This is a selection of grafitti from the cells in the tramps ward of the Dearnley Workhouse.
The transcribed graffiti from the cells is reproduced below.
Oh let me like a mucher fall
The pauper is a bloody shit
This is a cold cell but a good porter
Starvation Villa near Rochdale
Blessed is the man who has a chest
Hark, Misery & Co Starvation Villa near Rochdale
The pauper is worse than the master, he is a whore.
O’er memorys altar let me throw
Rochdale Spike is a tidy shop.
No. 1384 Trooper J. Evans B Troop 9th Lancers, came home from Umballa, India Service 7 years and 4 months.
Rochdale Spike is not so bad.
Whether be of nobler in the mind of man to suffer the pangs ?? of an outrageous fortune, or be in the Bosom of the Ocean Buried.
Oh death where is your victim
Tho’s Rollinson, 4th May 1890
O you c you for being in this spike to snap demands for slop water and dry bread.
Bad luck to Rochdale Spike
What have you in your pockets, Pipe, Knife, matches, money inside there, strip
A Mucher is like a watch that wants both hands. As useless going as standing.
Muching is what I have often sighed for Even cried for
Jack Tripper here on Sat. June 2 going to Manchester then to hill with a girl I know.
Rochdale spike is a good one, so people seem to say. I am not quite sure
upon that point Brification therefore delayed for the present
When apples are ripe they want plucking
This is a whore of a spike
Home Sweet Home there is no place like Rochdale spike. Good suppers Ham and Eggs. Good breakfast ditto.
To hell with spikes I am broken-hearted
Rochdale spike is a shite
Spikes is the last place God made
Whoever planned this, planned it well and I hope his soul will be planed in hell
Joseph Hough from Salford near Manchester. Born May 5th 1844
Oh you Salm singing hypocritical preaching sons of Judas, what think you of this.
Beware of the shower bath at Rochdale
Poor Patsy kept in a cold cell all day picking wool
William Ewart Gladstone first Lord of the Treasury slept here on the 5th March.
Oh isn’t it a sin and shame to write upon this wall your name
Beware of the shower bath at Rochdale.
Jack Ninter, poor old bugger locked up all day
For soft stone this is the best spike.
To the memory of a poor old tramp who departed this life from the effect of repeated overdoses of grub in this workhouse
This is the spike to get fat.
J.A. was in this spike on the 30th June and he likes it very well.
J.A. says he likes this spike, I hope he will get enough of it. J. M. August 12th ’84.
Rochdale is a horrid hole.
This ... is a tidy place.
Education is a fine thing. It rises the child from the gutter, it makes the boy write c- on the wall, and the girls write prick on the shutter.
Poor Jack from Warrinton is very hard up, he is 35 years on the road poor beggar.
Spider from Sheffield.
Fred Mallunson from Leeds, this is the end of Gambling, drinking, horse racing. Now I am only 21 years old, so what shall come I cannot tell.
J.S. is here the 16, 17 and 18 and poor beggar has to get to Glasgow yet
Though dark my path and sad my lot
God bless me wonderfully in this spike.
This is the best spike in Lancashire, the best meals you have no work to do, they will dam near kill you and claim your wish -
Michael Doyle was in 1st March 1888, signed, By Order.
This is a rotten spike.
This spike is a cold hole, farewell spikes.
There is a fountain filled with Skilly, drawn from a copper hob, and tramps plunge beneath its flood and scoff the bloody lot.
God is our prophet, Priest King
God is Love
No more spikes by the help of God.
Blessed be the name of Almighty God and his blessed mother the Virgin Mary
This is a perishing crib, it wants throwing over. Bedad.
I will remember 1886, the year my mother died
C**t is a funny thing
Rochdale spike best in England bar none. I proved it so far I’ve been in
every spike in England this last 25 years
This is a prison not a spike, signed Andrew Hougrynobs Esq,
This place wants burning down and all like it. Caper: Mornlight
Harry Meadows was here on the 17th April ’88, it is a home of a place
.... from the boy mucher and (t)his brother Sam.
J.S. at aucher in Peace in the haven of rest.
This is a good spike, whoever comes in it ought to be buggared.
See the latest welcome to Church Protestant, Presbyterian, Jew and Atheist,
all are welcome but a Rapist.
Of all the spikes which detains tramps for two nights Burnley spike is the best of all the lot, it is the warmest and most comfortable.
Of all the spikes which detains tramps for two nights this is it for ??
12 June ’89 I.S. here again poor bugger.
Thomas Andrew’s from Manchester here Jan. 9th 1887
God help the tramps
No. 2522 Private William McCarrow Y Company 2nd Batt. Royal Inniskillings Fusilier’s 108 Reg. Served in South Africa, Zululand, Singapore and ...
As a hot bed is to a garden, so is a spike to a prison, Proverbs xxxxch.49 v1
The Nuns Prayer
Poor Joe from the South.
All tramps are dam’d scamp’s,
Plenty of boys about this spike.
Rochdale spike very good.
My dearest 2 shillings.
Damnation to you who keep this spike.
Jack Buckley Howarth, 63 Manchester Reg: was in here on the 8th Feb 1888
Britains never shall be slaves.
Poor King has been doing one month for mouching. Spike same night role on boys, J.H. 16.4.1890 Hard up.
Bradford muck on the road to hell.
Peter Emmett from Dover, cheer up for Chatom.
My dear little sister you had a blister which caused in your belly much pain.
My dear little sister you had a blister which caused in your belly some bones, you had a stiff prick put into your nick, and your horse-hole well battered with stones.
Bad spike April 22. 1888
In picking cotton one fine day, in this here spike so macky, I managed to pick the biggest lot, and cop’d half an ounce of baccy, Joe Blobb.
Of all the trades in England,