Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Join the Army? I'd Rather Crack Stones!



Men's Ward, Biggleswade Workhouse c.1910-20 [Z1306/16/14/11/3]

Thursday 13th April 1916: At today’s meeting of the Ampthill Board of Guardians it was suggested that if there were any men in the Ampthill Workhouse who were capable of earning their own living, they should be sent out to work to help the labour shortage. Unfortunately the Master reported that there was only one able-bodied man among the residents, and he had been ill, and was leaving next week. Instructions had been received from the Local Government Board for dealing with vagrants of military age. The workhouse officials were to inform the police and the recruiting officer if any such men applied for admission to the tramp wards. The Master mentioned that a tramp aged about 30 had recently had to be locked up for refusing his task. When asked why he was not in the Army, he had replied that he did not intend to be a soldier and would rather crack stones, but was “not very anxious for that”.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 18th April 1916

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