1910 10 07

1910 October 7th       Winchester

Man Who Spoke Twice in Fifteen Years

The most curious personality among the inmates of the Winchester Workhouse has passed away in the person of George Montagu Hawkins, known as “The Silent Man.” Fifteen years ago he became an inmate of the institution, and during the whole of that period he only spoke twice. The first occasion on which his voice was heard was when he asked some years ago for his own clothes in order that he might take his discharge, and the second was two days before his death, when he suggested that he might get up.

Hawkins had a supreme indifference to everything and everyone around him. He never gave any trouble, and he always avoided any himself. Wet or fine, he walked the same paths in the workhouse grounds daily, and so regular was he that his fellow inmates could tell the time of day by the particular place Hawkins happened to be in. If anyone brought him creature comforts he declined them with a shake of the head and indicated the particular ward in which he would like them distributed.

He even declined a legacy which was left him. Some years ago a Portsmouth solicitor visited the workhouse and announced to him that he was entitled to a legacy under the will of a relative. Hawkins showed not the least interest in the event; he never expressed by look or sign that he was pleased or otherwise, but when asked to put his signature to the necessary document he shook his head and walked away. And so he never received its benefits.

And under the above item,

In the course of his statement to the magistrates a casual, who was charged with breaking a window at Andover Workhouse, said that he had been waiting about outside for half an hour before anybody came, and when the porter “came swanking out” he thought he was a lord.

Soon afterwards a “boy” took him to the ward and after waiting about for half an hour he came to the conclusion that nobody was going to see to him. He then went out on the gravel path and began scuffling his feet and throwing stones at the window to rouse them up if they asleep. The magistrate’s sent him to prison for three weeks hard labour.


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