I took a walk along the little mews and lanes of my nearby town yesterday, passing by the old Workhouse and on to the Old Dispensary. It was a pleasingly warm almost summer day. I stopped long enough to take this photo but sat further for a while on a nearby wall. I have a good imagination and sat pondering how many times over the years folk had gone with hope in their hearts to collect medicines from this dispensary. I dreamt of how they would have looked, the clothes, whether they walked or cycled or came by horse and cart, or even a carriage., there is a lane immediately alongside after all. Life no doubt would not have been easy and the cost of a doctor great. The chemist sat tightly next to the old workhouse in a small mews with old cottages nearby, reminding me of so many television period dramas.
As I sat I dreamt of another era, of long dresses and capes, of black shiny horses and gallant gentlemen. I dreamt of rogues and vagabonds too and of a life before. I dreamt of child chimney sweeps. I thought of the poverty of some, maybe many? I dreamt of children caught in epidemics with no answer for them. For there were many during this time, influenza, diphtheria, tuberculosis and so many more. I wondered deeply of the folk who lived in the nearby cottages. Still quite beautiful but were they then?
Nestled between two nearby rivers would have meant plenty or rats and the disease they bring. No toilets inside, no electricity but a much simpler way of life but with hardships and a much tougher life. Still I’m sure many pleasures dwelt within too!
More than a few I suppose would never ever have left this small town in Lincolnshire and even now this can be the case. My young garden-helper tells me, that he had never been to London but HAS been to Skegness some 20.4 miles away…he is twenty-three! I suspect this is not unusual.
After I had sat for a while dreaming of days gone by, a young lady came and sat nearby with her take-away meal and what seemed like many little pots of tomato sauce, her lunch I suppose, she proceeded to dot the sauce over everything – we smiled – I am sure it was very tasty but smelt strongly of grease and so much of modern times… I tried not to sigh and not to look at the grease leaking through the paper bag and thought how all of a sudden “The great black shiny horses had came up and licked the frost from my dream…” I turned and continue my walk.
**~The Workhouse was in use from 1735 to 1837 and the Dispensary gave ‘Medical Aid to the Poor’ between 1789 and 1866. The Public Dispensary was also a dental surgery for a time.. Colourwashed
rendered brick with a roof hidden behind a parapet. 2 storey, 3 bay
front with doorway to left, with plain doorcase, overlight and
panelled door. 2 glazing bar sashes to right. 3 glazing bar
sashes above. Dispensary opened in 1789 and was sponsored by Sir
Joseph Banks and was used until 1866. Source: Horncastle Town.