Lampeter Poor Law Union was formed on 15th May, 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 17 in number, representing its 13 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Bettws, Cellan, Lampeter or Llanbedr Pont Stephen (2), Llanfair Clydogan, Llangybi, Llanwenog (2), Llanwnen, Silian, Trefilan.
Carmarthenshire: Llanybydder (2), Llanycrwys, Llanllwni, Pencarreg (2).
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 8,754 — ranging from Bettws (population 235) to Llanwenog (1,647) with Lampeter itself slightly smaller (1,317). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £2,905.
Lampeter was one of the Welsh unions that strongly resisted the requirement to erect a new union workhouse. Finally, in 1874, following threat of the dissolution of the union by the Poor Law Board, the Guardians capitulated. The new union workhouse was built in 1876-7 on the south side of Pantfaen Road at the west of Lampeter. Its design was opened to competition with the selected entry coming from Szlumper and Aldwinckle of Aberystwyth and London. The site location and layout are shown on the 1904 OS map below.
Females were accommodated at the east of the site and males at the west. The T-shaped main block was three storeys high at its centre, with the Master's office and sitting room a children's day room on the ground floor. Above were the Master's bed room and children's dormitory and the first floor, and sick wards and a lying-in ward on the second floor. Two-storey wings to each side contained day-rooms for the able-bodied and aged, with dormitories above. At the centre rear, a single storey wing contained the dining-hall and kitchen. At the rear of the site were outbuildings including a wash-house and ironing-room, stores, and a mortuary. By 1904, there were two further blocks adjacent to the road at the north.
From 1930 to around 1948, the former workhouse operated as a Public Assistance Institution. The workhouse buildings were subsequently demolished and residential care accommodation now occupies the site.
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.
- Ceredigion Archives, Old Town Hall, Queen's Square, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 2EB. Records include: Guardians' minute books (1837-1930); Admissions and discharges (1877-1941); Births (1878-1938); Deaths (1878-1938); Photos of Guardians (1910, 1929, 1937); etc.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
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