her hurry she 
forgot to add clean water. She put what she wanted 
to increase the quantity into a jug which had con- 
tained milk, and so gave a cloudy appearance to the 
whole of it. On my arrival at the House I was 
informed of the entertainment that had been given 
to these witnesses to character, and on going into 
the women's sick ward, the head nurse showed 
me the brandy which had been tampered with, and 
I was further told by her that the brandy given 
out on the male side had the same appearance — 
indeed, that the nurse on that side had just called 
her attention to it. I directed that she should 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 189 

carry it down into my room. On going through 
to the male side, I requested the nurse to show 
me her brandy. At first she objected to do so, 
but on my insisting she reluctantly did so, when 
I took it away. On reaching my room I sent for 
a large bottle and mixed it all together and sealed 
down the cork. I then wrote to the contractors, 
Messrs. Hedges and Butler, of Regent Street, and 
asked them to examine it and write me word whether 
the brandy sent was the same as that supplied by 
them under the contract. It was taken by one of 
the officers. In the course of an hour he came 
back with the brandy and a statement from the 
firm proving that it had been lowered by the 
addition of so much water, and that the water that 
had been used was not clean. I then wrote to the 
Board giving the history now related, and enclosed 
Messrs. Hedges and Butler's certificate. I wrapped 
all up together in a piece of brown paper and 
addressed it to the Board of Guardians. I called 
the clerk into my room and having in his presence 
sealed up the parcel, I requested him to take charge 
of it and not to let it go out of his hands until 
the Board met. I then ordered a fresh supply for 
my sick. I had hardly left the House when the 
Chairman came, and, going to the clerk, demanded 



190 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

to see the parcel. The clerk gave it to him, when 
he immediately broke it open and read my letter 
and the spirit-merchant's certificate. Of course his 
supporters passed over this abominable transaction 
when the subject was brought before the Board, and 
the matron was not even censured; at least, so I 
was told. 

There was, however, a Nemesis. Just as they 
were rejoicing at the success of their proceedings 
a letter was on its way to the clerk from the Local 
Government Board, stating that, in consequence of 
certain information having been sent to the Depart- 
ment, an official inquiry into the master's manage- 
ment of the House had been determined on, and 
that Mr. Robert Hedley had been directed to hold 
it. I immediately went down to the House of 
Commons, saw some Members, and begged that they 
would see Sir Charles Dilke, who was then the Presi- 
dent, and ask him to send some other Inspector 
instead. A day or so afterwards I heard that as 
his name had been mentioned it could not be 
changed, but that another Inspector, Mr. Taj^lor, a 
barrister-at-law, would be appointed with him in the 
inquiry. 

In due course the inquiry took place, Mr. Robert 
Hedley presiding, Mr. Taylor sitting on his right, 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 191 

Mr. Eraser, the solicitor, one of the Guardians, on the 
left. Mr. Fraser conducted the proceedings against 
the master, who was defended by Mr. Ricketts. The 
proceedings lasted several days. During the pro- 
gress of the inquiry Mr. Hedley rendered no 
assistance whatever, and if it had not been for the 
conscientious conduct of Mr. Taylor, not one-half 
of the evidence which was given would have been 
brought out. Nearly all the evidence which was 
tendered was voluntary — that is, inmates and officers 
came forward to testify to Mr. Bliss's continual 
refusal to comply with my orders, to his swearing 
at me and the inmates, and his general harshness 
and positive cruelty to many of them. When the 
master's clerk was examined, he swore that he had 
never made false enterics in my Medical Relief Book ; 
but when my attendant, who had assisted in making 
up the book, gave evidence and stated that he had 
seen him make them, his tone altered, and eventu- 
ally he confessed to sixty-three fraudulent entries 
of wines and spirits, amounting in the whole to a 
very considerable quantity of stimulants, presumably 
supplied to my sick but in reality consumed by 
other people. When called as a witness, 1 deposed 
to the continued refusal of Mr. Bliss to comply 
with my orders, as to his swearing at me and at 



192 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

others, and to the fact that he derided my judgment, 
and had intimated to the sick inmates under my 
charge his disbelief in my knowledge of my pro- 
fession, &c. 

When Bliss was called on for his defence he 
contented himself with giving a general denial to 
everj'thing that had been given in evidence against 
him. At last Mr. Hedley said that he should close 
the inquiry. I do not know whether at that time 
he had communicated to Mr. Bliss that he intended 
to report in his favour, but I had a suspicion of 
it, as no one could possibly be in better spirits than 
Mr. Bliss was that day, and it was clear from Mr. 
Hedley's manner and Mr. Bliss's familiarity with 
the Inspector what his decision would be. 

I was therefore not surprised on going down to 
the House some three weeks after to make some 
inquiries that certain Members, whose names I am 
precluded even now from mentioning, informed me 
confidentially that it had oozed out that Mr. Hedley 
and the other Inspector had recommended to the 
President that Mr. Bliss should be allowed to remain 
as master. On my expressing my astonishment at 
such a monstrous decision, I was informed that, to 
a great extent, the President was powerless in such 
matters — that, having appointed an Inspector to 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 193 

conduct an inquiry, he was by the rules of the 
Department bound by his decision, and that if he 
made a report in favour of the individual into whose 
management he was deputed to inquire, and reported 
favourably or the reverse of that, the President was 
compelled to accept it, however much he felt that 
the evidence did not support the view taken by the 
Inspectors. 

I lay stress upon this assumption that Inspectors 
cannot by any possibility err in their judgment, 
or be guilty of favouritism in their conduct of such 
inquiries, because ere long, if we are to have 
County Government Boards, the obligations of these 
Inspectors will be largely increased, and if the 
otBcial inquiries of the future are to be conducted 
by men such as I have had experience of. Heaven 
help the unfortunate officials whose actions are being 
inquired into, unless there are some special reasons 
why they should be officially befriended, such as 
evidently held good in Mr. John Bliss's case. 

Having regard to the fate that always attends 
crooked courses, I am very much disposed to think 
that a different line would have been followed could 
it have been foreseen that Mr. Bliss would have 
acted as he did three weeks after the inquiry was 
ended, when a woman was brought in a cab so very 

14 



194 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

ill that I decided to send lier away fortbwitli to the 
Asylum Hospital ; but, as she was blue in the face 
from difficulty of breathing and from general ex- 
haustion, I told the receiving wards woman to come 
into my room, and then gave her a written order for 
some brandy and beef-tea to be given to the woman 
before she went away. I addressed the order to the 
matron. Shortly afterwards the nurse came back 
and told me that this woman had refused to supply 
what I had ordered. I then said, *' Take the order 
to the master." After a minute or so she returned, 

telling me that the master w^ould see me d d 

before the woman should have it. I then left the 
House, and on the next day heard that, exhausted 
as she was, the woman was taken to Cleveland Street 
without anything being given to her. That morning 
I wrote to the medical superintendent of the Sick 
Asylum, and asked him to let me have a copy of 
any remarks he had made on her admission (of 
course, stating the refusal of both master and matron 
to give her anything at all before she left the West- 
minster Workhouse). His reply bore out the view 
I had formed of her condition, and he further said 
that if I had not written to him he should have 
made a special report to the managers showing her 
exhausted condition when admitted. A copy of this 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 195 

letter and a formal complaint against the matron 
and Bliss for their refusal to give the poor woman 
anything, was sent to the Board of Guardians, who 
simply ignored it. I also sent a similar statement 
to the Local Government Board, but no acknow- 
ledgment of its ever having been received was sent 
to me. Knowing what I do, from many years*^ 
experience, what this Department is, I very much 
regret that I did not send this complaint under 
cover (privately) to Sir Charles Dilke. It is a 
curious fact that, although the suppression of my 
statement at the Local Government Board, and the 
refusal of the Chairman and his party to make any 
inquiry into my complaint caused Mr. Bliss to 
keep his appointment a tvrelvemonth longer, yet 
this refusal, having been subsequently conclusively 
proved, ultimately led to his being called on to 
resign his appointment, as will be shown hereafter, 
after the Chairman had in the interval been ejected 
from office by an overwhelming vote of the indignant 
ratepaj^ers. 

No report of the inquiry having been forwarded 
to the Board, the Chairman, after the lapse of 
about three months, caused a letter to be written 
to the Local Government Board asking that the 
result of the inquiry should be forwarded. The 



196 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

President sent a copy of the evidence given on oath 
to the Guardians, thinking that after the Board had 
read it through they would surely concur with him 
in thinking that Mr. Bliss was not a fit person to 
remain as master. But he reckoned wrongly. Sir 
Charles Dilke did not know the Chairman. This man 
simply induced his dozen followers to utterly ignore 
all the evidence, and to assert that it proved nothing. 
Meeting one of these Guardians in the House two 
or three mornings after, he came up to me, and, in 
a loud tone of voice, he said, *' I have heen reading 
your disgraceful evidence against our master.'* To 
which I quietly replied, *' It was given on oath, and 
every word of it is true; " when, in a towering passion, 
he said, "You have disgraced yourself, I tell 3^0 u ; 
you have disgraced yourself; " and then, before I 
could reply to this outburst of vulgar vituperation, 
he went on to say, " I see the Local Government 
Board have directed us to pay you five guineas for 
your attending to give evidence : I am the Chairman 
of the Board, and not one penny shall you ever 
be paid for your disgraceful evidence." Had this 
outburst been indulged in some few years before 
I cannot answer for the form which my resentment 
would have taken ; but I kept my temper, as I 
knew no credit could accrue from any squabble 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMABY. 197 

with this man. The cheque was subsequently paid. 
The Chairman was far too wise to enter into a 
struggle with the Local G-overnment Board over 
such a matter. 

At the next meeting of the Board of Guardians 
he, or one of his followers, moved that a letter be 
written to the Local Government Board, stating 
that they had considered the evidence and were of 
opinion that it in no way affected the character of 
their master, and requesting that the Board should 
forthwith send its opinion of the evidence and what 
charges they considered proved, whereupon there was 
forwarded to them a list of thirteen charges which 
the Local Government Board held had been proved 
against Bliss. It is probable that if the Chairman 
and the majority had remained quiet, these serious 
charges against the master would never have seen 
the light. As it happened, the publication of them 
gave the opponents of Mr. Bliss the opportunity 
of conclusively showing up the action of the Board. 
The letter of the Local Government Board, contain- 
ing particulars of the charges proved, was as follows — 

" Local Goveknment Board, 
" Whitehall, 

" August 28, 1883. 
" Sir, — I am directed by the Local Government 



198 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

Board to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 
the 10th inst. respecting the decision communicated 
to the Guardians of the Westminster Union in the 
letter which we addressed to them by the Board on 
the 18th ult. upon the charges preferred against Mr. 
Bliss, the master of the Workhouse, and recently 
investigated by their Inspectors, Mr. Hedley and Mr. 
Taylor. 

*' The Board direct me to state, in reply, that the 
charges to which tliey referred in that letter were the 
following — 

" That Mr. Bliss twice threw water from a bucket 
over an inmate named Ellen Coleman. 

" That he kicked a woman named Ann Lane on the 
back of the thigh [she was sixty-eight years old], the 
bruise caused thereby w^as about four inches across. 

" That he kicked a boy named James Daley twice 
on the back [he was about thirteen years old, and was 
a very good bo}']. 

" That he was in the habit of swearing, and of 
using expressions of an objectionable character when 
irritated. 

** That he had exercised no supervision as regards 
the entries in his portion of the Workhouse Medical 
Relief Book. 

" That he had not entered in the Provision Accounts 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 199 

as absent inmates wlio were in fact absent on leave 
from the Workhouse. 

" That he had contravened the Board's regulations 
by placing Caroline Barber, aged sixty-four years, 
upon bread and water. 

*' That there had been undue delay in the registra- 
tion of four births in the Workhouse. 

** That in the cases of two females, named Caroline 
Clegg and Ehzabeth Jacob, who died in the Work- 
house, he did not take sufficient care to give notice of 
their decease to their respective relatives. 

" That through want of due care, a mistake was 
made as to a body sent for burial. 

** That he allowed Elizabeth Farquharson to leave 
the Workhouse for four days to go to work, and that 
he charged in his accounts rations for her during that 
period. 

*' That his behaviour towards Mrs. Casher, on her 
visiting the Workhouse to see two girls in whom she 
was interested, was discourteous ; and that he used 
very improper language to Emily Brown on her 
visiting the Workhouse to see her husband, an in- 
mate [who was on his deathbed] . 
" I am, Sir, 

*' Your obedient servant, 

'' {Signed) C. N. Dalton, 

" Assistant Secretary,'' 



200 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

I have been informed that the reading of the above 
letter was received by the Chairman and his followers 
with much exasperation, which exhibited itself in 
threats of vengeance against all those, whether in- 
mates or officers, who had given evidence against the 
master. One of the first to feel the wrath of the 
Chairman Avas Thomas Bailey, a man seventy years 
of age, who was discharged from his employment in 
aiding me and the master in keeping the Medical 
Officer's Relief Book, which he had done for nearly 
twenty years, because of his wickedness in bringing 
under my notice the fraudulent entries made in my 
portion of the Medical Book by the master's clerk 
at the instance of the matron, an irregularity which 
it is reasonable to suppose could only have been con- 
doned by the majority of the Board on the supposi- 
tion that some of them had helped to get rid of 
what had been falsely entered against the names of 
my sick patients. 

Although this fraud had been clearly proved, no 
attention had been drawn to it in the report, but a 
mere misty reference was made to the subject in the 
fifth charge proved. 

Here let me observe that I believe this" inquiry 
would have been absolutely nugatory of any bene- 
fidal results if it had been conducted without an 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMARY. 201 

assessor being present, and, considering the bearing 
and physique of the two Inspectors, it seems to me 
that the assessor modified his own judgment, which 
would have been entirely adverse to Mr. Bliss, in 
deference to the manifest wish of the Inspector to 
screen an old soldier from the proved charges of 
blasphemy and unmanly violence to an aged woman 
and a small boy, for which two latter offences Mr. 
Bliss would have been taken before a magistrate and 
severely punished if the miserable victims had had 
the necessary means. 

The Chairman thought, in flouting the Local 
Government Board by his protection of his friend 
the master, that he would triumph; but at that time 
he was w^holly unaware of what was in store for him 
and the party he had so long led. 

The Inspector was not, indeed, an acceptable person 
to all Boards of Guardians, as the following letter 
from the Ilolborn Board indicates — 

''February 28, 1884. 

" Re Stanton. Official Inquiry. 

" My Lords and Gentlemen, — I am directed by 

the Guardians of the Poor of the Ilolborn Union to 

acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th 

inst., stating that you have instructed your Inspector, 



202 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

Mr. Hedley, to hold an inquiry into the charges pre- 
ferred against Mr. Stanton, and that Mr. Hedley 
will give the Guardians due notice of the time and 
place in which he intends holding the inquiry, and to 
inform you that the following Resolution was passed 
upon your communication being submitted to the 
Guardians, viz. — 

" * That the clerk write to the Local Government 
Board and inform them that the Guardians are of 
opinion that an official should be appointed to con- 
duct the inquiry who has not already expressed an 
opinion on the subject, which Mr. Hedley has publicly 
done, and that if the Local Government Board 
adhere to the appointment of Mr. Hedley to hold the 
inquiry, the Guardians must decline to take pai-t 
therein.' 

" I am further directed to inform you that this 
Besolution was carried with only one dissentient at 
the Board last evening. 

'' 1 have the honour to be, 

" My Lords and Gentlemen, 
*' Your obedient servant, 

''James \Y. Hill, Cleric, 

" The Local Government Board." 



I do not know whether it was at the meeting of 



THE WESTMINSTim INFIBMAIIY. 203 

tliG Board wlien tlio decision of the Department was 
first read, or on the occasion when the Guardians 
heard their clerk read out the list of cbarges which 
the Department considered were proved against Mr. 
Bliss, but it is certain that the Chairman rose in 
his seat and moved that I be called on to resign my 
appointment forthwith. Of course it was carried, 
and the clerk was directed to forward me a copy of 
the resolution. I briefly acknowledged its receipt. 
I understood that at this time this person was much 
put out at my not at once complying with his request, 
and threatened all sorts of vengeance on me. He was 
so ignorant that, in his rage, he forgot that he could 
not so summarily get rid of me, and therefore I waited 
patiently for his next move ; indeed, I applied for and 
took my usual autumn holiday. At this time there 
appeared in TJie Standard daily newspaper an article 
commenting on the evidence given at the ofScial 
inquiry, on tlie charges found to be proved, and 
the conduct of the Chairman and his docile fol- 
lowers. 

It was republished and sent to every ratepayer in 
both parishes. And here I may be allowed to call 
attention to the fact, that in the reforms which 
I have tried to secure, I have had the assistance 
of papers of all parties. The article was as follows — 



204 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D, 

" Westminster Union. The Local Government 
Board, the Guardians of the Poor, and 
J. D. Bliss, Master of the Workhouse, 
Poland Street. 

" Defend the poor and fatherless ; see that such as are in 
need and necessity have right." — Psalm Ixxxii. 3. 

*' The Local Government Board, in an official 
commanication to the Guardians of the Westminster 
Union, say they have ' entertained very great doubt 
whether, consistently with their public duty,' they 
could 'properly allow' the present master of the Poland 
Street Workhouse to retain his post. It is likely 
that the public will go all the way with the Local 
Government Board, and even a little further. The 
Board, having instituted a long and searching inquiry 
into sundry charges brought against the master, have 
arrived at the conclusion that several of the accusa- 
tions have been established. They told the Guardians 
so much as this some little time back ; but these 
authorities wished to know more precisely what were 
the charges considered to be proved. It is fortunate 
that these gentlemen were so far disposed to chal- 
lenge the conclusions arrived at by the central power, 
for the answer they received puts the public in 
possession of some notable facts which otherwise 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 205 

might have remained in obscurity. We now learn 
that the demonstrated dehnquencies of this Work- 
house master inckide such peccadilloes as twice 
emptying a bucket of water over an inmate named 
Ellen Colemau, and kicking a woman named Ann 
Lane, as well as a boy named James Daley, the latter 
twice. He also contravened the Board's regulations by 
placing an old woman upon bread and water. There 
might be some economy in this, but it was more 
than counterbalanced by an awkward habit in which 
the master indulged, of charging rations for paupers 
absent on leave. Another irregularity consisted in a 

* mistake as to a body sent for burial,' coupled with 
which we hear of ' undue delay in the registration of 
four births.' Then there was confusion in the 
Medical Eelief Books, and a neglect to give notice 
when people were dead. To all this must be added a 

* habit of swearing and using expressions of an 
objectionable character when irritated.' This model 
master of a Workhouse is further proved to have 
been discourteous to the wife of a clergyman, and to 
have * used very improper language to Emily Brown,' 
a poor woman who came to see her husband. I'or 
all this he is master of the Workhouse still, and, as 
he retains * tbe confidence of the Guardians,' the 
Local Government Board ' refrain from adopting the 



206 JOSEPH BO GEES, M.D. 

extreme course of requiring his resignation.' But, 
at tlie same time, this redoubtable official is warned 
that if any further complaints are substantiated 
against him he will be most certainly asked, with all 
due politeness, to relinquish his responsible office. 
There is, for the moment, nothing more to be done, 
except, perhaps, for the Guardians to present him 
with a testimonial." — Extracted from " TJie Stan- 
dard;' September 14, 1883. 

(It should be clearly understood that this inquiry 
was instituted by a minority of the Board, who have 
steadily voted for Mr. Bliss's resignation.) 

On my return to town I found that the Board 
generally had also gone away, but the Chairman had 
given notice that when the Guardians met in Septem- 
ber he should move that I be suspended from my 
office ; which in due course he did, and, having a passive 
majority, carried it. This did not alarm me at all. 
It was not then as it was some years ago. There 
v\as a new Secretary at the Local Government Board, 
who was the worthy successor of a most estimable 
father, the late Hugh Owen. AdJed to this I had 
several friends in the House of Commons, and most 
assuredly Sir Charles Dilke was not prejudiced against 
me. Besides this, the Chairman could not get up a 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMARY. 207 

case aofainst me. So, beino: aware that it would take 
some weeks before any decision could be come to, as 
the head officials at the Central Department would 
be certainly out of town, and that it was a task beyond 
the intelligence of the Chairman to draft an indict- 
ment, I again went into the country. 

So soon as it became known that this Chairman 
had moved my suspension simply for having resented 
the conduct of Bliss in cursing and swearing at me, 
and disobeying my orders for the sick, namerous 
friends wrote to me, and the medical journals vied 
with each other in denouncing the conduct of this 
Board, and called on my professional brethren to 
rally round me as I had been called on to resign, 
and was now suspended for interfering with Bliss 
in his treatment of my sick poor. The action of the 
Chairman and his supporters turned to my advan- 
tage, and eventually led to his and their complete 
and signal expulsion from office. 

Among other annotations and leading articles 
which appeared at this date, I will here insert one 
from The Lancet, bearing date October 27, 1883 — 

'' The Suspension of Dr. Bogees. 

" The suspension of Dr. Eogers from his duties 
by the Gruardians of the Westminster Union because 



208 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

of his honest testimon}' in an inquiry into the con- 
duct of the master, is an event of very great conse- 
quence. It is impossible that the Local Government 
Board can sanction the action of the Board, or dis- 
regard the memorial signed by fifty-four of the most 
respectable iuhabitants of St. Anne's, including the 
rector, the Catholic priest, &c. ; and another, signed 
by ninety-four of the ratepayers of St. James's. Dr. 
Rogers is a representative man. He represents not 
only the Poor Law medical service, but the inde- 
pendence of the members of that service, and no 
greater misfortune can befall the poor or the rate- 
payers than that he should be persecuted by the 
Guardians of Westminster for doing his duty. We 
cannot believe that Sir Charles Dilke will allow such 
a misfortune to happen. The Local Government 
Board have acted with a strange inconsistency in 
retaining the master of the Workhouse. It is 
inconceivable that they will play into his hands, and 
those of the Guardians who assist him, by sanction- 
ing the dismissal of Dr. Rogers. But the profession 
and the members of the Poor Law service, should 
lose no time in organizing a proper movement for 
vindicating Dr. Rogers' claims and position." 

After my suspension I went to Bournemouth, and 



THE WESTMIN8TEB INFIBMAEY. 209 

whilst there heard of the above movement in my sup- 
port, and also saw that my friends in the profession 
were organizing a testimonial in my favour, subscrip- 
tions to which came from all parts of the kingdom. 
So that, instead of injuring me, the action of the 
Guardians secured me three months' holiday, a testi- 
monial worth i'200, and gave me that leisure which 
enabled me to work up a party that some six months 
after drove the Chairman and his followers from 
office. 

On my return from Bournemouth I set to work to 
get up a list of candidates for Guardians for the 
ensuing year. It was necessary to get thirteen, as I 
had only five supporters. It is true that they were the 
most respectable men on the Board. I was not very 
long in getting three respectable ratepayers to stand 
for St. Anne's ; but the great difficulty was in St. 
James's, where ten were required ; and if it had not 
have happened that the Eev. Henry Sheringham, 
Vicar of St. Peter's, Great Windmill Street, exerted 
himself most earnestly, we could not have succeeded 
at all. He not only came forward himself, but he 
induced a colleague, the Vicar of St. John's, Great 
Marlborough Street, and four very wealthy and well- 
known gentlemen in St. James's to do likewise. 
The obtaining of four others ceased to be a matter 

15 



210 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

of difficulty. The Rev. H. Sberingham took the 
greatest interest in the election, and it was through 
his help that the Bishop of London, the Marquis of 
Waterford, and a large number of the nobility and 
gentry, bankers, and others who were ratepayers in 
St. James's, and up to that date had never voted in 
any election of Guardians, were, on this occasion, 
secured. 

Mr. Sberingham was the incumbent of the poorest 
district in St. James's, and consequently he was 
constantly brought into contact with those who had 
either been inmates, or had friends in the House, 
and for a long time he had been cognisant of Mr. 
Bliss's management, and of the Chairman's support 
of the master. When I was suspended, Mr. 
Sberingham showed his feeling by going round to 
some of the leading people in St. James's and 
getting them to sign the testimonial in my favour, 
and at the election in the following April he worked 
hard all day long to get rid of the Chairman and his 
party. 

It may be thought by those who have followed this 
narrative of Poor Law management in 1883, that I 
had not sufficiently referred to the action of Mr. W. 
J. Fraser, solicitor, of Soho Square, and of 191, 
Clapham Road, but it does not arise from want of 



TBE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 211 

gratitude to this gentleman, who has known me for 
many years, who asked me to see poor Watson in 
1872, who induced me to become a candidate for 
the office the same year, and whose worthy father used 
to take an honest pride in bringing him to my house 
nearly thirty years before, to show me how he had 
got on during his half-year's schooling. If it had 
not been for the high sense of conscientiousness, and 
his invariable hatred of such wrong-doing as was 
implied in the support of such a person as J. Bliss, 
as a young solicitor he could not have made so great 
a sacrifice of time, of labour, and of money. 

The fact of Mr. Bliss being no longer master 
of the Westminster Workhouse, and his chief 
supporter no longer in power as the Chairman of 
the Westminster Union, with all its possible 
advantages, is owing almost entirely to Mr. W. J. 
Fraser, who, recognizing the wrong-doing of both, 
exerted himself untiringly to get rid of both, 
which he achieved with singularly complete success. 

It was not until just before Christmas that one of 
the Guardians who was friendly to me, told me that 
a letter had just been received from the Local Govern- 
ment Board, directing me to resume my duties, there- 
by removing my suspension ; at the same time saying 
there was an oblique reference to me at the end of 



212 JOSEPH EOGEBS, M.D. 

the letter. '' Oh," I rejDlied, *' I understand all 
about that ; but I can afford to let that pass so long 
as the President supports me." 

I returned to mj^ duties, but had it not been for 
the fact that my nurses (one woman excepted, who 
was Bliss's confidant, and whom I would have got rid 
of months before for incompetence and worse quali- 
ties) welcomed me back, as did the sick inmates, 
whose friend I had tried to be, I really should have 
hesitated to continue in my office, for every form of 
petty obstructiveness was exhibited by the master, 
matron, the master's clerk, the Chairman, and his 
followers. The only retaliation in my power was to 
draft questions and get them put in the House. This 
process made the names and doings of the majority of 
the Westminster Board of Guardians come out rather 
awkwardly before the public and the ratepayers of 
the Union ; the extraordinary circumstance being 
that both parties, or rather I may state all parties, in 
the House assisted me in getting these questions put 
to Ministers. 

At last the election took place. I feel pretty well 
convinced that when the Chairman saw our list of 
candidates and who were the nominators, consisting 
as they did of most of the nobility, gentry, bankers, 
clergy, and leading ratepayers in both parishes, he 



THE WESTMINSTEB INFIRMABY. 213 

felt that his reign was over, but he did not think, 
even then, that his defeat could have been so complete 
and overwhelming, for not only was he left in an 
absurd minority, but his twelve followers were left also. 
Subjoined is a copy of the address sent to the 
ratepayers of both parishes. 

" Election of Guardians. 

*' To the Ratepayers of the Parish of St. James, 
Piccadilly, and St. Anne, Soho. 

"My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen, — Having 
been nominated to be Guardians to represent St. 
James's Parish as well as that of St. Anne's, Soho, 
at the Westminster Union, by many of the nobility, 
clergy, gentry, and leading tradesmen and large rate- 
payers of both parishes, we confidently solicit your 
votes and support at the approaching election. 

"We wish it to be understood that, in offering 
ourselves as candidates, we are actuated by no per- 
sonal motives or considerations whatever, but solely 
by a desire to secure the faithful, humane, and 
economical administration of the laws relating to the 
relief of the poor in the Westminster Union. 

" Public attention has, during the past year, been 
frequently drawn to serious complaints respecting the 



214 JOSEPH BOGERS, M.D. 

treatment of inmates, subordinate officials and others 
in, and visitors to, the Poland Street Workhouse, 
and it is very widely felt that a searching and careful 
investigation should be instituted without delay into 
matters vitally affecting the comfort, happiness, and 
welfare of a large body of poor and helpless people, 
such as inhabit our workhouses. 

"We beg to draw your attention to the accompany- 
ing copies of two letters addressed by the Local 
Government Board to the late Guardians ; and also 
to the enclosed copy of an article which appeared in 
The Stcmdard newspaper. 

** Many of the ratepayers will learn with surprise 
that, notwithstanding the serious and grave charges 
substantiated against the master of the Workhouse, 
at the Local Government Board inquiry, held by 
two of their Inspectors, a large majority of the late 
Guardians felt themselves able formally to record 
their confidence in the master. 

" It should be clearly understood that this inquiry 
was demanded by a small minority of the Guardians, 
who found themselves powerless to bring to light or 
redress in any other way the flagrant abuses of which 
they had been informed. And at the same time it 
should be known that those Guardians upon whom 
devolved the duty of conducting the inquiry, were 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 215 

denied, both by the majority of the Board, who were 
opposed to any action being taken, and also by 
the master, both before and at the time of the 
inquiry, all access to inmates and resident officers, 
whose evidence was essential to establish the charges 
alleged. It was, therefore, only with the greatest 
difficulty that the necessary evidence could be 
collected. 

" We have further to state that, after the decision 
of the Local Government Board was communicated 
to the Guardians, and when all the facts of the case 
were fully before them, the Chairman and the 
majority of the Board presented to Mr. Bliss, in 
the Board-room of the Poland Street Workhouse, a 
testimonial, in the form of a sum of money, osten- 
sibly for the purpose of defraying the expenses of his 
professional adviser in conducting his defence during 
the inquiry into his conduct. 

" It may be added that the Chairman, when com- 
pelled to admonish Mr. Bliss, in accordance with the 
directions of the Local Government Board, did so 
with reluctance, entertaining, it would seem, the 
belief that the master was not guilty of all or any of 
the charges proved against him; and, when so admon- 
ished, the master himself expressed no regret that 
the charges set forth in the Local Government Board's 



216 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

letter should have been held to be established against 
him, and gave no assurance whatever that he V70uld 
comport himself differently in future. 

" Thus the official inquiry was rendered practically 
abortive, owing, as we believe, to the action of the 
majority of the Guardians in virtually upholding the 
master, in the face of such overwhelming evidence of 
misconduct. 

" Various complaints have since been made both 
by inmates and officers respecting their treatment, 
and, notwithstanding the recent inquiry, the internal 
condition of the Workhouse remains up to the present 
time unaltered and unimproved. 

'* It is for these reasons that w^e feel it our duty to 
offer ourselves as candidates at the present election, 
believing that the ratepayers of St. James's and of 
St. Anne's, Soho, will no longer be able to place 
confidence in the Board as lately constituted, and 
that they will demand a searching inquiry into the 
whole system of the management of the Poland 
Street Workhouse. 

" If, therefore, it be your pleasure to elect us as 
your representatives on the Board, we shall address 
ourselves, without fear or favour, promptly and im- 
partially to the consideration of every matter requir- 
ing attention ; and with the co-operation of the Local 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 217 

Government Board, which we doubt not will readily 
be given, we shall make it our chief aim and 
endeavour to remove all legitimate grievances, and to 
secure humane and kindly treatment for the many 
aged sick and helpless inmates of. our Workhouse. 
*' We have the honour to remain, 

" Your most obedient servants, 



As the election had mainly turned on the conduct 
of Mr. Bliss, one of the first things done by the new 
Board when it met was to suspend Mr. Bliss from 
his office, which being done, shortly afterwards a 
committee of the Board met and drew up an indict- 
ment against him ; but as the Department had con- 
doned the whole of the thirteen charges which were 
considered proved, they could not raise any of these 
again ; but as Mr. Eraser was aware that the com- 
plaints I had made subsequent to the inquiry had 
been ignored by the late Chairman and his friends, 
and that the duplicate copy had never been acknow- 
ledged by the Department, I, and the nurse of the 
receiving wards, and the head nurse on the female 
side, were called to prove the order given by me, the 
refusal of the matron and the master to comply with 
it, the woman's condition when admitted, her state 



218 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

on her arrival at Cleveland Street Asylum, the re- 
marks as to her exhausted condition when carried by 
the porter in his arms, she being too ill to walk ; all 
these facts were shown to be absolutely true, and 
were completely borne out by evidence. Other 
matters against Mr. Bliss were also gone into and 
forwarded to the Local Government Board, and with 
it an intimation that it was the desire of the new 
Board that he should not be permitted to return to 
his duties. Whilst away in Belfast, where I went in 
the month of August to deliver my customary annual 
address on Poor Law Medical Relief, I received a 
telegram that Sir Charles Dilke had called on Mr. J. 
Bliss to resign. 

When the master was suspended I can hardly 
describe the relief I experienced, it was so great. 
No longer did I dread loud-mouthed expressions 
of dissent from me in my treatment of the sick, 
no longer did I fear that he would stalk, unan- 
nounced, through the female sick wards when I 
was examining the poor women ; but instead of it 
there was respectful quiet and orderly behaviour. 
The matron, who ought to have been sent away 
also, kept out of my way and was obsequiously 
obliging when I gave a necessary order. One person 
only did I at once bring to book — it was the head 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMABY. 219 

nurse on the male side. After the formation of 
the new Board, I immediately drew up and sent 
in a list of charges against her, comprising refusal 
to obey my orders, complicity in and support of 
certain malingerers who she falsely informed me 
were ill. One of these I had discovered some 
months before to be an impostor, and ordered his 
discharge, but the nurse got her friend Bliss to 
direct his return, thus flouting my authority. She 
did not stop to meet my charges, but sent in 
her resignation, and, it being accepted, these com- 
plaints were not investigated. I speedily got rid 
of the malingerer also, and during the remainder 
of the time I held office the man remained out 
of the sick ward. What was the tie between the 
nurse and this malingerer I was never able to divine. 
During the latter part of April, the whole of May, 
and the first part of June, 1884, there had been an 
outbreak of fever at the Union schools on Wands- 
worth Common, and it appeared that the medical 
officer of the schools, the Visiting Committee, and 
the Poor Law Medical Inspector, could throw no 
light on the causes of it, when it was suggested 
at the Board that I should be sent down to examine 
into the matter and report to the Board thereon. 
I wrote to the medical officer informing him of the 



220 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Board's wish, and asked him to arrange a time to 
meet me and we would go into the subject together. 
He was not sufQciently courteous even to acknow- 
ledge my letter. I then asked a member of the 
Board (a builder) to accompany me, which he did. 

On my arrival at the schools I requested the 
attendance of the superintendent and matron, as I 
wished to state the object of my visit and to obtain 
from them certain information as regards the com- 
mencement of the outbreak, the symptoms presented 
by the sick, &c. I also elicited from them that the 
medical officer had said that he would not meet 
me — an act of discourtesy to the Board, whose joint 
officers we were. 

I speedily ascertained that the outbreak com- 
menced amongst the girls, and had been almost 
entirely limited to the female side of the House, 
and of these girls those mainly who were employed 
in the laundry. But as I wanted to make a com- 
plete examination of all the water supply, I asked 
the Guardian to pioneer the way in our general 
survey. With this object I got out upon the roof 
of the main building and peered into all the cisterns. 
I did not discover anything vastly amiss in these, 
and nothing wrong at all on the male side. I then 
proceeded with my examination of the cistern supply 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIRMARY. 221 

in the laiindiy and kitchen, and that on the roof 
which furnished the kitchen and part of the laundry 
suppl}^ when I came upon the source of the mis- 
chief; for, on lifting the lid of a large cistern there 
containing many gallons of water, my sense of smell 
was assailed hy one of the most horrible odours 
I had ever encountered, and I saw a large mass 
of thick scum floating there which was evolving 
offensive gases and in constant motion from the 
activity of innumerable forms of the lowest type 
of animal life. I asked my friend to hand me up 
a stick, and with it I took out a large piece of 
it and spread it out upon the roof of the building. 
I also requested the Guardian to come up and judge 
for himself. I did this because I knew that anj^ 
statement I might make would most assuredly be 
denied by the parties who are responsible for looking 
into and examining the condition of the cisterns 
and keeping them cleansed, a circumstance which, 
as I expected, did subsequently occur, but which 
could not be controverted by them as I had the 
gentleman in question as my witness. 

Before leaving I left a written instruction that 
every cistern throughout the building should be 
emptied and disinfected, additional care to be taken 
with the offending one. 



222 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

On my return home I drew up and forwarded 
to the Board my opinion as to the cause of the 
outbreak, and the orders I had given to the super- 
intendent. As no other cases of fever occurred 
after my visit, it was clear I had discovered the 
cause and the remedy. The Board wrote me, 
through their clerk, a handsome acknowledgment 
of my success, and voted me five guineas for my 
visit, and informed me that they had directed the 
clerk to send a copy of my report and the results 
that had followed it to the Local Government Board. 
This was somewhat of a rebuke to those permanent 
officials who had placed that addendum to the letter 
directing me to resign my duties some six months 
before, as I had discovered and stopped the outbreak, 
the cause of which they had utterly failed to ascer- 
tain ; but then the se aforesaid permanent officials 
never throw any heart or intelligence into the work 
they are so handsomely paid to do. 

In the early part of June the honorary secretary 
of the fund, Mr. J. W. Barnes, F.K.C.S., wrote to 
me, stating that it was decided to present a testi- 
monial to me at a meeting of the subscribers, at 
the rooms of the Medical Society of London, in 
Chandos Street, Cavendish Square, in June, 1884, 
and that Mr. J. A. Shaw Stewart had arranged to 



THE WESTMINSTER INFIBMABY. 223 

take the chair. On the day mentioned the pre- 
sentation took place, and subjoined is a condensed 
report of the proceedings extracted from The British 
Medical Journal, June 28, 1884. The assemblage 
was a very large one, and certainly was a striking 
manifestation of good feeling towards me from many 
of my old friends and fellow-workers in the cause 
of Sanitary and Poor Law Medical Keform. 



EECOGNITION. 



DE. JOSEPH ROGERS. 

" To THE Editor of The Lancet. 

'' Sir, — Since writing m.j letter to you last week 
I am rejoiced to see that a movement has com- 
menced for giving shape to the esteem in which 
Dr. Joseph Rogers is held by his professional 
brethren and others who know his work. I hope 
a large sum will be raised, which cannot fail to 
be the case if all whom his labours have benefited 
give a little. And surely the time could not be 
more opportune than when in a battle with his 
persecutors : he wants to the full the encourage- 
meot of his friends. Only one suggestion I cannot 
agree with — viz., that the subscription list should 
be limited to Poor Law medical officers. Why? 
Truly, he has been a great benefactor to them ; 
but not to them only. His public work has been 
much wider in aim and usefulness than simply 
to touch the pockets of a few Poor Law surgeons. 



BECOGNITION. 225 

Many years ago he was a leader in the movement 
that ended in stopping bmials within towns. I 
beheve I am right in saying that to his influence 
is largely due the establishment of mortuaries. It 
was he who succeeded in getting expensive medi- 
cines — which it was hopeless to expect the Poor 
Law officers to supply out of their slender salaries 
— supplied by Boards of Guardians : an improve- 
ment directly benefiting the poor, and indirectly 
the ratepayers. The Metropolitan Poor Act of 
1867 was largely brought about by his untiring 
zeal. From that what good has not flowed ? The 
supply of not expensive medicines only, but all 
medicines, by the Guardians. The dispensary 
system, leading to a very large increase, probably 
not less than ^15,000 a year to the Metropolitan 
medical officers. Then that great boon, the Super- 
annuation Act, is another monument of Dr. Eogers' 
energy. I do not wish to undervalue the labours 
of Dr. Brady, and our other friends in and out 
of the House of Commons ; but Dr. Brady himself 
would be the foremost to admit that he never would 
have been able to carry the point had it not been 
for Dr. Kogers' assistance. ' Instant in season, 
out of season,' delivering addresses from town to 
town ; giving advice and assistance to persecuted 

16 



226 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

public servants all over the country ; strengthening 
the hands of the weaker brethren in public and 
j)rivate, he has been for fourteen years a tower 
of strength to an important section of the com- 
munity whose power for good has been enhanced 
by his agency, which has again reacted on the whole 
nation. In short, Dr. Rogers has been, and is, 
a great social reformer, and of his work all classes 
reap the fruit. But as a great American philosopher 
says, when the flat stone of a fine old abuse is 
overturned, there is a great squirming of the flat- 
patterned animals that have thriven in the darkness. 
Dr. Eogers has been turning over these stones for 
many years, and has been attacked by the squirming 
animals, as is usually the case. It is for those who 
have been cast in a different mould and can appre- 
ciate his valuable, arduous, and often thankless 
labours, to show their appreciation now. 

" 1 am, Sir, yours respectfully, 

''James Milward, M.D. 
" Cardiff, 

" October 22, 1883." 

" To THE Editor of The Lancet. 

" Sir, — For a long series of years one man in 
the medical profession has boldly stood forward in 



BECOGNITION. 227 

maintaining the rights and in endeavouring by every 
legitimate means to redress the wrongs of the 
Poor Law medical officers of this country. As one 
unconnected entirely with Poor Law medical practice, 
I have, no doubt in common with a multitude of 
others, admired the courage and honesty with which 
this man, almost single-handed, has fought the 
battles of its medical officers. Had any one of 
them a real grievance or hardship to complain of, 
Dr. PiOgers at once came to the front and became 
his champion. Now that he is, in his own person, 
the subject of an injustice, and a very serious one 
(for he is threatened with dismissal from his post 
as medical officer of the Westminster Union for 
doing that which in all honesty he felt compelled 
to do), it behoves the whole profession to give him 
all the moral support in its power. It cannot be 
possible that the Local Government Board will ever 
sanction such manifest injustice. But this is not 
purely a question between the Westminster Guardians 
and Dr. Eogers ; but one which ^ims a blow at 
professional honour and rectitude, and if settled in 
the way in which the Guardians would have it, it 
may be the means of preventing some members of 
o-ur body, however right-minded they may be, from 
giving evidence of wrong-doing, or performing other 



228 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

necessary duties not falling strictly within the scope 
of their ordinary work ; because forsooth they may, 
if they do, find themselves stranded and deprived 
of their appointments. 

*'Let the profession, then, as a body, and not 
merely the Poor Law medical officers, rally round 
Dr. Rogers, and, whilst recognizing the benefits 
derived from his unselfish public labours in their 
behalf, labours which may have brought upon him 
much obliquy, and perhaps have had something to 
do with his present trial, present him wdth such 
a testimonial as shall efi'ectually demonstrate to the 
Local Government Board its approval of his conduct 
and its disapprobation of the ungenerous treatment 
to which he has been subjected by the Westminster 
Guardians. 

" ' He's true to God who's true to man wherever wrong is 

done, 
To the humblest or the weakest 'neath the all-beholding sun. 
That wrong is also done to us, and they are slaves most 

base. 
Whose love of right is for themselves and not for all the 

race.' 

" I am. Sir, your obedient servant, 

'' William Webb, M.D., F.R.C.S. 

*' WiRKSWORTH, 

" October 24, 1883." 



BECOGNITION. 229 

" To THE Editor of The Lancet. 

" Sir, — Will you permit me to draw the attention 
of your readers to a movement which has been set 
on foot with the view of presenting to Dr. Joseph 
Kogers, the President of the Poor Law Medical 
Officers' Association, a testimonial, as a mark of 
the esteem in which he is held by Poor Law 
medical officers, and as a recognition of his unwearied 
advocacy of their claims, his fearless exposure of 
injustice done to them, and the able assistance and 
advice which he has freely given to such of them 
as have been unfortunate enough to be at variance 
with their Boards. 

*' The unjust treatment Dr. Kogers has received 
at the hands of the Westminster Guardians, will, 
I hope, shortly be brought before the Local Govern- 
ment Board. But I venture to suggest that no 
better time than the present could be chosen for 
his fellow- officers to express their sympathy with 
him, and that such an expression from a large 
number would show that they have appreciated his 
labours on their behalf ; that in a good cause they 
are capable of acting in concert, and that they 
respect themselves and their office in manifesting 
respect for one who has fearlessly done his duty, 



230 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

although for doing it he has received the usual 

punishment accorded by Guardians to parochial 

medical officers. 

" The following gentlemen have kindly promised 

to receive subscriptions, viz. : — Ernest Hart, Esq., 

Editor of The British Medical Journal ; C. Frost, 

Esq. (Treasurer of the Poor Law Medical Officers' 

Association), 47, Ladbroke Square, Notting Hill, 

London ; J. AVickham Barnes, Esq. (Secretary of 

the Poor Law Medical Officers' Association), 3, Bolt 

Court, Fleet Street, London. 

"I am. Sir, yours faithfully, 

" Francis Whitwell. 
" Shrewsbury, 

" October 23, 1883." 



TESTIMONIAL TO DR. JOSEPH ROGERS. 

The presentation of a handsome testimonial to Dr. 
Joseph Rogers, Chairman of the Poor Law Medical 
Officers' Association, took place on Tuesday last at 
the rooms of the Medical Society, Chandos Street, 
in the presence of a numerous gathering of ladies 
and gentlemen. Mr. John A. Shaw Stewart, pre- 
sided. 

Mr. J. Wickham Barnes (honorary secretary of 
the fund) spoke of the cordial reception with which 
the proposition to do honour to Dr. Rogers had 
been received, and the support which had been 
given to it by the medical journals, the editors of 
which had been among the most liberal contributors 
to the fund. 

The Chairman, in his opening remarks, spoke 
of Dr. Rogers' work and worth, which were so well 
known that little further need be said on those 
points ; but, on an occasion like the present, they 
should not forget that Dr. Rogers was a sanitary 



232 JOSEPH BOQEBS, M.D. 

reformer and advocate of sanitation of about forty 
years' standing, and that matters which were now 
accepted as facts were then subjects of the fiercest 
controversy. Dr. Rogers, in conjunction with Mr. 
George Alfred Walker and others, was the first who 
successfully advocated the closing of the burial- 
grounds in cities, and had succeeded in establishing 
the first public mortuary in London. Those facts 
alone testified to his energy and ability. Those who 
were older than the speaker could remember the 
time when the light of heaven was taxed; and Dr. 
Eogers, with the late Lord Duncan, was one who 
worked hard to abolish the window-tax, a more 
unjust tax than which it was impossible to conceive. 
He was appointed medical officer of the Strand 
Union in 1856, at a time when there were no paid 
nurses and when the Poor Law officer had to pay 
out of his small salary for all medicines. Dr. 
Rogers, with Dr. Anstie, and Mr. Ernest Hart, was 
among the stoutest advocates for the improvement 
of the workhouse infirmaries ; and, aided by the 
full force of the Medical Press, the great work was 
commenced. The first time he (the Chairman) had 
had the pleasure of working with ladies was in 
Mr. Ernest Hart's house ; he was thankful that 
now, in all useful social work, ladies came to the 



TESTIMONIAL TO DB. JOSEPH BOGEBS. 233 

front. Dr. Kogers' work led up to Mr. Gathorne 
Hardy's Act, and his force and determination pre- 
vailed so far that the more expensive medicines 
were henceforth to be paid for by the Guardians, 
but for a long time the bulk of the drugs supplied 
was still left as a charge upon the ill -paid medical 
officer. Dr. Kogers' great and difficult work had 
been in connection with Poor Law administration. 
He believed one of the greatest political economists 
of the day, whom he saw present, would bear him out 
that political economy and philanthropy went hand 
in hand when they were employed in energetic and 
persistent endeavours to arrest disease in its earliest 
stages. No one could go much about our general 
hospitals without seeing how much of the misery 
and distress of this world were caused by disease. 
We were subject to a variety of diseases — and diseases 
meant loss of health, and ultimate loss of life, to 
the bread-winner, and his widow and children to 
be cast on the world. Dr. Kogers was subsequently 
very instrumental in the carrying of the Bill for the 
superannuation of Poor Law medical officers. Since 
then he had visited almost every large town in 
England, Scotland, and Ireland, with the view of 
prevailing upon the authorities to carry out im- 
provements lately talked of in the metropolis. Dr. 



234 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

Rogers was a real, true speciraen of the best sort 
of Englishmen, a man of tenacity, a hard hitter, 
a staunch friend, and a pertinacious foe. 

Mr. G. W. Fraser, Chairman of the Westminster 
Board of Guardians, said he had long known Dr. 
Rogers, and it afforded him very great pleasure to 
find that he was so much respected by those who 
had had an opportunity of appreciating his valuable 
work, and the many reforms he had been instru- 
mental in effecting in the Poor Law of this country. 
He was very much respected by the Board of 
Guardians of the Westminster Union as at present 
constituted, and before, until he had to draw the 
attention ol the Guardians to matters affecting the 
internal welfare of the Workhouse, which action 
resulted in his being suspended from his duties. 
All he could say was, there was no logical ground 
for the course that had been taken. It was a 
great satisfaction to find that that apparent evil had 
resulted in some good, for Mr. Wickham Barnes had 
told them that the treatment which Dr. Rogers then 
received was instrumental in bringing about the 
crowning result to be achieved in the presentation 
of the testimonial that day. Dr. Rogers had, on 
several occasions, rendered very valuable services 
to him (Mr. Fraser) and his colleagues, and he 



TESTIMONIAL TO DR. JOSEPH BOGEBS. 235 

trusted that he might long be spared to fulfil the 
duties he had hitherto so long and so satisfactorily 
discharged. 

Professor L. E. Thorold Rogers, M.P., said it was 
a matter of great gratification to him to be present 
on an occasion when the merits of his brother's 
labours were being recognized with so much unani- 
mity, and in so practical a form, by the profession 
to which he belonged, and which, he ventured to 
say, he had always adorned. 

Mr. Samuel Bonsor, as an old Westminster 
Guardian, spoke of the pleasure it was to him that 
he had lived long enough to see Dr. Piogers' eff'orts 
recognized as they had been. 

Dr. Farquharson, M.P., said he knew that Dr. 
Rogers had been a great sanitary reformer, but he 
was astonished to find that he had been a reformer 
of so many years' standing. Guardians were apt to 
go for a hard and fast rule, while medical men, 
on the other hand, held more towards the sym- 
pathetic side ; and it was by carrying out their 
duties in a sympathetic and liberal spirit that 
medical men often got into great disputes, and great 
difficulty and trouble. Until recently, these gentle- 
men, who were often treated cruelly, had no organi- 
zation or means by which they could make their 



236 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

grievances known, or obtain any redress whatever. 
The action of Dr. Rogers, and the Association which 
he had been instrumental in forming, had been the 
means of often britging to light cases of oppression 
and of obtaining redress for those who had been 
oppressed. He was sure they might all congratulate 
Dr. Rogers on being present, not only from the 
fact that he was going to receive a substantial token 
of the affection and respect in which he was held 
by all who knew him, but on the expressions of 
admiration and esteem which poured in from all 
directions on that occasion. He hoped Dr. Rogers 
would long be spared to give them the benefit of 
the shrewdness, his tenacity, and his tact. 

Canon Wade (Rector of St. Anne's, Soho), said 
he had known Dr. Rogers for some years as a man 
of war. The first thing which drew forth his kindly 
feeling towards Dr. Rogers was observing the tender 
and faithful manner in which he supported the case 
of the sick poor in their workhouses. 

The Rev. W. Benham said he thought he had 
known Dr. Rogers and his family longer than any 
one else in the room, excepting his brother, and if 
he was a man of war, as had been stated, it was be- 
cause no man in the world had a more kindly heart. 

The Chairman, in making the presentation to Dr. 



TESTIMONIAL TO DB. JOSEPH EOGERS. 237 

Rogers of three handsome pieces of silver plate in 
a case, together with a cheque for £150, said he 
really ought to have the assistance of a lady now, 
for she would so much more gracefully, in their 
name, present that testimonial to Dr. Rogers. The 
inscription ran : ^' Presented to Dr. Joseph Rogers, 
in recognition of his continuous effort in the cause 
of sanitary and Poor Law medical reform, for nearly 
forty years. June 24, 1884." The date reminded 
them that Dr. Rogers' voice had not been that of 
one crying in the wilderness ; his voice had been 
most usefully and beneficially exercised in the 
metropolis. With the pieces of plate there was a 
substantial lining. They hoped that Dr. and Mrs. 
Rogers would long be spared to enjoy very many 
blessings. They had met together there with one 
heart and one mind, to show their appreciation of 
his excellent qualities both as a public and as a 
private man. The estimate of his good deeds, he 
(the Chairman) fully believed, would never be known 
till that last day, when the record of his life would 
be unrolled. They had met to do honour to a 
good man ; let each in his own capacity strive to 
follow so noble an example, that when that great 
day came they might have more to record of work 
done for others and less for themselves. 



•238 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Dr. Rogers, who spoke with some emotion, said 
he felt much difficulty in giving expression to the 
feelings that actuated him on that occasion ; all he 
would state was that, in his progress through life, 
if he had recognized an evil, he had done his best 
to relieve it ; and if in the doing of it, he had 
occasionally — and doubtless he had — confronted the 
prejudices of some and aroused the antagonism of 
others, it was the inevitable fate of all who attempted 
to deal determinedly with wTong-doing, wherever it 
might exist. He happened to be, as it were, a child 
of the new Poor Law, because he remembered well 
w^hen the Bill became law, and his father expressed 
to him his sense of deep disappointment and dis- 
satisfaction, as a Christian man, with the way in 
which the Bill was framed, in regard to its harsh 
and bitter spirit. They must recognize the fact that 
the poor would be with us always ; and that it was 
best to deal with them in a spirit of conciliation, 
moderation, and kindness, and especially in that 
particular branch of the management of the poor 
with which it had been his lot for many years to be 
associated, namely, as medical officer of a large 
metropolitan workhouse. He was perfectly satisfied 
of one thing, and that w^as that a judicious adminis- 
tration of Poor Law relief meant economy. He 



TESTIMONIAL TO DB. JOSEPH BO GEES. 239 

had studied tins question most minutely. He 
pointed out, twenty-three years ago, to Mr. Charles 
Villiers, who presided over a committee on poor 
relief in 1861, that a more liheral administration 
of poor relief meant true economy to the ratepayers, 
because if they cut short the sickness of the poor, and 
if they diminished the amount of deaths that took 
place among the bread-winners, they would, as the 
ultimate result, economize expenditure and out- 
relief. As regarded other subjects that had been 
referred to, it was to him a matter of immense 
gratification that he had been associated in those 
labours that took place about forty-four years ago, 
initiated by Mr. George Alfred Walker, of Drury 
Lane, and which eventually germinated in the 
abolition of the most horrible system that ever 
took place in a Christian kingdom. He could tell 
them many things, terribly showing the horrible 
evils that arose from keeping the bodies of the dead 
in the single rooms of the living. He had many 
times seen the widowed mother and the children 
dining off the coffin of the dead father, and other 
scenes which were indescribable in a gathering like 
that before him. This it was which had prompted 
his action in the formation of a mortuary at St. 
Anne's. Dr. Eogers concluded by offering his 



240 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

sincere thanks for the great honour they had con- 
ferred on him, and to Mr. Shaw Stewart in coming 
and speaking so kindly of him as he had done. 

Mr. Wickham Barnes proposed a vote of thanks 
to the Chairman, which was seconded by Mr. James 
Hogg, and to which the Chairman briefly repHed. 



CONCLUSION. 

Though there were several persons of both sexes who 
were very advanced in 3^ears, when one takes into 
account the difference in the numbers that were to be 
found in the Strand and Westminster Workhouses, yet 
in this latter House I did not see so many interesting 
old people as were to be found in the former. About 
ten years ago, however, there was an admission from 
St. Anne's, Soho, of an extremely aged woman. She 
claimed then to be one hundred years old. She must 
have been extremely good-looking in her youth, as she 
still retained evidences of personal beauty. Like my 
old friend in the Strand, she had a bright blue eye and 
a fair complexion ; she was in possession of all her 
faculties, and talked and laughed by the half-hour 
together when I was in the humour to sit and chat 
with her. She knew the younger Pitt intimately, 
Charles James Fox, the Prince Eegent, Edmund 
Burke, and several of the politicians of the latter 
part of the last century. She also told me she knew 

17 



242 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

Wellington and Nelson. At last I discovered what 
she had been. Her constant references to Sheridan 
in her conversations with me induced me one day to 
ask her if she knew him. Drawing herself up in a 
sprightly sort of fashion, " I rather think I did," 
said she. Eventually it came out that she had been 
under the protection of the box-keeper of Drury Lane 
Theatre. On putting the question which brought 
out the somewhat equivocal relation in which she had 
lived during the latter part of the last century, she 
blushed up to her eyes — the only thing of the kind I 
ever witnessed in a lady of such advanced years, so 
much so that I felt sorry I had elicited the con- 
fession from her. She was a very interesting old 
woman, and her remarks about the appearance of 
the celebrities of the latter end of the last century 
and beginning of this, unmistakably showed that 
she had associated on familiar terms with many of the 
celebrated persons who lived and moved and pro- 
duced a sensation nearly a hundred years ago. She 
used to sing some very good songs ; they were chiefly 
Scotch, and when singing them she would work her- 
self up into a great state of excitement. She was 
very fond of talking to me, and I suppose this arose 
from the circumstance of my taking interest in her 
conversation. She was a very well-behaved old 



CONCLUSION. 243 

woman, ?tnd therefore a great favourite ^Yitll the in- 
mates and nurses, who were highly amused whenever 
they could get her to sing one of her Scotch songs. 
At the latter end of the last century and the be- 
ginning of the present, she had accompanied her 
male friend through Portugal and Spain prior to the 
war ; at the same time she knev/ Lord Nelson and 
Wellington before their names had become famous. 
When she had reached 104, she rather suddenly lost 
her vivacity, became childish, and insensibly passed 
from time into eternity. 

We had, during the portion of the time I was at 
the Westminster Union, quite a little community of 
aged and, so far as I could ascertain, religious women, 
at any rate they struck me as being such, and I kept 
them together until the harmony of their daily life 
was rudely interfered with by the master and matron, 
Mr. John Bliss and Miss Heatley, neither of whom 
had any sympathy with, or kindly feeling for, decently 
conducted pauper women. Indeed they rendered the 
lives of these people so wretched by harsh inter- 
ference, as to compel me to distribute them among 
other wards ; some of them I even sent away to the 
sick asylum hospitals, so as to get them out of their 
way. It was a wonder to me that Miss Heatley, after 
all that was proved against her on the official inquiry. 



244 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

should ever have been allowed to continue matron of 
the Workhouse; but though spared by man's power, 
she was destined to perish by one of the most fearful 
diseases that can afflict any woman, being destined to 
die of cancer of a certain internal organ, and I have 
been told her sufferings were of the acutest possible 
character. It is very remarkable that, having had 
very large opportunities of witnessing the deaths of 
my fellow-creatures, I have constantly observed that 
some untimely fate has overtaken those who, exer- 
cising power in a workhouse, have exhibited a cruel 
use of that power ; and of one thing I am absolutely 
certain from personal observation, repeated over and 
over again, that, " Blessed is he who considereth the 
poor and needy, the Lord shall deliver him in the 
time of trouble." It has often been asserted that the 
inmates of a workhouse are generally worthless 
people, but I demur to that conclusion entirely. Of 
this I am certain, that many a person who has died 
in the infirmary of the sick ward of a workhouse 
has gone as straight to Abraham's bosom as has ever 
passed from a bishop's palace, or the death-chamber 
of a king or queen, or however highly placed. During 
the thirty years that I was engaged in waiting on the 
sick poor, I never lost sight of the fact that they were 
my fellow-creatures who were accidentally placed in a 



CONCLUSION. 245 

humbler social position than myself. Though, in 
accordance with the custom adopted in the institution, 
they were stigmatized as paupers, I never allowed 
myself to make them feel I thought them such. 
After the departure of Mr. John Bliss and the dis- 
appearance (through illness) of Miss Heatley, the 
Guardians appointed as master and matron, Mr. and 
Mrs. Minter. I found them to be exceedingly respect- 
able people, kind to the old and afflicted, and fair and 
kind to the general population of an urban workhouse. 
The sick poor were quietly attended to, whilst loud- 
mouthed swearing and blasphemy were banished from 
the place. Unfortunately, however, I began to break 
in health. Mounting up staircases day after day, 
which had gone on for nearly forty years, told upon me, 
aggravated as it was by repeated attacks of bronchitis. 
Then a heart affection, followed by its usual concomi- 
tants, proved too much for me, and I was compelled 
to resign the work I had done for so many years. 
What made the blow the greater to me was this, that 
in all other respects my professional life was a happy 
one. I had nothing to ask for from the Board of 
Guardians, as all my legitimate requirements were at 
once courteously met and complied with ; a different 
atmosphere pervaded the establishment, and therefore 
it was a pleasure to me to meet my fellow-officers 



246 JOSEPH ROGEBS, M.B. 

and to work witli them. Looking back upon the 
change which had taken place from the day I . first 
entered upon my duties in January, 1856, in the Old 
Strand Workhouse, till I finally left the Westminster 
Union in 1886, a i)eriod of thirty years, the change 
that occurred was enormous. Then there was hardly 
a paid nurse in any workhouse in London, the duties 
being performed by more or less infirm, drunken, and 
generally profligate inmates of the House. It was a 
miracle to find an honest one among them ; they 
were a chance medley of Sairey Gamps and Betsy 
Prigs, who were selected at the will of master and 
matron, and who obeyed the orders of the medical 
officer just as much as, and no more than, their 
fancy led them. The scenes of untold misery which 
might have been witnessed by the Guardians of the 
Poor will never be fully exposed until the grave record 
of all things is opened to universal gaze. Fortu- 
nately, a change has come over the spirit of these 
things : in the present day the sick poor are housed 
in buildings which were never dreamed of twenty 
years ago ; pauper nursing is now entirely a thing of 
the past ; Lazarus now meets with careful, Christian 
consideration, and if it be possible to restore him to 
health, an opportunity is afforded him of resuming 
a position in ?:ociety, useful, though it maybe humble. 



CONCLUSION. 247 

My readers will therefore fully understand with what 
great regret I took ray pen and wrote the resignation 
of my office, especially when I recall to mind my 
having been twice suspended from my duties for the 
efforts I had made in bringing about the changes 
which I have above referred to, and that at last, when 
I was no longer able to do my work, I was constrained 
to sever my connection with the Board who had 
come to look upon me as one solely actuated by a 
sense of duty. 

The day after the receipt of my resignation, I 
received the following — 

"Westminster Union, 
"Poland Street, 

" Seinemher 27, 1886. 
"Dear Sir, — I am directed to forward you the 
annexed copy of a Resolution adopted by the 
Guardians at their meeting held on Friday last, 
when your resignation of the offices of Workhouse 
Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator of the Union 
was accepted. 

" I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully, 

" Fred J. Lampard, 
" Assistant Clerk of the Guardians. 
■" J. PiOGERs, Esq., M.D., 

" Montagu Place, Russell Square." 



248 JOSEPH B0GEB8, M.D. 

(Copy Resolution.) 

" That this Board has received with much regret 
the letter just read from Dr. Joseph Rogers, resigning 
the office of Workhouse Medical Officer and Public 
Vaccinator for the Union, on account of his continued 
ill-health, and while now accepting such resignation, 
the Guardians desire to convey to him their deep 
sympathy that he should thus be compelled to sever 
his connection with the Board after many years of 
faithful service, and to record their high sense of the 
zealous and efficient manner in which he has dis- 
charged the duties of his office, and for the warm 
interest he has at all times taken in questions 
affecting the proper treatment of the sick and infirm 
poor." 

After the resolution had been submitted to the 
vote and adopted unanimously, Mr. Samuel Bonsor 
rose in his seat and gave notice that that day month 
superannuation allowance should be accorded to Dr. 
Joseph Rogers. Coming from this gentleman it was 
indeed an honourable recognition of lengthened 
public services. Mr. Bonsor had been in various 
offices of the parish of St. Anne's, Soho, since 
the introduction of the new Poor Law Bill in 
1834. He had filled all the usual parochial offices,. 



CONCLUSION. 249 

even the highest, up to the time when I first made 
his acquaintance, which was in the autumn of 1846, 
on the occasion when I brought before the Vestry of 
St. Anne's, Soho, the terrible condition of the burial- 
ground of that parish. After hearing my indictment 
he at once concurred in the appointment of a com- 
mittee from the Vestry, of the inhabitants, to take 
the condition of the ground into consideration, and 
to devise such remedies as might appear desirable. 
Mr. Bonsor attended several of our meetings, and 
entirely agreed as to the dreadful state into which the 
graveyard had fallen, owing to the frequent funerals 
and the enormous overcrowding. It was that Vestry 
meeting that first made me a sanitary reformer, and 
caused me to advocate extra-mural interment as well 
as many other social reforms, in all of which I had 
the hearty support of Mr. Bonsor. I question 
whether a finer representative of a middle-class 
tradesman could be found in this kingdom ; for more 
than half a century he has devoted more than ordinary 
ability to the interests of his fellow-parishioners. I 
never upon one single occasion heard, or was it ever 
hinted by any enemy (if he ever made one, which I 
doubt), that his actions were ever influenced by a 
single act of self-seeking; indeed, he has passed 
through an unusually prolonged life amidst the 

18 



250 JOSEPH BOGEBS, M.D. 

respect and regard of all who have come in contact 
with him. A very short time ago he brought me a 
circular letter, issued hy the Poor Law Commissioners, 
proposing the Board of Guardians in London should 
issue a similar letter to their respective bodies, so as 
to more effectually deal with casuals. Laying it down 
before me, he said, " This is a return to what they did 
between forty and fifty years ago, for I was a member 
of the special Board which was appointed under this 
letter ; but," said he, " I suppose they have forgotten 
all about it." And so they had, no doubt. 

Before bringing my remarks to a close, I should 
like to briefly describe the various changes that have 
taken place since the Poor Law Commission was 
appointed in 1832. One of the original Commis- 
sioners was the Right Hon. C. P. Villiers, M.P. for 
Wolverhampton, who has told me in the course of 
various conversations I have had with him, that 
although a variety of subjects was referred to them in 
connection with the administration of the Poor Laws, 
yet that the question of sickness, as a factor in the 
production of pauperism was not referred to them, 
and if it had not been for the pertinacity of Dr. G. 
Wallis and some others, that this important subject 
would have been passed over altogether. It need not, 
therefore, be a matter of surprise that there has been 



CONCLUSION. 261 

a continual protest going on, on the part of those 
who have accepted Poor Law medical appointments 
against the way in which they have been treated by 
the Board of Guardians, and a reference to the Poor 
Law Commissioners resulting in the various changes 
that have taken place in the composition of the cen- 
tral authority up to the Local Government Board of 
the present day. Until 1864 the central authority 
was an extremely weak body, as continuous eiforts 
were made throughout the country by Boards of 
Guardians and others to wipe the Poor Law Board 
out of existence altogether, and had it not have 
happened that the investigations and deliberations of 
the Select Committee on Poor Relief, presided over by 
the Right Hon. C. P. Villiers, had reported in favour 
of the maintenance of the Poor Law Board — not 
Local Government Board — such a disastrous thing 
would have happened. Let it here be fully under- 
stood that although I have taken a most determined 
antagonism to many of the acts of the Board, 
whether as Commissioners or as the Poor Law 
Board, yet that antagonism has been due to the fact 
that the administration has often been seriously 
faulty in detail. The office of a Poor Law Inspector 
is one which needs much judgment and tact. I trust 
this will be borne in mind by those who will draft 



252 JOSEPH ROGERS, M.D. 

the contemplated County Government Board. There 
is one point on which, feeling most strongly the 
existing mockery of so-called Poor Law inquiries, I 
do trust a change will be insisted upon, and that is, 
that those deputed to make the inquiry shall possess 
at least a modicum of legal intelhgence. Finally, I 
have to express the hope that no Inspector, whether 
metropolitan or otherwise, will be vested with the 
sole power of deciding what shall be the evidence 
that shall be taken when the inquiry shall close, nor 
that he shall be the sole judge of the value of such 
evidence. 



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Mr. Un^in has pleasure in sending 
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Book Buyers are requested to order 
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Catalogue of Select Books in Belles Lettres^ 
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E 



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12 

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20 

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Literary Landmarks of London. ?t Laurence 

/ H U T T O N . 

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Illustrated cover, 2s. 6d. ; cloth gilt, 7s. 6d. 
** He has made himself an invaluable valet de place to the lover of literary 
London." — Atlantic Monthly. 

About the Theatre: Essays and studies. By William 

Archer. Lrown ovo., cloth, 
bevelled edges, 7s. 6d. 
"Theatrical subjects, from the Censorship of the Stage to the most recent 
phenomena of first nights, have thoroughly able and informed discussion in 
Mr. Archer's handsome book." — Contemporary Review. 

English as She is Taught. Genuine Answers to 

^ o l^xammation (Questions 

in our Public Schools. With a Commentary by Mark 

Twain. Demy i6mo., cloth, 2s. ; parchment, is. 

Mark Twain says : " A darling literary curiosity. . . . This little book ought 

to set forty millions of people to thinking." 



Q5ooft0 for C^ii^un. 



IT. 



sop's Fables for Little Readers : 

Told by Mrs. Arthur Brookfield. Twenty-five 
Illustrations by Henry J. Ford. Small 4to., cloth, 3s. 6d. 

" In their present shape, the fables should be very popular among the inmates ot 
the nursery, more particularly as they are illustrated with nearly thirty clever 
drawings by Henry Ford, which are beautifully printed in monochrome." 

Scottish Leader. 

O^Y r^irlQ ^ Home Story. By Fannie Bell Irving. Illus- 
OlA VJlUv^. ^^^^^^ ^^ p^ r^ Merrill. Crown 8vo., cloth, 5s. 

' ' The six main characters are drawn carefully, and well differentiated. The book 
has many a touch of simple pathos, and many a passage of hght-hearted high 
spirits. " — Scotsman. 

The Brownies : Their Book, with aii the Original 

rictures and roems 
by Palmer Cox, as published in St. Nicholas^ and with 
many new Pictures. Second Edition. Medium 4to., cloth, 6s. 

' ' Never, perhaps, has a book been published better calculated to afford unlimited 
amusement to little people than ' The Brownies.' " — Rock. 

New Fairy Tales from Brentano. ^f\>^ 

by Kate Freiligrath Kroeker, and Pictured by F. 
Carruthers Gould. Eight Full-page Coloured Illustra- 
tions. Square 8vo., illustrated, paper boards, cloth back, 
5s. ; cloth, gilt edges, 6s. 
*' A really charming collection of stories." — Pall Mall Gazette. 



22 

Fairy Tales from Brentano. Il'VLttil™^ 

Kroeker. Illustrated by F. Carrutkers Gould. Popular 

Edition. Sq. imp. i6mo., 3s. 6d. 

" An admirable translator in Madame Kroeker, and an inimitable illustrator in 
Mr. Carruthers Gould.''— rr«//i. 

In the Time of Roses : ^J,l\f, ''Z.!:::r"; 

Florence and Edith Scannell, Author and Artist of 
" Sylvia's Daughters." Thirty-two Full-page and other 
Illustrations. Sq. imp. i6mo., cloth, 5s. 

'' A very charming story.''— Scotsman. 
"A delightful story." — Punch. 

Prinr>i^ P<-RrleQQ • ^ Fairy-Folk Story-Book. By the 
rrillCC rCCllCbb. ^^^ Margaret Collier (Madame 

Galletti di Cadilhac), Author of " Our Home by the 
Adriatic." Illustrated by the Hon. John Collier. Sq. 
imp. i6mo., cloth, 5s. 

** Delightful in style and fancy." — Scotsman. 

*' A volume of charming stories.' '—Saturday Review. 

mf^r\ T Ax/ac d PVilIrl • °^' ^^^^ Behind. By Linda 
en 1 was a L^nUa , Villari, Author of » On 

Tuscan Hills," &c. Illustrated. Square 8vo., cloth, gilt 
edges, 3s. 6d. 

"A finer girl's book could not be had.'' — Scotsman. 

The Prince of the Hundred Soups : 

A Puppet Show in Narrative. Edited, with a Preface, by 

Vernon Lee. Illustrated. Cheaper edition. Square 8vo., 

cloth, 3s. 6d. 

"There is more humour in the volume than in half-a-dozen ordinary panto- 
mimes." — Spectator. 

Birdsnestinp; and Bird-Stuffing. ^ Complete 

D o Description or 

the Nests and Eggs of Birds which Breed in Britain. By 
Edward Newman. Revised and Re-written, with Direc- 
tions for their Collection and Preservation ; and with a 
Chapter on Bird-Stuffing, by Miller Christy. Crown 
8vo., is. 



23 

TU^ 'Dii'^'c KT^cf- and other Sermons for Children of all 
i ne l^iraS i>JeSt, ^^^^ By the Rev. Samuel Cox, d.d.. 

Author of " Expositions," &c. Second edition. Imp. i6mo., 

cloth, 6s. 

" These beautiful discourses were addressed to children of all ages, and^ must 
have found an echo in the hearts of many youthful listeners." — St Jameses Gazette 

Spring Blossoms and Summer Fruit ; 

or, Sunday Talks for the Children. By the Rev. John 
Byles, of Ealing. Crown 8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 
"They are of simple and instructive character.'' — Dundee Advertiser. 

Arminius Vamb^ry : ^,^',/tJ^''w-:^ 

Introductory Chapter dedicated to the Boys of England, 
Portrait and Seventeen Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 5s. 

' ' We welcome it as one of the best books of travel that our boys could have 
possibly placed in their hands." — Schoolmaster. 

Boys' Own Stories. .'^L^"'"^'"*- v "'"'i'/"^'^"'' °/, 

J " btories or Young Adventurers, 

" Stories out of School Time," &c. Eight Illustrations. 
Crown 8vo., cloth, 5s. 

' ' This is a really admirable selection of genuine narrative and history, treated 
with discretion and skill by the author, Mr. Hope has not gathered his stores 
from the highway, but has explored far afield in less-beaten tracts, as may be seen in 
his ' Adventures of a Ship-boy' and 'A Smith among Savages.' " — Saturday Review. 

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. 

Newly Edited after the Original Editions. Nineteen Illus- 
trations. Large crown 8vo., cloth extra, 5s. 



^hc Centurg iVLagazine 

For 1888-9 ^ill include : — 

The Century Gallery of Italian Masters, 

from the Byzantines to Tintoretto — engraved by Timothy Colf 
from the original paintings, and accompanied by historical and 
critical papers by W. J. Stillman. 
XT ^ J o^ J' • T By John La Faroe, 

Notes and Studies m Japan, mustrated with en- 

gravings from original studies by the artist. 
Trplanri • Studies of its People, Customs, Landscape, Town Life, 
Literature and Arts. 

Ao* rT*l_\ • o^' both humorous 

beries or Irish- American btories, and pathetic; 

each complete in itself, but having a connected interest. 
T/" ' C'K * ^^* George Kennan's Siberian articles, 

JS^ennan in OlDeria. illustrated with sketches and photo- 
graphs taken by George A. Frost, will contain, from November 
on, what the author believes to be the best and most striking of all 
his material. 

Price \s. \d. Monthly. Post free, 19/. a Tear. 

^t. ISicholas, 

Conducted b y MARY MAP ES DODGE. 

JN ''ALL-AROUND THE WORLD" TEAR. 

f^ ^ic^ofClS for the coming year will tell English boys and girls of 

the thousands of millions of children of other countries : of French 
girls in their little black alpaca aprons, and German girls with their 
flaxen hair, and Italian boys with their dark eyes, and clever American 
children (the cleverest take in St. Nicholas), and little Chinese maidens, 
with their almond-eyes and long pig-tails, and woolly-headed African 
pickaninnies. Of the homes of all these children, of the toys of the shy 
Japanese, of the pine woods of the blue-eyed Norwegians, of the furs and 
toboganning of the Canadians, of the gum trees and kangaroos of the 
Australians, of the sharks and clear blue seas of the chocolate-skinned 
irouth-Sea Islanders — in fact, of nearly everything that amuses girls and 
nterests boys, from the nursery rhymes of the Hottentot mothers to the 
guns and spears that the Icelandic fathers use to kill the white bears, 
St. Nicholas means to tell its readers in Great Britain and Ireland. 
Price IS. Monthly. Post free, 14/. a Tear. 

London : T. FISHER UN WIN, 26, Paternoster 'Square. 



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