Living at the Workhouse in Secret?
An interesting enquiry recently came in from a person seeking corroboration of the birth of her ancestor in Highworth and Swindon workhouse in 1909.
This child’s birth certificate gave her address as 8 Highworth Road, Stratton St Margaret. Read on to discover why……
It provided an example of the implementation of the advice of the Registrar General, who in 1904 suggested that the birth and death certificates of inmates should have a euphemistic address, one that spared the family the disgrace of the workhouse.
The correspondent will send this example to the website www.workhouses.org.uk which alerted her to this practice, which has interesting implications for family historians. Intrigued by this I did a spot check on two births in the Devizes workhouse in December 1909. The birth register gave the address as 7 Commercial Road, Devizes. In each case the address was for the roads in which the institutions stood.
Below are a list of the euphemistic workhouse addresses issued in 1904:
Alderbury: Tower House, Coombe Road, East Harnham
Amesbury: South Hill
Bradford on Avon: The Square, Avoncliff
Calne: 77 Curzon Street
Chippenham: 1 Rowden Hill
Cricklade & Wootton Bassett: North View, High Street, Purton
Devizes: 7 Commercial Road
Highworth & Swindon: 8 Highworth Road, Stratton St Margaret
Malmesbury: 1 Bristol Road, Brokenborough
Marlborough: 4 The Common
Melksham: Semington Lodge
Mere: Castle Street
Pewsey: 1 Wilcot Road, Bowling Alley
Tisbury: Monmouth House, West Tisbury
Warminster: 33 Sambourne
Westbury: Eden Lodge
Wilton: King Way House