Bandon, Co. Cork
Bandon Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 12th February 1839 and covered an area of 224 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 31 in number, representing its 23 electoral divisions as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Co. Cork: Abbeymahon, Ballinadee, Ballymodan (4), Brinny, Clonakilty (3), Desert, Desertmore, Desertserges, Inishannon, Kilbonane, Kilbrittain, Kilbrogan (4), Kilmalooda, Kilnagross, Kinneigh, Knockavilla, Lislee, Moragh, Moviddy, Rathclareen, Templeomalus, Templequinlan, Timoleague.
The Board also included 10 ex-officio Guardians, making a total of 31. The Guardians met on Saturdays.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 53,166 with divisions ranging in size from Templequinlan (population 1,042) to Ballymodan (10,581). The town of Bandon fell partly in the division of Ballymodan and partly in Kilbrogan.
The new Bandon Union workhouse was erected in 1840-1 on a 6.5-acre site half a mile to the east of Bandon. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building was based on one of his standard plans to accommodate 900 inmates. Its construction cost £6,600 plus £1,462 for fittings etc. The workhouse was declared fit for the reception of paupers on 29th September 1841, and received its first admissions on 17th November.
The buildings followed Wilkinson's typical layout. An entrance and administrative block at the north contained a porter's room and waiting room at the centre with the Guardians' board room on the first floor above.
The main accommodation block had the Master's quarters at the centre, with male and female wings to each side. At the rear, a range of single-storey utility rooms such as bakehouse and washhouse connected through to the infirmary and idiots' wards via a central spine containing the chapel and dining-hall.
During the famine in the mid-1840s, sheds were erected and an extra floor added to the idiots' ward to accommodate 150 extra inmates. Fever patients were accommodated in a shed erected in the infirmary yard. A fever hospital was subsequently erected at the east of the workhouse. The workhouse had its own burial ground at the east of the site.
At midnight of 22 June 1921, the workhouse was burned down by armed Republicans. In the immediate aftermath, the inmates were housed in the workhouse dispensary and brought food by local residents.
A new hospital was then erected on the site which is now the home of Bandon Community Hospital.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Cork City and County Archives, 33a Great William O'Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork. Holdings include: Board of Guardian Minute Books (1839-1924); Master's Journal (1921-1925); Indoor Relief Registers (1920-25); Weekly Tobacco Account (1920-25); etc.
- Crossman, V (2006) Politics, Pauperism and Power in Late Nineteenth-century Ireland
- Gray, P (2009) The Making of the Irish Poor Law, 1815-43
- O'Connor, J (1995) The Workhouses of Ireland
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