The following quote is taken from the Bognor Regis Observer, 16th September 1908, and features three small pieces of news relating to Midhurst:
Workhouse Struck by Lightning.
At the last meeting of the Midhurst Guardians it was reported that the Workhouse had been struck by lightning during a recent storm and damage to the extent of £l8 10s. was done. The damage is covered by Insurance. The advisability of having a lightning conductor at the Workhouse is being considered.
Happy, Healthy Midhurst.
Midhurst has the satisfaction of being one of the healthiest places in the county. Last years death rate was 128 against ten years’ average of 182, while the infant mortality was 82 per 1000 against an average of 84 for ten years past. There were only 19 cases of notifiable diseases, whereas since the Act was adopted 18 years ago the average has been as high as 56 cases.
There is some dispute about the ownership of the triangular piece of ground near South Pond, and some mysterious hand has shown its indignation by pulling down the fence which enclosed it. No one seems to claim the land, but the Ratepayers’ Association, who declare it to be public property. The Vicar (the Rev. F. Tatchell) wished to lay it out for the public and erect a seat there, but this is deemed inadvisable at the moment. Anyway, one step has been taken on behalf of the ratepayers by the removal of the fence.
The Midhurst workhouse was located in Easebourne, and opened in 1794. In 1930 the site became Budgenor Public Assistance Institution, run by WSCC, and was used as temporary accommodation for homeless families in the 1970s. It has since been converted into flats.
It is interesting to note that a local infant mortality rate of 82 was something to be proud of in 1908. Thankfully things have moved on in the last 100+ years, and the average infant mortality rate in the UK now stands at just below 4.
I have searched without success for any further references to the mysterious piece of fenced off land at South Pond. If anyone can shed any further light on this please make use of the comments section.
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