Until 1930, when the County Council took it over the House was administered by the Board of Guardians (the elected Guardians of the Poor) who met fortnightly in the Boardroom, but then and later the Master and Matron were responsible for the day to day management and for dealing with the many and varied situations, and indeed emergencies which arose.There were many aspects of their work: the care of the old, the sick, the infirm; of children, of mental defectives; of the vagrant men and women who came to the 'tramp wards' and who usually stayed two nights, working on the premises during the intervening day.Looking back, one of the clearest of my childhood recollections is of The Bell.The bell punctuated the daily life of the closely-knit community which was 'home': The Workhouse. There were Master and Matron (my father and mother); a small staff called the Officers; and the Inmates.Otherwise, although not actually working, they were on the premises in the evenings in case they were needed. were of course provided for them, and medical attention if necessary, and I think their cash salaries were about £50 in most cases.When my parents took up duty in 1906 their own salaries were £60 and £40 per annum, and they said their posts were considered handsomely paid at that time.
They did not work on Saturday afternoons or on Sundays, unless in the kitchen or helping the infirm and so forth.
I can just remember three or four men working together at the pump at intervals during the day.
Then an electric pump was installed, and later an emergency supply was laid on from the public mains, which had not always been available.
About that time there were three nurses in the infirmary block.
One was a midwife, and my mother shared the midwifery with her.