Up to 1834
A parliamentary report in 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Petersfield (for up to 40 inmates), Greatham (12), and Eastmeon (60).
An L-shaped group of mid-18th-century cottages on Swan Street in Petersfield was used as a local workhouse from 1771.
Eden, in 1797, reported on the operation of poor-relief in Petersfield:
A row of six cottages on the High Street in Buriton served as the parish workhouse. A stone in its walls bears the inscription Poor House 1791.
In 1835, the parish of Empshott sold off three tenements formerly used as a workhouse. Greatham's parish workhouse was disposed of in the same year
Petersfield Poor Law Union was formed on 27th April 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 16 in number, representing its 13 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Buriton, Colemore, East Meon (2), Empshot, Froxfield, Greatham, Hawkley, Lyss or Lyss Turney, Petersfield (3), Prior's Dean, Privett, Steep, Sheet.
Later Additions: Bramshott (1869), Langrish (1894).
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 7,111 — ranging from Empshot (population 149) to East Meon (1,455) and Petersfield itself (1,423). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1832-35 had been £7,153 or £1.0s.1d. per head of the population.
The new Petersfield Union workhouse was erected in 1835. Its architect is unknown but it followed the popular cruciform layout. In 1837 the Poor Law Commissioners authorized an expenditure of £4,350 on a building to accommodate 100 inmates. Its layout and location are shown on the 1869 OS map below.
A chapel was erected to the north of the workhouse in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
The southern part of the buildings have been demolished. After a period of use by the Petersfield social services department, the site was redeveloped for residential use in 1997.
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.
- Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester SO23 8TH. Very few local records survive.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.