Church Stretton, Shropshire
Church Stretton had a workhouse from around 1710, located on the High Street, where the Silvetser Horne Institute now stands. In 1777 it could accommodate up to 66 inmates.
Workhouses also existed at Soudley, in the parish of Eaton, and at Wistanstow.
The Church Stretton Poor Law Union formally came into being on 20th July 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 15 in number, representing its 14 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Salop: Acton Scott, Cardington, Church Stretton (2), Easthorpe, Eaton-under-Heywood, Hope Bowdler, Leebotwood, Longnor, Rushbury, Shipton, Sibdon Carwood, Smethcott, Wistanstow, Woolstaston.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 5,703 with parishes ranging in size from Sibdon Carwood (population 63) to Church Stretton itself (1,302). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £2,296 or 8s.1d. per head of the population.
Church Stretton Union workhouse was erected on a long narrow site to the north of the town in 1838. Designed by T.D. Duppa with E. Blakeway Smith, it was intended to accommodate up to 120 inmates. The design was a variation on Sampson Kempthorne's model 'square' plan, with an entrance block facing the road to the west, a broadly cruciform central building, and several other buildings to rear, including an infirmary block. The site location and layout are shown on the 1901 map below:
Virtually all the workhouse buildings were demolished in about 1959 and part of a school now occupies the site. The former infirmary block at the east of the site survives as changing-rooms for the school swimming-pool but may be under threat of demolition with the proposed replacement of the pool facility.
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.
- Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 2AQ. Please note that records may contain gaps or have access restrictions - please check before visiting. Holdings include Guardians' minute books (1836-1930); Births register (1843-55); Admissions and discharges (1918-26); etc.
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