Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanfyllin and district
The Union Workhouse
  Counting the lumps of coal...
Lumps of coal

The new large Poor Law Union workhouses built after 1834 were run as cheaply as possible by the Board of Guardians. Local tradesmen were asked to put in tenders to supply the workhouse with everything they needed, and only those selling goods at the cheapest possible prices were given the orders.
The supplies used were also very carefully rationed, as shown in this example from Llanfyllin workhouse in 1841...

Ascertaining - finding out.
6th April
Minute book entry

This 1841 entry from the Minute Book reads -
6th April - "Resolved - That the Master be directed to give out every morning a certain quantity of Coal for each Room tenanted by the Paupers, and that the Master make his weekly report of Lumps of coal the consumption during the previous week. That a Thermometer for ascertaining the heat of the Baths be provided".

This doesn't tell us how much the 'certain quantity' of coal for the workhouse fires was, but you can be sure that it wasn't very much. Probably only a few lumps of the cheapest coal they could get !
It is also very unlikely that the water for the baths given to people living there was allowed to get very warm - because that would use more coal !
The workhouse also obtained prices for the regular work of burying people who died there, as you can see on the next page...

How much to bury dead children ?...


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