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Stratford Upon Avon Workhouse  

Stratford's original workhouse was in a half timbered building on the corner of Henley Street and Windsor Street, and was opened in 1725. A row of cottages in Shottery Lane were converted to become the workhouse for the parish of Old Stratford.

Following the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, the Stratford-upon-Avon Poor Law Union was declared 5th May 1836.

The Union comprised the Parishes of Alderminster, Alveston, Atherstone-on-Stour, Bearley, Beaudesert, Billesley, Binton, Charlecote, Claverdon, Clifford Chambers, Combroke, Compton Verney, Dorsington, Ettington, Fulbrooke, Grafton, Hampton Lucy, Kineton, Langley, Loxley, Luddington & Dodwell, Marston Sicca, Moreton Morrell, Newbold Pacey, Old Stratford, Preston Bagot, Preston-on-Stour, Snitterfield, Stratford upon Avon, Welford including Bickmarch, Wellesbourne Hastings, Wellesbourne Mountford, Weston-on-Avon including Milcote, Whitchurch, Wolverton and Wootton Waven including hamlets Henley-in-Arden & Ullenhall.

The workhouse in Arden Street, on the north west side of the Town, was a large brick building, erected in 1837. It was built on the traditional square plan from designs by J. Bateman and G. Drury, architects, at a cost of nearly 6,000. In connection with the workhouse was an Infirmary, fever and small pox wards.

The Board of Guardians met alternate Fridays in the Board room at the Workhouse at 11.15am.


Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
Stratford on Avon 4 3 7
Source: 22nd Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

The population of the Poor Law Union in 1891 was 21,893; area 78,576 acres and rateable value 128,199.

Workhouse Staff 1892
Clerk to the Guardians and Assessment Committee, John Charles Warden, 9 Guild Street, Stratford on Avon. (also Superintendent Registrar).
Rev. Francis Smith, Chaplain.
Harry Lupton, medical officer.
Charles Collingwood, Master.
Mrs Elizabeth Collingwood, Matron.
Source: Kelly Directory

In 1897 the position of Master and Matron was taken by Mr Daniel and Mrs Eleanor Pickett, for which they were held in high regard until their retirement in 1927.

Extracts from the Stratford-upon-Avon Visitors Book (July 23rd 1910 - July 9th 1913) show the various visitors and their glowing comments during this time.

5th May 1911
"Went round the house with the Master and was very pleased with all I saw. The Infirmary especially seems well arranged and administered".
Clement Hill, P.L. Guardian of Hastings

September 28th 1911
"Visited the Institution, talked to the inmates and found administration satisfactory".
John Burns, President Local Government Board

January 1912
visited by members of both Tamworth and Banbury Board of Guardians

The Parish of Clifford Chambers  
Overseers' and churchwardens' accounts survive from the late 18th century. In the early 19th century the overseers paid a yearly salary to a doctor at Stratford to attend the poor.

Expenditure on poor relief increased only slightly between 1776 and 1803 when 15 people received relief regularly and nine occasionally. 32  In the next ten years expenditure doubled 33 Expenditure fluctuated during the next 20 years and was at its highest 250, in 1833. 34  Clifford became part of the Stratford uopn Avon Poor Law Union in 1835, and the Stratford Rural Sanitary District in 1872. In 1894 it formed part of the Marston Sicca Rural District, and in 1931 (when it became part of Warwickshire) was transferred to the Stratford Rural District. 35  A parish council was not formed until 1919  36

Notes :-
31         W.I. scrapbk. 62, extracts from overseers' accts.
32         Poor Law Abstract, 1804. 182-3.
33         Ibid. 1818, 156-7.
34         Poor Law Returns, H.C. 83, p.71 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p.69 (1835), xlvii.
35         Census
36         W.I. scrapbk. 191

Quoted from the Victoria County History, Gloucestershire, volume 6, page 213-4, by permission of the General Editor.
Submitted by Alan Longbottom

The Workhouse became a Public Assistance Institution in 1930 and part of Stratford-upon-Avon Hospital under the National Health Service.

Most of the buildings have now been demolished, and a new hospital administered by South Warwickshire NHS Trust stands on the site.

Records in Stratford

All records for Stratford Upon Avon are held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office.
Link to Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Page last updated 12 March, 2008 by Rossbret

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