He stayed at a branch-workhouse, situated three miles from the main workhouse. Here, his mistreatment started. The elderly female in charge of this workhouse was responsible for the welfare of twenty to thirty orphans. She received sevenpence-halfpenny a week for each small head that she was looking after. However, she knew what was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. The woman- Mrs. Mann, kept most of the money for herself and spent as little as possible on the boys.
This resulted in Oliver becoming starved throughout his childhood. Oliver Twists ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidedly small in circumference. It was on this day that Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, came to collect Oliver and take him to the main workhouse. Mrs. Mann is then shown to be a liar, as she states to Mr. Bumble that she often gives the children Daffy, when they are ill, because (Mrs. Mann) couldnt see em suffer before my very eyes, you know, sir.
This is obviously a lie, as she had previously referred to Oliver as a brat. Oliver had spent nine years being half-starved, although at this point there was no evidence of any physical harm towards him. He also had no real name, as we learn that Mr. Bumble took great pleasure in inventing one, using a method of going through each letter of the alphabet and constructing a surname. Oliver was then introduced to the workhouse and what plans had been laid out for him in the future.
He was to become a Christian, be educated and learn a useful trade. However, the Board had constructed a new plan for the workhouse to thin out the number of inmates at the workhouse. Food rations were cut to small quantities of oatmeal¦¦ three meals of thin gruel a day¦¦. an onion twice a week¦¦. and half a roll on Sundays. The eventual goal was to cut expenses, and this was achieved after the bills of the undertaker had reduced from a sudden raise. the board were in ecstasies.