Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 12, 2018
Webpage updated: March 31, 2018




The earliest published description of the East Stonehouse Workhouse dates from 1812:

'In 1801 the old workhouse was taken down, being in such a ruinous state that it was quite a disgrace to the town; the present one was then erected.  It is a plain building, but sufficiently capacious for so small a parish.  It is capable of containing 60 persons, but at present there are only 43 in it.  It is under the government of Thomas Dawe, who is designated the Governor, and is superintended and visited by Mr William Dyer, the Visitor Guardian, Mr Ambrose Nicholls, and Mr James Adams, Guardians; and has a prison attached for vagrants, or any petty offenders to be confined in, until they can be disposed of by an order of magistrates.  The present Overseers of the poor are Mr Charles Chappel, and Mr Richard Summers'.

The East Stonehouse Workhouse was situated in Clarence Place.  It is assumed that the old Workhouse was on the same site as it appears to have been demolished before the new one was built.

On January 3rd 1837 the parish formed a Poor Law Union and registration district under the Poor Law Act and in 1838 expended 3,005 14d in maintaining its in and out-door poor.

Curiously, in 1850 the Workhouse was said to be able to accommodate 130 paupers, double the number stated in 1812.

Mr H B Snell had been asked to design a new Infirmary in 1878.  In 1878 the clerk of the workhouse was Mr Richard Robinson and the relieving officer was Mr George Carter Bignel.  The master and matron of the workhouse were Mr George and Mrs Mary Ann Horswill.

A Board room and offices fronted Clarence Place, with a wash-house to the west and a dispensary and vagrant's ward to the east.  There was an internal yard surrounded by the women's' quarters to the west, the kitchens and Master's quarters to the south, and a school and infirmary to the east.   On the far south of the site was a stone-breaking yard.

During 1908 a fire-proof was constructed and plans were made for an adjoining dwelling-house to be converted into a children's home.  When added to the cost of erecting anew laundry, the Guardians estimated that the whole works would cost around 1,300.  That year the Stonehouse Workhouse had the highest number of inmates on record.

By 1935 the building had become the Stonehouse Institution, with Mr Herbert and Mrs K Dobson as Superintendent and Matron.  This was damaged during the Second World War and demolished.