Teresa Drover

Teresa Drover first shows up in the St. Andrew Undershaft Workhouse Minutes in their entry for the 25 of July, 1796. She then does not show up for a few years until she appears again fairly regularly in 1799 and 1800. She appears on the 24th of June, 1799, the 25th of November, 1799, the 30th of December, 1799, the 29th of September, 1800, and the 24th of November, 1800. She then does not appear again until the 28th of June, 1802, and finally she appears for the last time on the 26th of December, 1803.

Looking at the trends of these dates, the majority of the months she appears in the workhouse minutes are later months in the year, namely November and December. She also appears in the minutes in some summer months as well, but mainly in the winter. Winter months were most likely much more difficult for Teresa Drover, and the poor in general, because it was a lot colder, it was a lot harsher, and food may have been more difficult to come by. All of her eight appearances in the workhouse minutes are in the end days of each month—all in the last week of the month. In addition, after looking at each of these dates more carefully, we discovered that each of these dates falls on a Monday. This could be because the workhouse only had meetings and took requests on Mondays, or an alternate explanation could be that Teresa herself felt more comfortable for some reason requesting things from the workhouse on Mondays.

The first time she is mentioned in the workhouse minutes, she is applying for a certain amount of relief each week. She is then referred to a Mr. Manning for further details on her petitioned relief.

On Monday, June 24th, 1799, Teresa came in and formally complained about her own daughter, also named Teresa, to the workhouse board. Teresa’s daughter had apparently been misbehaving and generally behaving improperly. After asking the workhouse to take the daughter in as a resident of the workhouse, they accept and order that Teresa Drover Jr. be “taken to the Workhouse to keep her from bad Company.”

The next many times Teresa Drover showed up in the minutes for the workhouse, she was requesting specific items. First, her daughter receives a pair of stockings and a petticoat, and then Teresa receives a gown, a petticoat and a handkerchief, then two caps, a shawl, a shirt, a black apron, a pair of shoes and a pair of stockings, and finally a pair of stays. Virtually all of the material items Teresa Drover requests (and receives) are clothing items, giving us the idea that clothing might have been some of the most difficult items for the poor to acquire. This is probably because of the cost, and they are difficult and time-consuming to manufacture by oneself. That time could be better spent trying to work for food or money for other necessities.


By Anton Nagy and Noah Someck