RepositoryCheshire Record Office
LevelCollection (Fonds)
TitleAltrincham, later Bucklow, Poor Law Union, including workhouse records
DescriptionPoor law commissioners'orders 1836, board minutes 1844-1928, finance and other committee minutes 1908- 37, guardians' attendance registers 1896-1930, financial records 1839-1930, statistical returns 1923-30, registers of settlement, removal and other cases 1869-1939, out-relief order books 1928-34; workhouse records (Knutsford Poor Law Institution): registers of births, baptisms and deaths 1898-1940, admission and discharge 1933-67, inmates 1908-56; master's report books 1920-55, inventories 1907-48, valuation lists 1904-39, school attendance records 1878-95, register of persons receiving infants for reward 1919-26 Altrincham Rural Sanitary Authority minutes 1872-94. Records collected from Cranford Lodge, Knutsford (addl list)
Administrative HistoryThe Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, removed the responsibility for the relief of the poor from the parish, and the overseers of the poor, to boards of guardians appointed to administer groups of parishes in poor law unions. These boards, which were responsible initially to the central Poor Law Commission, and, from 1847 to the Poor Law Board, were empowered to build union workhouses. Additional duties not related to the poor law were, from time to time, allocated to the guardians. These included the registration of births, marriages and deaths from 1837, vaccination from 1840, rate assessment from 1862 (see BOARD OF INLAND REVENUE), nuisance removal from 1860, public health as rural sanitary authorities from 1872 (see URBAN AND RURAL DISTRICT COUNCILS), school attendance from 1876 and infant life protection from 1897; many are reflected in the records. Rating duties were transferred to the district councils in 1925. The poor law unions in Cheshire, set up in 1836, were Bucklow (Altrincham prior to 1895), Chester, Congleton, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Northwich, Runcorn, Stockport, Tarvin (Great Boughton prior to 187 1) and Wirral. There were several boundary changes, generally involving townships lying on either side of the county boundaries: details of these are supplied in the Record Office catalogue (LG). Unions were abolished in 1930, following the Local Government Act, 1929, their functions passing to the county council, through the Public Assistance Committee (CCC 1/3). Responsible to this committee were eight local area guardians' committees, appointed to supervise the institutions in each district. Finally, in 1948, the poor law system was abolished, hospitals being nationalised under the National Health Service and the local authority remaining responsible for the care of children and old people. The continuity of administration before and after 1930, and in some institutions after 1948 is reflected in the records.

Altrincham Poor-Law Union was formed on 25 August 1836, and on 4 March 1895 its name was changed to Bucklow Poor-Law Union. It included the following parishes and townships: Agden [nr. Lymm], Altrincham, Ashley, Ashton upon Mersey, Aston by Budworth, Baguley, Bexton, Bollin Fee, Bollington [nr. Lymm], Bowdon, Carrington, Dunham Massey, Fulshaw (until 1894), Hale [nr. Altrincham], High Legh, Knutsford (from 1895), Knutsford Nether (until 1895), Knutsford Over (until 1895), Lymm, Marthall cum Warford, Mere, Millington, Mobberley, Northen Etchells, Northenden, Ollerton, Partington, Peover Inferior, Peover Superior, Pickmere, Plumley, Pownall Fee (until 1894), Ringway (from 1900), Rostherne, Sale, Styal (from 1894), Tabley Inferior, Tabley Superior, Tatton, Timperley, Toft, Warburton, and Wilmslow (from 1894).

The Union Workhouse was built in 1837-39 at Bexton Road in Knutsford. After 1930 it was known as the Bucklow Institution or Bucklow Hospital, later Cranford Lodge Hospital (from 1949), and Knutsford & District Community Hospital (from 1996).
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