Selections from the Dairy of Benjamin Woodcock, Master, Barnet Workhouse, March 1837

Audio footage of extracts from Woodcock's diary

By Geoff Cordingley

To listen to the audio clip, click play on the bar below the image on the right.

Note: Entries in the diary are always dated Thursday, the day on which the report was made to the Board of Guardians.


THURSDAY, March 2, 1837

Friday, Shenley. The 3 Boys, Woodhouse, Brand & Peel left the Workhouse about 6 o’clock this morning, but for what cause unknown. This is the 3rd time.

Monday, Shenley. The Rev Mr Newcome was at the Workhouse this morning & wished to know if the woman Jiltro who has been an inmate of the workhouse some years would be allowed out door relief. I said I was not able to answer the question. The 3 boys had not returned. All the rest as usual.

C.Barnet Old Ned Hull, with whom I have had more trouble to maintain proper discipline than any other man in the house, having struck another inmate this afternoon, Contrary to the Rules & orders, I was telling the impropriety of such conduct and that I should report him to the board, when he made use of the most horrid & abusive language & said he cared for none of them, for which I pulled his nose, sent him to bed and kept him the following day without his dinner.

He Smelt very strong of Tobacco having been down the Garden Smoking unknown to me. I hope the Board will be pleased to order him some little punishment for such conduct, example being the only means to obtain proper order with such refractory paupers.

Tuesday, C.Barnet. About 12 o’clock the forenoon Mr Frost Constable of Finchley brought back 2 of the runaway boys, Woodhouse & Brand, the boy Peel having gone to London. They went away on Friday & was brought home on Tuesday with 8/- expenses. I have them locked up, but have not punished them in any other way till further orders The boy Brand, by means of a brick, has erased the BU on the buttons of his Union Clothing.

THURSDAY, March 9, 1837

Saturday, Shenley. Mrs Ward of Green Street, with whom the Girl Williams went to live about 6 months back, called on the Matron a few days ago to say she would have no further occasion for her service after the 25th March.

Sunday, C.Barnet. Attended at the New Workhouse this afternoon, to admit none without orders from the Guardians to view the New house.

Wednesday, C.Barnet. The Man Weatherby still confined to his bed. Paul Peart in a very poor way & the boy Woodhouse laid up with his old Complaint, a bad leg. The man Hull & all the other inmates very orderly this week.


Friday, East Barnet. Sick inmates much the same. The others behave tolerable orderly, this being pudding day.* The Matron was obliged to send one of the men to Barnet for the Suet though the Contractor has had the order in the house a week. The dinner was 2 hours behind time.

*Suet pudding as the main attraction of Friday dinners.

Monday, Shenley. Edward & Emma Shepherd, the 2 Chipping Barnet Casualty Children belonging to Bayford was removed to their proper settlement this morning by order of Board.

Tuesday, C.Barnet. The Medical Officer recommends 1 Pint of Beer to be given daily to Thomas Smith the blind man. The same to Paul Peart.

Tuesday, East Barnet. Mary Cooper aged 21, pauper of Hadley was discharged from EB house this day at her own request.


Friday, Shenley. Elizabeth William aged 14, pauper of South Mimms, was admitted in Shenley Workhouse on Friday 31st March, having received 1 month notice from Mrs Ward of Green Street with whom she went to live.

Sunday, C.Barnet. I did not send the inmates to Church on Sunday in consequence of their Clothing being so very indifferent, being advised to do so.

Monday The Matron of East Barnet sent word this morning that the Girl Ann Gray was going to the Hospital the following day & wished me to send her a new pair Black Stockings which was sent according.

This page was added on 23/11/2011.

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