In July 2020 the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies published my article on workhouse gardens. Since then further information has come to light regarding the garden of St Mary’s Workhouse in Sandford Street, Lichfield.
The article noted that in 1769 Henry Rogers supplied the potatoes and kidney beans for the garden. An entry in the overseers’ accounts for 19 July 1777 shows that the existing gardening operation was extended when the committee appointed to oversee the repair and extension of the workhouse for the ‘reception and employment of the poor’ accepted the offer ‘made generously by the Reverend Dr Falconer respecting a piece of Meadow Ground for a Garden’.
Figure 1: LD20/6/3, Lichfield St Mary’s, Overseers’ Account Book 1778-1784.
The accounts for 1778 show purchases for the garden and the payments made to labourers. In April thread for ‘garden line’ was purchased, presumably for marking out the ground. A Mr Bramhall was paid for plants and seeds. Other than ‘beans’, however, the specific types of plants and seeds are not listed. Gardeners were provided with ale. Wm Marklew was paid three shillings for two days’ work digging the new garden. In April and May ‘Brindley’ and others were also paid for unspecified garden work.
One of the crops was potatoes. On 30 October 1778 the workhouse received 5s 10d from a Mr Simpson for ‘Boys getting up Tatoes’. Although workhouse inmates were given ‘pay’ for any work they undertook in the new attic work room amounting to ‘two pence out of every shilling for their use’, it seems likely that in this instance the money went to the workhouse rather than directly to the boys.
With thanks to JK for the above image.
 Peter Collinge, ‘He shall have care of the garden, its cultivation and produce’: Workhouse gardens and gardening c.1780-1835’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12717.
 SRO, D3891/6/30/32, Henry Rogers, 27 May 1769.
 SRO, LD20/6/3, Lichfield St Mary’s Overseers’ Account Book 1778-1784.
Uttoxeter has had several parish workhouses. One of them was built on the Heath in 1789 and remained until it was replaced in the late 1830s. To be strictly accurate, it was not a union workhouse in the sense that such places were to become after the 1834 Poor Law Act, but in addition to the paupers it received from Uttoxeter, it also accommodated paupers from Doveridge and Rocester. White’s 1834 trade directory informs us that the workhouse had a brickyard and a garden extending to one and a half acres in which the inmates were employed. The assistant parish overseer at the time was Thomas Norris. A summary of the workhouse’s finances at the end of March 1831 provides a glimpse into this world. There were 44 inmates: 18 men, 13 women, 8 boys (of whom, 4 were under nine years of age), and 5 girls all under the age of nine). We know that 2 of the inmates worked in the kitchens and 8 of the men worked as labourers or scavengers. The remaining adult inmates were listed under headings of ‘infirm’, ‘sick, lame and blind’ and what to modern minds is the rather offensive ‘idiots’.
The brickyard account shows a total of £270 1s 6d received, and £248 10s 8d paid out. The inmates working in the yard earned £19 18s 6d, although it is unclear whether they actually received this amount or whether it went into the overall workhouse coffers. In addition, the workhouse received money from the sale of butter and vegetables and for the carding of wool. The existence of the brickyard and garden offer a different perspective on how workhouse paupers occupied their time. More common images are of stone breaking (which is also mentioned in the accounts) and of picking apart old ropes to make oakum, used in caulking ships.
Amongst the workhouse expenses, more than £308 was spent on provisions, £25 on the governor’s and matron’s salary, £32 17s 10d on clothing and shoes, and £9 8s 8d on coffins and funeral fees. These figures do not include the amounts expended on the out poor (parish paupers who were not in the workhouse).