Dolgelley (Dolgellau), Merionethshire
Dolgelley (Dolgellau) Poor Law Union was formed on 12th January, 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 19 in number, representing its 13 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Merioneth: Dolgelley (4), Llanegryn, Llanfaereth, Llangelynin (2), Llanymouddy, Llanaber (2), Llanddwywe is graig, Llanddwywe uwch Graig, Llaneltyd, Llanenddwyn, Llanfihangely Pennant, Talyllyn.
Counties of Merioneth and Montgomery: Mallwyd (2).
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 12,912 with parishes ranging in size from Llanddwywe is graig (population 92) to Dolgelley itself (4,087). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £5,641 or 8s.9d. per head.
Like a number of other unions in central Wales, Dolgelley dragged its feet over building a workhouse. However, a union workhouse was eventually erected in 1857 at a site to the east of Dolgelley between Pont Yr Arran and Fron Serth. Its location and layout are shown on the 1900 map below.
The building comprised two parallel ranges running east to west, linked at the centre, and with an entrance at the north.
After 1930, the workhouse became a Public Assistance Institution, then later as Llwyn View Hospital provided care for what were classed as the "mentally subnormal".
In 2000, part of the former workhouse was in use as a carpet showroom, with the entrance block undergoing conversion to residential accommodation.
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.
- Meirionnydd Archives, Ffordd y Bala, Dolgellau LL40 2YF. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1837-1905, with gaps); Ledgers (1910-12, 1928-30); etc.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
- NEW! Workhouses of Wales and the Welsh Borders. The story of the workhouse across the whole of Wales and the border counties of Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. More...
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