Bedworth had a parish workhouse from around 1725.
On 5th December, 1816, twelve parishes around the border of Warwickshire and Leicestershire formally combined to form the Bedworth Gilbert Union. Such unions allowed their member parishes greater control over the administration of poor relief including the ability to operate workhouses for the elderly and infirm and children. A revised agreement with a slightly different group of eleven member parishes was registered on 15th May, 1834. The membership then comprised the Warwickshire parishes of Bedworth, Brinklow, Pailton, and Wolvey, and the Leicestershire parishes of Hartshill, Higham on the Hill, Sibson, Stapleton, Stoke Golding, Sutton Cheaney, and Witherley.
The union had a workhouse at Bedworth which a local directory described as 'a neat brick building forming a square, will accommodate 200, averages 50.' It was located at the north end of Industry Yard, approximately where George Street now meets Margaret Avenue.
Because of its Gilbert Union status, Bedworth was exempted from most of the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. However, the Poor Law Commissioners continued trying to persuade the Union to dissolve itself so that their plan of full unionization could be completed. An 1838 map, published by the Commissioners, shows the location of the parishes included in the Gilbert Union, together with the new Poor Law Unions in the area.
The Bedworth Gilbert Union remained in existence until it was dissolved in 1851. Its member parishes were then distributed amongst other Poor Law Unions in the area.
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.
- Warwickshire County Record Office, Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS.
- White, F. (1850) History, Gazetteer, and Directory, of Warwickshire.
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