Union Records ~ Staff

The character of the staff employed in the Workhouse had a huge impact not only on the efficient running of it but also how the inmates were treated. The most important were the Master (or Governor) and the Matron as these two had the most power to affect the lives of the inmates. However, the conduct of the Schoolmaster and Schoolmistress towards the children could have a significant impact. Reference in the records can be found of other members of staff such as the Porter, cook, nurses and trainers.

Minutes of the Board

These can contain many mentions of staff especially appointments, dismissals/resignations and the activities associated with their office. There are also entries relating to instances of misbehaviour or investigations into complaints. In some cases these were looked into and recorded in great detail (especially in the event of the death of any inmate under suspicious circumstances).


As the appointment and dismissal of certain members of staff needed the sanction of the governing body of the time there may be copies of letters to/from them. There may also be copies of letters from people applying for positions that have become vacate in the Union and also details of complaints received about staff.

Financial Ledgers

These records are of limited use but do include information on the amount of salary paid to individual members of staff and how frequently or infrequently it was paid. Where other records are missing it may be possible to identify the name of the person holding a particular position at a certain point in time.

Service Registers/Register of Officers Appointments/Salaries Register

In the later years the Unions kept separate registers on staff appointments and length of service for pension purposes and these may also give details of where the person previously worked. There are likely to be more records relating to teachers as their qualifications and salaries were eventually removed from the control of the Unions and so detailed records were kept.


Sometimes a separate book or register was kept of the requests from staff that were either still employed at the Union or had already left and can contain the comments of the Board of Guardians together with such details as where they moved on to.