Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Workhouse in Newtown!

I was looking at the Union Infirmary in Belfast for 1903, re some family history piece - then came across this on Newtownards, so here is what I found. I have not traced any Anderson who was in this establishment during its time as a workhouse, however all 7 wee Andersons were born in Ards Hospital Maternity Unit - the then site of the old workhouse.
Taken from the Workhouse Web Site: -
Newtownards (or Newtown Ards) Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 3rd September 1839 and covered an area of 146 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 24 in number, representing its 16 electoral divisions Co. Down: Ballygowan, Ballyhalbert, Ballymaglaff, Ballywalter, Bangor (4), Comber (2), Carrowdore, Donaghadee (2), Grey Abbey, Kilmood (2), Kircubbin, Moneyreagh, Mount Stewart, Newtown Ards (2), Newtown Ards South (2), Tullynakill.

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 53,873 with divisions ranging in size from Ballymaglaff (population 1,696) to Bangor (9,355) and Newtownards itself (5,668).
The new Newtownards Union workhouse was erected in 1840-1 on an 8.5-acre site at the west of Newtownards. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building was based on one of his standard plans to accommodate 600 inmates. Its construction cost £4,835 plus £1,035 for fittings etc. The workhouse was declared fit for the reception of paupers on 21st December 1841 and admitted its first inmates on 4th January 1842.
At the 1901 census, the population of the Union was 41,920 with 291 inmates in the workhouse.

In 1922, the site ceased operation as a workhouse and its existing inmates were transferred to Downpatrick. They had to walk the 29 miles as no transport was provided.
In 1932, the site became Ards Hospital. The fever hospital was converted for use as an old people's unit, and the infirmary was then used as a fever hospital, with the dining hall being demolished

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