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[Up to 1834] [After 1834] [Staff] [Inmates] [Records] [Bibliography] [Links] The 1725 edition of An Account of Several Workhouses reports workhouses in operation in the Northampton parishes of All Saints and St Peter.
A parliamentary report of 1776-7 listed four: All Saints (for up to 60 inmates), St Giles (15), St Peter's (6), and St Sepulchre (45).
Eden, in his 1797 survey of the poor in England, reported of Northampton that: The Poor in All Saints are partly maintained in a workhouse, and partly at home.
The average number in the house is estimated at 70.
It is however very clean and neat, and the Poor live there comfortably under the direction of a very proper person. The high walls which encompass the narrow courts being capped with spikes, give the place a great resemblance to a prison.In this Workhouse, as in most others, the earnings seem to be chiefly produced by children.Bill of fare: Breakfast—Sunday: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, milk pottage; other days, broth and bread.Dinner—Sunday, Tuesday, broth, beef, bread, and vegetables ; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, bread, cheese, and beer; Thursday, broth, mutton, bread, and vegetables. The victuals are not weighed, but the Poor have generally as much bread and meat as they can eat.One pint of beer is allowed to each adult at bread and cheese meals. [It] was, as I had expected, very comfortable, so much so, that the inmates, old and young were allowed bread and meat five days in a week, and the only work was sweeping in the streets, which was done in the usual idle style; it was capable of containing 70 people; there were about 40 when I visited it, 12 women (one or two of whom had come there to be delivered of bastard children), eight children, and about 20 men, most of whom were old, crippled or idiotic.Them was a separation between the sexes, and a difference made in the treatment of the impotent and the able-bodied, but every man in the house was allowed 3d. The notion of making the workhouse a place of discipline, seemed never to have occurred to any one, the object being rather, as they told me, to make the poor comfortable.The Northampton Poor Law Union formally came into being on 27th August 1835. To the north of the workhouse is an infirmary building dating from around 1870. From 1904, children born in workhouses no longer had any indication of this on their birth certificate.Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 33 in number, representing its 17 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one): County of Northampton: Abington, Bugbrooke, Dallington, Duston, Great Billing, Little Billing, Harpole, Kingsthorpe, Kislingbury, Nether Heyford, Northampton All Saints (6), Northampton St Giles (4), Northampton St Peter (2), Northampton St Sepulchre (4), Upper Heyford, Upton, Weston Favell. The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 21,761 with parishes ranging in size from Upton (population 48) to Northampton All Saints (7,333). Northampton workhouse infirmary from the south, 2000. The workhouse had its own large residential school which stood at the west of the site. Instead, the place of birth was recorded as a euphemistic street address.The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1832-5 had been £8,458 or 7s.9d. Northampton workhouse was built in 1836 at the north side of the Wellingborough Road, to the north-east of the Northampton. In the case of Northampton, the address used for this purpose was 137a Wellingborough Road.It could accommodate 300 inmates and it cost approximately £7,000. Northampton entrance block from the south-east, 2000. Northampton workhouse north-eastern inmates' yard, 2000. From around 1918, the practice was also extended to death certificates.The building was designed by George Gilbert Scott who was the architect of many other workhouse buildings including ones for the nearby Kettering and Oundle Unions. After 1930, the workhouse was taken over by the Northampton Borough Council and renamed St Edmund's Hospital which continued in operation until 1998.