BELPER Poorlaw Union, Derbyshire



  • Spotlight on Babington Hospital, Derbyshire Local Studies Centre.


  • When the census came due in the 1800s, it made sense to use the Poorlaw Union structure as the administrative framework for the census.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 180
1851 H.O. 107 / 2144
1861 R.G. 9 / 2509 & 2510
1871 R.G. 10 / 3582
1881 R.G. 11 / 3412
1891 R.G. 12 / 2743 & 2744
1901 R.G. 13 / 3228

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

  • Prior to 1834, many of the parishes listed below contracted with Wirksworth for housing their poor.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms, Belper became the centre of a Poorlaw Union consisting of 32 parishes and townships.
  • Belper Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 5 May 1837.
  • The Union consisted of the following parishes at formation: Alderwasley, Allestree, Ashley Hay, Belper, Crich, Denby, Dethwick Lea and Holloway, Duffield, Hazlewood, Headge, Holbrooke, Horseley, Horseley Woodhouse, Ideridgehay and Alton, Ireton Wood, Kedlaston, Kilburn, Kirk Langley and Meynell Langley, Mackworth, Mapperley Markeaton, Morley, Pentrich, Quorndon, Ripley, Shuttle and Postern, Smalley, South Wingfield, Turnditch, Weston Underwood, Windley, and Wirksworth.
  • The parishes of Alfreton, Mugginton and Ravensdale park were added on 30th September, 1837.
  • The new Poorhouse at Babington Meadow in Belper was not completed until September 1840.
  • The parishes of Rowditch and Milford were added in 1890 and 1897 respectively.
  • Additional photographs and historical facts can be found at the Workhouses site maintained by Peter HIGGINBOTHAM.
  • In 1930, with the elimination of the Poorlaw Unions, this facility became the Babington House Public Assistance Institution. By the Second World War it was a fully functioning emergency medical hospital, and in 1948 became Babington Hospital.
  • The Derbyshire Record Office holds:
  1. Guardians' Minute books (1837 - 1930)
  2. Admissions and discharges (1840 - 1850, 1853 - 1911)
  3. Births (1840 - 1957)
  4. Deaths (1840 - 1914)
  5. Creed registers (1869 - 1893)
  • Some of these records (or indexes to them) are online at: Belper Research.


The officers of the Poorlaw Union met every Saturday at 1:30pm in the Board Room. By 1899, the meeting time had been moved to 10am.

  • 1857 John STRUTT, chairman; Rev. Robert LEIGH, chaplain;George PYM, clerk to the Guardians; Robert WHEATLAND, workhouse master; Mary WHEATLAND, matron; Richard Rowland ALLEN, medical officer.
  • 1881 Arthur Henry HALE, workhouse master; June HALE, matron; Frances Elizabeth CLEWS, schoolmistress; Martha SEAL, nurse.
  • 1899 Joseph PYM, clerk to the Guardians; Henry HOLMES, treasurer; Leonard FOSTER, workhouse master; Mrs. Eliza FOSTER, matron; Rev. Henry Cape MONTFORD, chaplain; Ricahrd Grammer ALLEN, medical officer.
  • 1912 Joseph BROWN, chairman; Joseph PYM, clerk to the Guardians; Henry HOLMES, treasurer; Alfred GRATTAN, workhouse master; Mrs. Annie GRATTAN, matron; Rev. Henry Cape MONTFORD, chaplain; Ricahrd Grammer ALLEN, medical officer.