The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Bridge Union took place in April 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 Bridge Union became part of the Folkestone and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- Holycross Westgate Without
- Lower Hardres
- Mint (Canterbury)
- St. Nicholas Hospital
- Upper Hardres
Prior to the erection of the new Union Workhouse some of the existing parish poorhouses were used with the children being sent to Harbledown Poorhouse and those over 14 Ickham and Littlebourne Poorhouse. The new Union Workhouse was built at Bridge with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse in October 1835.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Bridge Public Assistance Institution. The remaining buildings are now 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 Bridge Union was Bridge. 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 Bridge from at least 1885. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case Bridge, 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 “No 10, Union Road, Bridge”.
The children were educated in the Workhouse until 1887 children sent to local national schools.
From March 1886 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
From May 1917 the children were removed from the Bridge Workhouse and sent to the Cottage Homes run by the Medway Union.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
Register of Births – 1836 to 1841
Register of Deaths – 1835 to 1841
Admission and Discharge Registers – 1835 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”