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IBoard of Guardians.


I Board of Guardians. The fortnightly meeting of the Aberystwyth Board of Guardians was held on Monday morning at the Union Workhouse, when there were present Mr W. A. Miller (chairman) presiding, Messrs Hugh Hughes, B. Ellis Morgan, Rev T. A. Penry, and Edwin Morris, Aberystwyth; E. Jones, Ceulan- vmaesmawr; Lewis Richards and John Morgan, Cwmrheidol; Wm. Morris, Cyfoethybrenin J. B. Morgan, Cynnullmawr; Richard James, Henllys; James Jones, Llanbadarn Lower Thomas Powell, Llanfihangel Upper; Evan Richards, Llanfihangel Lower; E. J. Evans, Llangwyryfon; D. Morris, Llanilar; Charles Davies. Llanychaiarn; Richard Davies, Trefeirig; Richard Thomas, Tirymynach; Wm. Hughes, Vaenor Upper; and Thomas H. Jones, Parcel Canol; with Hugh Hughes (clerk). Mr Bircham, Local Government Board inspector, was also in attendance. AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS. The Clerk reported that the audit of the Board's accounts for last year bad now been completed, and on the motion of Mr James Jones, it was agreed that the House Committee consider the question of printing an abstract of accounts. MASTER'S REPORT. The Master reported that the number in the House the first week of the past fortnight was 42 as against 48 the corresponding period of last year, and the second week 41 as against 41. Six vagrant. were relieved the first week as against 25, and 11 the second week as against 19* The Master also stated that he had received a parcel of books and periodicals from Mr Wm. Jenkins, stationer, for the use of the inmates. BOARDING OUT COMMITTEE. The Clerk read a communication from iNIrs Colby, secretary of the Boarding Out Committee, asking whether the relatives of orphans residing with them were to be allowed the clothing money, viz., 10s a quarter, allowed to foster-mothers, and whether the children were to have outfits. The Clerk said he had replied that the Guardians thought that these people should be content with the same allowances henceforth as previously. Some discussion arose on this matter as the result of a question by Mr Bircham, Local Govern- ment Board Inspector, who asked whether agree- ments had been drawn out in respect of these children. The Clerk replied that they were in communication with the secretary of the Boarding Out Committee with the view of having these agreements drawn up. 11 Mr Bircham said they had been acting in an illegal manner hitherto; the matter was then referred to the House Committee. OUT RELIEF. The amount of out-relief administered during the past fortnight was as follows :-Per Mr J. Morgan, 248 5s Od to 142 paupers per Mr Thomas Vaughan, P,46 10s Id to 159 paupers; and per Mr J. J. Hughe3, iE39 7s 00. to 149. HALF-YEARLY ESTIMATE. The estimate of expediture and contribution orders required for the half-year ending Michael- mas, 1900, was submitted by the Clerk, the amount being placed at E3,507, and the actual amount spent for the half-pear ending Michaelmas, 1899, was £3533. The Clerk explained that the new county rate basis just made for the borough of Aberystwyth was £ 37,124, and the old basis, £ 25,950; an increase of £ 11,274. The Rev T. Ax Penry enquired what there was in the Aberystwyth estimate that lead the clerk to expect an increase of E182 The Clerk explained that it was accounted for by the increase in the rateable value. On the motion of Mr James Jones, seconded by Mr Hugh Hughes, the estimate \vas unanimously adopted. The School Attendance Committee's estimate was also approved of. MR. BIRCHAM'3 ADDRESS. Mr Bircham addressed the guardians at some length, and said it might interest them to know the position their Union occupied with respect to the other Unions in his district, which com- prisd the 53 Unions of Wales and Monmouthshire. Aberystwyth had always taken a high place in the scale of Unions as regards the percentage of pauperism on the population. Taking the census of 1891, they stood 7th on the list of his Unions with a pauperism of 2 per cent. The average pauperism for the whole of Wales and Monmouthshire, was a little over 3 per cent. He, however, thought that the percentage, taken on the present population was really not more than 2.5 or 2.6 per cent. The amount collected in the Union of Aberystwyth, under the head of poor rate for the last year he had any figures for was E12,028, and this with £2,747 received from other sources made a total of £ 14,775. Out of that sum, the total amount devoted to the relief of the poor was £ 6,354. The remain- ing P,8,417 was devoted to county rates, I maintenance of roads, school boards, etc. Their share of the sum named represented about a Is 7d rate on their rateable value but their rateable value had now been raised, and no doubt that would make it less. The rate altogether for all purposes collected under the poor rate was 4s Id. With regard to the work- house, he had always found it clean, and for the last two or three years, a great improvement had been effected. He must say, he thought that was due to the Workhouse committee who seemed to him to take a great deal of trouble in improving the inside of the Workhouse. Mr Bircham said there were members who did not take much interest in the interior of the Workhouse and deprecate the spending of money. He saw now and again little remarks made about the way he or the Local Government Board dictated to them. All he oould say, when he thought of all the Unions in this country they suffered less from dictation either from his hands or the Local Government Board's hands of any Union he knew (laughter). But they had another authority looking after them, which was of much greater power than himself or the Local Govern- ment Board. The Local Government Board could only move in the way of any compulsion when things were very bad and when the accommodation was not sufficient for the wants of the population. But they had got public opinion, which was a far stronger element of criticism than any Local Government Board, and if they did not try their best to make their little Workhouse reasonably up- to-date and consult the interests of those who were the inmates, with regard to some sort of classifica- tion, so far as the building would allow, then public opinion would soon give their opinion and verdict as to the power of guardians who did not do what they could for the helpless poor. Mr Bircham also referred to the classification and improving of the men's side. The Committee, after a good deal of trouble, had recommended certain improvements of an extensive character, by which the men's sick ward would be improved, and they would get a day room in addition to their sleeping rooms instead of occupying the same room day and night. Of course, they were not at all overcrowded; they were going down and down all the time, and he could not dictate to them on that matter. But still he left it to their own sense to try what they could to improve the condition of these people who were obliged to go there. He thought there was a certain class of people getting out-door relief living in houses unfit for habitation, and who could not properly look after themselves and were left to the unskilled mercies or services of a paid neighbour. He thought they might very well swell the popula- tion of their sick wards by getting a few of these into the Workhouse, as he thought they would treat them better and kinder, and would not be paying rent for houses for which the owners ought not to exact rent as they were unfit for habitation. With regard to the out-relief, he did not think it was goir down. The figures that he got from month t, :!iontli showed it was pretty stationary. They all ished to relieve those who could not help themsel* s, and those who would not help them- selves should be relieved in the House. Under Section C, those men who were able-bodied and re- lieved by the guardiansfin case of sickness, he was glad to see there were only two during the whole of six months, which ought to show that the men made some provision themselves by belonging to friendly societies. He only hoped that was the case, and the guardians could do great help to friendly societies by being strict on those people who did not make provision when they had a chance to. Mr. Bircham advocated the use of the workhouse in all cases of young people applying for relief, for a young man, when he arrived at the age of 16 or 17 years, could, if he chose, belong to two clubs without any difficulty to himself. He advised every guardian to be a member of a friendly society, as he was himself, and try to get others to join as well. The remarks he made were entirely made of sympathy and with due consideration for their benefit. If he said unpleasant truths now and again, they could not be helped; they were meant for good. One thing he would, say he had to practice, and preaching was much easier than practice (laughter.) And in that any rev. gentleman present could bear him out (renewed laughter.) On the proposition of the chairman, a hearty vote of thanks was afterwards accorded Mr. Bircham for his address.

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