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Lincoln Poor Law Union

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

  • By 1791, a Workhouse existed in Lincoln for the city and several nearby parishes. A formal association was formed in 1791 to manage the facility. In 1797, 19 parishes were part of this Union. That year, there were 40 male and 41 female inmates, of whom 30 were children under 12, and 25 above 60. The House of Industry was taken down in 1839.
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, the Lincoln Poor Law Union was declared on 5th November 1836 and formed on 28th November 1836 to serve the needs of 86 local parishes covering 248 square miles. A new Work House was built in 1837-8 at the west end of Burton Road, south of Long Leys Road, on a hill near the Lincoln Asylum. A school block was added circa 1879-80. There is an expanded history at the Peter Higganbotham site.
  • After the new Workhouse was completed, the old one was sold for £400 and was taken down in 1839.
  • In 1841 the workhouse had 178 inmates.
  • In the 1930s, the site was renamed the Burton Road Institution. The workhouse buildings have since been demolished.
  • The workhouse had its own graveyard, but all the headstones have since been removed and houses were built over part of the graveyard.
  • The Lincolnshire Archives has the Lincoln Poor Law Union Guardians' minute books (1836-1930); Admissions and discharges (1839-43, 1871-1943); Births (1911-49); Baptisms (1827-62, 1900-45); Deaths (1911-44); Burials (1828-45, 1858-99); Children's Home admissions and discharges (1897-1920); etc.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS published the Baptism Index for 1827-1862 on microfiche, available via the Federation of Family History Societies Bookstore.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS also has the Poor Law Miscellany Vol 3, which includes Lincoln Workhouse Register of burials 1882-1889, available via the Federation of Family History Societies Bookstore.
  • The Lincoln Workhouse registers are mostly burial registers as Lincoln Workhouse had its own burial ground.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS also has the Baptism Registers, 1827 to 1862, available on microfiche via the Federation of Family History Societies Bookstore.
  • The Lincolnshire Archives have the Poorlaw Union's Smallpox Vaccinator's Register for 1911 through 1931.
  • The Lincoln Union Board of Guardians met on alternate Tuesdays at the Workhouse.
  • We also have a text file of Lincoln Union Minutes you can review (and add to!). The file is a work in progress.
  • For more on what the LFHS and the Lincoln Archives have on Lincolnshire Poor Law records, see our Poorhouses page.
  • For more on researching Poor Law records, see our Poor Law records list.

Officials and Employees

  • 1872: Rev. C. C. ELLISON, Chairman of the Board of Guardians; John William DANBY, clerk;Mr. Joshua FOUNTAIN workhouse master; Miss Sarah Ann JACKSON, matron of the workhouse; Rev. James M. BARRETT, chaplain; Mr. Caleb SHAW and Mrs. Eliza SHAW, schoolteachers; Mrs. Harriet FINLEY, head nurse; and Ralph TAYLOR, porter.
  • 1882: Rev. C. C. ELLISON, Chairman of the Board of Guardians; John William DANBY, clerk; Rev. James M BARRETT, chaplain; Mr. and Mrs. G. CLURICT are master and matron; Mr. and Mrs. J. ROBINSON, schoolteachers; Mrs. HEWITT, head nurse and Ralph TAYLOR, porter. Relieving officers: Henry HOLMES, F. ROBERTS and William Scott EDDISON.
  • 1900: J. LAVERACK, Chairman of the Board of Guardians, William Barr DANBY, clerk, E. B. PRITCHARD, assistant clerk, Arthur Henry L. MELVILLE, treasurer, Rev. Edmund AKENHEAD, chaplain, R. PETTEFAR, workhouse master, Mrs. C. PETTEFAR, matron, Beattie McFARLAND, medical officer. Relieving officers: George SMITH, William J. MELLARS, William Armistead DOWNHAM and Frank ROBERTS.
  • 1913: J. LAVERACK, Chairman of the Board of Guardians, William Barr DANBY, clerk, E. B. PRITCHARD, assistant clerk, Arthur Henry L. MELVILLE, treasurer, Rev. John KAYE, chaplain, Arthur James DODD, workhouse master, Mrs. Louisa A. DODD, matron, Beattie McFARLAND, medical officer. Relieving officers: George SMITH, John Richard RAITHBY, Waldo SMITH and Frank ROBERTS.

District Population

Year  Inhabitants
1831 30,320
1851 42,062
1871 59,290
1881 64,512
1891 67,269