The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Malling Union took place in October 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 Malling Union became part of the Maidstone and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- East Malling
- East Peckham
- West Malling
- West Peckham
Prior to the erection of the new Union Workhouse some of the existing parish poorhouses were used with the children being sent to East Peckham Poorhouse, the aged and infirm to Wrotham and the able bodied to Aylesford. The new Union Workhouse was built at West Malling with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse by late 1836.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Malling Public Assistance Institution.
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 Malling Union was West Malling. 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 West Malling, 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 “King Hill”.
The Children educated at East Peckham National Schools whilst accommodated at the East Peckham Poorhouse pending the building of the new Union Workhouse at West Malling, The children were educated in the new Workhouse until 1881 when the children attended the local National Schools.
From May 1881 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
From December 1901 the children were removed from the Workhouse and accommodated at the Union’s new Scattered Homes in Alma Road, West Malling.
From August 1902 to April 1915 a house in East Peckham was hired for additional accommodation. A further Scattered Home was established in Birling Road, Snodland for the boys from December 1909.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
From July 1916 some inmates from the Elham Union were accommodated at the Workhouse.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
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”