THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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THE CARE OF THE POOR.                        229
out of employ, that their numbers were daily increasing and that they were costing the parish nearly £20 a week. It was proposed to ballot off the unemployed poor, according to the rentals of the respective occupiers, each man to be employed for a certain number of days by such person and to be paid by him after the rate of 18d. per day to married men and 12d. per day to single men. At this date the amount of the poor rate was no less than £5,391. 2s., an average of 34s. per head per annum, 7s. more than the average for the whole country.
In December, 1832, another meeting was held in the town to consider the better employment of agricultural labourers. It was resolved that every ratepayer should employ his share of labourers at 10s. a week each, but the Magistrates considered this insufficient remuneration for the best workers, so local agriculturists finally agreed to pay 12s. per week and fine every ratepayer 10s. a week for each labourer not employed according to his propor≠tion.
In 1847 the prices of provisions generally rose to a most prohibitive figure. Seconds flour advanced to 2s. l1/2d. per gallon, and in May of that year there were no vegetables, except a few cabbages, to be had at any price in East Grinstead. The Queen herself issued an order that only seconds flour was to be used in all the Royal palaces and the strictest economy everywhere observed. It is on record that several of the East Grin-stead gentry followed her example.
Distress became so acute in East Grinstead during the winter of 1852-3, that on February 1st the parishioners met in the Vestry and decided to supplement what was being done by the Guardians. Having regard to the extreme wetness of the season and the advanced prices of provisions generally, the meeting authorised the free distribution of 100 gallons of soup per week to the poor and this was continued until the warmer weather set in.
On August 30th, 1869, the Vestry decided for the first time to allow owners to compound for their rates at a discount of 25 per cent. Poor rates were authorised at
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