b-01-history-workhouse.jpg (44047 bytes)
Last Update - 17 April 2013

From the Ballina Chronicle Co.Mayo 4th. Sep. 1850

     The Poor Law Commissioners are erecting the following union workhouses, according to drawings furnished by their architect, Mr. George Wilkinson, viz., Killedysart, County Clare, to cost 5000; Clonakilty, 5000; also one at Dromore West, cost 4,500; and at Newport, Mayo, 5,100. The Museum of Irish Industry, Stephen's-green, Dublin, is nearly finished; it has been erected on the site of the late Lord Manner's mansion and embraces the two adjacent houses; Mr. George Papworth is the architect. The Board of Superintendence, Kilkenny, are erecting large additions to their gaol, for the accommodation of an increased number of inmates. The Board of Superintendence, Newry, are adding considerably to their bridewell. The cost will be 1,300. The Board of Public Works are erecting a wing building and adding an additional story to part of the Lunatic Asylum, Granggorgeman-lane, for reception of a large number of inmates. There is a new courthouse meeting in Newtownards, from the designs of Mr. Caldbeck, to whom the premium of 25l. was awarded for same. The cost will be 2,000l.

Completed on 21st. December 1841
96 Church Street
ards-workhouse.jpg (29920 bytes)

PRONI hold info on the Workhouse doc. ref. BG/25

Completed 21st December 1841 for 600 inmates at a cost of 4,835 plus 1,035 for fittings etc. and opened 4th. January 1842. Built to hold 600 paupers. The board of guardians would meet at the workhouse every wednesday. Now Ards Hospital. This workhouse had two large separate extensions built during the famine period. In 1932 these were joined to form the present frontage (as Ards District Hospital). Front building/ main building/ infirmary - all exist behind the present frontage. In 1932 the fever hospital became an old people's unit (now maternity unit) and the infirmary the fever hospital (now nurses' accommodation). At this time part of the dining hall was removed. The fever hospital is unusual in being of H plan.

(Chairman - William S. Crawford) ~ (Vice Chairman - J.Andrews) ~ (Deputy Vice Chairman - Guy Stone) ~ (Treasurer - Belfast bank regent Street) ~ (Chaplin - Rev. T.Blackwood) ~ (R.C. Chaplin - Rev. W.McAlea) ~ (Medical Officer - William Simpson) ~ (Clerk and Returning Officer - Robert Brown) ~ (Master - George McClelland) ~  (Matron - Sarah Jane Stewart)

(George McClelland master) - (Sarah Jane Stewart matron) - (Robert Brown clerk of board of guardians)

Master was John Gordon
Brown, Robert - Poor Law Clerk at the Union Workhouse

(John Gordon - Master) - (Jane Quinn - Matron) - (Robert Brown - Clerk) - (Dr. Woods - Medical Officer) - (W.S. Crawford - Chairman of Board of Guardians)

Ritchie, John - 1852 - A Teacher at the Union Workhouse

Thompson, Margaret - 1852 - School Mistress at the Union Workhouse on Church Street

Chairman - Marquess of londonderry, Close, Rev. William - 1862 - Catholic Chaplin, - Vice Chairman - Robert S.Nicholson, Deputy Vice Chairman - John Boyd, Treasurer - Robert Brown of the Belfast Bank, Master - James Barry, Matron - Catherine Matilda Lowry, Chaplains - Rev.Joseph McCormick - Established Church, Father William Close - Roman Catholic, Rev. Julius McCullough - Presbyterian, Medical Officer - William Woods, Relieving Officer - David McKee, Medical Officer - David Jamison

The Union leased a dispensery,office and yard from Catherine halliday of Bangor

McKee, Jane - 4th. January 1865 aged 62 - At Ards Workhouse - A spinster and pauper.

Seacombe, Isabella - 6th. June 1877 aged 66 - Died - Wife to Thomas Seacombe a coastguard of Ballyobegan in Inishargy Parish who died in 1862 the same year that his daughter Elizabeth also died

1867~1869 - Sent to Newtownards Poor House
Alexander, Mary - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Alexander, Hugh - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Alexander, Agnes Jane - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Barr, Elizabeth Thompson - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Gall, Jane - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Hawthorne, James - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Little, William - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Little, Agnes nee Templeton - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
McCulloch, William - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
McLerie, Usanda Pritchard - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Moffat, Hugh - 1867-1869 - From Glasgow
Patterson~Livery, Margaret and family - 1867 to 1869 -  from Ardrossan - (Port of departure)
Scott, Robert and Wife - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Scott, Sarah Jane - 1867 to 1869 - From Ardrossan
Semple, margaret - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Eliza Jane - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Isaac - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, John - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Robert - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Best - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Henry - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Smith, Eliza Jane - 1867 to 1869 - From Glasgow
Weir, Mrs. James - 1867 to 1869 - Sent to Newtownards Poor House with 4 of her children from Ardrossan - (Port of departure)
Young, John - 1867-1869 - From Greenock

Gebby, Hugh - Died 15th. December 1872 - Inmate

1875 - Removed from England to Newrtownards
Campbell, John - Aged 66 - Had been in England for 3 years having spent many years at sea and 8 months in Scotland

Murphy, Eliza - Aged 70 - Had been in England for 6 weeks

Reville, Margaret - Aged 42 - Family had been in England for 3 weeks
Reville, Mary A. - Aged 12 - Daughter
Reville, Margaret - Aged 7 - Daughter
Reville, Bridget - Aged 3 - Daughter
Reville, Annie - Aged 9 months

1876 - Removed from England to Newrtownards
Auld, John - 1876 - Was sent to Ards Poor House from Stranraer. He had been shifting about for approx. 20 years.  He had a wife aged 36 and children aged 19,11,9,7 and 2

Beecham, Jane A. - 1876 aged 26 - Was sent to Ards Poor House from ?. In England for 2 years - Pregnant and deserted by her husband

Grant, Hugh - 1876 aged 72 years - {b.c1804} - Has been 16 times in city poorhouses.

Ashwood, Agnes Hawthorn - 1877 aged 27 years - 2 children aged 4 and 2 years

ROBBERIES FROM THE NEWTOWNARDS WORKHOUSE. -- On Friday 9th.Nov., a man named Thomas Burns, who wore the workhouse clothes, was arrested by the constabulary in a field down the Comber Road on a charge of stealing money from several persons in the workhouse. Near the spot where he was arrested a number of shovels the property of the union were found with the shafts cut off them. Some time ago Burns was brought before the Petty Sessions Court charged with the theft of some carpenters' tools from the workhouse, but in the absence of evidence he was discharged. Some of the tools were found near to where the shovels were concealed. Burns was also blamed with having stolen books from the workhouse. was taken before a magistrate, and remanded.

Fallkener, Robert - 11th. January 1877 - {Father Thomas Falkener born Workhouse, Newtownards} - {Mother Susanna McNeilly}

O'Reilly, Helen Jane McWhinnie - Aged 39 - Sent to poor house from Scotland - Had been in Scotland for 9 years

3rd. July 1880 - Death by hydrophobia - Extreme or irrational fear of water, esp. as a symptom of rabies in humans.

McKee, Joseph a weaver and widower - 13th. October 1881 aged 85 - Died Ards Workhouse of heart disease

MR. SEXTON  asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can state what has been the result of the correspondence between the Irish Local Government Board and the Newtownards Board of Guardians with respect to the religious instruction of Catholic children who are inmates of the Newtownards Workhouse; whether it is the fact that there is no Catholic guardian, either ex-officio or elected, on the Newtownards Board; whether, in consequence of a resolution adopted by the Board on the 5th of April last, the Catholic children are sent daily into the schoolyard, where they spend the time in idleness, while the rest of the children are receiving religious instruction; whether the schoolmaster and schoolmistress superintend the morning and night prayers of the Protestant children, give them religious instruction every day, and direct their religious exercises on Sundays, while there is no instructor appointed for the Catholic children, and if these latter every night are put outside the dormitory while the rest of the children are engaged in prayer; whether the Presbyterian chaplain is allowed to interrupt the secular business of the school for the purpose of religious instruction, whereby an hour of secular instruction is lost to the Catholic children; whether it has been the practice of the guardians to send Catholic orphans into the employment of persons of other religious creeds, and that numerous cases of proselytism have resulted; whether the salary of the Catholic chaplain is much less than that of either of the other chaplains; whether the guardians have refused to furnish requisites for Catholic religious worship in the workhouse; and, whether the Local Government Board will use their power to equalise the salaries of the chaplains, and take measures to secure due decency of Catholic worship, and such religious instruction and protection of conscience for Catholic children as are extended to children of other denominations?

  , in reply, said, the Board of Guardians had declined to make any additional arrangements for the religious instruction of Roman Catholic children in the workhouse. They stated the Roman Catholic chaplain was afforded the same facilities as the chaplains of other persuasions; that the number of Roman Catholic children is very small; and that some few years ago the chaplain's salary was increased, partly because he was required to attend to religious instruction. Under these circumstances, there were no grounds for further correspondence with the Guardians on this matter. There was no Catholic Guardian on the Board; no Roman Catholic had offered himself for re-election for some years past. The resolution referred to was that if the Roman Catholic chaplain did not feel it necessary to be present during the half-hour for religious instruction the children of that persuasion should not be required to be present. It was not the case that there was a distinction made in regard to religious instruction of the children either on week-days or Sunday. The schoolmistress and master did nothing but read a portion of Scripture daily under the rules of the National Board without note or comment. With regard to the alleged interruption of secular instruction by the visits of the Presbyterian chaplain, he attended for an hour once a-fortuight, and this was compensated for by an additional hour's secular instruction in the evening. He had been furnished with a list of the Roman Catholic children sent to the employment of persons of other religious creeds since 1871. There were eight cases in all. The facts did not appear to warrant the statement as to alleged cases of proselytizing. The Board of Guardians said that in a population in which the large majority of employers of labour were Protestants they could not maintain healthy young persons in the workhouse simply because masters could not be found of their own religious persuasion; but they invariably obtained from these masters promises to send them regularly to Sunday school or places of worship. This was a matter in which the Local Government Board had no power to control the Guardians, even although they might consider the action of the Guardians as not in all cases judicious. The salary of the Catholic chaplain was less than the salaries of the other chaplains; but the number of inmates he attended was also very much less, and much less than the difference between their respective salaries in proportion. There appeared to be a dispute of long standing as to the supply of requisites for Catholic worship. So long ago as 1859 the then Poor Law Commissioners issued a sealed order on the subject; but the Guardians refused to comply with it, and on application to the Court of Queen's Bench a mandamus was obtained. The Local Government Board did not consider it necessary to equalize the salaries of the chaplains.

12th. January1884 - Workhous Band put on a show.

23rd. February 1884 - A fatal quarrel took place - under research

James Pollock - Chairman, Robert O. Young - Vice Chairman, Hugh Ferguson - Deputy Vice Chairman, James Colville - Treasurer and Clerk of the Belfast Bank, H.C.Finlay - Master, Mrs.Eleanor Spratt - Matron, Rev.Thomas Walters - Presbyterian Chaplain, Rev.P.M'Convey - R.C.Chaplain, Rev.Dr.J.G.Pooler- Church of Ireland Chaplain, Dr.R.C.Clarke - Medical Officer, D.M'Kee - Relieving Officer

20th. April - Inquiry into management.
McCroskery, Thetford - 15th. December 1889 died aged 20 @ Newtownards Workhouse

John Shaw who was grandson of James Savage of Gregstown - In the will of James Savage monies were left to the Work House to upkeep John who could not do so himself. -

Sailes, Mr. S.T.M. - 17th. August 1893 - Question by the Board of Guardians after an incident at the Union Workhouse

Boyd, Ellen - 27th. March 1896 - Died at Newtownards Workhouse

Gilmore, Ellen - 15th. February 1896 - A spinster of 57 Church Street
10th. August 1896 - Probate of the Will of Ellen Gilmore late of 57 Church-street Newtownards County Down Spinster who died 15 February 1896 at Workhouse Newtownards granted at Belfast to William Gill of Church-street Newtownards Road Contractor. - Effects 52-10s -

McConnell, James - 23rd. March 1896 - At Ards Workhouse

Brown, Matilda - 2nd. December 1898 - At Newtownards Workhouse

Dougherty, Hugh - 14th. February 1898 - A summons server of Frederick Street
16th. March 1898 - Probate of the Will of Hugh Dougherty late of Frederick street Newtownards County Down Summons Server who died 14 February 1898 at the Union Workhouse Newtownards granted at Belfast to the Reverend Peter M'Kenua of Bangor County Down P.P. - Effects 70 -

Mawhinney, Thomas - 29th. May 1899 - A labourer - At Ards Workhouse
13th. October 1899 - Administration of the estate of Thomas Mawhinney late of Newtownards County Down Labourer who died 29 May 1899 granted at Belfast to William Mawhinney of Portavogie said County Fisherman the Father. - effects 5

Busby, William - 6th. August 1901 - Of the Union Workhouse
30th. August 1901 - Probate of the Will of William Busby late of Union Workhouse Newtownards County Down Retired Hand Loom Weaver who died 6 August 1901 granted at Belfast to David Ferguson Weaver.

1901 Census - Residents of the Union Workhouse 92 in Church Street (Newtownards Urban, Down)

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion Birthplace Occupation Marital Status
Sloan Henry C 46 Male Head of Family Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Antrim Workhouse Master Married
Geddis Agnes T 25 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Down Infermary Nurse Single
Chambers Agnes 38 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Co Down Charge Hospital Nurse Married
Neeson Mary E 22 Female Union Workhouse Officials Roman Catholic Monaghan Infermary Nurse Single
Mc Cabe Isabella 49 Female Union Workhouse Officials Irish Church Scotland Trained Nurse Widow
Kennedy Sarah J 43 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Down Superintendent Nurse Single
Mc Cullough William 29 Male Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Down Porter Single
Moore Agnes 22 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Co Down Schoolmistress Not Married
Fenton Jessie J 40 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Co Tyrone Trained Nurse Not Married
Mc Cormick Margaret 36 Female Union Workhouse Officials Presbyterian Co Monaghan Hospital Nurse Widow

Matchett, James - 30th. November 1903 - Of Kircubbin
17th. July 1905 - Administration of the estate of James Matchett late of Kircubbin County Down Weaver who died 30 November 1903 at The Workhouse Newtownards County Down granted at Belfast to Alexander Matchett Labourer - Effects 10-2s-6d

Neill, Robert - 19th. June 1905 - A labourer of Drumhirk
1st. DEcember 1905 - Administration of the estate of Robert Neill late of Drumhirk County Down Labourer 19 June 1905 at The Workhouse Newtownards granted at Belfast to Robert Neill M'Clements Carpenter. - Effects 19-12s-8d

Patton, James - 16th. October 1905 - Farmer of Ballygrangey
6th. July 1906 - Probate of the Will of James Patton late of Ballygrangey County Down Farm Labourer who died 16 October 1905 at The Workhouse Infirmary Newtownards granted at Belfast to William Hutton Farmer. - Effects 25 -

Chambers, Ann nee Kirkpatrick - 13th. September 1907 aged 65
Ferguson, John - 29th. April 1907 - A pensioner of the Union Workhouse

11th. October 1907 - Probate of the Will of Anne Kilpatrick Chambers late of Shuttle Row Newtownards County Down Spinster who died 13 September 1907 at The Union Workhouse Newtownards granted at Belfast to Robert MCMeekan Carter. - Effects 9-1s-0d - Image

1908 - Newtownards Guardians and the Bible. Newtownards Guardians and the Bible.
17 December 1908 vol 198 cc2085-6
Mr. Sloan - To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a committee appointed by the Newtownards Board of Guardians submitted a report on the 10th instant to the effect that no Protestant inmate will be allowed to receive from his or her friends a copy of the Bible, or from other outsiders, without the sanction of a chaplain being first obtained; and whether, in view of the character of such a recommendation, he will cause inquiries to be made with the view of having that part of the report deleted.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The report referred to recommended that no visitor should be allowed to give any literature directly to a patient, that non-religious literature intended for a patient should be delivered by the master of the workhouse, and that religious literature should only reach a patient through the chaplain in charge of him. The guardians are preparing draft rules as to visiting and the distribution of literature which will receive the attention of the Local Government Board when submitted.

Union Workhouse, Church street - (Henry Cooke Sloan, Master) - (Mrs. Eleanor Spratt, Matron) - ( Mrs. Agnes Chambers, fever hospital nurse) - (Miss Neely, assistant) - (Miss Sarah Jane Kennedy, head workhouse nurse) - (Miss Miss Evangeline Gowan, trained nurse) -  (Misses Mary Gracey, M'Kee and Wylie, assistant nurses) - (Dr. R. C. Parke, J.P., is house surgeon and consulting medical officer for the rural sanitary authority) - (James Holmes is clerk and returning officer for the union and executive sanitary officer of the rural sanitary authority) - (Miss Boyd is assistant clerk) - (Dr. David Jamison is officer of health) - (Jamess M'Cullough and John Warden relieving and sanitary sub-officers) - (Major-General Montgomery, D.L., is chairman of the Rural District Council) - (William Gowan, is chairman of the Board of Guardians) - (Vetrinary Inspector for the Union--S. Bailie, M.R.C.V.S.) The workhouse chaplains are - (Church of Ireland, Rev. W. L. T. Whatham, B.A.; Presbyterian) - (Rev. William Wright; Roman Catholic) - (Rev. G. Crolly, P.P.)

The workhouse closed in 1922 and the inmates were transferred to Downpatrick but as no transport was available they were made to walk the 29 miles,. as if life wasn't tough enough. Thank God we were Christians...

Sloan, Henry Cooke - 6th. September 1922 - Of Ards Workhouse
3rd. November 1922 - Probate of the Will of Henry Cooke Sloan formerly of The Workhouse Newtownards County Down and late of 1 Craigfernie Terrace Lisburn Road Belfast Ex-Head Constable R.I.C. who died 6 September 1922 at Belfast granted at Belfast to Mary Ann Sloan the Widow Effects 38-8s-5d.

Dawson, Lizzie Jane of Market Street Newtownards county Down spinster died 20 September 1931 at The Workhouse Newtownards county Down Administration Belfast 4 November to Samuel Pyper railway inspector. Effects 290 13s.

1913-workhouse-t.jpg (67999 bytes)
1913 pic of the ambulance and some of the staff
L-R = Sarah Jane Kennedy Head Infirmary Nurse - Dr.J.M.Warnock Medical Officer - ? Male Nurse - William John McCormick Driver

work-house-02.jpg (68051 bytes)
An aerial view with Church Street running across bottom left.

1911 Employees
The names of Paupers in the Workhouse were not printed in full but simply as initials
and included a "lunatics and idiots" excepted notice.
Check out the records HERE

Name Title Other
Henry Cooke Sloan Master Aged 59
Eleanor Spratt Matron       Aged 59
Sarah Jane Kennedy Head Nurse Aged 57
Evangeline McGowan  Assistant Nurse Aged 27
Catherine Evans Assistant Nurse Aged 27
Mary Gracey Assistant Nurse Aged 29
Mary Henry Assistant Nurse Aged 24
Agnes Chambers Assistant Nurse Aged 55
Rose Carlisle McKeown Assistant Nurse Aged 36
William James McCormick Ambulance Driver  Aged 39
Samuel Martin Porter Aged 32
Thomas Petticrew Gate Porter Aged 72


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