A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded a parish workhouse in operation at Winchcomb for up to 70 inmates.
Winchcomb (now usually spelt Winchcombe) Poor Law Union was formed on 16th January 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 32 in number, representing its 30 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Gloucester:
Alderton and Dixon, Grafton (in Beckford), Buckland, Bishop's Cleve [Cleeve], Charlton Abbots, Didbrook, Dumbleton, Gotherington, Temple Guiting, Lower Guiting [Guiting Power], Hailes, Hawling, Pinnock and Hyde, Prescott, Rowell [Roel], Snowshill, Southam and Brockhampton, Stanley Pontlarge, Stanton, Stanway, Sudeley, Toddington, Great Washbourne, Winchcomb (3), Woodmancott [Woodmancote], Wormington.
County of Worcester: Alstone, Cuttesdean, Little Washbourne.
Later Additions: Alstone.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 9,715 with parishes ranging in size from Rowell (population 38) to Winchcomb itself (2,514). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-5 had been £4,911 or 10s.1d. per head.
The new Winchcomb Union workhouse was built in 1836 on a site to the west of the town at the north side of Gloucester Street. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £3,750 on construction of the building which was intended to accommodate 180 inmates. It was designed by the Sampson Kempthorne who designed many other workhouses including one for the Thornbury Union. His design for Winchcomb was based on his model "200 pauper" plan. An entrance and administrative block lay at the south, with accommodation ranges behind in a cruciform layout. However, there was no central supervisory hub to the building. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1921 map below.
A later building at the west of the workhouse may have been an infirmary block.
After 1930, the workhouse was redesignated as a Public Assistance Institution. The buildings have now been demolished.
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.
- Gloucestershire Archives, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester GL1 3DW. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1836-1935); Admissions and discharges (1836-44); Master's journal (1848-1934).
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.