THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Inquiry is held into supply milk to Lisburn Road workhouse

From the News Letter, June 6, 1889

The Lisburn Road Workhouse, Belfast.
The Lisburn Road Workhouse, Belfast.

An inquiry, which chaired by Mr Hamilton, the Local Government Board inspector, was convened in the boardroom of the Lisburn Road workhouse in Belfast the previous day, reported the News Letter.

The inquiry had been convened to look into the circumstances connected with the fines which had been imposed by the master and storekeeper of the workhouse on contractors who had supplied milk to the house.

The master of the workhouse told the inquiry that there were eight contractors for the supply of milk and that in the previous October he had been become concerned about the deficiency in the quality of the milk being supplied.

He had reported this to the Board of Guardians who feared that poor quality milk would be detrimental on the inmates and had thus instructed the master and storekeeper to source more reliable suppliers of milk.

But the measures taken by the master were disputed and a Mr McGonigal, who represented one of the contractors, stated that he believed that the master’s conduct was impeachable.

To which the master had replied: “If there is any direct charge against my management of the house let it be stated.”

Supporting the actions of the workhouse master, Mr Morgan told the inquiry that he had been the mover of the Board of Guardians’ resolution that the institution’s solicitor should institute prosecutions against the milk contractors.

He stated that the master of the workhouse had acted at the direction of the Board of Guardians and that his actions were beyond dispute in their view.

The inquiry was later adjourned by the Mr Hamilton despite the opinions of the solicitors defending the milk contractors, Mr Donnelly and Mr McGonigal.