We are in the process of upgrading the site to implement a content management system.

Bakewell Poorlaw Union, Derbyshire


  • The History of our Hospitals (IV) Newholme Hospital. Sheffield Regional Hospitals Board. ISBN unknown.

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

  • Workhouse,org tells us: In 1744, a workhouse was set up at Winster under the rule that "no persons shall be allowed any relief out of the house, unless in sickness or on some very extraordinary occasion". By the 1770s, the workhouse could accommodate 40 inmates. Winster's parish workhouse was located on Bank Top.

  • As a result of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, Bakewell became the center of a Poorlaw Union and a Civil Registration District. Local authorities enacted the provisions of the Act on 31 July 1838, placing parishes and townships in the Union.

  • The slight delay in implementing the act was due to the fact that a number of the parishes were already part of a "Gilbert" Union, and some existing poorlaw commissioners were reluctant to change.

  • The Derbyshire locations were: Abney, Aldwarke, Ashford, Bakewell, Baslow and Bubnell, Beesley, Birchover, Brushfield, Calver, Chelmorton, Cromford, Curbar, Darley Dale), Edensor, Eyam Woodlands, Flagg, Foolow, Froggart, Grange Mill (alias Ironbrook Grange) Gratton, Grindlow, Haddon Over, Halzebadge, Harthill, Hartington Middle Quarter, Hassop, Hathersage, Highlow, Great Hucklow, Little Hucklow, Litton, Great Longston, Little Longston, Matlock and Trusley, Middleton-by-Youlgreave, Money Ash, Nether Padley, Pillsley, Rowsley and Alport, Sheldon, Stanton, Stoke, Stoney Middleton, Taddington and Priestcliffe, Tideswell, Wardlow Miers, Wensley and Snitteston, Whestone, and Winster.

  • Later Additions: Blackwell (1839), Bradwell (1839), Chatsworth (1861), Elton (1831), Nether Haddon (1861), Matlock Bath (1894), Offerton (1839), Outseats (1839), Rowland (1839), Tansley (1839), Youlegreave (1839).

  • Poorlaw Union Guardians first met in August, 1838, in Bakewell's town hall. The Ashover parish workhouse was rented as a temporary union workhouse. The Guardians would meet in the new Union Workhouse after 1841.

  • A four acre parcel was purchased at Newholme on the Bakewell to Sheffield turnpike. This was to be the future home of the Bakewell Poorlaw Union Workhouse.

  • The new Workhouse was built in 1840-41 along with a pond to hold 120,000 gallons of spring water. The bricks for the building were made locally.

  • An infirmary building was added in 1848. A new infirmary block was added in 1889 to the east of the workhouse. That buidling has since been demolished and a newer infirmary constructed in 1899-1900.

  • The workhouse had its own mortuary building on the grounds.

  • The workhouse later became known as the Bakewell Public Assistance Institution.

  • Under the National Health Service the instution became the Newholme Hospital.

  • Very few records remain at the Derbyshire Record Office. The Guardians' minute book from 1838-1930 survives.

  • From an 1855 inspection the children inthe Workhouse were found "to be in a dreadful state of health." Swings were installed to provide some exercise and the schoolmistress was instructed to take the girls on a daily walk in good weather.

  • Mike SPENCER has extracted some summary data from the Guardian's Minute Books so that you might find an ancestor who passed through the Workhouse.

  • Read the dietary rules at Peakland Heritage.

  • The 1881 census of the Workhouse is at the Peter Higgenbotham site.

  • The workhouse building (now a hospital) is a Grade II listed building with British Heritage.


     Year  Inhabitants
1831 25,879
1841 29,393
1851 29,880
1881 30,522
1901 33,661

In 1911, the workhouse held 12 "officers" and 134 inmates.

Staff and officers

  • 1855: George Henry CAVENDISH, chairman of the Board of Guardians; Francis ROE, clerk to the Board; Wm. LOCKWOOD, treasurer; Rev. James BURROW, chaplain; Rev. James BURROW, chaplain; John BENNETT, workhouse master; Miss. Nancy BENNETT, matron; William HOWARD, schoolmaster; Miss Julia TAYLOR, schoolmistress.

  • 1857: George Henry CAVENDISH, chairman of the Board of Guardians; Francis ROE, clerk to the Board; Rev. James BURROW, chaplain.

  • 1881: Edward CUNNINGHAM, Workhouse master; Mrs. Sarah CUNNINGHAM, matron; William ROBERTS, schoolmaster; Maria JAMES, music teacher; Mary PARKER, nurse.

  • 1899: Alfred HAWES, clerk to the Board; Charles Henry GLOSSOP, treasurer; Charles Walter EVANS, medical officer; Rev. Charles Thos. ABRAHAM, chaplain; Alfred SWAIN, Workhouse master; Mrs. SWAIN, Workhouse matron.

  • 1912: The Duke of Devonshire, chairman of the Board of Guardians; Alfred HAWES, clerk to the Board; Rt. Rev. Charles Thomas ABRAHAM, chaplain; Charles Henry GLOSSOP, treasurer; Charles Walter EVANS, medical officer; Q. ATKINSON, Workhouse master; Mrs. ATKINSON, Workhouse matron.