History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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out-going members. The number of Commissioners to be appointed under this improved Act was increased to 112. The power formerly possessed by the Commissioners of appointing Directors and Guardians of the Poor was, by the same Act, transferred to the inhabitants, such appoint­ment to take place in Vestry assembled for that purpose during the Easter-week in every year. This was a salutary alteration, which has proved of benefit both to ratepayers and the poor, inasmuch as it brought about the constitution of another important local body, acting irrespective and independent of the other, and in possession of better supervision and surveillance over the poor and their relief. Brighton's yearly-increasing growth both in size and importance, brought pauperism with attendant evils in its wake, and it became the practice of the Board to examine quarterly, at the Workhouse, on Church Hill, the out-door poor in receipt of parochial relief, who attended to answer the interrogations with reference to their means of subsistence. These Guardians of the Poor commenced "the relief" at the hour of ten, and with a short interregnum of one hour for refreshments, comprising plain joints and vegetables,—partaken of at the House,—the object of this being the retention of a sufficient number of the body to recommence business again at the appointed time, thus avoiding inconvenience to applicants, which from experience had been found to result from separation of the Board for their homes, or elsewhere, to obtain light refreshments. Many of its members lived at a considerable distance from the Workhouse, and it frequently happened that on the resumption of business there was not a quorum present to proceed with the same, some of the Guardians finding, on arrival at their respective homes, matters requiring more immediate personal attention, hence their non-return. These Board dinners, like other matters, fell into abuse, as the sequel proved, inasmuch as the plain joints, &c, adopted in 1837,
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