The parishes on the Gower peninsula originally formed part of the Swansea Poor Law Union. An increase in Swansea's population led, in 1857, to the formation of a new Gower Poor Law Union. The new union officially came into existence on 29th September 1857 and initially comprised the parishes of: Bishopston, Cheriton, Ilston, Knelston, Llanddewy [Llandewi], Llangennith, Llanmadock [Llanmadoc], Llanrhidian Higher, Llanrhidian Lower, Nicholaston, Oxwich, Oystermouth, Penmaen, Pennard, Penrice, Port Eynon [Porteynon], Reynoldston, and Rhossily [Rhossili].
In 1861 a Gower Union workhouse was erected at Penmaen to accommodate 50 inmates. Its location and layout are shown on the 1921 map below.
The main building faced to the south and had a T-shaped layout.
A utility block containing boiler house and laundry lay along the north of the site.
In 1913, William and Rose (née Hoare) Williams were the Master and Matron of the Gower workhouse. Their grand-daughter Veronica McKenzie has kindly provided a picture of them with their son Donald.
The much extended former workhouse building is now used as an old people's home.
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.
- West Glamorgan Archive Service, County Hall, Oystermouth Road, Swansea SA1 3SN. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1896-1914, 1917-1930); Births (1914-30); Creed register (1869-98, 1912-45); Punishment book (1914-23); etc.
- Swansea Area Unions has Gower Union Creed Registers (1869-1898).
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
- NEW! Workhouses of Wales and the Welsh Borders. The story of the workhouse across the whole of Wales and the border counties of Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. More...
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