The 1732 edition of the early workhouse directory, An Account of Several Workhouses... contained the following entry for Harrow on the Hill:
The Workhouse here, which is called a House of Maintenance, was opened on St. Thomas's Day, 1724, and built at the Expence of about 7 or 800l. Part of which Money was lent to the Parish without Interest by the Lord of the Manor, and repaid to him, out of the Money arising from the Poor's Tax; so that we hope, with good management, our Tax, which is now a Shilling in the Pound, will be reduced to two Groats, if not to Sixpence. It was never less than sixteen Pence, before the House was built, and sometimes from twenty to twenty-two Pence.
The House is spacious enough to receive 50 Persons, as it sometimes has done, tho' now there are in it but 34, viz. 11 Men, 7 Women, and 16 Children, which are all provided with the Necessaries for Life.
They are under the Care of a Housekeeper, but have no particular Work allotted to them.
A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Hendon (for up to 30 inmates), Harrow on the Hill (60), and Pinnor [Pinner] (30).
Hendon Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 1st May 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 18 in number, representing its 8 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate number of Guardians where this was more than one):
Middlesex: Edgware, Harrow-on-the-Hill (4), Hendon (3), Kingsbury, Pinner (3), Great Stanmore (2), Little Stanmore, Willesden (3).
Later additions (from 1894): Harrow Weald, Wealdstone, Wembley.
The population falling in the Union in 1831 had been 13,191 with parishes ranging in size from Kingsbury (463) to Harrow-on-the-Hill (3,861). The average expenditure on poor relief for 1831-4 had been £8,568 or 13s.0d. per head of the population.
A new Hendon Union workhouse was built at Burnt Oak on the north side of the Edgware Road in 1838. In 1865, the Guardians accepted tender of £1,920 for the erection of an infirmary, plus £531 for covered ways. In 1890, padded rooms were erected for lunatic inmates. The location and layout of the site is shown on the 1896 map below.
In 1896, Willesden separated from Hendon Union to become an independent Poor Law Parish and run its own workhouse.
In 1930, the former workhouse was taken over by Middlesex County Council and became Redhill Public Assistance Institution. After 1948, it was used as an old people's home known as Redhill House. The buildings have now been demolished and replaced by housing. Barnet register office stands at the front of the site.
Hendon Union School and Infirmary
In 1859, a union school for 150 children was erected a little way to the north-west of the workhouse.
In 1925-7, a large union infirmary was erected at the rear of the school, one of the last such establishments to be built. Designed by Paine and Hobday, it comprised a central administrative block flanked by two two-storey ward pavilions, a receiving block, and an operating theatre. Also included were a nurses' home, mortuary, boiler house and gate lodge.
After 1930, the infirmary was taken over by the Middlesex County Council and became Redhill Hospital, later renamed Edgware General Hospital. The former union school became a men's home later known as Redhill Lodge. The school and much of the former infirmary have been demolished as part of major redevelopment of the site, now known as Edgware Community Hospital.
- 1881 Census — Hendon Workhouse
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.
- The Ancestry website has two collections of London workhouse records (both:
- The London Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records (1764-1930).
- The Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1738-1930 — a wider range of London workhouse-related records.
- The FindMyPast website has workhouse / poor law records for Westminster.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1835-1930); Births (1893-1929); Deaths (1893-1928); Creed registers (1884-1920); Register of lunatics (1914-30); Redhill House admissions/discharges (1874-1926); Lists of pauper children (1919-30).
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