Elham Union

The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Elham Union took place in June 1835 and the Union continued to be run by the Guardians until 1 April 1930 when its responsibilities were transferred under the Local Government Act of 1929 to Kent County Council. Under this new system the parishes which comprised the old Elham Union became part of the Folkestone and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.

Map - Elham Union
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
  • Acrise
  • Cheriton
  • Elham
  • Elmsted
  • Folkestone
  • Hawkinge
  • Hythe
  • Lyminge
  • Lympne
  • Monks Horton
  • Newington next Hythe
  • Paddlesworth
  • Postling
  • Saltwood
  • Sandgate
  • Sellindge
  • Stanford
  • Stelling
  • Stelling Minnis
  • Stowting
  • Swingfield

THE WORKHOUSE

The parish poorhouses continued to be used until the new Union Workhouse was built at Etchinghill, Lyminge with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse in June 1836.

From July 1916 the Workhouse was taken over by the Military and the Children’s Home at Cheriton was used for the administration of the Union and for casual inmates.

The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Elham Public Assistance Institution. At a later date it was also known as Lyminge Institution and St Mary’s Hospital.

The only remaining building is the Chapel which is privately owned.

BURIAL OF INMATES DYING IN THE WORKHOUSE

The normal practice for persons dying in the Workhouse was for them to be removed to their parish of settlement (if within the Union) for burial or in the parish where the Workhouse was situated, which for the Elham Union was Lyminge. If a person died in an institution which was situated out of the Union’s area they were normally buried in the parish of that institution.

Following the Burial Acts of 1852-1857 burials may also have taken place at a cemetery built and operated by the local Burial Board.

BAPTISM OF CHILDREN BORN IN THE WORKHOUSE

The Baptism of children born in the Union Workhouse would normally only take place under exceptional circumstances unless the licence given to the Chaplain of the Workhouse included permission to carry out baptisms in the Workhouse Chapel. This was the case at Lyminge from 1872. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case Lyminge, or the parish of settlement.

From 1 January 1905 the address recorded on the birth certificates of children born in the Workhouse was entered as “Hill House”.

CHILDREN

Education
The children were educated in the Union Workhouse until September 1888 the children attended the local schools.
Accommodation
From February 1897 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
The children were removed to Cottage Homes at Cheriton in December with a house in Lyminge being hired from April 1911 to May 1912 to help with overcrowding at the Cottage Homes.
During the occupation of the Workhouse by the Military in 1916 the children in Cottage Homes removed to the Warren Farm Schools of Brighton Union and other Kent Unions whilst the Homes were used for the administration of the Union and for casual inmates.

In July 1916 a house in Cheriton Road, Folkestone was hired as a temporary Children’s Home.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.

INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES

INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES

From July 1916 the inmates were removed from the Workhouse and the Children’s Homes and sent to the Canterbury, East Ashford, Eastry, Malling and Tenterden Unions and Warren Farm Schools of Brighton Union.

LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS

Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent

DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED

Register of Births – 1836 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
Correspondence Out – 1835 to 1841

– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”