Aysgarth (Bainbridge Gilbert Union), North Riding of Yorkshire
A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded local workhouses in operation at Abbotside High Quarter (for up to 24 inmates), Askrigg (24), Bainbridge (24), Burton cum Walden (8), and Hawes (34).
On 25th April, 1813, Bainbridge and seven other parishes and townships formed a Gilbert Union. The initial membership comprised Askrigg, Aysgarth, Bainbridge, Burton cum Walden, Hawes, High Abbotside, Low Abbotside, and Thoralby. The parishes of Grinton and Carperby also joined at a later date. The union operated a workhouse at the west side of Bainbridge which could accommodate about 60 inmates.
Because of its status as a Gilbert Union, Bainbridge was exempt from many of the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. Despite pressure from the Poor Law Commissioners for it to convert to a Poor Law Union within the 1834 Act, it remained in operation until 1869 when all remaining Gilbert Unions were finally abolished.
The new Aysgarth Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 2nd February 1869. Its opearation was overseen by a Board of Guardians, 16 in number, representing its 12 constituent parishes and townships as listed below (numbers in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians where more than one):
Askrigg (2), Aysgarth, Bainbridge (2), Bishopdale, Burton-cum-Walden, Carperby-cum-Thoresby, Hawes (2), High Abbotside (2), Low Abbotside, Newbiggen, Thoralby, Thornton Rust.
The population falling within the Union at the 1861 census had been 5,649 with parishes ranging in size from Bishopdale (population 87) to Hawes (1,727).
The Aysgarth Poor Law Union took over the existing workhouse at Bainbridge. The site location and layout are shown on the 1910 map below.
A two-storey front block was located at the east of the site.
The main block to the rear was three storeys high.
A single-storey block of unknown function was placed at the south of the site.
In 1948, the former workhouse buildings became the High Hall County Home for the Aged. The home finally closed in January 2007.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.
- North Yorkshire County Record Office, Malpas Road, Northallerton DL7 8TB. Few local records survive — only holdings are Guardians' minutes (1869-97, 1892-1930) and Assessment Committee minutes (1869-1927).
- Bainbridge and Leyburn Workhouses by P Hastings (Ripon Workhouse Trust, 1996).
- History of the Aysgarth Workhouse on the Syscamoe hall website.
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