In the last blog (posted yesterday) I forgot to mention two points promised in the previous blog of 25/04.
Workhouses were not so bad – this point was prompted by the consideration of those who died in Sculcoates workhouse and were buried in the second of the two detached burial grounds north of Sculcoates Lane. The point is this, unless they had died suddenly or in early infancy those buried had almost certainly spent some time in the workhouse infirmary getting a level of care reasonable for the time albeit very primitive by modern standards. Given their poverty this would not have been available outside the workhouse. Indeed, given that some basic elements of a welfare state had been voted-in by the pre-Great War Liberal government, medical provision had become the main provision of workhouses, this in turn the reason why workhouses endured in tandem and why many then developed into local hospitals (and later N.H.S. hospitals) – Castle Hill and Scunthorpe Hospitals being the only regional ones where this was not the case.
The second point – a comparison might be made between the pauper graves beside Sculcoates Lane and the inmate graves dating from the time when De La Pole Hospital was an asylum. Its cemetery is located in the northern edge of the site next to a playing field beyond which is Castle Road and then Castle Hill Hospital complex. The cemetery only has a couple of monuments and these to significant members of staff who opted to be buried alongside their once patients, this a moving point in itself. No headstones here for deceased inmates, a plan must have existed, Hull History Centre may have this archive but I’m not sure. Some former inmates may have been buried in their home cemetery if the municipal authority or the family had been prepared to pay. The site is a poignant one.
Anyway, to get back to Sculcoates. The photo above is of a section of the west bank of the River Hull beside Oak Road playing fields, Owing to industrial development it is not possible to get the equivalent picture for the Sculcoates site.
Point of View 4 – One outcome of the present pandemic is that the country has renewed its support for a national (rather than private) health service and, indirectly, a welfare state – and long may they endure.