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Barwick Historic Court Cases
Alleged Child Neglect at Barwick
Seven in One Room

From the Barwicker No.108
December 2012

On Tuesday 14th August 1906 at the Leeds West Riding Petty Court, Thomas White, a miner, who resided near Main Street and Hannah his wife were charged by Inspector Buckland of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (N.S.P.C.C.) with neglecting their four children in a manner likely to cause them suffering. They pleaded not guilty and appeared in the dock with their children who it was reported were clean and nicely dressed. The prosecution said the defendants lived in a three roomed cottage which was really a wooden hut covered with corrugated iron in a field in Barwick. The evidence presented said the children were kept in a filthy condition. They used mainly rain water they collected as they were some distance from a water supply.

Police Constable Beattie of Barwick stated that the rooms in the house were dirty. In the bedroom there was one bedstead where the parents and three children slept and in the corner were some rags on which an aunt and another child slept. They paid 2s a week to rent the cottage and it was stated that Thomas earned 22s 6d a week as a miner, Hannah and the aunt also worked earning 6s and the 5s 6d respectively. Hannah stated she had to work but the Chairman of the court told her she should not if she could not keep the cottage clean. A Dr. Heald stated he had examined the children and it was his opinion they had been neglected in a manner as to cause injury to health.

The N.S.P.C.C. inspector said the condition of the children had greatly improved and had they looked as they did in court he would not have taken proceedings. The Magistrate agreed and in view of the current condition of the children adjourned the case for three months to see how things progressed. The case came back to court on Tuesday 6th November 1906 when it was advised that the family had moved to Bowers Allerton (near Allerton Bywater) and an inspection had taken place there and everything was satisfactory. The N.S.P.C.C. asked for permission to withdraw the charge, which was granted.


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