Gilbert's Act 1782 authorised parishes to combine for the purpose of setting up a 'proper' workhouse, but many parishes continued to act independently in dealing with their poor. Then in 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act compelled parishes to unite into groupings called 'Unions' whose responsibility it was to deal with the poor. Institutions to house the poor known as workhouses were set up. The administration was in the hands of Boards of Guardians.

Workhouse records are usually worth examination if you have lost an ancestor as he/she may have ended their days in such a place. It should be remembered that many workhouses were used as hospitals until well into the 20th century and unexpected people died there.

It is often abbreviated to 'WH' on birth or death certificates. The photo above is of Whithington Workhouse and Hospital, Lancashire - many members of my family experienced this place.