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Other Buildings of Interest

HALLOW WORKHOUSE

With so many destitute and homeless families in the country, parishes were encouraged to build a poor house or workhouse, and at a vestry meeting held in 1804, it was decided to build a workhouse in Hallow, situated to the North of Windmill common.  The lane was then named Workhouse Lane, but today is Parkfield Lane.



To cover the building costs, a mortgage for around £300 was arranged.  Furniture, bedding and utensils were purchased with the money raised from the sale of parish owned tenements near the turnpike in Henwick Road.  In 1807 another room was added for the sick and lame and in 1817 two more tenements at Henwick Hill were sold in order to reduce the mortgage. 

Hallow’s workhouse was recorded as a superior ‘poor house’ in comparison to many built in other Worcestershire parishes and Wichenford, Grimley, Warndon and Broadheath regularly rented space. Other parishes making occasional use of the facilities included Astley, Ombersley, Crowle and Martin Hussingtree. 


Mothers often died in childbirth and fathers were left to bring up children. Hallow’s records show three such entries.  Thomas Everton father to seven had his eldest son living with him to help out, the next two children were apprenticed out at the age of 11 and 9 and the remaining 4 were at home, the youngest aged 2.   John Stokes was bringing up 4 children and a 1 week old baby, and John Pully was caring for his 2 young children and a baby.

Destitute families were interviewed when it was decided whether to give them out-door poor relief or to admit them to the workhouse. They would be classified with regard to their age, physical and mental incapacity or whether they were able bodied and could work.  As well as cash the committee would provide clothing and household necessities:- 

John Kettly to have a shirt, jacket and trousers, a pair of stockings and shoes mended, also a smock frock.

Mary Pugh was to be provided with proper materials to make a straw mat and that she also to have a shift, bodice, stockings and a cap.

James Doughty was given a smock-frock and pair of shoes for his 9 year old son.

Records show that in 1820 there were three applicants for the position of Governor.  The contract offered the house and land rent free and 20/- per year for mops and brooms.   He was paid a per capita rate of 7/- for each adult and 3/6 for each child under three. 



Governors were quite young, late 20s early 30s and their  life was not an easy one dealing with the elderly, the blind, the chronically sick, the mentally ill, young children and orphans, as well as able-bodied inmates,  a mix that was bound to cause problems.  He was responsible for purchasing food, coal and all other necessities for the care of the inmates. 

Hallow’s vestry minutes record an order to purchase leg-irons with chains and a pair of handcuffs for the use of the Governor of the workhouse;   a whipping post was also ordered for erection at Lower Broadheath and Jonathan Hughes submitted his account for erecting the stocks and whipping posts, amounting to £2. 8. 2d.

Inmates were to obey all orders according to the rule, there was to be no cursing or swearing, the feigning of sickness, disorderly behaviour, or wrangling with one another and everyone was to mind his or her own business.  It they did not obey the rules then they would have their diets restricted or have one month on the tread mill.  

Unmarried, pregnant women were usually disowned by their families or thrown out of service and the workhouse was the only place they could go during and after the birth of their child.  Law required that they declare their pregnancy and to name the father who would become responsible for maintaining his illegitimate child; failure to do so could result in him going to gaol, if indeed he could be found.

A warrant was issued on 1st March, 1803, requesting the Constable of the Parish of Hallow to apprehend William Addingbrook  “Elizabeth Pugh of Hallow has on oath, declared herself to be with Child and that the said child is likely to be born a bastard and that William Addingbrook of the Parish of Sinton in Hereford is the father of the said child."

After 1835 Poor Law Commissioners issued diets and food rations, which incidentally were less than that for prisons.   In 1830, on being charged with half starving the inmates, the matron of Hallow admitted that she did not weigh the portions.

Families were separated in workhouses, which was hard on orphans from the same family.  They slept in wards - Men and boys, women and girls.  Young married couples were kept apart until they were past child bearing age for obvious reasons.
 
In 1835 the governor wrote a long letter addressed to 14 prominent Hallow people - requesting a rise in the per capita rate as he couldn’t make enough to support his own family.    He said that the inmates were very old, very young, or bedridden and he was required to change the bed linen 3 or 4 times a week and he had underestimated the cost of washing soap.  The Vestry agreed to increase his pay by 6 pence per head.

In 1834 the Victorians, inspired by their Christian ideals, and a population explosion, brought in a new Poor Law Act which saw unions set up to provide much larger workhouses designed to accommodate several hundred people.  Responsibility for the destitute was removed from individual parishes and these smaller workhouses were phased out.  The aim was to get the poor back to work.

Martley Poor Law Union was officially formed on the 8th October 1836 with a Board of 31 Guardians, representing its 28 constituent parishes. 
 
After the formation of the Martley union, the workhouse at Hallow continued to operate and in June 1838

The 1881 general census lists the Martley Union Workhouse’ as having 80 male, 39 female occupants, with ages ranging from 6 weeks to 88 years. Three were described as ‘Idiots or imbeciles’ one as ‘dumb and imbecile’ and one a cripple!

Hallow workhouse closed in 1839 and was rented out to Mr. Tearne for £20 per year, and became a tenement occupied by 6 families.  In 1887 it was sold along with other cottages, and land to Charles Wheeley Lea.   He and his wife Amy had built their mansion on the main road and needed accommodation for their staff. 



The workhouse was demolished and in its place the laundry to the Wheeley Lea estate was built.