A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded local workhouses in operation at Castleton (for up to 10 inmates), Fairfield (70), and the Chapel-en-le-Frith hamlets of Boden Edge, Bradshaw Edge & Combs Edge (60).
Chapel-en-le-Frith Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 4th December 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 22 in number, representing its 16 constituent parishes and townships as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Derby:
Aston; Bamford; Brough and Shatton; Buxton (2); Castleton (2); Chapel-en-le-Frith, including Bowden's Edge, Bradshaw's Edge, and Coomb's Edge (4); Chinley, Bugsworth and Brownside (2); Derwent; Edale; Fairfield; Fernilee; Hartington, Upper Quarter; Hope; Hope Woodlands; Peak Forest; Thornhill.
Later additions: Burbage (1894), Kingsterndale (1894), Wormhill (1838).
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 10,488 with parishes and townships ranging in size from Brough and Shatton (population 78) to Chapel-en-le-Frith itself (3,220). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1835-7 had been £2,344 or 4s.6d. per head of the population.
The new Chapel-en-le-Frith Union workhouse was erected in around 1840 at a site to the west of Chapel-en-le-Frith, on the north side of Manchester Road. Its location and layout can be seen on the 1898 map below.
The workhouse had an entrance range at the south. To the rear was a T-shaped accommodation block with three wings emanating from an octagonal hub. There was a infirmary to the north of the workhouse, and an isolation hospital further to the north. A new infirmary block was erected in the late 1890s.
The former workhouse later became The Elms old people's home which was demolished in 1981. No trace of the workhouse buildings remains except for remnants of the site's eastern boundary wall. A social services day centre now occupies the site.
The union established a home for 18 children at Manchester Road, Chapel-en-le-Frith. The building later became Cromwell House children's home. It is now used as offices.
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.
- Derbyshire Record Office, New Street, Matlock, Derbyshire. Few records survive. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1918-1930); Births (1914-48); Deaths (1914-43); Creed registers (1902-25); etc.
- Thanks to Ann Laister and Alison Buxton for The Elms pictures.
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