Church Hill: established 1821

Church Hill workhouse: the inscription over its main door read: Brighthelmstone Poor-house, Erected AD., 1821, Vicar, Rev. R. J. Carr, D.D. Churchwardens Edward Blaker, Robert Ackerson, Richard Bodle.
Image in the public domain

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

c) CHURCH HILL: A larger workhouse was built in 1821-2 on a fourteen-acre site to the north of St Nicholas’s Church. Designed by William Mackie, it had accommodation for 600 inmates and cost £11,400. The building had a frontage of 191 feet, and included a kitchen, wash-house, brew-house, bake-house, laundry, a separate infirmary, and large garden; over the doorway a tablet proclaimed ‘Brighthelmstone Poor House erected A.D. 1821’. It was opened in September 1822 with a procession of ninety-five inmates from the old workhouse.
The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act abolished ‘outdoor relief’ in an effort to cut the number of poor-law dependents, and introduced extremely harsh regimes in the workhouse to discourage all but the totally destitute from applying for relief. Brighton was otherwise largely unaffected by the Act and was not united with any other parish. However, the numbers of poor in the town grew steadily and by 1851 there were 440 inmates. It was obvious that another building would be required, and when the new workhouse opened at Elm Grove in 1867 the Church Hill site was sold for development and the large villas of Albert Road, Alexandra Villas, Alfred Road, Buckingham Road, Dyke Road and Leopold Road were erected. {6,7,14,112}
In August 1862 an industrial school opened at Warren Farm for the workhouse children. See “Woodingdean (Warren Farm Schools)”.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

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