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Thingoe Poor Law Union and Workhouse

Thingoe Union comprises and area of 133 square miles, or about 82, 464 acres of land, divided into 46 parishes. It had 16, 922 inhabitants in 1831, and 19, 014 in 1851, living in 3827 houses.

The Union Workhouse stands within the borough of Bury St Edmunds,, and is a large brick building erected in 1835-6, at a cost of about 6,000. It has room for 300 paupers, and it had 257 inmates at the time of the 1851 census.

From the centre of the building, in which are the governor's apartments and the boardroom radiate 9 wings, with airing yards between them. Attached to the house are 8 acres of land, of which 5 acres are cultivated as a vegetable
Source:  William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1855.

At the time of the 1851 census, the master was Dennis HELSDON age 47, born Norwich, and his wife, Sarah A HELSDON, aged 46, and also born Norwich.
Schoolmaster : Frederick VINCE, age 26, born London
Schoolmistress: Caroline HOWE, age 28, born Benton, Sfk
Porter : Henry CLARKE, age 37, born Heigham, Sfk
Nurse : M.A. BIRD, age 33, born Whepstead, Sfk
Gardener : Henry POLLARD, age 20, born Walsham le Willows, Sfk
All of the people in the above posts (obviously excepting the master) were unmarried.

Note : The two parishes of Bury St Edmunds had their own workhouse in College Street, separate from the above for Thingoe Union.
Thingoe Union Workhouse compiled by Andy Kerridge


The average annual expenditure of the districts for the support of the poor, during the 3 years before the formation of the Union, was 13,538; but in 1838, the expenditure was only 9026; & in 1840, 9657.4s. THe number of paupers relieved in the last quarter of 1842 was 2056, of whom 206 were indoor poor. The Workhouse stands within the
Borough of Borough St Edmunds, near the Suffolk General Hospital, & is a large brick building, which was finished in 1836, at the cost of about 5000, & has room for 250 paupers, & had a 160 inmates in March 1843. Mr James Thomas Burbridge is Master of the Workhouse; & James
Sparke esq, is Clerk to the Board of Guardians. 1 Guardian is returned from each parish; & the Rev W J S Casborne is Chairman.
Source: White 1844 - p 601
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

Page last updated 12 March, 2008 by Rossbret