In September 1895, the Poor Law Officers' Journal newspaper reported:
A MINER IN SEARCH OF A WIFE – AMUSING APPLICATION TO THE BISHOP AUCKLAND GUARDIANS
At last week’s meeting of the Auckland Board of Guardians, the following letter was read from a miner:
Having noticed that you have some orphan children and other class of people you want rid of from your Workhouse, I thought it a likely place to get a wife. I am a respectable working man under 40 years of age, a widower with no encumbrance, a good set-up house, a coal-hewer by trade, and wants a wife, as I am completely sickened of housekeepers, having had no less than 18 in as many months. If you can fit me up with a respectable lassy between 30 and 50 I would be glad, and would be glad to take an orphan girl into the bargain free of charge. I prefer a single woman before a widow, as widows won’t do for me. I have no particular fancy for beauty; a plain girl will do for me, only she must be clean and industrious. If you have one please let me know and I will come with a trap and take her away free of charge to the Guardians. Let me know soon, please.
The reading of this letter caused much amusement, and Mr. Leonard (Crook), moved that a committee of bachelors be appointed to consider the matter, but this was not seconded. Mr. Todd said they should try to accommodate the man (Laughter). The Chairman: I cannot answer that question. Mr. Leonard: Let him come and have a look round the Workhouse and see if he can find a woman suitable (Laughter). The letter was ordered to be handed over to the Workhouse Master.