Southwold Railway Trust Archive of Wenhaston

History Note #4: House of Industry

History Note #4: House of Industry
The Workhouse at Bulcamp was built under the Poor Laws

Poor Laws were passed in 1598 and 1601 by which the Parish was held responsible for the poor within its boundaries. In 1723 the Workhouse Act was passed encouraging villages in an area to erect a workhouse to house the poor.

It was not until 4th June 1764 that the first meeting was held at the Angel in Halesworth, when it was decided to build. The first brick was laid by Sir Thomas Gooch on 18th March 1765. There was not universal approval and on 5th August there was a riot and damage was done amounting to £508.19.6. It was reported that some thousand took part and some soldiers arrived to keep order, resulting in one death and six arrests.

The Workhouse opened on 13th October 1766. However in 1834 a revised Poor Law was passed whereby men, women and children were to be held in separate houses and that resulted in further rioting. In 1929 the board of Governors were disbanded and Local Government took over and in 1948 the Health Department converted it into a hospital. The hospital closed in 1994 and the buildings were converted in to residential apartments.