AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): BG/U
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1836-1930
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 4.47 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Uxbridge Poor Law Union x Uxbridge Board of Guardians


Administrative/Biographical history:

Poor relief was based on the Act for the Relief of the Poor of 1601 which obliged parishes to take care of the aged and needy in their area. Parish overseers were empowered to collect a local income tax known as the poor-rate which would be put towards the relief of the poor. This evolved into the rating system, where the amount of poor-rate charged was based on the value of a person's property. Early workhouses were constructed and managed by the parish. However, this process was expensive and various schemes were devised where groups of parishes could act together and pool their resources. As early as 1647 towns were setting up 'Corporations' of parishes. An Act of 1782, promoted by Thomas Gilbert, allowed adjacent parishes to combine into Unions and provide workhouses. These were known as 'Gilbert's Unions' and were managed by a board of Guardians.

Under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the Poor Law Commission was given the power to unite parishes in England and Wales into Poor Law Unions. Each Union was to be administered by a local Board of Guardians. Relief was to be provided through the provision of a workhouse. An amendment to the 1834 Act allowed already existing 'Gilbert's Unions' or Corporations of parishes to remain in existence, although they were encouraged to convert themselves into Poor Law Unions. Although there was some reorganisation of union boundaries, particularly in London, the majority of Unions created under the 1834 Act remained in operation until 1930. In March 1930 a new Local Government Bill abolished the Poor Law Unions and the Board of Guardians. Responsibility for their institutions passed to Public Assistance Committees managed by the county councils - in the metropolis either the London County Council or the Middlesex County Council.

Fostering - that is the arrangement whereby one person pays another for the care of a child - has always existed in one form or another. It had its abuses, the grossest of which was baby farming, the scandal of which necessitated legislation in the form of the Infant Life Protection Act 1872 which made it compulsory for persons taking for hire two or more infants less than a year old to register with the local authorities, who were the Councils in the care of the boroughs and the Justices in the case of counties. Child life protection as a whole was transferred to the Poor Law authorities, whose duties comprised the receiving of notice where a person undertook for reward the nursing and maintenance of an infant under the age of 7; the appointment of visitors to inspect such children; the limitation of the number in a dwelling; the removal of such infants improperly kept; and the receiving of fines imposed from offences.

Uxbridge Poor Law Union was founded in June 1836, comprised of the following parishes: Cowley, West Drayton, Harefield, Hayes, Hillingdon, Ickenham, Northolt, Norwood, Ruislip and Uxbridge. Yiewsley parish was added in 1896. The Union bought the existing Hillingdon parish workhouse site, together with a further four acres of land, and constructed a new workhouse on the site.

Source of information: Peter Higginbotham at The Workhouse website.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Uxbridge Poor Law Union, 1836-1930, including minute books of meetings of the Board of Guardians; register of removals; case cards of persons in Central London Schools and other homes and institutions; financial accounts; correspondence relating to parish boundaries; matrices (presses) of the seals of the Board of Guardians; register of persons receiving children for reward, and admission and discharge registers from the Hillingdon Workhouse.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In 8 sections: Board minutes; Removals; Case cards; Finance; Boundaries; Seal matrices; Infant Life Protection; Workhouse.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records received with the records of the successor County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For the records of the Middlesex County Council, who took over Uxbridge Board of Guardians institutions, see MCC.

Publication note:

The Workhouse and Hospital at Hillingdon, Middlesex, 1744-1967 by Howard Wingfield (2003). For a detailed history see website 'The Workhouse' (

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"