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ABERGAVENNY BOARD OFI GUARDIANS.

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ABERGAVENNY BOARD OF GUARDIANS. SIR ARTHUR HERBERT'S SUGGESTIONS. A WHITE ELEPHANT." The fortnightly meeting of the Abergavenny Board of Guardians was held on Friday, Col. W. Williams presiding. There were also present Mr. H. J. Gwillim (vice-chairman), Revs. H. Morice Jones and D. F. Walters, Sir Arthur Herbert, Messrs. John Prichard, William Jones, William Morris, Joseph Griffiths, John Baynam, John Jenkins, Alfred Edwards, Robert Johnson, Charles Thomas, Jas. Harrison and Joseph Howells. Master's Report. The Master reported that there were 110 inmates in the house, compared with 93 for the corresponding period of last year, an increase of 17. The number of vagrants relieved d'tring the fortnight was 73, compared with 30 for the corresponding period of last year, an increase of of 43. I Operating Room Necessary. The Acting Clerk (Mr. T. G. Green) read an entry in the visitors' book signed by the Chair- man and Sir Arthur Herbert, suggesting several improvements which were required at the house. Sir Arthur Herbert said he visited the house with Col. Williams, who asked him if he would make a few remarks. He asked the Master whether there was any plan of the building, and he said he had never seen one. He also asked him if he had a plan of the drainage and he re- plied that he had never seen one. For a building of that size and importance it was very necessary that there should be a plan of the building and of tlie drainage. With regard to other matters, they thought there were several rooms which could be altered. The room where the nurses were Das lit with two skylights and there were no windows. He thought they would agree with him that the nurses, who were hard worked and required consideration, should be lodged in cheerful quarters, and if something could be done in that respect he thought it would be an advantage. On the day of their visit there had been an operation of a severe character, and he found that there was no theatre or operating room of any sort or kind. These were matters which they thought should certainly be im- proved fupon, because it Jwas not fitting that operation should take place in any vkind of room, on account of what might possibly happen afterwards. They thought that some kind of operating room might be arranged, which would be thoroughly disinfected and kept disinfected for that purpose. The Vice-Chairman Are there any plans.? The Clerk said there used to be a plan on rollers in the Master's office, but they had-been sent backwards and forwards to the Local Government Board so many times that they were lost. He thought it would be well if they directed him to write to the Ministry of Health and ask them if they could trace the plans. Mr. Harrison suggested that, seeing they were carrying out repairs at the house, they should ask the architect to prepare a set of plans. Mr. W. H. Studholme, R.O., said there was a plan got out when the Workhouse was sold to the late Marquess, and it should be attached to the conveyance, which would be returned to them. Mr. Harrison said that to get out a ground plan while Mr. Morgan was on the job would be a comparatively small matter. Mr. Wm. Jones said he thought they had better write to the Ministry of Health. With regard to an operating room, that could be taken into consideration again. He moved that they write to the Ministry of Health. The Rev. D. F. Walters asked if it was not a fact that these suggestions had remained in abeyance pending the decision as to whether the Workhouse was to be removed or not. Sir Arthur Herbert said he did not wish to refer to the past. He was simply taking things as they were at present, and the suggestions could be carried out at a small cost. Forbidden to Spend Money. Mr. Howells said he believed the Local Government Board forbade them to "spend any money, and these things had been left over with the idea that they were bound to build a new Workhouse. They were still told that they had to build a new Workhouse, and that was the real hindrance to carrying out any improve- ments to the house. Mr. Harrison said he would not recommend spending too much money at the present time, because everything was practically in the melting-pot. The probability was that they would see a great change in the next year or two. It would be unwise to suggest expenditure because they did not know where they were going to be. When devolution came about and Wales got its own Parliament probably they would all be M.P.'s instead of Guardians. (Laughter). The Chairman Hadn't we better get into communication with the Ministry of Health and ascertain from them what they intend to do ? Mr. Jones They don't know. The Chairman It is reported that the County Council are going to have charge of this work. The Vice-Chairman We shall have a new house then. Mr. Robert Johnson Where was the in- spector that he did not find out these defects when he came round recently ? The Rev. Morice Jones said they were in- debted to Sir Arthur Herbert and the Chairman for finding out these defects. They were very trivial in one sense and they ought to be recti- fied, if it did not involve much expenditure. The matter of the nurses' room ought to be attended to. It was decided that the House Committee should bring up a report at the next meeting. 66 New Windows. With regard to the repairs and alterations proposed to be carried out at the Workhouse, Mr. Prichard reported that the House Com- mittee found that the specifications had been changed. They included 66 new windows, and that was never in the old specifications and the House Committee knew nothing about it. He believed they would cost about two guineas each, and they felt that they were not required. When Mr. Williams, the inspector, was over the house he said that some of the windows were sealed up, because the Master suffered with his chest, and he thought that the windows ought to be opened, because of the danger in case of fire. Mr. Howells said that the Master could ex- plain to the Board how the matter cropped up. The Master said that Mr. Morgan, the Sur- veyor, met Messrs. Foster & Hill at the Work- house a week previously to explain the specifi- 'cations to them. Mr. Hill asked to be allowed to go over the whole of the institution to measure up and go into the matter thoroughly. On Monday while they were going round he found that Mr. Hill was measuring several windows which he (the Master) understood were not going to be touched. He asked Mr. Hill for what purpose he was measuring the windows, and he replied that he had- to include provision for 66 iron casements. Personally he (the Master) was astounded, and he told Mr. Hill that that was not correct. Mr. Hill said they were in the specifications and he had had the number supplied to him. He (the Master) said he did not know anything at all about it and he was sure that the Guardians did not. There was nothing of this mentioned in the original report which was handed to Mr. Morgan by the late Clerk. He (the Master) failed to get Mr. Morgan oa the 'phone, and wrote to him. Next day Mr. Morgan pnenett Nir. nui anu mxoriueu mm uul the matter had come before the Guardianse and had been 'approved of, but if it was not correct it could be adjusted. Mr. Morgan also wrote that the whole of this work was in the specifica- tions and was read at the committee. He had communicated with Mr. Hill, so that the matter would be all right. They would only remove and renew the windows which were necessary. Mr. Howells said he had seen Mr. Morgan that morning and he said that some of the windows needed to be renewed, but he did not intend 66 new ones. Mr. Alfred Edwards moved that the House Committee meet the architect at the house to discuss the matter. The Rev. D. F. Walters seconded and it was carried. The tenders which had been received were not opened. More Power to Their Elbows." Mr. W. Morris reported on a Poor Law con- ference in London which he had attended on behalf of the Board. He said that with regard to the body which it was suggested should supersede Boards of Guardians, he did not think it would be the County Council. He thought it I would be a body on the same lines as at present, only more direct. The Boards of Guardians would have greater power and authority than they had at present in relation to the administra- tion of Poor Law and health matters. With regard to payment of expenses, he thought the nation would be better served if they were paid their expenses, and they would get better men. Mr. Harrison That is a reflection on the present men. Mr. Morris It is a reflection on myself. Speaking of a visit to the Lambeth Workhouse, Mr. Morris said that they had heard a good deal of disparagement of workhouses, but if the day were to come that he had to walk the streets, he would not stay outside the Lambeth Workhouse. He did not think it could be argued that Boards of Guardians had not done right by the poor. Mr. Morris was thanked for his report. Asylum Inmates Well Cared For. The Rev. D. F. Walters reported, as one of a committee, on a visit to the Monmouthshire Asylum on the previous Friday. He said they had 52 male and 44 female patients there, and he was pleased to say that one of the males and one of the females were out on trial. The in- mates were well treated and it was a splendid thing thst there was such a noble institution and a staff which did their best for these un- fortunate people. One of the Meanest Boards in Existence." Mr. Joseph Howells moved that they give extra outdoor relief for two weeks at Christmas, at the rate of 3s. for each adult and 2S. for each child, and that the usual Christmas fare be given to the inmates of the house. The Clerk said that this would cost ^44 3s. for one week. Last year they gave £ 20 16s. for two weeks, or /41 12s. altogether. Mr. Harrison proposed that the extra relief be given for only one week. Mr. Alfred Edwards seconded and the amend- ment was carried by nine votes to five. Mr. Howells We are the meanest Board in existence. The Vice-Chairman proposed a further amend- ment that the amounts be 6s. for adults and 4s. for children, but subsequently altered this to 4s. and 3s. Mr. Howells seconded. Sir Arthur Herbert said they were voting a large sum with a very light heart. When he suggested certain improvements at the house, which were humane and absolutely necessary, they jibbed at it, but they talked of voluntarily voting £88 to feed people at Christmas time. Mr. Morris You forget it is only once a year. To you or I it may be every day.. Sir Arthur Herbert If a man has an operation it may be only once in a lifetime, and if he has septic poisoning owing to the conditions he has not the chance to say much about it. The amendment was lost, only two voting for it, and Mr. Harrison's proposition of 3s. and 2s. for one week was carried. I A White Elephant." Mr. Robert Johnson said that Mr. Prichard, Mr. Pym and himself, as a sub-committee of the Housing Committee for the rural district, had inspected sites all round the Abergavenny district, and at Llanfoist they had fixed on a field which was bought to build the new work- house on. They were under the impression that if a new workhouse was built it would not be built there, and they thought it would be the means of releasing the Guardians of their burden. It was just a suggestion, but he thought the Board should be informed of it. Mr. Prichard suggested that the matter should be put on the agenda for the next meeting, so that they could discuss it. He thought it would be a good opportunity of getting rid of what he had always thought was a white elephant." It was agreed to discuss the matter at the next meeting.

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