Wednesday, 12 December 2012

UPDATE of the Past News 9th December 1882

Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS...........

*Bakewell Workhouse -

Christmas Day

The Christmas day treat was well loved by all of the inmates of Bakewell Union Workhouse.  A thank you was passed on to the Board of Guardians at the fortnightly meeting at the beginning of January.  Mr and Mrs Waters the master and his wife were especially praised for their great interest in ensuring that those in their charge were comfortable.  The inmates were waited on by a Mrs Balston and her sister and the sister of Mrs Waters also helped in the days activities.  The meat was carved by the clerk Mr Fidler.  The inmates were given entertainment in the evening.  The only Guardian to attend was Mr Thornhill. 

Edwin Waters, the Master -

The Workhouse master was Mr Edwin Waters not Walters as stated in last week’s news.  It appears that his application to become master of a workhouse in London did not prove successful as he and his wife were still working at Bakewell for some months afterwards.  Edwin had not been at Bakewell Workhouse long as his predecessor Mr Edward Cunningham had passed away after a long illness on 18th July 1881.  Mr Cunningham was said to have been very popular with the inmates even though he was strict with his discipline.  In contrast to those whom he reigned over, Mr Cunningham had quite a large amount of money, his probate records the sum of £1,717 6s. 

Back to Edwin Waters, he was born in Dover in 1842, the son of William and Mary Waters.  Edwin was a Staff Sergeant of the 2nd Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards in 1871 residing at Chelsea Barracks.  His was married to Elizabeth Gray whom he had married on 3rd December 1870 at Trinity Church, Upper Chelsea.  Sadly Elizabeth died a few years later in 1873.

Edwin enlisted on 2nd February 1861, aged 18 years old.  His birthplace was St James, Dover and he was a sailor, 5ft 7 ½ inches high.  Edwin rose through the ranks being promoted to; Corporal on 9th November 1864, Sergeant 7th November 1868, Hospital Steward 21st February 1872 and finally Colour Sergeant 1st July 1881.  He was discharged on 28th February 1882, his place of intended residence was Bakewell which as we know he was already employed as Bakewell Workhouse Master at this time.  Edwin’s military background and the excellent reference “that of a very good and efficient non-commissioned officer, zealous in the performance of all his duties, trustworthy and sober” would have been just what the Guardians of Bakewell Union were looking for in a master at Bakewell Union Workhouse.

 By the time Edwin arrived at Bakewell he had remarried; in 1874 Edwin married Eleanor Hillyard at St George Hanover Square, London.  Edwin already had a son named Ernest Edwin born in 1872 at St George Hanover Square, London the son of Elizabeth.  At the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1873 there is also a birth and death registered of a female unnamed Waters child, indicating that Elizabeth may well have died from complications in childbirth.  Edwin would have been left a single parent to care for 1 year old Ernest. 

 At the beginning of June 1883 Edwin Waters wrote a letter to the Board of Guardians explaining that he had been offered the position of Master at the Fir Vale Workhouse in Sheffield.  He and his wife would work one months notice.   They are praised in an article in February 1884 for their work at Fir Vale Workhouse.  The workhouse was said to be spread over a large area, which was as large as the whole of Bakewell Village.  The Christmas dinner of 1883 was taken by 1,800 inmates, apparently “demolished a trifle over a ton of Christmas pudding”. 

By 1901 and aged 58 years old, Edwin and his wife Eleanor have retired from the workhouse life and are living at 133 Melfort Road, Croyden.  They have one servant girl named Elizabeth Hill.  Things were soon to change again for Edwin when in 1902 his wife of 28 years passed away, she was 57 years old. 

Edwin passed away on 9th December 1909 at Devonshire.  His probate record states that he resided at Denewood, Pressland Road, Sidmouth.  He was a retired poor law officer and left £283 12s 6d.  Edwin had not been sat alone however since the death of his wife Eleanor in 1902, as the money was bequeathed to an Elizabeth Jane Waters, widow.  Edwin married Elizabeth Jane Hill in 1906 at Totnes, Devon. 

Ernest Edwin the son of Edwin and Elizabeth Gray became a Captain in the Indian Medical Service.  He married a girl who was born in Madras India named Isabel.  In 1901 the couple are visiting a Surgeon named Mr Powel at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.  He died on 30th September 1938 and left his estate of £38614 19s 7d to his widow Isabel. 

Workhouse Scandal -

The incident regarding Fanny Goodwin was first reported at the end of October, when the appearance of “a very diminutive little individual – a baby” was the topic on all of Bakewell after the mother “stoutly declines to disclose the paternity”. 

Fanny Goodwin was mid 30’s and already had a son named Henry.  She was an inmate at Bakewell Workhouse in 1881 when the census was taken.    The baby born in 1882 was named Florence.  Fanny is described on the census as unmarried and a general servant. 

In 1887 Fanny is again causing scandal in the workhouse as another child was born to her with unknown paternity in the April of 1887.  Once again she was refusing to tell the Guardians who the father was, she was described as “astute lady remains as silent as ever respecting the parentage of her rather numerous progeny”.  She did give one answer “it’s an inmate who’s gone out and I want to go to”.   Fanny had been separated and constantly watched after her last incident of childbirth, she should not have been anywhere near the men.  But, on one occasion it was said that the man in question and Fanny were in the hospital as patients at the same time. 

The Guardians were discussing her at nearly all of their meetings; it seems she now had 4 children in the workhouse with her ranging up to 13 years old.  Only one had the father’s name known.  She was notoriously known as “silent Fanny”.  She did make the Guardians happy in January 1883 during the inquest into the father of Florence; she stated “her past conduct was not in the least connected with any of the paid officers of the Union”.  This was a great relief to the Guardians.

A few years on in 1891 and sadly life has not got much better for Fanny, she is still an inmate at the Bakewell Workhouse and there are two children listed with her Henry aged 13 years and Florence aged 9 years. 

Further still in 1901 and there is still a Fanny Goodwin living at Bakewell Workhouse, the age is slightly different but this is most probably the same Fanny who had such a notorious life within the Union Workhouse walls for around 20 years.  The Fanny that had caused all the scandal and had stuck staunchly to her principles and refused to name the father of baby Florence or her siblings – who was the father?, we may never know, Fanny would probably not want us to know either.

There is a death for a Fanny Goodwin in Bakewell aged 60 years old in 1910; this may well be “our” Fanny Goodwin.
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*Attempted suicide

Mrs Thompson who attempted suicide by cutting her own throat was reported to be out of danger and doing well.


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