Vaccination Question at Denaby Main. – Indignation Meeting – Petition Local Government Board.

October 1890

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 17 October 1890

The Vaccination Question at Denaby Main.

Indignation Meeting.

Petition to The Local Government Board.

At the Denaby Main School-room, on Wednesday night, an indignation meeting was held concerning the appointment made by the Board of Guardians relative to the vaccination duties for the Conisborough district. Mr. S. Groutage was chosen as chairman The Chairman said the meeting was convened for an important purpose. They all knew as well as he did, that in reference to the work of vaccination there had been something that there ought not to have been. It appeared from what they had read and from what they knew, that in the past there had been two charges for the public vaccination in the district, viz., one to the guardians and the other to the inhabitants of the district. There were aware that that was not a right thing, or, if it was right, why should the Local Government Board send down to that district an inspector to try and find whether the monies had been paid by the inhabitants of that district, and at the same time for vaccination to be charged to the Board of Guardians at Doncaster.

Seeing that the inspector came down and found that correct, the result was the dismissal, or rather the resignation of the public vaccinator for the district stop Then, when that resignation was sent in, the inhabitants of Denaby Main thought they would like to have a public vaccinator whom they knew, and chose one whom they all knew and who to know was to respect. (Hear, hear.) Dr. Twigg was of course the gentleman to whom he referred. (Hear, hear.) The doctor sent in his application for the post, and in order to back that application, the inhabitants thought it would be wise on their part to get as many signatures as they could to a requisition, asking for Dr. Twigg to be appointed as public vaccinator for the district.

But as we found out on Saturday, there were others in the field for the same position. It seems very strange, on the face of it, that the old public vaccinator having been requested to resign, his assistant, Dr. McCall, should apply for the acme position, because it means, in my opinion, for the money to go back to the same source—only through another channel. (Hear, hear.) They were well aware that, if it was wrong for the money to go direct from the Board of Guardians to Dr. Hills. it was also wrong for it to go to Dr. McCall, and through him to Dr. Hills. (Hear, hear.) if wrong in one case it was wrong in the other. At all events he (the speaker) thought so, and so did some of the guardians apparently. Some of the guardians on Saturday acted a very manly part they showed that in appointing Dr. McCall to the position they were simply appointing Dr. Hills again.

When the petitions from Denaby Main were brought forward, one of the members of Board of Guardians remarked, “You cannot read them. They have no power here.” (Oh !”) That was a very strange thing to say, because the guardians should in his opinion represent the people. (Hear, hear.) The guardians had to spend the people’s money, and it was the people who placed them in that position. (Hear, hear.) Then why should it be out of place to read a recommendation from the people as to the appointment of a person to a vacant post, especially when everyone in the township was in favour of such an appointment. (Hear, hear.)

He believed there would not have been more than 25 signatures refused if they had had time also to have gone through the whole of Conisbrough. (Hear, hear.) That petition was in favour of Dr. Twigg, but the wishes of the people appeared to have been entirely ignored by the bulk of the guardians. (” Shame. ‘) Mr. Masters very truly said the petition had a right to be read, and Mr. Edgar remarked that the choice of the majority of the guardians simply looked like the election of Dr. Hills again, and that it would be “like a slap in the face to the local Government Board. (Hear, hear.) There were no doubt that, when next the guardians came before the electors at Conishorough for their votes they would know how to reckon with them. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. J. Dixon said, as the chairman had already referred at length to the matter, there was no need for him to do the same. But there had been some talk about Mr. Labouchere having been written to on the matter, and about it being brought before the House of Commons. When this was mentioned at the Guardians, there was some anxiety to know to by whom this had been brought about and it was said that it would have been better if the irregularities had been complained of to the board instead of Mr. Labouchere. Well, if the guardians had been written to on the matter and they had treated it in the same way that they bast these petitions, it was evident that no notice would have been taken of it whatever. (Hear, hear.) He did not know who had written to Mr. Labouchere, but there was justification for it and for the bringing of the matter before the Local Government Board (Hear, hear.) It was an injustice for the guardians to treat the inhabitants ef Denaby Main in the way they had done, especially as Dr. Twigg was the only medical practitioner in Conisbrough and one in whom the residents had every confidence. (Hoer. hear.)

They had naturally thought the guardians would give him the position. They got a petition signed by over 600 householders in favour of Mr. Twigg, and if there had been time this number could have been greatly increased. When the petition was presented to the guardians, one gentleman on the hoard said “It was of no use there. (” Oh.”) It appeared no notice was taken of it, though the Chairman said they were justified in presenting it. The assistant to Dr. Hills had, after all, been recommended for appointment, and at this the inhabitants naturally protested.

Mr. Chambers had been waited upon, to see if he could attend that indignation meeting, but was unfortunately not able to do so. Mr. Chambers had said he had done all he could at the guardian’s meeting with a view to carrying out the wishes of the inhabitants concerning Mr. Twigg, but he had found that either through ignorance of the facts respecting the termination of Mr. Hills contract, or because the matter had been investigated by the Local Government Board before being brought under the notice of the guardians—it was decided to place Dr. Hills assistant at the post. It had been said that Dr. McCall had taken a house in Conisborough as to be resident in the district, and he (Mr. Chambers) believed that was so, so that Dr. McCall could attend to the appointment. Mr. Chambers regretted he had been forced to take the action he did in the matter, and he would have been glad if the affair could have been settled quietly without It becoming, as it had become, public property. He thought it possible that the Local Government Board would see through the course the guardians had taken, a course which was no doubt really an evasion of time instructions from the Local Government Board to the Guardians, and that they would refuse to confirm Dr. McCall’s appointment. He (Mr. Chambers) was much annoyed that a petition in favour of Mr. Twigg, signed by representative of upwards of 600 inhabitants, should have been thus ignored. He was sorry that such was the case and he could not see what furthers could do for them at Doncaster in the matter. Mr. Chambers had tried to do his very best to get Mr. Twigg appointed, but there was no doubt it had been arranged by Dr. Hills’ guardian friends to appoint Dr. McCall, his assistant. (” Shame).

In conclusion, Mr. Dixon moved the following resolution:— We, the inhabitants of Denaby and Conisbrough. hereby express our regret that the appointment of public vaccinator for the Conisbrough District has been given to Dr. Hills’ assistant—Mr. McCall— notwithstanding a petition signed by upwards of ‘000 householders resident in the district. We consider that this is simply an evasion of the instruction to the guardians from the Local Government Board to cancel Dr. ‘Hills contract. We also express our indignation of the manner we have bean fraudulently imposed upon, and hope that the Local Government Board will not confirm the action of the guardians but appoint to the vacancy Dr. Twigg, whom we all respect and know. and in whom we have the must implicit confidence.” (Cheers )

He had much pleasure in proposing that resolution and the wisest course would be to forward it to the Local Government Board, with copies of the newspapers with the report of the meeting, as well as of the guardians proceedings. (Hear. hear.)

Mr. Michael Dugan seconded the motion, which was unanimously carried.

The Chairman said he thought they should express satisfaction at the way Mr. Chambers did his duty on Saturday at the meeting of guardians, and. For the way other guardians supported him. (Hear, hear.) If Dr. McCall got the appointment, he was with Dr. Hills, and it would mean one and the same thing as though Dr. Hills was reappointed. They should pass a resolution thanking those who had taken part in favour of Dr. Twigs. (Hear, bear.)

Mr. Isaiah Blunt moved resolution that effect.

Mr. J. March, in seconding the motion, said Mr. Chambers was one of the few guardians who did represent the parish; most of the guardians, he thought, went to represent themselves. (Hear, hear) They were called Guardians of the Poor, but it was not the poor they were interested in, but how they might secure their own interest. (Hear, hear.) There were however a few who did their duty, and Mr. Chambers was one of them, and it was the least they could do to show how they appreciated his services. (Hear, hear.) That the majority of guardians on Saturday did not consider the wishes of Denaby Main was plain to everybody. (Hear, hear).

The motion was carried unanimously. It was remarked that vaccination was being still continued as before, and that several charges had born made, notwithstanding the decision of the Local Government Board. On the motion of Mr. Blunt, seconded by Mr. Owen, a vote of thanks was passed to the Chairman.