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Workhouses, industrial schools and remand homes

Poor Law and workhouse schools after 1834

Historical background

Guardians of the Poor could provide schools within, or attached to, the workhouse following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834.

Some were slow to provide schools at first. This changed however, as the link between poverty and a lack of education became clear.

Children in the care of Guardians of the Poor could be sent out to local elementary schools from 1861. Provision for this increased under subsequent legislation.

The Local Government Act of 1929 saw the provision of education for these children fully transferred to local education authorities (LEAs).

Records of workhouse schools in Norfolk

Workhouse schools do not usually have separate records.

The records, particularly the minutes, of the Board of Guardians for the relevant Poor Law Union are the most likely place to find evidence of the schools.

Please note however, that schools are not always mentioned in detail, if at all, in these records:

  • For records of the various Poor Law Unions in Norfolk, see list C/GP
  • For records of the Norwich Incorporation Guardians of the Poor, see lists N/GP and N/TC 3
  • For minutes of the Norwich Boys’ Home and Workhouse School Committee (1847-55), see MS 4356
  • For a plan of the Norwich Workhouse School Room, undated, see N/EN 7/1831
  • For minutes of the Great Yarmouth Guardians of the Poor, see Y/WE 69-156