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The 1909 Hansard Trawl, featuring the travails of asylum workers, illustrated with two anecdotes

A pretty thin few days, but some good stufff is out there:

ASYLUM OFFICERS SUPERANNUATION BILL.  (As in mental asylum, that is.  C)

Lord Monk Bretton:  "....The object of this Bill is to provide for uniformity of pensions all over the country, and to provide security of pensions to all asylum workers. I do not think in your Lordships' House, where so many of your Lordships have experience of local government and through your visiting committees know much of asylums, that it is necessary I should say much as to what a deserving class this is for which this Bill is intended. It is a dangerous profession and one very trying to the nerves, and there are a great many breakdowns among asylum workers. This Bill is intended to provide similiar conditions for these asylum workers as is already enjoyed by the prison service and the police.

"I should like to tell your Lordships two stories from Ireland with regard to it, and which, I think, are better than any argument. There was an attendant in an asylum in Ireland who got a crack on the head. In consequence of that he became an epileptic. Being obliged to retire he applied for a pension but was only given a gratuity of £25. The poor man eventually lost his reason and became a patient in the asylum in which he had formerly been an attendant. In the same asylum there was another man of about the same age and service, and he took to drink. The visiting committee wanted to get rid of him so they gave him a pension for the rest of his life. This is the other story. There was a doctor of an asylum who thought it his duty to condemn the meat brought to the asylum as being putrid. A member of the visiting committee was the contractor who supplied the meat. The contractor told the doctor that he would take care that he suffered for what he had done, and if this Bill does not pass I have no doubt he will".

 The 'where will this all end?' interruption.

Lord Belper "....With regard to the scales in the Bill, let me only say that a very strong case has been made out for those officers who are in direct contact with lunatics, especially dangerous lunatics, and who are exposed to all the disagreeable circumstances as well as the danger of their profession. I think a very strong case can be made out for a pension for those officers, and, if it is proved to be necessary, a compulsory pension. But when you come to include, as von (sic - a typo, but what of? C) include in this Bill, every labourer, every clerk, every man who works in the garden, every woman who works in the asylum, you are setting a precedent for compelling county councils to give pensions to all their officers in every branch of the work

 Comes the voice of well meaning Anglican flannel....
The Archbishop of Canterbury "....There has been, and we are all very thankful for it, a great improvement in recent years in the management of asylums in this country. That improvement has been due in part to the painstaking efforts of the leaders of medical and mental science who have dealt with this particular problem, but not less to the officers and the subordinate officers of the asylum who have to perform one of the most trying and unpleasant tasks that it is possible to imagine—a task requiring that those who undertake it should be relieved from all the anxiety which we can relieve them of when their health has broken down and they have worn themselves out in the service.

The things people do to pass the time  

LORD ASHBOURNE  My Lords, as this Bill extends to Ireland and as I have taken great interest in this subject and paid many visits to lunatic asylums and seen the unfortunate people confined there and those who administer to them, I would like to say a word with regard to it. 

And so on.

Anyway, we also have the CINEMATOGRAPH BILL

EARL BEAUCHAMP "...It would create a great deal of confusion if the licensing of music halls were done by one authority and the licensing of the cinematograph by another authority".


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Blogger ScotsToryB said... 5:05 pm

The 'crack' is all that it used to be?

An 'a compulsory pension' is a quite delightful idea.

'You, Sir, will accept this pension'.
'Och no!'.
'YOu, Sir, will accept this pension'.
'Am two yung'.
'YOU, sur...'
(is interrupted, Stage Left)
'2 B sure? Is it compulsory?'

'Take the feckin pension.'

'mental science' - so many opportunities.


Blogger Croydonian said... 5:19 pm

STB - Marvelllous, as ever. Thank you.  

Blogger James Higham said... 6:38 pm

a very strong case has been made out for those officers who are in direct contact with lunatics, especially dangerous lunatics, and who are exposed to all the disagreeable circumstances as well as the danger of their profession

Hasn't altered much - now we have Westminster lunatics to contend with.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:54 pm

Wise words James.  

Blogger Tiresias said... 8:28 am

Routine off-topic apology. The following has nothing to do with Parliamentary business but is a snatch of a music hall song that might have been in vogue in 1909 plus or minus twenty years. For the record, I found it in 'Hindsights', the memoirs of John Heath-Stubbs. He in turn heard it from some time artists' model and Soho boozer, Nina Hamnett.

In any event, I thought it deserved a brief rehabilitation ...

Every Saturday afternoon
We likes to drown our sorrers.
We always goes to the waxwork shows
To see the Chamber of 'Orrors.
There's a lovely statue of Mother there
What gives us pleasure, rather,
With the same old smile on her dear old dial
As the night she strangled Father.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:35 am

Tiresias - That's rather fine, thank you. Your high quality off topics are always most welcome.  

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