Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)
Carlow Poor Law Union
The Early Years
STATE OF THE HOUSE
9th. April. 1851
However by September 1851, the worst of the cholera and famine was over. Doonane Fever Hospital was closed, with patients accommodated in the Carlow Hospital. The Guardians had under consideration the closing of a number of auxiliary hospitals, but with applicants still seeking admission had to defer taking this action.
Towards the end of 1851 the Medical Charities Act, was passed which expanded the work of the Guardians by transferring full responsibility of the dispensary system to them. There were eight dispensary districts in the Union namely:- Tullow, Borris, Ballickmoyler, Newtown, Fenagh and Myshall, Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown and Carlow.
During the next couple of years, as social conditions became more normal, the number of workhouse inmates, particularly the adult population greatly reduced. Inmates "under the class properly fitted" and approved by the emigration inspector Charles F. Crawford were offered passage paid and financial help by the Guardians to emigrate. A considerable number availed of the offer and emigrated to Canada and America, which also helped to reduce the population of the workhouse. The Brewery and Mill Lane Auxiliaries were dosed in 1852 with Dunns Stores (Graiguecullen) and the Distillery closed in 1853. At Mid August 1853 the following report sets out the State of the Workhouse and Fever Hospitals.
STATE OF THE HOUSE
The Starch Yard Auxiliary was closed early in 1854, with inmates transferred to the Barrow Fever Hospital, which had few patients at the time. In April that year there were 146 inmates in the Barrow Fever Hospital, 95 inmates in the Foundary. and 80 inmates in Monacurragh Auxiliary. Monacurragh Auxiliary had been established in or around June 1850. Inmates farmed the land adjoining, under the supervision of Patrick Darragh, Agriculturist, and supplied vegetables to the work house and other Auxiliaries. Official report published in May 1855 by the House of Commons gives the following information relating to the Carlow Union:
In 1853 the number relieved in-door was 3924, out-door 76.
In 1854 the number relieved in-door was 2946, out-door 74.
The Foundary Auxiliary was closed in early 1855,. despite evident of Distress, particularly in Carlow. Tullow and Bagenalstown. However, by late 1855, with improved conditions. Monacurra. Auxiliary and the Barrow Hospital were also closed.
As the century progressed, additional powers were vested in Boards of Guardians, which were considered inappropriate to entrust to the Grand Juries, since these bodies met only twice yearly. With the coming of Modern Public Health Legislation, the Guardians were made the Custodians of Burial Grounds in the Rural District and accountable for the Registration of Births and Deaths (1865 Under Sanitary legislation they became responsible for the provision and maintenance of sewers; for the construction of water works supply of water, and the enforcement of law relating to Public in the Rural District. The Guardians became Rural Sanitary Authorities under the Public Health Act 1878.
Under the Local Government Act 1898, Rural District Councils were established and assigned the Rural Sanitary Functions of the Board of Guardians and the Guardians Power to Levy the Poor Rate was transferred to the County Councils. These changes resulted in Boards of Guardians being now confined to Poor (including Medical) Relief, the purpose for which they were originally established.
The Boards of Guardians survived for another quarter of a century until abolished under the Act of 1923. Poor Relief was then administrated by County Councils through Boards of Health and Pubic Assistance.
The Genesis of elected local representatives had its roots in Boards of Guardians and existing Local Government and Health Board structures can trace their origins to those initiated by Guardians. During a period of untold hardship and in wretched conditions, the Guardians laid the foundation of an organised procedural system in the face of inconceivable odds, famine, fever, financial, administrative and staff problems. While history shows that the system was not perfect, it is unlikely that any group of Public representatives since that time, have had to grapple with the enormity of the task of dealing with the reality of life and death on a continuous basis. They did not spare themselves in the efforts to cope with the problem and without recompense met each week in an endeavour to provide a solution to the predicament that confronted them. For that they deserve some recognition.
To The Editor Of The Carlow Sentinel
Dear Sir - The following short statistical report of the mortality from Cholera in this town, which probably suffered more than any other of the same class in the British Dominion, has been laid before the Board of Guardians for this Union.
Total admissions to the Cholera Hospital, 395; in July - 4, in August - 114. September - 250, October- 27.
Taking the population at the last census-
Carlow lost 5%, or 1 in 20 from Cholera in 3 months
Graigue lost 1.25% or 1 in 84 do do
London (pop. 2 mil) 0.7% or 1 in 139 do in 12 months
As epidemics occasionally visit this locality with some severity, it is peculiarly necessary for those who have the power to attend the sanitary improvement of the town. Private individuals have been doing much in this way, by filling the quarry holes on the Dublin Road, where the Cholera raged with great violence, in fact, commenced as an epidemic. Much money has also been granted for the sewerage of the town, from which it is hoped all the benefit, intended by the rate payers, may be derived.
As an instance of the evil effects from the stagnant water near the dwellings of the poor, attention may be directed to Lowery's Lane, Tullow Street, in which were 12 fatal cases of Asiatic Cholera.
Some localities favourable to the generation, reception, and spread of disease, no doubt, may at times be unvisited by a prevailing epidemic; but such are exceptions to a general rule.
In conclusion, I beg, on the part of the public, to return sincere thanks to the Guardians of the Union, for unhesitatingly granting every assistance necessary for the care of treatment of those attacked, or likely to be attacked with the awful disease here noticed.
No. of fatal cases in and from the respective localities.