Union Workhouse (Guardians)


Thrapston District Historical Society

Thrapston Union Workhouse c1900, known as Cedar House
Tiling in the Master and Guardian's Toilet

Establishment of Board of Guardians

The Thrapston Poor Law Union was established under Poor Law Legislation on 30th November 1835.

The Guardians were elected under the large landowner multiple vote system which enabled all property owners to exercise a vote, with the larger landowners retaining the influencing role.

The inaugural meeting of the locally elected Board of Guardians took place the following evening, 1st December, at the White Horse Inn, Thrapston.


At the first meeting, and shortly afterwards, several important policy decisions were made.

The following appointments:

  • Clerk
  • Treasurer
  • Auditor
  • Relieving Officer

The election of the Union’s first Chairman – John Yorke

A sub-committee elected to oversee the acquisition of 4 acres of land on the Denford Road (now Midland Road), and the erection of the workhouse.

The maximum capacity of the building was set as 200 paupers, but with sufficient room to be available for further expansion. It is interesting to note that seldom did the number of inmates exceed 100.

Roles and Responsibilities

The powers of the Board of Guardians were widespread, including ensuring that only those who were destitute entered the workhouse, and their responsibilities would later include vaccination for smallpox.





Extract from a joint publication by Thrapston District Historical Society and East Northamptonshire Council to celebrate the refurbishment of the old Union Workhouse to accommodate the new Council Offices.

This page was added on 28/01/2017.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.