Workhouses, like the one in Bromley (now the PRU hospital), often organised holiday outings for the inmates. This article reports their annual outing in 1918 to the park at Hollydene in Keston, which the ‘poor folk’ were given to their disposal for the day.
The article highlights the restrictions to food, high prices and rationing which had to be adhered to, but also the generous donations of toys, in spite of the high prices, and other supplies from local residents.
But in spite of all this, the ‘poor folk’ still had a very pleasant day.
Bromley Workhouse Holiday
The inmates of the “grim grey house” at Farnborough had their annual outing on Wednesday last week, and were favoured by fine weather. By the kind permission of Mr & Mrs Vigers the park at Hollydale, Keston, was again placed at the disposal of the poor folk, and no more charming site for such a gathering could be found in our district. Food restrictions, and war prices – not to mention rationing regulations – made it difficult to cater for several hundred guests. Alaska red salmon had to take the place of beef and mutton, and other customary items in the bill of fare were either reduced to legal limits, or omitted altogether.
In spite of these drawbacks, the poor folk had a very pleasant day, and the children enjoyed themselves thoroughly. They had a generous supply of toys, in spite of the high prices. Although the veteran promoter of these outings – Mr C W Gedney – deplored its shortcomings, these were not serious, and the day’s proceedings were a great success, so said the guests who had spent a happy day. Mr Alderman Lawrence made his usual congratulatory speech, in complimenting those who had helped to made the outing a success. Much of this credit was due to Mr T Henley, the Master, and Miss A.C. Vickery, the Matron. Amongst the helpers were Miss Dunn, Miss Cooper, Mrs F.H. Gedney, Mrs G.H. Payne, Mr Edger, Mr F.W. Gedney and others. Messrs. Line, of Chislehurst, sent a supply of mineral waters. The Bromley and Crays Co-operative supplied the bread, cake and groceries.
Source: Bromley & District Times, 5th July, 1918 (page 3)