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History

The Rochdale Township workhouses in the Rochdale area included at Spotland (100 places), Hollingworth (58), Marland (50), Calf Hey (30) and Wardleworth (24).
Spotland erected a new workhouse in the 1780s. It was located at Spotland Bridge at the southern end of what is now Primrose Street, on the land between between Primrose Street and Spodden Street
The Hollingworth workhouse stood on Syke Lane at the western shore of the Hollingworth Reservoir. (Its location is sometimes give as Butterworth, the district in which it was situated.)
Marland's workhouse stood at Marland Fold to the north of Marland Old Road which lay within the township of Casteleton.
The Wuerdle and Wardle workhouse was a row of cottages at Calf Hey, at the north of Wardle Fold.
The Rochdale Poor Law Union was formed on 15th February 1837 Rochdale was an area of vociferous opposition to the New Poor Law and the new union was set up in the face of opposition from local ratepayers.

The constituent parishes included

Dobcross, Yorkshire , Friarmere, Yorkshire, Healey, Lancashire , Littleborough, Lancashire , Lydgate, Lancashire , Milnrow, Lancashire , Rochdale St Chad, Lancashire , Smallbridge, Lancashire , Spotland, Lancashire , Wardle St James, Lancashire ,
Wardleworth St James, Lancashire, Wardleworth St Mary, Lancashire , Whitworth, Lancashire
Norden St Paul, Rochdale, Lancashire was added in 1862

Radical opponents of the 1834 Act, led by Thomas Livesey, first attempted to boycott Guardians' elections. They then put up their own candidates who, when elected, did not attend Board meetings. Mounting pressure from the Poor Law Commissioners finally led, in 1845, to legal action being instituted against members of the Board of Guardians. Although the prosecution failed due to a legal technicality, the Commissioners persuaded local magistrates, who were ex officio members of the Board, to begin conducting union business. In April 1846, a new Board was elected and was dominated by anti-Poor Law members who continued to obstruct the Poor Law authorities.
The Rochdale Union initially continued to make use of most of the existing township workhouses. In 1866, a Poor Law Board Inspector visited each of the workhouses and condemned the conditions
In 1863-5, a new workhouse was erected at Marland to replace the old Marland and Calf Hey buildings. Located, just to the south of the old Marland workhouse, it was built by unemployed cotton workers during the American Civil War, as a Poor Law project, to provide paid employment. The new workhouse accommodated 260 adults and 40 children However adverse reports continued.
In 1886, the Marland workhouse was converted for use as an infectious diseases hospital, later becoming Marland Hospital.


Dearnley (Birch Hill) Workhouse


In 1871, the Union purchased a 24-acre site on the slopes of Birch Hill and Starring Hill at Dearnley for £2,500. The following year, building work began on a large new workhouse.
In March 1873, the old Spotland workhouse partially collapsed, possibly because of subsidence due to coal mining beneath the building. However, since the new workhouse was far from ready, the Spotland building had to be patched up and was used for another four yours. Even then its days were not over — in 1881, Rochdale Corporation were forced to rent it for use as a temporary isolation hospital during a smallpox epidemic.
The new workhouse, designed by George Woodhouse and Edward Potts, was originally intended to accommodate 632 inmates but by its eventual opening in November 1877, various extensions had increased the capacity to 847, including 29 officers. The total cost of the buildings and land was £85,000. The building was officially opened by the Mayor of Rochdale, Alderman T Schofield, on Wednesday 19th December 1877.
In 1902, a 172-bed infirmary was built at the north of the workhouse. It had a central healthcare administration block with male and female ward pavilions to each side.
During the First World War, part of the site was taken over by the military who also erected tents in the grounds.
In 1930, control of the site passed to Rochdale County Borough, with the Poor Law Institution being run by the Public Assistance Committee and the Hospital being run by the Health Committee. With the inauguration of the National Health Service in 1948, the site became a single hospital known as Birch Hill. Now run by Rochdale Healthcare NHS Trust, many of the original buildings are still in use. The conversion of the buildings to residential use has been controversial.


Wardle Cottage Homes


In 1898, Rochdale Union erected a children's cottage homes site at Wardle. The children lived in 'family' groups of around a dozen children, each under the care of a house 'mother' or 'father'. The buildings, which included five pairs of children's houses, were designed by P Butterworth and Duncan.


Records


• Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2RE. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1845-1900) etc.
• Local Studies Library, Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ. Holdings include: 

Butterworth Township Accounts. Poor Relief. 1800-1809.
Butterworth Township Poor Rate Relief Book. 1825 -1827.

Butterworth Poor lay assessments, 1763, 1800-1809

Microfilm copy of original records at the Area Central Library in Rochdale, England. Rochdale Area Central Library no.: Z/1/B 1-2.

Content
Film
Poor lay book 1800-1809 Poor lay book 1763
FHL BRITISH Film
1594547 Items 2-3


Castleton Township. Select Vestry Minutes. 1826 1837 (R/Cha/4/7/1)
Castleton Township Poor Lay Records. 1759 - 1785
Castleton Township Poor Lay Records. 1772 - 1780
Castleton Township Poor Lay Records. 1780 - 1785

Poor rate books and overseers account books, 1780-1785, 1799-1801, 1809 Microfilm copy of original records at the Area Central Library in Rochdale, England.
Castleton is part of Rochdale parish.
The poor rate books and overseers accounts are known on these films as "poor lay books."
Rochdale Area Central Library no.: Z/1/C 1-5.

Content
Film
Poor lay book 1759-1766 Poor lay book 1772-1780 (Title boards mislabeled "Butterworth".)
FHL BRITISH Film
1594547 Items 4-5
Poor lay book 1780-1785 Poor lay records, vestry accounts 1799-1801 Poor lay book 1809
FHL BRITISH Film
1594542 Items 1-3


Hundersfield Township Poor Law Records. 1734 - 1746.

Poor law adminstrative records, 1734-1747 Microfilm copy of original records at the Area Central Library in Rochdale.
Rochdale Area Central Library no.: Z/1/H 1.

Content
Film
Poor law adminstrative records, 1734-1747
FHL BRITISH Film
1594542 Item 4


Spotland Township Poor Lay 1801
Spotland Township Reference (Schedule) to Township Survey 1819 - 1820
Spotland Township Overseers' Poor Law Ley for the Hamlet of Healey. 1826 - 1830. (photocopy - open shelves).
Spotland Township Survey Book 1834.
Spotland Township Overseers of the Poor Minutes & Accounts. (inc. Workhouse Records) 1734 - 1773
Spotland Workhouse Weekly Diary 1836 - 1845

Spotland Township Select Vestry Minutes 1819 - 1823
Spotland Township Select Vestry Minutes 1836 - 1838
Spotland Township Select Vestry Minutes 1838 - 1840
Spotland Township Select Vestry Minutes 1842 - 1845
Spotland Township Select Vestry Minutes 1845 - 1870

Overseers of the poor, 1734-1779, 1801 Spotland Microfilm copy of original records at the Area Central Library in Rochdale, England.
Rochdale Area Central Library no.: LA/Z/1/S 1-2.

Content
Film
Overseers of the poor 1734-1776 (Some pages are torn, some information missing.)
FHL BRITISH Film
1545499 Item 7
Overseers of the poor 1776-1779 Poor lay 1801
FHL BRITISH Film
1594545 Items 1-2


Wardleworth Township Overseers' Indenture Book (Apprentices) 1803 -1840
Wardleworth Township Union Record Book 1812 - 1819
Wardleworth Workhouse Religious Services 1831 - 1833

Overseers of the poor, poor rate books, and workhouse registers, 1803-1840 Microfilm copy of original records at the Area Central Library in Rochdale, England.
Contents: Poor rate book, 1825-1826 -- Overseers of the poor, 1812-1819 Overseers and apprentices, 1803-1840 -- Workhouses, 1831-1833.
Rochdale Area Central Library no.: Z/1/W1-4.

Content
Film
Overseers of the poor, poor rate books, and workhouse registers, 1803-1840
FHL BRITISH Film
1594545 Items 3-6


Rochdale Union 1st Minute Book 1837 - 1845
Rochdale Union List of Guardians & Paid Officers 1853 - 1910

Rochdale Union Accounts (Printed)
1830-31; 1852-73; 1857-58; 1862-70; 1870-78; 1876-80; 1878-86;
1886-87; 1887(Mar); 1887(Oct); 1888-89; 1889; 1890; 1890-96;
1897-1904; 1904-08; 1905-08; 1899-1900.

Rochdale Union Minutes of Proceedings (Printed)
1900 -1930.

Rochdale Union. Report of remarks made by J J Henley (Local Government Board Inspector) relating to the accommodation for, and treatment of vagrants at the Rochdale Union Workhouse, and the reply of the Guardians thereto. 1889.

Rochdale Union. Assessment Committee. Scales of Deductions. 1893.
Rochdale Poor Law Union Year Books. 1895 - 1928.

Poor Act Returns for Lancaster. 1803
Poor Act Returns for Lancaster. 1815


Bibliography


• Down Poorhouse Lane - the Diary of a Rochdale Workhouse by J Cole (1984).Littleborough, Lancashire : George Kelsall Publishing, 1984, c1984
Physical 115 p., [8] p. : ill., map.
ISBN/ISSN 0950557773

• Marland as a Workhouse in Eavesdropper (Rochdale Health Authority, September 1986).
• Robertson's Guide to Rochdale (1876).


Web Sites


http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/Rochdale/Rochdale.html


 

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  • This page was last modified on 2 August 2015, at 13:51.
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