Great Preston, West Yorkshire
On 12th July, 1809, twenty Yorkshire parishes and townships to the south and east of Leeds joined to form the Great Preston Gilbert Union. The Union was enlarged on a number of occasions eventually reaching a membership of 41 places: Allerton Bywater, Altofts, Austhorpe, Bardsey-cum-Rigton, Beaghall, Birkin, Brotherton, Burton Salmon, Byrome, Carleton, Castleford, Crofton, Darrington, East Hardwick, Fairburn, Garforth, Great and Little Preston, Hambleton, Hillam, Houghton Glass, Kippax, Kirkby Wharf, Ledsham, Ledstone, Lotherton-cum-Aberford, Methley, Micklefield, Middleton, Monky Frystone, Roundhay, Saxton with Scarthingwell, Sherburn, Snydale, South Milford, Stapleton, Swillington, Tanshelf, Weardley, West Haddesley, Whitley, and Womersley.
The Union had a workhouse at Great Preston in what was formerly Great Preston Hall.
Because of its Gilbert Union status, Great Preston was exempted from most of the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. However, because of the scattered nature of its member parishes, the Poor Law Commissioners tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Great Preston and the three other Gilbert Unions in the area (Great Ouseburn, Barwick-in-Elmet, and Carlton) to convert to Poor Law Unions. An 1838 map, published by the Commissioners, shows the areas included in the four Gilbert Unions.
The Great Preston Gilbert Union remained in existence until 1869 when all remaining Gilbert Unions were abolished. Its member parishes were then distributed amongst other Poor Law Unions in the area such as Leeds, Pontefract and Wakefield.
The former Great Preston workhouse building subsequently became a "Young Men's Institute". The site then became Old Hall Farm. None of the workhouse buildings are thought to survive.
- (To be added.)
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- No locally records survive.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
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