Market Bosworth, Leicestershire
A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded a parish workhouse in opertaion at Ratby with accommodation for up to 14 inmates.
Market Bosworth Poor Law Union officially came into existence on 11th February 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 33 in number, representing its 28 constituent parishes as listed below:
County of Leicester: Bagworth, Barlestone, Barton-in-the-Beans, Bilstone, Cadeby, Carlton, Congerstone, Dadlington, Desford (2), Gopsall, Ibstock (2), Kirkby Mallory, Market Bosworth (2), Markfield (2), Nailstone, Newbold Verdon, Norton-juxta-Twycross, Odstone, Orton-on-the-Hill, Osbaston, Peckleton, Ratby (2), Shackerstone, Shenton, Stanton-under-Bardon, Thornton, Twycross, Upton.
Later Additions: Groby (from 1896), Sibson (from c.1837), Stapleton (from c.1837), Sutton Cheney (from c.1837), Witherley.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 11,365 with parishes ranging in size from Bilstone (population 136) to Markfield (1,088) and Market Bosworth itself (1,049). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-5 had been £7,101 or 12s.6d. per head of the population.
Market Bosworth workhouse was built in 1836 at a site to the west of Market Bosworth. It was designed by Mr Knightly and followed the popular cruciform layout. The central hub contained the workhouse kitchens with the Master's room above. A dining hall and hospital block lay to the rear. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1901 OS map below:
In 1905, a new board-room and boiler-house were erected at the north-east corner of the site. The board-room was later used as a local council-chamber.
The workhouse later became Westhaven old people's home. Most of the buildings were demolished in 1979 to make way for a housing development. Only the front block and board-room now survive.
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.
- The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, Long Street, Wigston Magna, Leicester, LE18 2AH. Few records survive — holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1875-1930, with gaps); Births register (1915-1930); etc.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.