St Neots Poor Law Union was formed on 24th September 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians.
Three workhouses were built in Huntingdonshire – one in Great Stukeley to serve the Huntingdon Union area, one in Hemingford Grey to serve the St Ives Union, and one just across the river from St Neots.
Huntingdonshire Archives has superb collections of records for the Huntingdon and St Ives workhouses, including registers of admissions and discharges, birth and death registers, punishment books, and occasionally plans.
The new St Neots Union workhouse was built in 1841-2 at Eaton Socon, St Neots. It was designed, without charge, by local architect William Abbot and was based on the popular cruciform or “square” plan. Its location and layout are shown on the 1901 map below.
To keep down costs, no paving-stones or iron railings were incorporated, and at one stage, only one lavatory was provided. However, soon after its opening, these shortcomings were remedied with the addition of a perimeter hedge, clock, and additional privies behind the original infirmary block. A newer separate infirmary existed by 1878.
The main building, later used as a veterinary centre for horses, is now known as the White House and used as residential accommodation. The former infirmary, also now a residential property, stands on Linclare Place.
This building is now converted into flats and is called The White House
The Poor Law Board sanction the above Dietary. Ralph Earle, Secretary. By order of the Board of Guardians, J.H. Ennals, Clerk.
Letterpress broadside, two tables; one of recommended portions of dietary stables for adults, the other of equivalents for children under 16 (subdivided into three age groups). Sheet 445 x 285mm, 17½ x 11¼”. Folds, spotting and tatty extremities.
Introduced under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, a workhouse was a place where people who were unable to support themselves could go to live and work. This piece of ephemera printed for the Poor Law Guardians of St. Neots represents an interesting piece of social history.
Provenance: from a scrap album compiled c.1840 – 1880 by Alfred Towgood of Riverside, a paper mill owner at St. Neots, Huntingdon. He was also a Lieutenant in the Duke of Manchester’s Light Horse.
A small house at 2 Brook Street was once used as the St Neots parish poorhouse.