Subject Index: Workhouses & Poverty Laws

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No Cure, No Fee, Boarding Excepted: Mason’s Madhouses In Old Fishponds

transparent fiddle Not A BRHG Event
People's University of Fishponds - Sun 28 Jan 2024 - 7:00om - The Nissen Hut, Eastville Park, Bristol. Journalist, Fishponds Voice History columnist and Bristol Radical History Group author Mike Jempson will reveal some of the fascinating facts his research dug up about the old private madhouse which dominated Fishponds in its day. His talk includes some of the institution’s more startling treatments, the sensational public inquiry and the shameful end of the Mason dynasty - the family firm that […]

Pauper burials in Greenbank Cemetery – new research

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Monday 16 October – 7.30pm-9.00pm - Friends of Eastville Park Community Hub (Nissen Hut), Eastville Park, Near Park Avenue car park, Bristol BS5 6QG In 2015, to great public interest, Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group released details of more than 4,000 paupers who were buried in unmarked graves in Rosemary Green. These were inmates from Eastville Workhouse which was situated on the present-day East Park housing estate on Fishponds Road. The burials in Rosemary Green covered the period […]

‘No Cure, no Pay, Boarding excepted’

‘Mason’s Madhouses’ in old Fishponds

Front cover shownig a head with a plan of the mad house projected onto it.
Long before the NHS, those who did not fit ‘the norm’ were consigned to workhouses or to private lunatic asylums. The latter provided a profitable business opportunity, as the wealthy were only too keen to offload family members whose behaviour was inconvenient. It was a system open to abuses that Daniel Defoe and others were keen to expose. In the Fishponds area of Bristol, one family lived off the proceeds for more than a century. The revealing tale of ‘Mason’s Madhouses’ explains what life […]

Bedminster Poor Law Union Workhouse

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Pill Library and Children's Centre, Crockerne House, Underbanks, Pill BS20 0AT For more details and booking see here. North Somerset Libraries are excited to host a series of talks by Bristol Radical History pamphleteers. Visit www.brh.org.uk to find out more about their publications and events. The talks are informal and accessible and would appeal to adults and older teens. Self-service kiosks will be on and there will time to borrow books from our local history display, so bring your library […]

Clevedon Literary Festival

Bedminster Workhouse and Pill Pilots

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A Celebration of the Book - Sat 11th June St Andrews Church Centre, Old Church Rd, Clevedon BS21 7UE Funded by Clevedon Community Bookshop Cooperative, Bookbinders, book artists, paper-makers, book makers, independent publishers and pamphleteers come together to celebrate the ‘book’ with exhibition stalls and sales. Bristol Radical History Group will have a bookstall at the event and are giving two talks: 12.15pm – 1.00pm Rosemary Caldicott - 'The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire: A Case study […]

Bath Workhouse Burial Ground Project

Trees will grow and a wildflower meadow bloom at Bath’s Union Workhouse Burial Ground. A place of memory and reflection is emerging thanks to the work of local residents, artists and descendants of those buried there, unmemorialised, in unmarked graves. As the official memorial to a slave trader was toppled in Bristol, people in Bath sought to memorialise those officially forgotten. Bath Workhouse burial grounds do not exist on any modern map, there is no signage or plaque. Following a long […]

New pauper burial research at Greenbank cemetery

Introduction From 2014-2019 Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group (EWMG) studied Rosemary Green, a piece of land consecrated and used as a pauper burial ground soon after the new workhouse was built at 100 Fishponds Road in 1847. Eastville workhouse was the primary institution of the Clifton Poor Law Union which covered 12 parishes north of the River Avon outside the old city walls. In March 1877 the Clifton Poor Law Union was renamed as Barton Regis. The Union remained unchanged until 1898 when […]

Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group – Final Accounts

Eastville Workhouse map 1880
Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group (EWMG) was formed in 2014 after a public meeting with residents of Eastville and Greenbank in East Bristol. The primary aim of the group was to research and publish the names and details of the inmates from Eastville Workhouse who were buried in unmarked pauper graves at Rosemary Green. Information on the more than 4,000 burials was published in 2015 and is available on this website. In the two days after its release more than 3,000 people down loaded the data. […]

Bedminster Union Workhouse

The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire

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Clevedon Library, 37, Old Church Rd, Clevedon BS21 6NN Author Rosemary Caldicott focuses on the draconian workhouse system that housed the vulnerable poor, and in particular women and children. Rosemary will be examining the history of the workhouse by offering an illustrated talk based on evidence extracted from reports published at the time about the violent death of Hannah Wiltshire who resided in Weston in Gordano. The involvement of Sir Arthur Elton of Clevedon Hall is pivotal to this true […]

An Alternative History of Westbury-on-Trym Workhouse

Gilbert’s Act of 1782. ‘An act for the better relief and employment of the poor’

In November, 2019 Louise Ryland-Epton gave an engaging talk entitled ‘By Pity and by Terror? A Contrary View of Workhouses’ at the M Shed, Bristol as part of the UWE Regional History Centre series of talks. As I had read and examined reports on shocking victimisation, neglect, exploitation and dehumanising treatment of later workhouse inmates I was intrigued to hear about an alternative, pre 1834 Poor Law Act, workhouse erected in Westbury-on-Trym. We are all familiar with the many indignant […]

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