Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteBelper


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteBelper


Belper Union

Belper is the centre of a poor law Union, comprising 33 parishes and Townships, divided into six registration sub districts, namely Alfreton, Belper, Duffield, Horsley, Ripley and Wirksworth, embracing an area of 66,610 acres, rateable value in 1894 264,214 and the population in 1891 was 61,045.

The Union comprises the following places:
Alderwasley, Alfreton, Allestree, Ashleyhay, Belper, Crich, Denby, Dethick, Lea & Holloway, Duffield, Hazlewood, Heage, Holbrook, Horsley, Horsley Woodhouse, Idridgehay & Alton, Kedleson, Kilburne, Kirk Langley with Meynell Langley, Mackworth, Mapperley, Markeaton, Morley, Pentrich, Quarndon, Ravensdale Park, Ripley, Shottle & Postern, Smalley, South Wingfield, Turnditch, Weston Underwood, Windley & Wirksworth.

Board Day (1895) every alternate Saturday, at the Board room in the Union at 10am.
Clerk to the Guardians and Assessment Committee, Joseph Pym, Bridge Street, Belper. Also Superintendent Registrar.

The Workhouse (1895) erected to hold 340 inmates.
Leonard Foster, Master.
R. G. Allen, Medical Officer.
Rev. Henry Cape Montford, Chaplain.
Mrs Eliza Foster, Matron.

Crich Parish Poorhouse

According to Geoffrey Dawes, a local historian, the Crich poorhouse was established by the parish authorities in 1734.

"Tale of Crich" by Geoffrey Dawes. 
"The poor-house in Crich on Workhouse Row was, according to Reynolds writing in 1770, built by the parish authorities in 1734. It was on the edge of the Nether Common before the Turnpike, the Langley-Mill Road, (now "The Common") was made before the Common was enclosed.

Clapham suggests that there were only forty-four houses in the whole country in 1775 - including those set up before the act of 1722. The Crich Workhouse was one of the very small group in the County at the time - perhaps a measure of the importance of Crich in the area during that period. That it was under the overall supervision of Justices is established by a record in the County Treasurer's accounts for 1782-1783 of a payment to "Francis Moor for viewing Crich Workhouse 1-15-0d", i.e., carrying out an inspection on behalf of Justices.

The Crich Workhouse was a so-called "Subscription Poor House". It was subscribed to by the parishes of Denby, Melbourne, Mercaston, Pentrich, Willington and several others.

The parish officers of all local parishes had been invited to "subscribe" (under certain rules) to send paupers to be lodged, fed and managed according to a circulated list of rules. The subscribing parishes had to pay, quarterly, their quota of the rent, salaries and cost of utensils and repairs of the house. Each month they had to pay, for each pauper, their share of all the current expenses of maintaining the paupers in the house

In 1816 Crich Parish was keeping 5 of its own paupers there - at a cost for the maintenance of each, per year, of 10, i.e., the cost per week for each individual was 46d (old pence) at the time when a typical labourer's wage was about 170p a week.

In due course paupers from Crich were lodged in Babington House at Belper. This was designed by Sir Giles Scott and built at the cost of around 8700, in 1840, on land sold by George Benson Strutt. The weekly provisions bill at the time was around 17 for 150 inmates, i.e., about 26d (old pence) per head a week when a Labour's wage was about 200d (old pence) a week. Thus
at the time when the nation's wealth and the wealth of individuals was increasing rapidly, paupers in Belper Workhouse were much worse off than those who had lived in the Crich Poorhouse many years earlier.

Babington House was still known as the "Union" in the early 20th-century and a place - even then - to be dreaded by the old and the incapacitated. The building is now a local hospital"

Alan Flint has Geoffrey's permission to transcribe this book which is no longer in print. , 

Just as a matter of interest, if you care to check out my Crich Parish Web Site, and look through the "Burial Registers", you will see a number of folk whose "Abode" is given as "Crich Workhouse".

Crich Parish Website: 
Transcribed and Submitted by Alan S. Flint

Derbyshire Record Office
County Offices
DE4 3AG 
Tel:- 01629 580000

Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret