Richard Hutton's Complaints Book the Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1987.
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N.B. It is left to the discretion of the steward to diet the aged or sick as may be thought convenient. And when peas, beans, mackerel, herring, salt fish &c are in season . . . [he may] change a meal or meals as shall seem necessary.
1. That (except when the affairs of the family will not permit) you do at all times appointed, constantly attend the meetings for worship at this house on first and fifth day mornings, and at the Peel on first and third days in the afternoon, and return home in due season.
2. That you love one another as brethren and sisters of one family, making it your daily care to preserve a spirit of unity and patience amongst yourselves. And that you be tender hearted and ready at all times to help according to your strength such amongst you as are weak and feeble and stand in need of your assistance, (not knowing how soon it may be your own case), cheerfully performing whatever the steward shall require of you for the service of the family, according to your abilities. And also, that you do render to him an exact account of what money any of you shall earn, and pay the same into his hands.
3. That all who are able and in health, do attend constantly in the public dining room at meal times, and sit reverently at the table, otherwise, to have no victuals . . . And if at any time any person's allowance shall exceed what they incline to eat at a meal, such person or persons are to return what is left to the steward whilst it is fresh and good.
4. That if any be found carrying away, giving away, purloining or selling any part of their own allowance, or anything belonging to the house, or consenting to any others doing so, [they] shall, for the first offence, appear before the committee and be liable to what they shall see meet to do or order in that case. And for the second offence, [they] shall be expelled [from] the house.
5. That you carefully avoid contention, and in case any difference should arise you shall, before aggravations on either side are given, appeal to the steward and submit to his judgement therein . . . Otherwise, he shall lay the matter before the committee for them to determine the same as they see meet.
8. That the family be all in bed by the eighth hour in the winter and by the ninth hour in the summer. And that none be up later, nor . . . any fire or candle be kept in anyone's room or chamber without leave of the steward.
1. For the promotion of piety and godliness and the benefit of the family, it's ordered that all the children do constantly attend the meetings for worship at this house on first and fifth day mornings, and at the Peel on first and third days in the afternoon, and that they do frequently read the holy scriptures.
2. That about the fifth hour in the morning in the summer, and the sixth hour in the winter, upon ringing the bell, they rise, and after dressing themselves, washing their hands and face, combing their heads and brushing their clothes, for which half an hour . . . is allowed them, they shall then proceed to work. Each of them doing so much every day as the steward shall think fit and allot them. And that none to make any waste of their wool or anything else, nor suffer any with their consent or knowledge to . . . [do so], without informing the steward thereof or such other person as he shall appoint to oversee them in his absence. And that no noise or disturbance be seen or heard in the workroom.
3. That when the bell is rung to meals they shall, after washing themselves and brushing their clothes, go orderly to the table and, sitting down in their respective places, keep silent, shewing a good behaviour to all, of what rank soever. The school master and mistress to be present.
5. They shall not break the walls or windows about the house, neither shall they strike one another or be quarrelsome, but of peaceable behaviour. But if any child thinks himself ill . . . treated or aggrieved by another, let him acquaint the steward or such other person who in his absence hath the oversight of them.
7. The child who enticeth another into a fault is to receive double punishment, but if he or she that is drawn into the fault shall confess it before it's found out, they shall, in that case, find favour.
8. That once in every month these orders be read to the children that none may plead ignorance. And as often as any of them are broken, the steward is ordered to take care that they who break them have due correction for every offence.
Also the committee expects that the steward should give proper orders to the servants who have or shall have the care or oversight of the children at their work, that they do likewise take care to see them washed and dressed as is ordered in the second article. As also to see them quietly in bed at night and in general, that all the servants hired into this house be subject to the steward and stewardess as becometh them.
5. Thou mayst observe that the orders of the house oblige every friend to return what they don't eat of their provision to the steward whilst it is fresh and good . . . as the allowance in the bill of fare is more than the ancient friends can often dispense with. So we expect our orders should be punctually complied with by everybody. For, as it is our care there should be no want, so we expect there should be no waste.
9. Formerly the ancient friends taken into this house were kept to work, but of late the committee has thought fit to excuse them from it in order to render them as easy as may be, and that everyone may have time and opportunity the better to lend a helping hand to each other when weak or ill, and cheerfully to perform what the steward shall require of them for the ease and service of the family, as well as for their own convenience, such as sometimes making a fire in the dining room (and the women friends to be assisting in mending the children's things). Art thou willing, cheerfully, to do according to thy ability what shall be so required of thee?
11. We likewise expect that the ancient friends should be good examples of quietness and contentment to the children, as well as each other. And that nothing of [the] differences amongst them appear before the children. But if any should happen to arise, that they immediately compose it between themselves or apply to the steward in the children's absence, for him to determine or lay before the committee.
It is the order of this house that if any child, not properly the monthly meetings's charge, be taken in and should happen to have the smallpox &c, the charge of physic, wine, a nurse and extraordinary fire & candle should be borne by the person who is engaged for the weekly allowance, which we expect thou will also comply with.