Baldry Families

Shipmeadow Photographs

The Shipmeadow House of Industry.

The Shipmeadow Workhouse is on three sides of a square

Shipmeadow Workhouse from the back (South) side

Shipmeadow Workhouse in its bleak context

Shipmeadow Workhouse Chapel

Worhouses were generally introduced under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, one of the nastiest pieces of legislation ever passed by the Houses of Parliament. It sought to reduce the cost to parishes of poor relief by distinguishing between the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor & giving the latter an even more miserable time than had been their lot through their patchy employment.

"The Workhouse should be a place of hardship, of coarse fare, of degradation and humility; it should be administered with strictness, with severity; it should be as repulsive as is consistent with humanity."
The Revd. H. H. Milman to Edwin Chadwick, 1832

Some Reverend! Hit this link for an excellent site about workhouses & the Poor Law. See also Janet McIver's comments on this link. Since she visited it, the workhouse, then an Old People's Home, has been sold off for 'luxury apartments' as was the wont of the type of vicious Tory Council that florished under the Thatcher Dictatorship (throw out the crumblies & make some money).

The siting of this workhouse, on top of a hill about equidistant from Bungay & Beccles & with contemporary communications, must have seemed like exile to Siberia for the inmates. This institution was purpose-built in about 1766 & the Chapel added 30 years later.

Dave Tennant of Canada adds the following observation:-

"Re Shipmeadow Workhouse. When I was at school in Beccles my best friends father, a Sam Crisp, was a hairdresser and once a week or so he went out to Shipmeadow Workhouse to cut hair so it was still being used in the late 40s. Later on I believe it housed a factory chicken operation"

Hit this link for an essay by Ted Jenkins about the use of Shipmeadow House for evacuees in World War II.

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, but everything he finds out or is sent, goes on the web
17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him

URL: Last revised 9/9/2003

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