Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteWhitehaven


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteWhitehaven


Workhouses - Whitehaven Union.

There has been no new workhouse built here since the formation of the Union, the old workhouse for the township of Whitehaven, and at Ginns, for Preston Quarter, being considered sufficiently capacious. The former of these is situated in Scotch Street, and was built in 1743, at a cost of a considerable sum "borrowed upon tickets not exceeding 25 each, bearing interest for 31 years" after which the payment of the principal commenced, and was all paid off in 1780.

It was considerably enlarged in 1795, so that it is now capable of containing 200 persons, and is appropriated for the reception of female paupers.

The Preston Quarter Workhouse is appropriated to the male paupers, and in consequence of some recent alterations is now calculated to hold about 200 inmates.

The Union comprises the following 23 townships and parishes Viz
Ennerdale and Kenniside, 
Lowside Quarter,
Nether Wasdale, 
Preston Quarter, 
Rottington, St
Bridget's, St Bees,
St John's, 
containing in 1841 a population of 30,202 souls and an area of 81,209 acres.

The Board of Guardians consists of 32, viz : six for Whitehaven, three for Preston Quarter, two for Egremont, two for Harrington, and for all the  rest, one Guardian each. The following are the officers : 
Chairman, William Lumb esq, 
Vice-Chairman Mr William Wilson, - 
Treasurer, Mr Peter Cameron, manager of the Joint Stock bank, Whitehaven, - 
Auditor, R F Yarker esq, of Ulverstone. 
Clerk & Superintendent Registrar Mr Jno B Postlethwaite, solicitor of Whitehaven.
Chaplain Rev John Hodgson - 
Relieving Officer and Registrar of Births and Deaths for Whitehaven District Mr John Mawson of Church Street
Relieving Officer for St Bees District Mr John Walker Gill and Registrar Mr Mossop, Hale Long, 
Registrar for Cleator W Kitchen; 
Relieving Officer and Registrar of Births and Deaths for Distington, Jeremiah Gunson - 
Registrars of Marriages John Jackson and Richard S Whiteside, spirit merchants, Whitehaven.
Medical officers - Robert Lumb of Church Street for Whitehaven District
Isaac Mossop of Queen Street for Preston Quarter - 
William Maxwell Johnston for Harrington District - 
William Reeves for Egremont District 
James Bryden for Gosforth District.

Master and Matron for the Workhouses, Henry and Mrs Sturgeon and Jane Wilson is Sub-Matron for the Whitehaven Workhouse. 

William Benson is schoolmaster for the Preston Quarter Workhouse, and Barbara Watters is schoolmistress of the other.

All the magistrates of the district are ex-officio guardians, and the meetings are held every Thursday at the savings bank Whitehaven. There were for the quarter ending 24th December 1846, 1,914 paupers relieved, at an expense of 1,579-3s-7d exclusive of 38-19s-0d for registration and 10-7s-0d vaccination fees.

The total expenditure of the Union for the year ending March 1844 was about 6,830 and for 1845 7,620, and for 1846 7,470 and for 1847 7,800.

The number of paupers (now July 1847) in the workhouses is 127 males and 150 females, and the number of children in the schools is about 130 - 70 boys and 60 girls.

Mannex 1847 Cumberland Directory p 386-389
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

Records Available

Cumbria Archive Service  

Page updated 12 March, 2008 by Rossbret