A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Bodmin for up to 70 inmates, and at Blisland for 4 inmates.
In 1804, prison reformer James Neild visited the Bodmin workhouse. He later recorded:
Bodmin Poor Law Union was formed on 10th May 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 36 in number, representing its 21 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Blisland, Bodmin — Parish, Bodmin — Borough (4), Cardingham (2), Endellion (2), Egloshayle (2), Helland, St Kew (2), Lanhydrock, Lanhivet (2), Lanlivery (3), Lostwithiel (2), Luxulion (2), Saint Minver Highlands (2), Saint Minver Lowlands, Saint Mabyn (2), Temple, Saint Tudy, Warleggon, Withiel, Saint Winnow (2).
Later Additions: Wadebridge (1898).
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 18,836 with parishes ranging in size from Temple (population 29) to Bodmin Borough (3,375). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £6,660 or 7s.1d. per head of the population.
The Bodmin Union workhouse was built in 1838-42 to designs by William Dwelly and was intended to accommodate up to 250 inmates. It was erected at a cost of around £5,000 on an elevated site at the north of Bodmin. Its location and layout are shown on the 1881 map below:
At the south was a two-storey front block.
To the rear was an H-shaped main block, of two-storeys for the most part, but with an octagonal three-storey hub.
A further block to the north included an infirmary accompanied by various outbuildings. A small isolation hospital was erected to the north-west.
The surviving former workhouse buildings have been converted into residential accommodation. The former isolation hospital is now a private house.
In 1913, the Bodmin Union spent £550 on the erection of a home for 12 detsitute girls at 17 Beacon Road (number 22 now occupies the site following renumbering). Another house, for 14 destitute boys, was taken on Berrycombe Hill.
Bodmin was also the home of the Cornwall County Lunatic Asylum, later St Lawrence's Hospital.
This page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. Last updated 01-May-2009
|NEW! The Prison Cookbook — My history of the prison system and its food includes a complete original prison cookery manual. More...|
London workhouse and parish records now viewable online!
Stuck for gift ideas? For a
huge selection of books about workhouses and family/local/social history...
Visit the Workhouse Bookshop!
[Home] [Text Menu]