Ancestry UK

Bradfield, Berkshire

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Up to 1834

Tilehurst erected a workhouse in 1767 between what are now Lansdowne Road and Grafton Road. In 1777 it could house up to 100 inmates. In the same year, Aldermaston's workhouse provided thirty-five places.

After 1834

Bradfield Poor Law Union was formed on 2nd March 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 30 in number, representing its 29 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Berkshire: Aldermaston, Ashampstead, Bassildon, Beenham, Bradfield, Bucklebury, Burghfield, Englefield, Frilsham, Graiseley (Tything) [Grazeley], Padworth, Pangbourne, Purley, Stanford Dingley, Stratfield Mortimer, Streatley, Sulham, Sulhamstead Abbots, Sulhampstead Bannister Lower End, Sulhampstead Bannister Upper End, Tidmarsh, Tilehurst (2), Ufton, Wokefield, Yattendon. Later Additions: Beech Hill, Theale (from 1894).
Hampshire: Mortimer West End (Tything)
Oxfordshire: Goring, Maple Durham, Whitchurch

The new workhouse was erected in 1835 on a site to the south-east of Bradfield on north side of the present Union Road. The architect was Sampson Kempthorne and the building was based on his model Y-shaped plan published in the First Annual Report of the Poor Law Commissioners of the same year. Similar designs were also built at Abingdon and Banbury. The Bradfield workhouse was designed to accommodate 250 people and cost £7,450.

In 1867, the guardians advertised for tenders for the contruction of infectious wards and other buildings at the workhouse site.

The 1912 map below shows the layout of the workhouse with the infirmary added later in the nineteenth century at the north-east of the site. To the south-west, the adjacent church church of St Simon and St Jude with its graveyard can also be seen.

Bradfield workhouse site, c. 1912
© Peter Higginbotham.

Bradfield workhouse aerial view.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Bradfield workhouse aerial view (detail).
© Peter Higginbotham.

Bradfield workhouse entrance block, early 20th century.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Bradfield entrance block, early 20th century.
© Peter Higginbotham.

After 1904, for birth registration purposes, the establishment adopted the name 'Central House'.

The workhouse later became Wayland Hospital and the majority of the structure survived until the mid-1990s. In 1996, all the buildings were demolished except for the front entrance block to make way for the Wayland housing development.

Bradfield former workhouse entrance block, 1999.
© Peter Higginbotham.




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.

  • Berkshire Record Office, Berkshire Record Office, 9 Coley Avenue, Reading, Berks RG1 6AF. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1835-1929, with gaps); Admissions and discharges (1835-1862); Relief lists (1845-1921); Births (1836-62); Deaths (1835-42); Creed registers (1872-1905); Information against paupers (1835-46); Relief orders (1848-1930) etc.



  • None.

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