Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteWest Bromwich


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteWest Bromwich


West Bromwich Poor Law Union and Workhouse

The overseers of the poor in West Bromwich purchased a house from John Fidoe for 87.10s in what is now St Clements Lane (Workhouse Lane) and a further couple of Hundred pounds were spent on refurbishment. 19 inmates entered the workhouse week ending 27th September 1735. It was in part originally a nail warehouse owned by a Mr. Turton.

During the time of the first governor the poor in the workhouse wore Iron Collars with their names and parish engraved on them.
Numbers increased and extension was built in 1768 and 1774. In 1771 the stables were converted to provide more accomodation

The West Bromwich Poor Law Union was formed in 1836 from the parishes of West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Handsworth, Oldbury, and Warley.
The old workhouse was becoming over crowded and dilapidated, and hence a red brick building designed by Briggs and Evoral became the West Bromwich Union workhouse in Hallam Street

There were 216 inmates on opening on the 25th September 1857. It was given the name locally of "The Bastille".
The infirmary is a distinct department at the workhouse, constructed to be separate in its services and management from the other departments of the workhouse.

Death Notification 

An example of a Notification of Death from West Bromwich Union Workhouse for Samuel ELLIOTT
Death notification sent by the Master (H.J. Adcock)

More info about Samuel Elliott:
Born 13 July 1864 in Rawmarsh, Yorkshire
Married Emily WEBSTER 22 July 1888, Parish Church, Sutton in Ashfield.
Initially a coal miner he became a Greengrocer/fruiterer owning several shops around Rotherham. Emily died at the family home in Rotherham 1923 and we have no idea what Samuel was doing in West Bromwich!
Source: Submitted by Iain "Tigger" Taylor


Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
West Bromwich 21 27 48
Source: 22nd Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

Link to Photo Album for photographs of West Bromwich Union Workhouse

Wigmore School

One of the earliest developments after the arrival of Mr William James Gilpin in September 1871 as Master of West Bromwich Union Workhouse, had regard to the treatment of pauper children. Up to the age of 4 years children may (and do) safely remain in the Workhouse; but after that age it is well to endeavour to remove them as far as possible from all the contaminating influences and taints of concentrated pauperism.

Various means are adopted to effect this. West Bromwich Union joined with Walsall Union in the formation of a school district, their respective contributions to the undertaking being in the proportion of about 2:1.

The district school was erected at Wigmore, a convenient situation for both the contributing Unions, and was opened on May 1st 1872, when the number of children drafted in were:
From West Bromwich Union ........ 157
From Walsall Union ...................   56
Total                                         213

For the 2 years previous to this the West Bromwich children had found no accomodation in the workhouse, but had been boarded out at Stoke on Trent, where the authorities had possessed an excess of accommodation.

At Wigmore the boys are now under the control of a Superintendant, and the girls of a Matron; the former are taught the trades of the Tailor, Shoemaker, baker and gardener, while a proportion assist and learn all they can from the engineer; the girls are employed in the laundry and at other useful domestic avocations. The boys get military drill; and, by way of brightening the lives of the whole establishment, a good juvenile brass band is conducted among them. 

At the age of fourteen the boys are apprenticed, and the girls are sent out to domestic service, but for two years after leaving they are visited and supervised by the Chaplain.

Source: History of West Bromwich 1895

Link to Photo Album for photographs of Wigmore School

Page updated March 12, 2008
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