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Worksop Poor Law Union

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, the Worksop Poor Law Union was formed on 2 July 1836 to serve 26 local parishes in Nottingham, Derby and York shires. Since Worksop, in the north-west of Nottinghamshire, was near the Derbyshire border and some district parishes bordered Yorkshire on the north, it made sense for it to serve the three counties. Over time, new parishes were added to the Union. For more on the history of this Union, see the Peter Higganbotham website.
  • The Worksop Poor Law Union was originally divided into four Registration Sub-Districts: Anston, Carburton, Carlton and Worksop.
  • Parishes in Nottingham: Blyth, Carburton, Carlton-in-Lindrick, Cuckney, Harworth, Hodsock, Holbeck, Nether Langwith, Norton, Styrrup, Worksop. Later additions (all from 1862): Wallingwells, Welbeck, Woodhouse Hall.
  • Parishes in Derby: Barlborough, Clown, Elmton, Whitwell.
  • Parishes in York: Anston-cum-Membris, Dinnington, Firbeck, Gildingwells, Harthill and Woodhall, Letwell, St John's with Throapham, Thorpe Solvin, Todwick, Wales, Woodsetts.
  • In 1837, the new Worksop Union workhouse was built at the north side of East Gate in Worksop.
  • Although the workhouse was built to house 240 inmates, the average number housed was about half that most years.
  • The Board of Guardians met every alternate Wednesday.
  • In around 1900, the union removed all children from the workhouse and opened two homes, one for girls at "Abbeyhurst", 55 Cheapside, and one for boys at "Yew Tree Villa", 90 Cheapside.
  • In 1901-4, the Worksop Union erected an infirmary at an eleven-acre site on Kilton Hill. The official laying of the foundations stone took place on 1st January 1902 by Mr Sydney Smith, JP, Chairman of the Guardians.
  • By 1920, the infirmary had apparently been taken over by the Worksop Urban District Council. The site is now part of Bassetlaw Hospital.
  • During the 1926 miners' strike, finances became overdrawn by a massive £70,000. However, four years later, at the Guardians' final meeting in March 1930, the Board congratulated themselves in paying off the 1926 debt, and leaving a balance of £1,623. A farewell social event was held at the Royal Hotel on the 27th March 1930.
  • In 1929, the Poorlaw Union concept was abandoned and the government began to introduce direct assistance via the county council in 1930.
  • In 1965, all the workhouse buildings were demolished.


  • 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.

District Population

Year Inhabitants
1831 16,111
1861 20,704
1871 25,400
1881 28,522
1891 30,979
1901 39,240
1911 56,608


  • Maurice CAPLAN, "In the Shadow of the Workhouse," 1985, paperback.

Staff and officers

  • 1853: John WHALL, clerk to the guardians; the Duke of Newcastle, chairman; R. MARSDEN, workhouse master; Mrs. Sarah LAMBERT, workhouse matron; Sampson WHITE and John GLOSSOP, relieving officers.
  • 1869: John WHALL, clerk to the guardians; William WYNN, workhouse master; Henry N. HETT, surgeon; Rev. Edward LAMB, chaplain; Hepzibah C. WYNN, matron; Miss Louisa M. BOOTH, schoolmistress; Henry MELLARS, relieving officer.
  • 1871: William WYNN, workhouse master; Hepzibah C. WYNN, matron.
  • 1881: James Snow WHALL, clerk to the guardians; William WYNN, workhouse master; Arthur J. F. RUSSELL, surgeon; Rev. William Frederick BOOT, chaplain; Hephzibah C. WYNN, matron; Margaret HOCKY, schoolteacher; William HALL, house porter; Sarah STEPHENSON, Head Nurse.
  • 1904: S. SMITH, chairman of the board of guardians; James Snow WHALL, clerk to the board; Rupert Evelyn BECKETT, treasurer; Louis John RAYMENT, workhouse master; Mrs. RAYMENT, matron; Rev. John GOULTON, chaplain.