Tuesday, 16 August 2016

16th August 1816: 'An appalling picture of distress' in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire

The Nottingham Review of 16th August 1816 published the following sobering passage about the distresses being experienced amongst framework-knitters in Sutton-in-Ashfield:
A Correspondent in a large village in this neighbourhood, has sent us the following appalling picture of distress; and we are sorry to say, we have every reason to believe, from the account given by an inhabitant of the place, who called upon us this week, that so far from the facts being too highly coloured, on an investigation they would be found to exceed the representation here given: we are told that one farmer in the parish is now paying 15s. per day, as a poor rate; and we know for a certainty, that for a smart house, the rental of which is 3l. 10s. a year, the tenant is paying between two and three shillings a week to the same rate. That such a state of things cannot long continue, must be evident to every reflecting mind:—"The situation of Sutton-in-Ashfield is truly miserable. There are no less than fourteen Sick Clubs or Institutions for the relief of each other in cases of inability to follow their occupations, containing above twelve hundred members, who have stopped paying and receiving during the present distress, for the want of employ, which renders it impossible for the greatest part of them to pay their contributions, and consequently must have been excluded, is such an expedient had not been resorted to. Many are in the practice of procuring fire fuel by going two or three miles to the coal pits with wheelbarrows, and some join in numbers at a cart or a waggon and divide them when they have drawn them home. Out of the number of almost two thousand frames, not one hundred have full employ; and those who have hitherto paid poor rates, are called upon to an extent of distress which is unparalleled."

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