Parish Poor House

The parish workhouse was built in 1810 by G. Richardson and W. Wallace.

Davison’s history includes a detailed description of the poor-house.

This building stands on an eminence in an airy and healthy situation at the north side of the Green Bat. It was finished according to the plan of Mr. G. Richardson, and is built of freestone and covered with Easdale slates. It is 53 feet in length by 39 feet in breadth; and the first and the second story are each 9 feet high, and the attic story 7 feet. The ground floor contains a room in which the parish officers transact business, a waiting room, a kitchen and two sitting rooms for the poor, and a ward-room. On the second floor are six bedrooms, an hospital, and a dead-house; and in the attic story are the work-rooms. Behind the house is a yard and garden, also a wash-house, cooking-house, and other conveniences. In the old house adjoining there are convenient rooms for the keeper, a dining-room, two cells for lunatics, a porter’s lodge, and several small apartments, one of which is appropriated for teaching the children that are in the house. The whole is walled in, and the gate, which fronts the south, is locked in at a stated hour by the keeper. The poor are employed in teasing oakum, spinning, and the whole is under the management of the parish officers. On the front is the following inscription:

This Work-House for the better Accommodation of the Poor of this Parish was erected A.D. 1810.

Churchwardens: William Davison, Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Bell

Overseers: John Dixon, Nathaniel Tate, William Mattison

G. Richardson and W. Wallace, Builders

In 1840 a new Union Workhouse was constructed on what we now call Wagonway Road. The old Green Batt workhouse then became a Militia Depot, although part seems to have been used as a tannery. Barracks were added in 1870, and the Board of Health found that these sometimes accommodated over 130 men in unsanitary conditions. Buildings on Hotspur Street provided quarters for the sergeants. The lower, two-story building was extended in 1877.

After the militia was disbanded the County Council used the site as a highways depot. We understand that it was at this time that part of the ground floor was removed to improve access by creating an archway.

In 1923 the War Office seems to have been responsible for the building, which had fallen out of use.

By the 1990s the site housed a number of different tenants, including a builder’s depot used by Inksters, a hypnotist, and a supplier of catering equipment. In 2001 the larger building was converted to six flats. New flats were built in the grounds, then more flats added in 2001.