Newport had a workhouse from 1755 in Norbroom. In 1776, it accommodated up to eighteen inmates. It subsequently occupied premises on Workhouse Lane, now 34-40 Vineyard Road, now three cottages.
Edgmond had a workhouse by 1776, which could house up to sixteen paupers. In 1778, a workhouse, perhaps the same one, was in use at Pickstock Grange. In 1832, the inmates comprised twelve females aged from 1 to 8 years, and nine males from 6 to 72 years.
In 1777, Forton's workhouse could hold ten inmates. It had ceased use by 1803.
The High Offley workhouse accommodated up to thirty paupers in 1777 but was empty in 1802 and 1813.
Gnosall's first workhouse, in 1733, was a converted barn. In 1774, the parish erected a new workhouse at the bottom of the High Street. In 1783, the parish purchased an additional property for the purpose at the south of the church, later the site of a school, now a day nursery. The 1774 building was replaced in 1832 by two almshouses.
There was a parish workhouse in Lilleshall village by 1804. In 1810, it was relocated to premises on what is now School Road, in Donnington.
Chetwynd had a workhouse by 1813.
Newport Poor Law Union was formed on 5th October 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 22 in number, representing its 16 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Salop:
Cherrington, Chetwynd, Chetwynd-Aston, Edgmond, Lilleshall (3), Longford, Newport (3), Tibberton, Woodcote.
County of Stafford: Adbaston, Forton, Gnosal (3), High Offley, Norbury, Weston Jones.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 15,371 with parishes ranging in size from Weston Jones (population 113) to Lilleshall (3,569), Gnosall (3,358) and Newport itself (2,745). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £4,932 or 6s.5d. per head of the population.
Initially, the Newport Union made use of former parish workhouse accommodation at Newport and at Gnosall, which was used to accommodate children.
In 1855-56, the existing premises were replaced by a single workhouse. The new building was erected on what is now Audley Avenue in Newport and was designed by John Cobb, with a contribution from Edward Haycock. The site location and layout are shown on the 1925 map below, by which time the workhouse had become known as Newport Poor Law Institution:
The two-storey red-brick front range had a central section containing the entrance, porter's lodge, committee room, and master and matron's quarters. Female inmates were accommodated to the left and males to the right. To the rear of the centre, a single-storey central spine contained the dining-hall and kitchen. The spine connected to a single-storey range, which contained stores, together with laundry facilities on the women's side and a day-room on the men's side. Casual wards were added at the rear of the site in 1873 and a 29-bed infirmary was erected at the east of the workhouse in 1908.
In 1930, the site was taken over by Shropshire County Council and became Audley House Public Assistance Institution, later an old people's home. The surviving workhouse buildings have now been converted to residential use.
From 1898 to 1909, the union operated a boys' home at Doley, Gnossall. In 1901, the home was under the charge of Joseph and Ann Thursfield, with seven boys in residence. At the same period, girls were being boarded out at Miss Roddam's Certified School, on the road between Newport and Edgmomd.
- 1863 — Master: Lewis James; Matron: Mrs James; Chaplain: Revd William Sandford, MA
- 1870 — Master: Lewis James; Matron: Mrs James; Chaplain: Revd David Mountfield, MA
- 1881 Census
- 1891 — Master: James Ide; Matron: Mrs Ide; Medical Officer: C.E. Baddeley MD; Chaplain: Revd WF Burges MA.
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.
- Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 2AQ. Please note that records may contain gaps or have access restrictions - please check before visiting. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1836-1930); Births register (1866-1913); Marriage notice books (1904-24); Register of paupers (1900-07); etc.
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