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At all events, the expenditure on those commodities argues any thing but niggardliness in the guardians of the poor.At my departure from the establishment, I could not help testifying my approbation of the general appearance and management of the house.The Wandsworth and Clapham Union was renamed the Wandsworth Union in 1904.The Wandsworth and Clapham Guardians leased another site from Earl Spencer on the north side of St John's Hill where a new union workhouse was erected in 1838-40 to designs by George Ledwell Taylor.There were also four large day-rooms which, owing to overcrowding, were pressed into use as wards.The nursing staff comprised 63 female and 4 male nurses, plus other officers and servants.
Ale and porter in a workhouse was a new feature, for which I had not been prepared, seeing that the inmates of our Scotch pauper asylums are judiciously restrained from indulging in any thing stronger than buttermilk or small beer, and that only as a liquefaction to their poor morning and evening meal.Occupying a somewhat elevated piece of ground, overlooking the rich and populous valley of the Thames, with Chelsea and the towers of Westminster in the distance, and closely environed with an extensive garden and shrubbery, the house enjoys a remarkably pleasant, and, I should think, salubrious situation; while the exterior, with its neat porter's lodge and railings, suggests much more the idea of is gentleman's residence than a receptacle for parish paupers.Conducted over the whole establishment by the house governor, I was surprised at the extent and variety of the details, all apparently on a well-digested scheme for preserving order and discipline, combined with as great comfort as any one could reasonably expect.Substantial changes and additions were made to the buildings, including a nurses' home in 1898 at the north-east corner of the site. © Peter Higginbotham St John's Hill children's ward, 1896.The later layout of the site is shown on the 1916 map below. © Peter Higginbotham After its enlargement, the St John's site provided 32 general wards of various sizes, and 10 special rooms or wards for isolation cases.