Nottingham Poor Law Union
- After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, the Nottingham Poor Law Union formally came into being on 6th July 1836 to serve the conurbation of Nottingham. For more on the history of this Union, see the Peter Higganbotham website.
- The Union initially served the three parishes in the town: Saint Mary's, Saint Nicholas and Saint Peter.
- The Board of Guardians met every Tuesday at 9:30 am.
- The town of Nottingham was hard-hit by a slump in the hosiery trade in 1836 and a general recession as a result of inexpensive foreign goods competing with British products.
- The new Nottingham Union took over the existing St Mary's parish workhouse at the west side of York Street.
- The St Nicholas parish workhouse was pressed into service as a hospital.
- By 1939, the Poor Law Commissioners had decided that the long-term need was for Nottingham to erect a large new workhouse able to house at least 800 inmates. Construction began in 1840 in York Street. But resistance to the new Poor Law changes was strong in Nottingham and caused some problems. It was not until late 1841 that the new workhouse was open for use.
- Inspection reports from this early period remind one of stories from Charles Dickens' books. The crowding and minimal care appear abusive.
- The York Street workhouse was demolished in 1896 so that Victoria Station could be built in that location. A replacement workhouse was built in 1898-1903 at Bagthorpe, next to the city isolation hospital and sanatorium. In the gap between 1896 and 1898 several empty lace-making factories were used as tremporary housing for the inmates.
- The Bagthorpe workhouse could house 1,791 inmates and had its own infiormary.
- This workhouse became the Nottingham Poor Law Institution, but in 1937 was renamed Valebrook Lodge.
- In 1929, the Poorlaw Union concept was abandoned and the government began to introduce direct assistance via the county council in 1930.
- The infirmary building was renamed the City Infirmary in 1930, then City Hospital in 1937. The workhouse was included in the complex in 1948 and became known as City Hospital South in 1948 during the inaguration of the National Health Service. In 1951 it became Sherwood Hospital until 1983. Most of the workhouse buildings were recently demolished, but some remain as part of Nottingham City Hospital.
- In 1880, the Radford Poorlaw Union was dissolved and its member parishes joined the Nottingham Union. The old Radford workhouse was thereafter used as a school and training institution.
- The Poorlaw Union was the census Registration District from 1841 through 1921. It made sense to use an existing political structure to manage the census.
- Maurice Caplan, "In the Shadow of the Workhouse," 1984.
- Jeremy GIBSON in his "Poor Law Union Records" Vol 2 suggests that the Death Registers have survived for 1890 - 1926 and for the Infirmary for 1908-1920. These would be at the Notts Archives office.
- 1841: Mr. BARNETT, workhouse master.
- 1881: Edward Dobson MORLEY, clerk to the Guardians; Rev. William LITTLE, chaplain; Thomas WORTH, medical officer; Richard Doble KENT, workhouse master; Hannah KENT, matron; Edwin GREEN, schoolmaster; Emma ALLWOOD, schoolmistress.
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[Last updated: 2-August-2014 - Louis R. Mills]