Ancestry UK

Bootle, Cumberland

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Up to 1834

In 1829, Ravenglass, a small seaport and market town in the parish of Muncaster, had a large workhouse where the paupers of Muncaster, Irton, Drigg, and Waberthwaite were lodged and fed at a weekly cost of 1s. 8½d. per head.

After 1834

Bootle Poor Law Union formally came into being on 12th June 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 16 in number, representing its 12 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Cumberland: Bootle (2), Birker and Austhwaite, Corney, Drigg and Carlton, Eskdale and Wasdale, Irton and Santon (2), Millom (2), Muncaster (2), Ulpha, Wabersthwaite, Wickham or Whickham [Whicham], Whitbeck.
Later Additions: Millom Rural (from 1894), Seascale (from 1901).

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 5,083 — with its parishes ranging in size from Birker and Austhwaite (population 102) to Millom (915) and Bootle itself (737). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £1,802 or 7s.1d. per head of the population.

Bootle initially used two small existing workhouses — one at Bootle, which could hold thirty inmates, and one at Millom, which accommodated forty. A new union workhouse was erected in 1856 at the west of Bootle on the road to the railway station. The Bootle site's location and layout can be seen on the 1899 map below.

Bootle workhouse site, 1899.

The main building had an entrance block to the east with a T-shaped corridor-plan main building to its rear. An infirmary block stood the north of the site.

Bootle from the north-west, 1940s.

Bootle infirmary from the east, 2002.
© Peter Higginbotham.

A new casual ward block was erected at the south-east of the workhouse in 1880.

Bootle casual ward from the north, 2002.
© Peter Higginbotham.

The main workhouse has been demolished but the infirmary block has been converted to a house. The casual ward block is now an industrial unit. Some derelict outbuildings at the north of the workhouse entrance block, possibly the original casual ward, also survive.

Bootle out-buildings from the south, 2002.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Bootle site from the west, 2002.
© Peter Higginbotham.




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