Poor Law Union - A brief outlne *
Posted by on January 01 1970 00:05:33

Stroud Board of Guardians

Stroud Board of Guardians were the Poor Law Board for the Stroud Union.

They were established on 1 April 1835 as a result of the Poor Law (amendment) Act 1834. The Parishes in the Union as originally constituted were (number of guardians in brackets) Avening-with-Nailsworth (2), Bisley (3), Cranham(1), Horsley (3), King Stanley (2), Leonard Stanley(1), Minchinhampton (3), Miserdine (1), Painswick (3), Pitchcombe(1), Randwick(1), Rodborough (2), Stonehouse (2), Stroud (5), Woodchester(1). In addition Magistrates were entitled to attend and vote.

When the Sanitary Authorities were established in 1875 Urban Sanitary Authorities were created for Stroud and Bisley and the Poor Law Guardians for the remainder of the Union formed the membership of the Rural Sanitary Authority(RSA). When Rural and Urban District Councils were formed in 1894 the members of the RDC continued to act as Guardians. The practice of the RDC/RSA) meeting on the rise of the Guardians fortnightly meeting ( it would appear traditionally Fridays at the Board Room, John Street).

The Stroud Urban Sanitary Authority (who took over from the Stroud Board of Health formed in 1856) did not cover the whole of Stroud Parish but only the area of the Parish within 1 mile of the Parish Church (bases on boundary of the Board of Health) but also included a section of Painswick Parish. Following the formation of the Stroud UDC in 1894 the Stroud UDC area consisted of 2 parishes – Uplands ( the area having formerly been in Painswick Parish before 1894) who were entitled to one member and Stroud who were entitled to 4 members of the Guardians.


Frederick William King was elected unopposed to the Guardians in 1928 to represent Uplands. Jottings by Jonathan (23 March notes a controversy over his nomination – not transcibed at this stage).

There is an excellent website by Peter Higgenbottom, where much excellent information about the operation of the Poorlaw can be found. Given Stroud's rebelious tradition (which included opposing the building of the Cirencester Turnpike in circa 1819), A question for research is why did the Stroud Guardians capitulate to the directions and interference and build a new workhouse so quickly.

The Guardians built Stroud's workhouse of which information can be obtained on http://www.workhouses.org.uk/index.html?Stroud/Stroud.shtml

The Guardians were also responsible for the registration of Births Deaths and Marriages and built the Boardroom and Registry Office in John Street. This continued to be used as County Offices for many years and has recently been converted into a bar and resturant called Nine.