North Aylesford Union (Strood Union)
The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the North Aylesford Union took place in September 1835 and from 26 December 1884 the name of the Union was changed to Strood Union. 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 Strood Union became part of the Gravesend and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
The parish poorhouses continued to be used until the end of 1835 when the inmates were accommodated in the poorhouses at Frindsbury and Strood. The new Union Workhouse was built at Strood with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse at the end of October 1836.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Strood Public Assistance Institution.
Only a small portion of the buildings now remain and are 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 Strood Union was Strood. 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.
From 1 January 1920 the address recorded on death certificates for those persons dying in the workhouse was entered as “The House, Herne Common” for deaths in the workhouse and either “Glenholme” “Lyndhurst”, “Nairn Villa” or “Keith Villa”, Mill Lane, Herne for the children’s homes.
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 Strood, 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 13a, Gun Lane, Strood Intra, Rochester”.
The children were educated at the Strood Union Workhouse until 1888 when the girls attended the local school followed by the boys in 1896.
From April 1888 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
From October 1907 the children were sent to the Strood Union Scattered Homes at “Highamette” and “Lympstone”, 49 and 51, Goddington Road, Strood.
In August 1909 a house was also hired for the children at Ulcombe House, Cuxton Road, Strood until March 1911.
From April 1911 Lorne Villa, 32 Bryant Road, Strood was also hired to accommodate children.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
In July 1918 the infirm inmates of the Hoo Union Workhouse were received into the infirmary of the Strood Union with the remaining inmates from the Hoo Union Workhouse being admitted on 30 June 1923.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
From 1909 some able bodied men were accommodated at Belmont Workhouse run by the Fulham Union.
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Medway Archives Centre, Strood, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
Correspondence Out Letters – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”