Thanks to the tremendous hard work carried out by our committed band of volunteers, we are creating several useful indexes to a few records within our extensive collections. The latest index to be completed relates to a Register of Inmates of Edinburgh Charity Workhouse between July 1835 and June 1841 (our ref. SL146/9/1). This index is now available on our website in the ‘Find out about records we hold‘ section, alongside our other completed project indexes for readers to search.
Background on the Edinburgh Charity Workhouse
In 1739 proposals were published for founding a hospital or workhouse for the employment and maintenance of the poor, the care of orphans and foundlings and the support of out pensioners. A contract between the Town Council and kirk sessions was agreed in 1740 setting the terms of the foundation of the Edinburgh Charity Workhouse. The Workhouse was funded by donations and subscriptions, from an assessment levied on householders and an annual grant from the Town Council. It was to be managed by an executive committee of 15 managers.
The Workhouse opened on 20 June 1743 atBristoPortnext to the Bedlam for lunatics. The original Bedlam was used as an infirmary for the sick and as a children’s hospital. A new Bedlam was built in 1746. The Bedlam was partly demolished in 1836 and the lunatics were moved to the Children’s Hospital. The children were moved to the oldOrphanHospitalunder theNorthBridge.
The passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1845 led to the foundation of Edinburgh Parochial Board. The Parochial Board assumed responsibility for the Charity Workhouse, which became the Edinburgh Poorhouse. The Craiglockhart Poorhouse and Hospital replaced the Edinburgh Poorhouse in 1870 and the Charity Workhouse buildings were demolished.
The Register of Inmates and Index
The Register itself is divided in to three main sections relating to the House, the Children’s Hospital and the Bedlam. The index now online is a consolidated alphabetical list of all inmates from each of these three divisions. You can simply do a free text search within the index and see if any of your ancestors were inmates during this period. If you find someone you can pop in to our public searchroom and request to see the register to check for any further information. For more information on our opening hours and where to find us see our website www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cityarchives