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Knighton and district
The Union Workhouse
  Off to the Lunatic Asylum in 1902  

Even by the very end of the Victorian years the references in the official records to poor people who were mentally ill do not seem to have changed much from earlier times.
This example is from a report of a regular meeting of the Board of Guardians at Knighton workhouse in 1902...

24th July
Minute book entry
Drawing by
Rob Davies

It is from the official Minute Book and reads -
24th July - "Mr Hughes, Relieving Officer, reported the removal of Phoebe Carter from Presteigne to the Lunatic Asylum and of his finding a sum of £234 and 8 pence and three farthings in her house and £1 on her person, and that the money found in her house Mr Philip Davies had taken possession of for security he having levied a distress on the goods and chattels of the Lunatic..."

The Relieving Officer was appointed by the Guardians to issue approved payments to the local poor who were living in their own homes or in lodgings. In this case Phoebe Carter must have reached a bad state mentally and was packed off to an asylum. The awful sounding name 'Lunatic Asylum' was still in use until well into the new century.
The authorities had to try and recover at least some of the cost of her care which had been funded out of the local Poor Rate. The money found in her house (quite a large sum for the time - especially for a pauper !) was properly recorded and used to pay for rent, rates, and the cost of her removal.
A later entry in the book noted that the Guardians had the first claim of her money for "her maintenance present and future" and that her relatives could not claim any of it until her death. The record also states matter-of-factly that "she might not live long enough to require it all" !

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