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Hello there

I would love some help in relation to my GG Granny who was in the Mullingar workhouse during the Great Famine years.  Her name was Mary Jane Walsh (from Castlelost, Westmeath).  Along with her sister Eliza Walsh they were described as "Nursemaids" in the record of their emigration to Australia on board the Tippoo Saib in 1850.  What would have the job of "Nursemaid" entailed in the Workhouse environment at the time?

Many thanks in anticipation

Regards

Sue O'Leary

SusanO'

Thursday 24th December 2020, 05:49AM

Message Board Replies

  • I probably can’t offer much more than the dictionary definition which is that a nursemaid was someone employed to look after another person’s children.

    If you read reports on workhouses in the 1800s, like the one below, you will find descriptions of the medical facilities. Usually there was a doctor and a very small number of nurses. Barely sufficient to give proper care to all the patients and in report after report you will find recommendations to employ more salaried nurses. In the meantime, what the workhouses did was use a few of their pauper inmates as “nursing assistants” you might call them. They could be responsible for non medical tasks like cleaning patients, serving and clearing meals, tidying the wards, and so on.  All workhouses had women with babies and young children and so presumably some duties may also have been around their welfare.

    A bit about Mullingar Workhouse here, plus the report of an inspection in the 1890s.

    http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Mullingar/

    http://www.workhouses.org.uk/BMJ/Mullingar.shtml

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 26th December 2020, 09:18AM
  • Thank you so much Elwyn.  I had seen the Mullingar site but I will follow up the 1890s reports. I really appreciate the information you provided. 

    Many thanks again

    Sue O'

     

    SusanO'

    Sunday 27th December 2020, 06:29AM
  • Who are ya Susan "O" & where located? 

    Don O'Leary - Indianapolis, Indiana

    E-Mail:dbjoleaary@aol.com

    Don

    Tuesday 22nd March 2022, 12:43AM