Oral History

Mr George Dealtry life and times of a Vicar of Hinckley

Please Note The figures at the beginning of the line, correspond with the numbers at the foot of each report; and the figures at the end of the line, refers to the MS. Paging of the Volumes arranged for The House of Commons.

Interviewed: Mr George Dealtry

4537. You are, I believe, the vicar of Hinckley? --- I am.

4538. In what condition do you find the framework knitters here at the present time? --- They are exceedingly low in condition.

4539. Do you frequently visit them at their own homes? --- Yes, and find there great destitution, the furniture and clothing both in a bad state. I can positively say that that sometimes it is a difficult matter to find any furniture at all.

4540. Are they attendants generally at places of worship on the Sunday, do you think? --- I am afraid not, generally speaking.

4541. Have any of them given you reasons for their non-attendance? --- The general reason given to me is the want of proper clothes to appear in.

4542. Do their children attend Sunday school in large numbers? --- Not in the proportion that they might do.

4543. Has any cause been given for that? --- The same reason has been assigned, that they cannot find clothes and shoes to appear in, and so on; they have frequently called upon me to give one article or other of dress that they may be able to come to school, those that do belong to the Sunday school.

4544. In visiting their houses from time to time, do you observe anything that leads you to suppose they are not good and provident managers? --- I have frequently observed great want of providence in their management.

4545. Are they frequenters of public houses to any considerable extent? --- To judge from the appearance of the public house that I have frequently seen. I should say yes; the pubic house towards night being full of them.

4546. Are there many beer shops and public houses in the town? --- A great number.

4547. Do you know the number? --- 40

4548. Do you consider that number wholly disproportionate to the necessities of the popula­tion? --- Certainly.

4549. Are they well conducted upon the whole? --- Many of them are very disorderly.

4550. Compared with the population of other towns with which you are acquainted, do you think the condition of the people here is more disadvantageous? --- I should certainly say so.

4551. Do you attribute their condition generally to the small amount of their earnings or to improvident habits, or to the combination of each? --- A good deal to their own improvident habits, but arising from each cause certainly.

4552. I believe there are considerable allotment of land here to the poorer classes, are there not? ---Yes, there are some, and a good number in proportion to the population.

4553. Do you consider that those are of advantage to them? --- Not entirely so, those people being many of them unable to cultivate their gardens as advantageously as in an agricultural country; and the rent, moreover, being very high.

4554. Does that arise from their physical incapacity, or from their want of means to cultivate the land properly? --- I should consider it more their physical incapacity. Some of those with whom I have talked have complained of fatigue, in the act of digging their work and performing their, manual labour, from their continued habit of leading a sedentary life.

4555. I believe the system has been only recently established here? --- I believe recently, within about two years.

4556. Are there any moans, which suggest themselves to your mind as desirable to be encouraged to promote the interest of the working classes generally here? --- No; I am not able to give any decided answer upon that point.

The Witness Mr George Dealtry withdrew.