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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): WLSD
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1865-1936
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 34.87 linear metres
Name of creator(s): West London School District


Administrative/Biographical history:

The 1834 Poor Law Act led to improvements in the arrangements made for the education of pauper children. Poor Law Unions, and parishes regulated by local acts, were persuaded to establish schools and to appoint schoolmasters. The policy of separating the children from their parents (who were generally considered to be a bad influence on their children) and sending them, if possible, to the country was continued and in 1866 several Middlesex metropolitan authorities were sending children to schools outside London. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1844 made possible a further development in this field which was of significance for the metropolitan area. Unions and parishes were empowered to unite and to form a School District which then set up a large separate school for the education of all the indoor pauper children of the constituents of the district. These were usually industrial schools where both boys and girls were taught the basics of a useful trade which, it was hoped, would provide them with better prospects in future.

The West London School District was founded in 1868 and comprised the Fulham, Hammersmith and Paddington Poor Law Unions. The Saint George Hanover Square Union joined briefly between 1868 and 1870; while the City of Westminster Union joined in 1913. The District built a school at Ashford, near Staines. The school housed 800 children.

Source of information: Peter Higginbotham at The Workhouse website.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the West London School District, 1865-1936, including minutes and agendas of the Board of Management; minutes and reports of various Committees; annual reports; financial accounts; correspondence with and orders of the Poor Law Board, Local Government Board and Ministry of Health; correspondence and other documents regarding property; admission and discharge registers for Ashford School; registers of apprenticeships; returns and statistics of children in care; papers relating to education and teaching including correspondence, reports, timetables and syllabus; dietary tables; reports by the Medical Officer; issues of the Ashford Residential School Magazine; staff records; building plans of Ashford School and Park School; photographs of Ashford School and papers relating to the transfer of institutions to the London County Council in 1930.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In 14 sections: Minutes; Annual Reports; Finance; London County Council; Correspondence; Property; Registers; Education; Medical; Magazines; Staff; Plans of Ashford School; Plans of Park School; Papers of Isabel Thorne.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

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 London County Council, who took over West London School District institutions, see LCC. For the Fulham Poor Law Union see FBG; for the Hammersmith Union see HHBG; for the Paddington Union see PABG; for the Saint George Hanover Square Union and the Westminster Union see WEBG.

Publication note:

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

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