WORKHOUSE PORTERS, OR BROTHERS’ KEEPERS?
[“Such a scene as we have described ought to be impossible in this rich and luxurious city. Shelter, however rough, food, however coarse, is the natural right of the destitute, and on these miserable November nights there should not be human beings within a stone’s throw of Spring-gardens and Whitehall unable to find even the bare shelter of a roof.
After all is said, it remains the bounden duty of society to prevent any of its members from wanting the bare necessaries of life, and sufficiently large casual wards, or something equivalent, ought to be provided for the desolate waifs and strays of our population. It is difficult to think that the workhouses could not make some sufficient provision of the sort . . . We gain much in London by the condensation of a vast population; we must expect to find corresponding disadvantages, and ought not to grumble if we have to pay something more for the sake of our prosperity and luxury.” – The Times, Nov.14]
Title:Workhouse Porters, Or Brothers' Keepers?
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:November 28th, 1863
Although taken from a metropolitan magazine (Fun) and describing the conditions of the London poor, this poem would have had resonance in a region blighted by extreme poverty caused by the Cotton Famine. It is especially relevant in that it reiterates the religious necessity of charity for the poor, and implores those with means not to turn away from sufferers. The editorial comment from the Times which heads this piece is interesting in that it makes the point that the great wealth that has been made in London should meant that poverty could easily be relieved. The same point was made in the north west of England after decades of successful cotton production. – SR