1907 : Piggeries at the Holborn Union Workhouse

Shoreditch Observer – Saturday 12 October 1907

The Mitcham Piggeries.

The Mitcham Workhouse Visiting Committee reported that they had carefully considered the question of keeping pigs at that establishment, and having regard to the profits made during the past three years, and the useful employment provided for inmates of the house, they were of opinion that it was desirable to continue to keep pigs, and recommended “That the committee he authorised to re-stock the piggeries forthwith.”

The Rev. G. Smith asked what had become of the pigs which had been destroyed. He was told that they had been buried in the ground under cultivation.

The Chairman said he had been informed that they were buried on the farm and covered with lime.

The Rev. G. Smith considered it very wrong thing to do. They would probably be dug up, and the disease was likely to spread again.

The Chairman said the pigs were unlikely to dug with one or two spade’s deep, and they were covered with lime.

Mr. Herbert-Burns, Chairman of the committee, said the hole was not kept open to put the whole of the pigs in.

Mr. Walmer understood that if a person died from small-pox and was put under the earth the body would he purified, and it would surely purify pigs.

The Clerk ascertained the gross profit, from which they had deducted the amount received outside for the sale of wash. For the year ending Lady-day, 1905, there was loss of £2 6s. 5 1/4d. In 1906 there was profit of £130 15s. 6d. in 1907, the profit received was £194 16s. 10d., making a total of £323 5s. 11d. The actual cost for wash was £82 12s., leaving net profit of £240 13s. 11d. on the three years’ trading.

Mr. Bolton was still the opinion that they ought to discontinue the keeping of the pigs. They should know whether it was intended to rebuild the piggeries and what was to spent re-stocking. For the sake of £6O per year to in for expenditure of £300 to re-build and re-stock was in his opinion not wise course. He was of the opinion that the old pigs did die of swine fever, and did not like the idea of re-stocking the piggeries that had housed the deceased animals.

Mr. Bassett moved that the report should referred back in order that an estimate of the expenditure might prepared. He did not think they should he such had managers as to keep pigs without a profit.

Mr. Warmer considered they ought to get £200 or £250 profit out of the pigs. If he were ten years younger he would get something out of it.

Mr. King seconded the amendment, but considered that special committee should be appointed to deal with the farm.

Alderman Enos Howes said they had the facts that the pigs did not pay. It was an instance of municipal trading. They could not produce the results of private enterprise.

Mr Garrity said he had to confess he went down to Mitcham supporting the abolition of the piggeries. They were told that they ought to be making £200 out of the pigs ; last year they made £194 and the year before that £120 15s. 6 1/4d. Even in their bad year they only lost £2 5s. 6 3/4d. The farthings came before the Committee and were discussed with all solemnity. (Laughter.) Prior the committee meeting he discussed the matter with Ald. Miller, and he learned that a man only a stone’s throw from the workhouse had made a fortune out of pig-keeping. The question of the proper management was not against the piggeries. The cost of new piggeries was of vital importance.

Mr. Walton said it came as surprise to him after what their friends had said about the loss, to hear the report from the clerk. He was in sympathy with the statement that the management needed re-organisation. They were impressed with the cleanliness and good condition of the piggeries, and he doubted if they would have to spend a five pound note to improve them.

Mr. BOUTON said there was a general expression of opinion to pull down the present piggeries and build fresh places with every sanitary convenience. It would he a failure to put fresh pigs into the old stys.

Mr. Berther thought it would be well if they appointed a special committee to consider the whole question.

The amendment was then put and carried. A notice of motion for the appointment of a special committee has been handed in by Mr. Bolton.

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