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By 1838 the Union Workhouse was in full operation and the essential staff installed: these included the Master and his wife, the Matron., a porter (who probably did the work of a general caretaker) and a schoolmistress. 0utside people were the chaplain,. the surgeon and a clerk. In June,1839 there were in the House 65 paupers, corning from 13 parishes Although work-houses were supposed to minimise out-relief to the poor, there are still accounts in the Union ledger of many paupers receiving help in all the parishes,e.g in Alcester in 1839 there were 126.As the 19th century progressed, the Institution, as the workhouse was known, was forced to expand and an infirmary was built to cater for the sick. work.GIF (8237 bytes)

The Guardian worked hard, meeting weekly and authorising payments to local traders,. some of whom, no doubt, flourished on the Union business: names appear which are all known in our local history sources,.e.g. in 1859,Robert Jephcott for groceries, William Grizzell for drapery, William Wadams for meat, Mr.O.S.Wright for bread. The Guardians were responsible for the removal of lunatics to the County Asylum and for applying the laws of vaccination.

The 65 inmates in the House in 1839 rose as the decades passed; the 1881 census gives 124 inmates, of which 36 were children under 14 and 25 over 70; 5 'lunatics' were still in residence and there are two blind The problems involving age and infirmity must have been a great burden for the Master and Matron. Of the 124 inmates on census day in 1881, over 30 had been born outside the Union area and one wonders whether the influx of tramps, a feature of the Institution in,, later years, was in its infancy in 1881.

Spring 1992 Index

G.E. Saville 1992