Norfolk Poor Law Unions and Workhouses
The poor law Unions classified within the County of Norfolk were Aylsham, Blofield, Brinton Incorporation, Depwade, Docking, Downham, Erpingham, East & West Flegg, Forehoe Incorporation, Guiltcross, Henstead, Loddon & Clavering, Freebridge Lynn, Kings Lynn, Mitford & Launditch, Norwich, St Faiths, Smallburgh, Swaffham, Thetford, Walsingham, Wayland and Yarmouth.
Wisbech Union includes 7 parishes in Cambridgeshire. Thetford Union has also 14 parishes in Suffolk. Hoxne Union is all in Suffolk, except the Norfolk part of Mendham parish.
East & West Flegg, Forehoe, Norwich & Tunstead & Happing, are Incorporations, under Gilbert's or local acts. St Faith's, Loddon, Clavering & Mittford & Launditch, were old Incoporations, but are now Unions, under the New Poor Law. There were several other Incorporations in the county, but they have been joined to Unions, & their Houses of Industry have been adopted as the Union Workhouses, as at Gimingham, Sherringham, St Faith's, Buxton, Oulton etc, but the parishes of Melton Constable & Brinton are still united under their local act, & are not connected with any Union. In addition to the 10 or 12 old Houses of Industry, there were built, in various parts of the county, in the years 1835 & 6, about 14 large Union Workhouses, each at the cost of from £5000 to £9000; & at the same time, most of the old Houses underwent considerable alterations, so as to adapt them to the new system of classification, inspection, & control.
The Union & Incorporated Workhouses of Norfolk have room for about 9000 paupers; but they have seldom more than 6000, & in summer only about 3000 inmates.... From June 1835 to July 1836, upwards of 3000 paupers emigrated from Norfolk, at the expense of their parishes, to America, chiefly to Canada; & about 300 more left their native soil in the following year.
White Directory 1845 p14-15
Submitted by Betty Longbottom
Twenty Second Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor
p 255 J - Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867
With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of
insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates,
From Census Statistical Volume 1901
County of Norfolk PP 1902 Cd 1,305
Statistics submitted by Alan Longbottom
Summary of Results.
Pauper inmates of Workhouse establishments in the Registration County number 3,145 persons of all ages, 1,767 Males and 1,378 Females.
These represent approximately 0.7% of the general population.
At advanced ages the proportion is far higher; at 55 years and upwards the % is 2.5% and at 65 years and upwards is 3.8%.
Prisoners in the Local and Convict Prisons in the Registration County number 68. 63 Males and 5 Females.
The Blind, Deaf and Dumb
The number of persons returned as Blind is 499, and of these 25 suffer from some other Infirmity also.
Deaf and Dumb persons including 20 returned simply as Dumb, number 203, and of these 15 suffer from some other Infirmity also.
Lunatics number 1,567, including 15 afflicted with some other Infirmity also; and the Imbecile and Feeble-minded 748, including 15 otherwise afflicted. The total of these classes is 2,315.
It may be noted that, of the 2,315 persons returned as mentally deranged, 1,772 were the inmates of institutions, including 1,310
in Public and Private Lunatic Asylums, 290 in Workhouses, 170 in Royal Naval Lunatic Hospital and 2 in another Institution, the remaining 543 were residing with relatives or in unlicensed houses.
Of the 290 mentally deranged persons enumerated in Workhouses, 168 were returned as a Lunatics and 122 as Imbecile, or Feeble-minded; and of the 543 not enumerated in Institutions, 15 were returned as Lunatics and 528 as Imbecile or Feeble-minded.
House of Industry
from an account of an incorporated house of
industry, for two united hundreds in the county of Norfolk by Edward
Parry Esq pp 028-041 dated 2nd Mar 1797
The house of industry, for the hundreds of Mitford and Launditch, in the county of Norfolk, was established and incorporated by Act of Parliament in the year 1775. These hundreds contain 32 parishes; two of them large market-towns, but without manufactories. This house of industry certainly has the merit of being managed with great attention to the health, comfort, and, in some degree, to the morals of the poor. I speak of it from experience, having been an active director of it for thirteen years, during my residence in the county of Norfolk. The following is the plan on which it is conducted :- There is a large building, which contains on an average about 500 persons of all ages; and there is an hospital, about a quarter of a mile from the house, in which the sick are kept separate, according to their different disorders. They have a governor and matron, to which appointments, by preference, a man and wife are elected; and they have apartments in the house, where they must constantly reside. The former has £60 a year, and the latter £25; and they have coals, candles, and washing. There is a chaplain, who is generally a neighbouring clergyman, and has a salary of £30 a year; his duty is to read prayers once every day, and preach on Sundays. There is also a surgeon, who has £60 a year; he is a resident of one of the neighbouring market-towns; but must attend every day, and has an apothecary' shop in the house, the medicines being found by the corporation.
There are also four surgeons for the outdistricts of the hundreds; who for attendance and medicines, are allowed £45 a year each, and attend all casualties, and report the state and condition of the patient and his family to the next committee. The director's clerk, who is always an attorney, has £50 a year; he attends all committees and meetings. There must, by the Act of Parliament, be 36 directors and 24 guardians. Every person being possessed of a freehold estate of £300 a year, and residing in the hundreds, is compelled to be a director, and to act as such: and in case there are not enough of that description, the deficiency to be made good out of persons having estates of £150 a year freehold (in which all rectors of livings of that value are included) until the whole number of directors is completed. The guardians are chosen by ballot, annually, out of the farmers who £100 a year and upwards, or persons having estates of that value. There is an annual meeting, and three quarterly meetings, of the directors and guardians, at one of the inns in the town of Dereham. At the annual meeting, which must be in the month of June, the directors and guardians are formed into 12 committees by ballot; 3 directors and 2 guardians being to attend, every month, at the house of industry, on each Tuesday, from ten o'clock in the forenoon, till three, four, and sometimes five o'clock in the afternoon; for the purpose of visiting, and inspecting the state of the house and the governor's accounts; of receiving reports from the overseers of the parishes, signed by the surgeons of the district, as to the state and condition of the sick poor in the several parishes - and of granting them temporary relief - and also of directing that employment may be found for such as apply for it.
There is a farm of about 150 acres of land belonging to the house, kept in hand and managed by the governor; this provides a dairy, and occasionally fats a few oxen and sheep; there is likewise a garden of six or seven acres; which is cultivated by the old men of the house, and produces an abundant supply of vegetables. The governor purchases the wheat at market, from harvest till March or April, for the whole year; it is ground into meal by a mill belonging to the house; and is made into bread, unsifted even from the bran, a kind of bread commonly eaten in all farmers' and most gentlemen's houses in Norfolk.
All the meat is purchased in the animal and killed in the house. There are several manufactories established in the house; and all articles of their wearing apparel are made by the poor themselves; the whole establishment being managed with economy, but with sufficient plenty.
pp 032-041 Observations.
The Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor. Vol 1 1798 446 pp
Submitted by Alan Longbottom
Norfolk Record Office
Upper Green Lane
Telephone: 01603 761349 http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/council/departments/nro/nroindex.htm
Norfolk Record Office; Records of Poor Law
Genuki Site of Norfolk Poor Law Unions
Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret