Monday, 23 March 2009

Chickens in Newcastle

Google books has made available a scan of "A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle Upon Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead" published in 1827. It's full of names starting with a six-page subscriber list, definitely worth a look if you have roots going in that direction.

One of the names in my family tree with links to that part of the world is Chicken. Mary Chicken was the daughter of Robert Chicken, much before the time for which the situation of St. John's Poor-house is described in this volume.

"This house occupies a remarkably airy and pleasant situation, near to the Lunatic Asylum. It was built by the parish upon a plot of the Warden's Close, for which a. small ground-rent is paid to the corporation. It has lately been enlarged and improved, and now contains every necessary convenience. The rooms and beds are uncommonly clean, and admit of a free circulation of air. Behind is a large flagged yard, with wash-house, bake-house, coal-house, dead-house, and every other requisite office. Further back is a lumber-yard, piggery, and three rooms, below which are two cells, the illegal use of which is discontinued. The paupers seem to be treated with proper humanity by Mr. Robert Chicken, the master, and also by Mrs. Chicken, who is evidently well adapted for the management of such an establishment. The present number of inmates is only 28 ; but 54 have been in the house at one time. The children are sent to the Sunday-school, and, during the week, to St. Nicholas* Enlarged Charity-school. The master reads on Sundays to those old or infirm people that cannot attend the church ; and the Methodists frequently visit the house. The " Bill of Fare" is as follows :—

Breakfasts, — Hasty pudding, and one gill of milk. Those whose stomachs are too delicate for this food get bread and milk, and the sick coffee.

Sunday, Dinner, — Boiled beef or mutton, with potatoes or vegetables, and broth.
Supper,
— Broth and bread.

Monday, Dinner, — Cold meat, with potatoes, and occasionally broth.
Supper,
— Bread and milk.

Tuesday, Dinner, — Plum puddings.
Supper, — Bread and milk.

Wednesday, Dinner, — Boiled mutton, with mashed potatoes, and broth.
Supper,
— Bread and broth.

Thursday, Dinner, — Cold meat, with potatoes, &c.
Supper,
— Bread and milk.

Friday, Dinner, — Bullock's head stewed, with potatoes.
Supper,
— Bread and milk.

Saturday, Dinner, — Plum puddings,
Supper,
— Bread and milk.

The bread used is a mixture of wheat flour and lye. The diet is occasionally varied with fish ; and the beef and mutton used are of the best kind. The house has been entirely exempted from any contagious disorders during the last ten years."

No comments: