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Greenwich Woolwich Road workhouse from south-west, 1844.
THE House Expences for one Week, when 90 were in Family, was as follows. The 1724 workhouse proved inadequate for the demands placed on it and in 1765 the Greenwich Guardians began renting land off Maidenstone Hill occupied by a building known as the Pest House.Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 20 in number, representing representing its 4 constituent parishes as follows (with numbers of Guardians for each): Greenwich (8); St Nicholas, Deptford (3); St Paul, Deptford (4); Woolwich (5).The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 62,009 — ranging from St Nicholas, Deptford (population 6,036) to Greenwich itself (24,553).THAT no Money be allowed by the Overseers to be paid to any Person, but by Order of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, and the Gentlemen of the Committee then sitting, on a Day appointed Weekly for the Relief of the Poor.THAT no Person be admitted into the House, but on the Committee-day, except on some extraordinary Occasion.The new union workhouse was erected in 1839-40 junction of Woolwich Road and Vanbrugh Hill.
The architect, RP Browne, later described his design as as 'plain but cheerful and almslike'.
That those that are absolutely necessitous, are better provided for than they were before ; and many of those were before burthensome to the Parish, have exerted themselves, so as to live by their own Industry, to avoid giving that Burthen ; by which, the Parish have already sav'd considerably. They are furnish'd with old Cable cut into Pieces, commonly called Junk, from the King's Yard at Deptford, to be pick'd into Oakum, for which they allow the Work-house 4 s. THAT there be Annually chosen by the Vestry, such Gentlemen and others, as the Parish Shall think most proper to inspect the Affairs of the House.
And it has prov'd an effectual Means to drive Beggars out of the Town, notwithstanding the People in this House are lodg'd and dieted in so commodious a Manner as they are. THAT the Master shall keep a Book, and Register the Names of all the Poor that are maintained in the House, and that no Monies be brought to an Account but for such as are so Registered ; and that a daily Account of the Expence of Provisions be brought to a Weekly, and then to a Monthly Account, to be perused in the Vestry. that shall be furnished for the Use of the Poor, shall be view'd by the Churchwardens and Overseers, and by the Gentlemen of the Committee, or any three of them that shall be appointed to inspect the Affairs of the House, and that no Repairs be done to the said House, but what is actually approved of by the Committee.
The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £22,574.
In 1839, to provide better segergation of the different classes of inmate, the children be sent to St Paul, Deptford, the women, with the infirm men and married people, to Greenwich, and the remainder of the men to Woolwich.
(The parish of Greenwich is sometimes referred to as "East Greenwich" in old documents, to distinguish it from neighbouring West Greenwich — more usually known as Deptford.) The workhouse inmates were employed in spinning mop-yarn and jersey. per annum), a superintendant of spinning yarn (£8 8s.), his assistant who also read prayers (£8 8s.), a superintendant of spinning jersey (£7), her assistant (10s.), a beadle (£25), and a collectors (£38 on average).