Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteCoventry


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteCoventry


Coventry Poor Law Union and Workhouse

The building of the Coventry Workhouse was originally part of the Carmelite Friary (White Friars) and was founded in 1342. It was acquired following the dissolution and converted for use in 1616. It was again converted for use as a workhouse in 1801 by the newly formed Coventry Incorporation.

Workhouse House of Industry, London Road, for the parishes of Holy Trinity and St Michael with St John, was anciently the White Friars, afterwards the seat of the Shales, and then purchased by the City.

The Board day was each Wednesday at 10am held at the Workhouse

Clerk to the Guardians, James Arch, Union Offices, London Road. (also Superintendent Registrar)
Deputy, Thomas Martin, Workhouse.
Charles Webb Iliffe, medical officer.
Rev. T. A. Blythe, Chaplain.
Thomas Martin, Master.
Mrs Hannah Martin, Matron.
Thomas W. Farrow, Male industrial trainer.
Miss Gertrude Elizabeth Grimes, female industrial trainer.
Source: Kelly's Directory 1892


Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
Coventry 6 10 16
Source: 22nd Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

9th Report 1843 of the Poor Law Commissioners 

Appendix A No 2 - IX pp 252-277
Report on the Administration of the Poor in the City of Coventry by Alfred Poer and Robert Weale, Assistant Poor Law Commissioners.

p 260 Present staff of Officers
Clerk Mr Abbott 150 p.a.
Surgeon Mr Laxon 40 p.a.
Surgeon Mr Burton 40 p.a.
Surgeon Mr West 40 p.a.
Surgeon Mr Cook 40 p.a.
House Surgeon ....... 40 p.a.
Inspector Mr Holt 70 p.a.
Master Mr Palmer
Matron Mrs Palmer 100 p.a. joint
Collector Mr Lewis 80 p.a.
Collector Mr Royle 80 p.a.
Miller ....... 26 p.a.

To the above list the directors have recently determined to add a schoolmistress at 15 p.a.
Source: 9th Report 1843 of the Poor Law Commissioners with Appendices 557 pp
Appendix A Reports of Assistant Commissioners pp 81-376 Submitted by Alan Longbottom

The majority of the workhouse buildings have been demolished, but the outer wall still remains where examples of the fireplaces can still be seen. White Friars was used for a time as a Museum, but is now deserted. The Infirmary became Coventry Poor Law Hospital c1900, and was then renamed Gulson Hospital in 1929.   

Coventry Poor Law Infirmary, later Gulson Hospital
Ref: 1950190
Rossbret 2004

LINK to further photographs of Coventry Workhouse


Latest books from Coventry Family History Society
The Coventry Workhouse Birth Registers 1854-1930 
The Midwife's Register - Mary Eaves, Midwife of Spon End, Coventry 1847-1875 (also contains two microfiche) both cost 2 each plus 35p postage and packing; 

All books can be purchased from Coventry Family History Society Bookshop,
88 Howes Lane, Coventry CV3 6PJ; e-mail:

Warwick Record Office
Priory Park, 
Cape Road, 
CV34 4JS. 
Tel +44 (0)1926 412735

Coventry Library
Local Studies Department, 
Smithford Way, 
CV1 1FY 
Tel +44 (0)1203 832336 

Copyright Rossbret 1999-2005. All rights reserved.

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Page last updated 12 March, 2008 by Rossbret