Gravesend & Milton Union
The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Gravesend and Milton Union took place in August 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 Gravesend and Milton Union became part of the Gravesend and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
The Workhouse used by both Gravesend and Milton parishes as a joint workhouse continued to be used until the new Union Workhouse was built at Gravesend with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse in March 1848.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Gravesend Public Assistance Institution. At a later date it was also known as St James’ Hospital.
The workhouse buildings have now been demolished.
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 Gravesend and Milton Union was Gravesend. 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. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case Gravesend, 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 Trafalgar Road, Gravesend”.
The children were educated in the Union Workhouse until 1899 when the children attended the local National Schools.
By 1908 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
In November 1861 some children were sent to Plashet Industrial School run by the St George in the East Union.
From 1882 children were sent to the Maidstone Union Schools until 1899 when they removed to the homes hired by the Union in Clarence Place, Gravesend.
In 1921 the children were being sent to the Cottage Homes run by the Medway Union.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
From November 1915 some inmates were received from the Dartford Union, following the occupation of that Workhouse by munitions workers.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
Admission and Discharge Registers – 1832 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
Correspondence Out Letters – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”