The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Portsea Workhouse

The speaker at our September meeting was Margaret Edgeworth, who gave a very interesting talk about the Portsea Workhouse.

Originally parishes were responsible for their own poor people, but from 1834 they formed Unions to provide care in their area.

The Portsmouth Union covered a fairly small area and as was usual, their Workhouse, built to house 1200 people, was on the edge of the town. (It is now apartments).

The Master was in charge and a Matron (usually his wife) cared for the women, along with nurses, a medical officer, and a Chaplain.

There were about 20 Guardians, elected by the ratepayers, and a visitors committee, who made fortnightly inspections.

Men and women (unless elderly) and children living in the Workhouse were separated. There were a lot of children, the younger ones were educated in the Workhouse, but older ones were sent to local schools. They could only read books approved by the Guardians and until 1891 were not allowed any toys. Lots of them (if they had no parents) emigrated, often to Canada.

From the 1890’s elderly people were encouraged to come to the Workhouse (there were no pensions in those days), and in 1895 double rooms were built for their use.

Margaret Edgeworth’s information came from the minutes of Guardians’ meetings and was a most interesting insight into life in the Workhouse.

October Meeting

Our speaker, Wendy Williams, gave a most informative talk on Dementia and Care in the Home.

There are many types of Dementia, Alzheimers being one of the most common ones, the part of the brain affected determines which type. We were told that Dementia can affect people of any age and that 1 in 3 people will have some form of Dementia when they die.

At present 19 people attend Wendy’s Day Care Centre, their ages ranging from 55 – 100.

There are many positive things that can be done to help Dementia sufferers. It is important to keep life skills levels, these can be helped with quizzes, music, activities, and aids to reminiscences, for example pictures of past homes.

People with Dementia retain an emotional memory so the centre is careful to ensure a happy feeling is generated.

Routine and continuity, with carpets and furnishings kept the same over the years, and ensuring people can sit in the same place is crucial to help people cope.

Ensuring adequate food and drink prevents dehydration and subsequent additional confusion, and eating meals together in a social setting encourages people to eat.

We learnt that contrasting colours help to distinguish items as the 3D effect is lost and that slopes and steps are not easy to cope with.

Challenging behaviour is often caused by illness and solved by treating this.

Early signs of Dementia include paranoia and confusion, which are sometimes difficult to admit to, but with support and a positive attitude much can be done to slow and to alleviate the symptoms of Dementia.

Trip to Buckingham Palace,

22nd September 2011

Our coach set off for London just before 9am, with a coffee stop at Guildford Cathedral Refectory and just time for a quick look around the Cathedral (or a browse in the shop).

We arrived in London in time to see part of the Changing of the Guard before heading to Green Park for a picnic lunch (which we shared with some feathered Londoners!) After a quick (fortuitous) “loo stop” we joined the queue to start our tour. As we waited on the benches at the entrance a kind lady guide informed us that there were no toilets till the end of the fairly long tour, a point worth noting for anyone intending to visit!

After going through “Airport” security we were given audio “tour guides” and set off around Buckingham Palace’s magnificent public rooms.

A special treat was to see the Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Dress, tiara, bouquet, and quite amazing high-heeled shoes! The dress was beautiful, we saw a video describing how it was designed and made and were able to walk around it completely to see it at every angle.

The tour continued till we reached the garden where we unplugged our “tour guides” and headed for the cafe, shop, loo’s! and finally, at 5pm, back to our waiting coach.

The weather was fine, the tour fascinating, and we all had a brilliant day out in London.

Janet Johnson

Christmas Edition 2011

St George’s Mothers’ Union