The erection of a House of Industry cost £11,000 on a tontine scheme of
110 shares ... This large Workhouse has accommodation for 400 paupers, but it
has seldom half that number, having only 135 in July 1841, & 144 in Nov 1844
The Board of Directors & Acting Guardians are still governed by their own
local act of Parliament, though they have conformed to some of the regulations
of the New Poor Law.
Mr John Freeman Bayfield, of Norwich, is clerk to the Board; Mr Stephen Wade,
master of the Workhouse; & the Rev M B Darby, chaplain; Five surgeons are
appointed for attending the poor.
Source: White Directory 1845 - p 431
Submitted by Betty Longbottom
Cases at Forehoe
The Forehoe workhouse at Wicklewood tended
"inmates of unsound mind", and accounts at Kew ( MH12/Box 8386:
Forehoe Rural; 1880-1882) for instance, give info such as follows:-:
"7 Dec 1881 - Visit, 19 Nov 1881 by Mr. Bagot: Inmates of unsound mind - 10
females. The M.O. visits three times each week. There is in the workhouse no
male but 10 female paupers who are classed as of unsound mind. I have today
examined them. One, MARY BOLTON, does not seem to have much the matter with her
and it seems hardly necessary to class her. The others are properly placed in
the list and are fit subjects of workhouse treatment. The M.O. does not appear
to sign the requisite certificates under Section 20 of 25 and 26 Victoria CIII.
I called the Master's attention to the omission.
The accomodation afforded by the house is somewhat rough and the rooms are bare
and cheerless. They are however clean and there is plenty of space. All the
ground floor rooms have brick or tiled floors which must be very cold in winter.
The bedding is of straw but the bed clothing is sufficient. I think these
paupers are kindly treated and their food is sufficient. No complaints were made
to me. Some are usefully employed but several are incapable of work. Their dress
The bathing arrangements are bad. There is no fixed bath supplied with hot and
cold water. Such a bath for each side of the House would be beneficial".
29n April 1882:-
"In reply to your letter of 28th inst., I have the honour to state that the
imbecile ward in the workhouse of this Union has 2 excellent bedrooms with
boarded floors and that although the ground floors of the workhouse are of
brick, this description of floors is universal in the homes of the poorer
classes in this district.
The Board is also of the opinion that it is unnecessary to have a fixed bath
with supply of hot and cold water, portable baths being found quite sufficient.
With respect to Mary Bolton, the M.O. of the workhouse considers that she is an
imbecile and is properly classified as such. To remove her to any other ward
would be to subject her to the jeers and scoffs of the other inmates.
I am.........Geo Plumstead.
"I have today seen 1 male and 11 females in this workhouse who are classed
as of unsound mind, all being quiet and harmless and properly kept here.
They were clean and neat in person and generally in fair bodily health.
Their rooms and beds (the latter still however being of straw, as also, with
some few exceptions, the pillows,) were very clean and in proper order.
The brick floor in the large day room in which several of this class sit, is
below the level of the adjoining yard and must necessarily be damp in the
winter, and boarding it wholly or in part and contracting a 2nd fireplace in it,
would add greatly to the comfort of the inmates. (This was not acted upon!)
Four of the women are sent out for occasional walks into the country and the
same number have extra diet with meat daily".
These Poor Law Union Papers (also see MH9/7) are very much to do with general
administration rather than the day to day recording of inmates' details; in
other words, few names occur. Nevertheless, the Norfolk Unions are recorded as
in the following example:
MH12/8375; 1834-1837 Freebridge-Lynn; 297
/8376; 1838-1842 "
/8377: 1843-1846 etc to
Then follows Guiltcross;298; then Henstead: 299: etc etc.
by Ron Kerrison.
Wicklewood Workhouse became Hill House Hospital, which was eventually closed
in 1974 and has now been converted to Residential accommodation.
There are many records available for both Forehoe Incorporation and Forehoe
Poor Law Union, including Minutes, Birth and Death registers, admission &
discharge registers, ledgers and committee minutes.
Norfolk Record Office
Upper Green Lane
Telephone: 01603 761349 http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/council/departments/nro/nroindex.htm
Norfolk Record Office; Records of Poor Law
Genuki Site of Norfolk Poor Law Unions
Page updated December 19, 2006