Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A Case Of Neglect

In March 1918 an article was published in the Morpeth Herald with the above title. The article concerned the family of Charles Rudd, the older brother of my Great Grandmother Margery

"A case which should serve as a warning to many people who are stated to require it was presented when Charles Rudd, of Back Phoenix Street, Newsham, was charged with neglecting to send his child to school. - There was no appearance on the part of the defendant."

Apparently Charles' daughter had "scarcely" been to school since April 1917. A doctor stated in the court that the girl suffered from scabies, which he had treated for nine or ten months. The doctor said that due to her condition she was not able to go to school, however, "there had been no effort on the part of the parents to cure her."

Mr. P. M. Dodds, a solicitor prosecuting on behalf of the Education Authority said that this was the point he wished to bring out. "Unless the parents had taken all precautions to cure the disease there could be no excuse." Mr. Dodds then went on to point out that the girl had been attended by the school doctor and nurse, whose instructions had not been followed out. 

Nurse Taylor came forward, stating she had the family under observation. She said the house had "been more or less affected with scabies for some time." Some notice had been sent to the Rudd family to send their daughter to school, but this had not been done and she had been re-infected with the disease through neglect. 

Dr. Fairlie, a schools medical officer "said the case was one of undoubted neglect." The girl was living in what was described as "untidy and not over clean house." Dr. Fairlie also brought up the fact that the mother and two boys aged 10 and 5 had also been infected with scabies. The mother, Elizabeth Rudd produced a card detailing instructions left by the nurse, which he said had not been carried out. 

It was added "that the disease required a deal of energy to eradicate it, but in a fortnight if properly treated it should be cured, and it should be cleared out of a family in a month."

The Chairman agreed that the Education Committee had been quite right the bring the seriousness of case forward, and hoped it would serve as a warning to others in the district. A fine of £1 was imposed. 


-The girl in the article could be one of two Charles and Elizabeth Rudd had at this time. It could be Jane Isabella, born 1906 or Hannah, born 1913. The boy aged 10 is their son Edward. The other boy mentioned, aged 5 I believe to be a mistake. Their only child aged 5 at this time would be Hannah, so I am inclined to believe that the girl in the article is their eldest daughter, Jane Isabella Rudd.-