During a recent spell of very bad weather, the Guardians of the Peterborough Poor Law Union had granted temporary outdoor relief to some able-bodied agricultural labourers who had been unable to work through no fault of their own. as a result, the National Board had requested that they be furnished with a statement showing the number of persons relieved that were at variance to the General Prohibitory Order. They also requested particulars of the number of persons in each family and the amount of relief that had been afforded. At this Saturday's meeting of the Board of Governors of the Peterborough Poor Law Union, the clerk read a letter that had come from the National Poor Law Board. It stated that 'having regard to the accommodation afforded by the workhouse, and to the number of inmates therein, the Board thought it desirable that the Guardians should, in future, should offer to relieve the necessities of this class of person in the workhouse. They should apply that test of destitution so long as circumstances permitted with regards to each application.' In other words, 'rules is rules', and using common sense and compassion are not allowed. (Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.