Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteBedfordshire Workhouses


Ampthill Workhouse
Bedford Workhouse
Biggleswade Workhouse
Leighton Buzzard
Luton Workhouse
Woburn Workhouse

The County of Bedford

Bedfordshire takes its name from the shire Town of Bedford and lies in the southern part of the Midlands, about 50 miles north from London. It is a very small shire of irregular shape. Its greatest length is 36 and half miles from north to south, and its greatest breadth 22 half miles from east to west. The number of acres is 298,494 while about half the average size of a county. There are only 3 smaller counties, Hunts, Middlesex and Rutland. The population in 1831 was 95,483.
Source: Kelly's Directory Bedfordshire 1894

Bedfordshire Workhouses and Poor Law Unions

The Poor Law Unions classified as being within Bedfordshire are Ampthill, Bedford, Biggleswade, Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Woburn.

Commissioners Reports

Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates. p255 J
Ampthill 6 6 12
Woburn  3 6 9
Source: From PP 1867/68 Vol XXXI pp 1-301
Twenty Second Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. 
Submitted by Alan Longbottom


Summary of Results.
Pauper inmates of Workhouse establishments in the Registration County number 792 persons of all ages, 486 Males and 306 Females. 
These represent approximately 0.45% of the general population.
At advanced ages the proportion is far higher; at 55 years and upwards the % is 2.05% and at 65 years and upwards is 3.42%.

Prisoners in the Prison at Bedford number 98, all of whom are Males..

The Blind, Deaf and Dumb
The number of persons returned as Blind is 131, and of these 8 suffer from some other Infirmity also.

Deaf and Dumb persons including 4 returned simply as Dumb, number 79, and of these 4 suffer from some other Infirmity also.

Lunatics number 849, including 5 afflicted with some other Infirmity also; and the Imbecile and Feeble-minded 362, including 7 otherwise afflicted. The total of these classes is 1,211.

It may be noted that, of the 1,211 persons returned as mentally deranged, 1,029 were the inmates of institutions, including 982 in Public and Private Lunatic Asylums, 47 in Workhouses. The remaining 182 were residing with relatives or in unlicensed houses.

Of the 47 mentally deranged persons enumerated in Workhouses, 2 were returned as a Lunatics and 45 as Imbecile, or Feeble-minded; and of the 182 not enumerated in Institutions, 3 were returned as Lunatics and 179 as Imbecile or Feeble-minded.

Source: Statistics submitted by Alan Longbottom
From Census Statistical Volume 1901
County of Bedfordshire in PP 1903 Cd 1,406

Useful Links

Bedfordshire Genuki Pages 

Bedfordshire Record Office
County Hall
Cauldwell Street
MK42 9AP
Telephone:- 01234 228833/228777 

Page updated December 19, 2006
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