The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Tenterden Union took place in November 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 Tenterden Union became part of the Ashford and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- High Halden
The parish poorhouse at Tenterden was used as the Union Workhouse until a new Union Workhouse was built at a new site in Tenterden with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse by late 1847.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 to accommodate mental patients and became known as West View Hospital.
Most of the workhouse buildings have now been demolished and a new hospital built on the site.
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 Tenterden Union was Tenterden. 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 Tenterden, 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 “Plummer”.
The children were educated in the Workhouse until 1872 when the children attended the local schools.
By January 1890 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
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 infirm inmates from Elham Union were accommodated whilst the Elham Union Workhouse was occupied by the Military.
From May 1917 infirm inmates were also from Thanet Union whilst part of the Thanet Union Workhouse was occupied by the Military.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”