A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Bletchingly (for up to 50 inmates), Horne (20), Limpsfield (30), and Oxted (50).
Godstone Poor Law Union was officially formed on 31st October 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 18 in number, representing its 14 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Bletchingley (2), Catterham, Chelsham, Crowhurst, Farleigh, Godstone (2), Horne, Limpsfield (2), Oxted (2), Tandridge, Tatsfield, Titsey, Warlingham, Woldingham.
Later addition: Lingfield (from 1894)
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 7,367 with parishes ranging in size from Woldingham (population 48) to Godstone itself (1,397). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £6,517 or 17s. 8d. per head of the population.
The Godstone Union workhouse was erected in 1839 in at a site to the north of Bletchingley. The architect was John Whichcord and the Poor Law Commissioners approved an expenditure of £3,850 for its construction. It seems to have had an irregular plan, broadly U-shaped, open to its entrance at the east. A separate school block was erected at the east of the workhouse, on the north side of the entrance road.
The buildings were later extended to the north, and an infirmary and separate infectious block to the west. The later layout can be seen on the 1910 map below.
After 1930, control of the site passed to Surrey County Council and the site became Clerk's Croft Mental Deficiency Institution. After 1948, it joined the National Health Service as Clerk's Croft Hospital.
The site was redeveloped in the 1980s and is now occupied by the Clerks Croft housing estate.
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.
- Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND. Limited holdings include Guardians' minutes (1835-1930).
- Find My Past, has searchable versions of the union's Relief Application and Report Books (1869-1915).
- Higginbotham, Peter Workhouses of London and the South East (2019)
- Lancaster, Brian (2015) Windows onto the Poor Law: Comparing the Croydon and Godstone Unions from 1935 to 1866 (in Proceedings of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society, vol 19, part 8, September 2015)
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