Nottingham Hospitals History

1834: The Poor Law Amendment Act


The Amendment Act grouped parish workhouses together into what became known as "Unions". In the case of Nottingham, this grouped together the parishes of St Mary's, St Peters, and St Nicholas.

After 1834 all workhouses came under the administration of elected Boards of Guardians. It was the Board of Guardians duty to administer "Indoor and Outdoor Relief" to the poor, a function they carried out for anyone regardless of whether they were homeless destitute or in need of medical attention. In other words they carried out their responsibilities "without face  or favour."

Poor Relief Act of 1834:

"The relief of the poor to be at the discretion of the Boards of Guardians, and accordingly no person, however destitute, to be held to have a statutory right of relief, a preference to begin into the aged, the infirm, the defective and the children. After these have been provided for, the Guardians to be at liberty to relieve such persons as they might deem to be destitute, priority to be given to those in the Union, in the event of the accommodation in the workhouse being insufficient for all."In other words if you became destitute and you were not from that particular union you were sent back to your "Union of Birth."

In 1930 after the Local Government Act of 1929, the Nottingham Board of Guardians, before it was succeeded by the Local Assistance Committee, produced a history, and under a sub-heading "The Parish of Nottingham" it was stated:

"The Unit of Poor Law Administration in England and Wales generally has been the Union of parishes in charge of an elective Board of Guardians working under the oversight of the Minister of Health. The predecessors of the Minister, The Poor Law Commissioners, by an order dated 10 June, 1836, constituted what was then the Nottingham Union, by uniting on 6 July, 1836, for Poor Law purposes, the parishes of St Mary, St Peter and St Nicholas.

In 1879 the Radford Union, which comprised the parishes of Brewhouse Yard, Lenton, Radford and Sneinton, was dissolved and added to the Nottingham Union. Contemporaneously they were separated from the Basford Union and added to the Nottingham, the parishes of Standard Hill and the Limits of the Castle of Nottingham.

On 26 March, 1897, the whole of the Parishes in the Nottingham Union were by the "County Borough of Nottingham (St Mary's etc.), Confirmation Order, 1896," united to form one Parish of Nottingham.

Further additions were made in 1899, when the Parishes of Basford, Bulwell and North Wilford were transferred to Nottingham and the Poor Law boundaries made coterminous with those of the City of Nottingham."

Circa 1900:Men in a Workhouse

Circa 1900: Women in a Workhouse