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Woburn Poor Law Union

Poor Law Unions were created by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. Until this time each parish had been responsible for administering help, called relief, to its own poorest inhabitants. This could take the form of outdoor relief, which was money paid to the recipient whilst they were in their own home, or indoor relief where the recipients were taken to the parish workhouse to be fed, clothed and employed in menial labour.

Poor Law Unions were amalgamations of parishes with a central union workhouse to which the poorest and destitute were committed, though outdoor relief was also still administered by parish officials on behalf of the union.

Woburn Poor Law Union was created in 1834 and abolished in 1899. It comprised the parishes of Aspley Guise, Battlesden, Chalgrave, eversholt, Harlington, Hockliffe, Hulcote, Husborne Crawley, Milton Bryan, Potsgrove, Ridgmont, Salford, Tilsworth, Tingrith and Toddington as well as Woburn itself. When the union was dissolved all the parishes were transferred to Ampthill Union with the exception of Chalgrave, Hockliffe and Toddington, which were transferred to Leighton Buzzard Union.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has the following records for the Woburn Union:

  • PUWL1: ledger: 1835-1837;
  • PUWL4: ledger: 1845-1848;
  • PUWL5: ledger: 1848-1851;
  • PUWL10: ledger: 1868-1873;
  • PUWL13: general ledger: 1899-1902;
  • PUWL14: ledger: 1879-1891;
  • PUWM1-13: minute books: 1835-1902;
  • PUWMC1: committee minute book dealing with schools: 1877-1899.