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Peter Higginbotham (workhouses)

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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby Peter H » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:24 pm

djosefowski wrote:My great grandfather, William Harvey Brain and his brother (George) lost their parents by the time my ancestor was 17 years old (and his brother 14). They lived near Pontypool, Monmouthshire (Wales) and their family had been miners. They eventually left the area 10 months later to live with family in the United States. I don't know where they were during those in between months, but thought perhaps in a Workhouse. Are there records for the Pontypool area and does it seem likely they went there to live and how do I find information? The only thing they has was a bible from Sardis Congregational Church dated around the time they left - did churches commonly visit workhouses?

Another brief question, according to his death record, my gggrandfather, Richard Wilkinson died in 1882 in Union Workhouse, West Bromwich (West Midlands), however I know there are no records for that workhouse. Do you know of any other records that would help learn more about his stay there. I was surprised he went there because he had family living nearby and someone suggested he may have went there because he needed medical treatment which he couldn't afford.

Thank you,

Donna


Dear Donna,
You don't give the date of William and George's departure so it's hard to say if any relevant records exist. You can find a summary of the main surviving Pontypool workhouse records towards the end of my Pontypool web page (workhouses.org.uk/Pontypool/) – these are held at the Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale.

For workhouses or periods when no local records survive, there isn't much in the way of alternative sources. Local newspapers often carried reports of the Guardians' board meetings and these often give a flavour of what's going in the workhouse. The workhouse was also a good source of news stories e.g. incidents involving inmates or staff. Online sources such as the British Newspaper Archive provide a very useful way of exploring these.

All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby Peter H » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:31 pm

sjl170 wrote:Hi Peter,

My 3xg grandmother Susanna Clissold (nee Smith) married her husband Philemon Clissold in 1858, and on the census of 1861 & 1871 they are living together with their 2 children.
However, she is listed in the census of 1881 & 1891 as an inmate of Wolverhampton workhouse. In the 1881 census he is living with the children, & she in the workhouse, both list that they are married.
By 1891, she is in the workhouse listed as a widow, he living with his children and he too listed as a widow.
Susanna dies in the workhouse in 1894 of Bronchitis & exhaustion. Her death certificate states that she is a widow of Philemon Clissold, but he is still alive until 1911.
Would she have been disowned by her husband/children for some reason for them to lie about their marriage? Was this normal to state they were widowers? Ashamed maybe?
Are there any records that can help me?
Thank you for your time. Sally.


Dear Sally,
Not sure I can sort this one out - Philemon Clissold is not a name you meet every day so I assume it's the same person being referred to in each of the records you mention. Generally speaking, workhouses became increasingly flexible in how they dealt with difficult family situations, e.g. admitting young children and a sick parent to the workhouse while the other parent and maybe older children were outside and working to support themselves. This could well prove a much cheaper option (for the Union) than taking the whole family into the workhouse and them losing their home.
It was much easier to lie to officialdom in those days, especially in large cities, but the Clissolds had presumably become well known to the workhouse authorities. So if there was some benefit to be gained from being classed as a widow/er (though with by now grown-up children) I wouldn't have thought they would have been able to lie about it. Unfortunately, Wolverhampton is one of those Unions for which very few records survive.
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
Last edited by Peter H on Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby Peter H » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:34 pm

loftym1 wrote:Hi Peter

My ancestor Jane Bristow(e) died in the Union Workhouse, South Shields, on 28th December 1874 of bronchitis and exhaustion; I'm told there are no surviving records from the workhouse, the old workhouse for South Shields used to be in German Street but the new one was built in 1874 and became the Harton Workhouse (made famous by Catherine Cookson), I know she will have been buried in an unmarked grave but is there any way of finding out any further information about why she was in the workhouse or where she is buried. Strangley she was on the census in 1871 with her son Thomas Batten Bristow so I'm at a loss to know how she ended up in the workhouse just three years later. I don't know if this was also a hospital, is there any way of finding anything out.

Kind Regards
Michelle

Dear Michelle,

Without knowing all the family circumstances, we can only speculate about the reasons for her entry to the workhouse.
If Thomas had gone away for some reason, she might have been unable to cope on her own.
It's also possible she entered the workhouse for medical care at the end of her life.

There aren't really any alternatives to the local workhouse records if they no longer exist.
You might be able to establish which local cemetery she was most likely buried in and it might have its own burial registers. Local newspapers are always worth a trawl - if her death or entry into the workhouse was in unusual circumstances, it might have got a mention.
Last edited by Peter H on Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
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Re: A workhouse policeman

Postby Peter H » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:43 pm

Wendus wrote:My gt-gt-grandfather was a police constable (V229) who, starting in 1843, lived (with his family) in the old Fulham Workhouse. He was there, presumably, to guard the premises amongst his other duties. In the census of 1851, after the old workhouse had closed, he and his family were still there, and he is described as 'minding the premises'. My gt-grandmother was born at the workhouse in 1855. In November 1858, gt-gt-grandfather was promoted to Sergeant. He was transferred to 'T' Division in January 1859, the year before the old workhouse was demolished.

I have never heard of a policeman living in a workhouse before, is it so unusual?


This sounds a very modern approach - the old Cleveland Street workhouse in London - now closely linked with Dickens and Oliver Twist - is currently protected by letting people live there for free. If the old workhouse building was empty and in danger of being vandalised, then letting a policeman live there would probably have been a very cost effective way of protecting it.
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby Jon Bauckham » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:12 pm

It's now gone 3pm – thanks for your help, Peter! I'm sure your advice will help forum users break down a few brick walls.

If you haven't done so, do check out Peter's excellent website http://www.workhouses.org.uk, which contains thousands of handy maps, plans and details of where to find relevant records. He has also recently launched http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk, which already offers a wealth of content about children's homes, industrial schools and orphanages in Britain and beyond.

Finally, I'd recommend getting your hands on a copy of Peter's book The Workhouse Encyclopedia, which can be purchased online here.

Goodbye, and happy hunting!
I've now left Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Please contact wdytyaeditorial@immediate.co.uk regarding any forum queries.
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby mcyoho77 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:58 pm

I need further clarification... The family was in the West Derby workhouse in about after the 1871 census of Flint, Wales. They moved to Liverpool into West Derby/Everton area. Would he have been transferred back to Flint if that was where the jurisdiction was? Or because he had been living in Liverpool, would the jurisdiction be the West Derby, Walton Workhouse?
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby Peter H » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:45 pm

mcyoho77 wrote:I need further clarification... The family was in the West Derby workhouse in about after the 1871 census of Flint, Wales. They moved to Liverpool into West Derby/Everton area. Would he have been transferred back to Flint if that was where the jurisdiction was? Or because he had been living in Liverpool, would the jurisdiction be the West Derby, Walton Workhouse?


If they were in the West Derby workhouse, then we would generally assume that his legal place of settlement by then had become West Derby. Although settlement only finally disappeared in 1948, it was gradually diluted and by the 1870s you could gain settlement in a new place by continuous residence for just a very few years.
All best wishes,
Peter Higginbotham
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Re: Peter Higginbotham

Postby pollymac » Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:30 pm

Many thanks Peter for the suggestion of where to look for Paddington workhouse records. I will follow that up.
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Re: Peter Higginbotham (workhouses)

Postby pansypetal » Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:29 pm

If you Contact the local archives they should have the admission and discharge books sometimes they are on micro feich

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