Isle of Thanet Union

The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the West Ashford 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 Isle of Thanet Union became part of the Thanet and Blean District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.

Map - Isle of Thanet Union
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
  • Acol (or Wood)
  • Birchington
  • Garlinge
  • Margate
  • Minster-in-Thanet
  • Monkton
  • Northdown
  • Ramsgate
  • St Lawrence (Ramsgate)
  • St Nicholas-at-Wade
  • St Peter‘s (Broadstairs)
  • Sarre
  • Stonar
  • Westgate-on-Sea

THE WORKHOUSE

The parish poorhouses continued to be used (with the exception of the St Lawrence poorhouse) until the new Union Workhouse was built at Minster with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse in December 1835.

From 1917 some detached buildings of the workhouse were used as a military hospital, known as Hill House Military Hospital.

The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Thanet Public Assistance Institution. At a later date it was also known as Hill House 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 Isle of Thanet Union was Minster. 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 Minster, 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 “Prospect Hill, Minster”.

CHILDREN

Education
The children were educated in the Union Workhouse by a Schoolmaster and Schoolmistress until 1872 when the children attended the local schools.
Accommodation
From January 1901 the children were removed from the Workhouse and accommodated at the new Union Cottage Homes at Manston.

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

During 1916 some of the infirm inmates were sent to the Blean Union Workhouse at the Workhouse but were returned in 1917.

During 1917 some of the infirm inmates were removed and sent to the Tenterden Union workhouse.

LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS

Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent

DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED

Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841

– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”