Steps in Earth History


The origin, nature and conditions required for the proliferation of life forms remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of science.  One possibility receiving serious consideration is that the earliest life forms came to us from space – perhaps from a nearby planet like Mars (and hence the interest in the experiments on that planet of the Mars rover vehicle Spirit). 

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Workhouse 6


In January 1847 there were 111,000 people in Irish workhouses built to accommodate 100,000. 

By 1851, a full five years after the Government had declared the Famine over and knighted Trevelyan for his efforts, there were 918 inmates in Newry Workhouse.

 Distress in the West was worse.

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Workhouse 8


Numbers gaining admission to Workhouses fluctuated over the decades of the second half of the nineteenth century according to several principal factors.

Chief among these was the outbreak of infectious diseases.

Crop failure, want, starvation and destitution and homelessness consequent upon peasants being driven from their miserable holdings featured high among the causes.

Part 9 is here …

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Workhouse 5


By the end of June 1849 the Master reported that during the last eighteen months 3,265 paupers had received one night’s lodging with supper and breakfast: also that 946 people remained (with relieving officers’ tickets) for the last nine months in the probationary wards, awaiting admission by the Guardians on Board day. It was resolved at the meeting of 23 June 1849 that except for the sick, infirm or those washing or cooking, all women’s shoes and stockings be taken from them. Likewise for all boys, who also lost neckerchiefs. All paupers who require it were to have close cropped hair-cuts.

If the aim was to clear the workhouse of these categories, it failed. By 18 August 1849 it was resolved to give outdoor relief for just one week longer.

Things changed over the next – some say, the last Great Hunger – year.




  [Christine Kinealy, acclaimed authority, Fellow of Liverpool University and author of This Great Calamity {Gill & Macmillan 1994} and Great Hunger in Ireland {Pluto, 1997}] begs to differ and argues the emergency continued to 1852 at least].

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Workhouse 4


Mr Forster, the first Clerk, died before the Workhouse opened and was replaced in 1840 by Mr Smith.  His salary was increased in February 1843 from

Surgeon Savage was employed for three months from 1 February 1848 for