The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Eastry Union took place in April 1835 and the Union continued to be run by the Guardians until 1 April 1930 when its responsibilities were transferred under the Local Government Act of 1929 to Kent County Council. Under this new system the parishes which comprised the old Eastry Union became part of the Dover and Eastry Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- Goodnestone next Wingham
- Great Mongeham
- Little Mongeham
- St Bartholomew’s Hospital (Sandwich)
- St Clement (Sandwich)
- St Peter (Sandwich)
Prior to the erection of the new Union Workhouse some of the existing parish poorhouses were used with the Ash and Wingham workhouses keeping their own non-able bodied inmates and all other inmates being accommodated at the old Eastry Union Workhouse. The new Union Workhouse was built at Eastry, next to the old Eastry Union Workhouse, with the first inmates being transferred to the new Workhouse in March 1836.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and bceame known as the Eastry Public Assistance Institution. At a later date it was also known as Eastry Hospital.
The remaining buildings are now privately owned.
BURIAL OF INMATES DYING IN THE WORKHOUSE
The normal practice for persons dying in the Workhouse was for them to be removed to their parish of settlement (if within the Union) for burial or in the parish where the Workhouse was situated, which for the Eastry Union was Eastry. If a person died in an institution which was situated out of the Union’s area they were normally buried in the parish of that institution.
Following the Burial Acts of 1852-1857 burials may also have taken place at a cemetery built and operated by the local Burial Board.
BAPTISM OF CHILDREN BORN IN THE WORKHOUSE
The Baptism of children born in the Union Workhouse would normally only take place under exceptional circumstances unless the licence given to the Chaplain of the Workhouse included permission to carry out baptisms in the Workhouse Chapel. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case Eastry, or the parish of settlement.
From 1 January 1905 the address recorded on the birth certificates of children born in the Workhouse was entered as “2, Mill Lane, Eastry”.
The children were educated in the Workhouse until 1884 when the boys and then the girls in 1896 attended the local National Schools.
By April 1910 orphaned and deserted children were boarded out with foster parents where possible.
Cottage Homes for the boys were erected in at Eastry but on completion in early 1915 they were taken over by the military and not used for the accommodation of the boys until September 1920.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
In July 1916 a number of infirm men were accommodated from the Elham Workhouse.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
Register of Births – 1837 to 1841
Register of Deaths – 1835 to 1841
Indoor Relief Lists – 1836 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”