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Poor relief

Life continued to be hard for poor people in the first half of the 20th Century

No.41 South Street [now No.38, the lower floor of the building] had been rented to the Parochial Board by the Aberdeen Heritable Securities & Investment Co. and the lease was taken over by the Parish Council in 1894. In 1900 the property, along with No.42, was sold to William Simpson, a Post Office Inspector in Aberdeen. He was willing to continue to rent the property to the Parish Council, but when he failed to carry out repairs the Council ended the lease in 1908.

The poor – whether registered or not – also benefitted from various bequests administered by the churches, and private individuals provided occasional seasonal treats, as reported in the Banffshire Journal in 1905:

The inmates of the Parish Council’s Lodging House for aged and infirm paupers, at present full, had an excellent dinner supplied to them on Christmas Day, at the cost of Rev Dr Allan, and an equally good dinner on New Year’s Day by the kindness of Dr Whitton. Mr George, Superior of Aberchirder, has had his usual distribution of packets of tea among about 60 poor people in the place…Others have been remembering the poor as well.

In 1908 the Banffshire Journal reported that the Poorhouse had moved to “Mr Paul’s property on North St”. Charles Paul, a shoemaker, was a stalwart of the Parish Council for many years until his death in July 1914. Mr Simpson and his successors continued to own the South Street property until it was bought by the Town Council in 1934.

In 1930 parish councils were abolished and the Marnoch one handed over its duties to Banff County Council, which worked through the Department of Public Assistance until a national system of social security was introduced by the National Insurance Act of 1948.