Bangor & Beaumaris, Caernarvonshire
In 1801, the Bangor vestry adopted Gilbert's Act but appears to have made little use, if any, of its provisions. The parish had several poorhouses at a location known as Caemaesidan (or Cae Maes Idan), at the east side of the Carnarvon Road, Glan Adda.
Bangor and Beaumaris Poor Law Union was formed on 30th May, 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 30 in number, representing its 21 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Aber, Bangor (4), Llandegai (3), Llanfairfechan, Llanllechlid (3).
Anglesey: Beaumaris (3), Llandaniel Fab, Llandegfan, Llandonna, Llandysilio, Llanedwen, Llanfaes, Llanfair-pwll-Gwyngyl, Llanffinan, Llanfihangel Esceifiog, Llanfihangel-tyn-Sylwy, Llangoed, Llaniestyn, Llansadwrn, Penmon, Penmynydd.
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 19,972 with parishes ranging in size from Llanfihangel-tyn-Sylwy (population 62) to Bangor itself (4,751). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £6,452.
In 1838, the Poor law Commissioners autheorised the expenditure of £3,800 on the construction of a union workhouse. The guardians agreed to purchase the Gland Adda site from the Parish of Bangor for the sum of £500, but the deal fell through when the existing tenants refused to vacate their homes there. A groundswell of opposition to the workhouse among the guardians stalled the scheme until the end of 1842 but the purchase of the Glan Adda site and construction of the new workhouse then went ahead.
The new building, designed by Messrs Weightman & Hadfield, opened its door on 22 September 1845. Its location and layout are shown on the 1900 map below.
The workhouse had a long corridor-plan main block, with narrow cross-wings at each end.
The master and matron in 1901 were William and Mary Jane Davies from Llanelly. There are believed be at the centre of the front row in the picture below of the Bangor workhouse officers and staff.
After its closure in 1930, the main workhouse site became a creamery. The workhouse buildings have now been demolished and a supermarket occupies the site.
In 1912-13, a large new workhouse infirmary was erected at west side of the Carnarvon Road, a little to the north of the main workhouse. However, with the onset of the First World War the buildings were taken over for use as a military hospital.
The site later became a maternity and childrens hospital known as St David's' Hospital. The hospital closed at the beginning of 1994 and a retail park now stands on the site.
In around 1905, the Bangor & Beaumaris Union established the Maesgarnedd Home for children at Llanfair PG. In 1924, the home could accommodate 12 children, with E. Swain as its Superintendent.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Anglesey Archives, Industrial Estate Road, Bryn Cefni Industrial Estate, Llangefni, Anglesey LL77 7JA. Holdings include Guardians' minute books (1837-1858, 1904-30); Admissions/discharges (1920-1932); Births (1846-1938); Deaths (1901-19); etc.
- Paupers in Reciept of Weekly Relief, June 24th 1881 (Bangor Civic Society website).
- Flynn-Hughes, Cledwyn The Workhouses of Caernarvonshire 1760-1914 (in Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions, vol. 7, 1946)
- Jones, David Llewelyn ' The Fate of the Paupers: Life in the Bangor and Beaumaris Union Workhouse 1845-71' (in Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions, vol. 66, 2005)
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