Creator(s): Lismore Poor Law Union, Board of Guardians
Administrative History ↴
Lismore Poor Law Union was established under the Poor Law Union Act, 1838. Under this Act the country was divided into poor law unions each of which had a Workhouse run by elected and ex-officio guardians. These guardians were supervised by the Poor Law Commissioners and after 1872, the Local Government Board. The poor law system has gained a dark reputation due to the fact that only the most destitute were granted ‘indoor relief’ and entry into the Workhouse was contingent on it being a last resort rather than a source of hope and comfort. The Workhouses were unable to cope with the fast flood of the destitute that was a result of the famine and they became overcrowded and contributed to the death toll due to the swift spread of disease through their packed wards. Over the years the Board of Guardians acquired further duties in relation to the poor. In the 1850s they accumulated duties in the area of public health, boarding out of children in the 1860s and rural housing from 1883. The Medical Charities Act of 1851 introduced the dispensary system which provided for the appointment of a medical doctor, the provision of a dispensary and the supply of medicines and medical appliances for a number of districts in each Union. The work of the dispensary was overseen by the Dispensary Committee, which was composed of Guardians and local rate payers elected on an annual basis. In 1878 the Public Health (Ireland) Act established the Lismore Board of Guardians as a Rural Sanitary Authority adding further duties in relation to sanitation and public health to their workload. The work of the Board of Guardians was funded by the Poor Rate which the Guardians were empowered to levy in the Union. Under the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898 this power passed to Waterford County Council. The Guardians then applied to the Council for funds until they ceased to exist in 1923.
Archival History ↴
The Minute Books remained at Lismore Workhouse Building following the closure of the Workhouse. Their movements following this closure are unclear but they were deposited with Waterford County Library and transferred to Waterford County Archives Service on its establishment in 1998.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Lismore Poor Law Union, Board of Guardians ↴
Papers of Lismore Board of Guardians including the minute books, letters, plans and files on the administration of Lismore Workhouse and outdoor relief in Lismore Poor Law Union. Details the state of the Workhouse recording the total number of inmates received during the week and remaining from the previous week under the categories of males aged 15 and upwards, females aged 15 and upwards, boys under 15, girls under 15, children under 2 and inmates male and female born in the Workhouse. States the number and category of inmates discharged or deceased during the week and provides a return for sick and lunatic paupers and those relieved out of the workhouse. Records the names of members of the Board of Guardians present at each meeting and the person in the chair who were presented with the Clerk’s Report of the execution of orders, the Treasurer’s Book of Receipts and Payments and the Clerk’s account of petty disbursements. The Board also examines Rate Collectors books and the rates collected and remaining uncollected are recorded. The Clerk provides a relief list and abstract, the provision check account, the provision receipt and consumption account and the totals of each are recorded. The estimates of the Master of the Workhouse for provisions are recorded as are the accounts and invoices of the clothing, establishment and invoice accounts. Reports from the Visiting Committee, the Master and other Officers are recorded and any orders arising out of these are stated. Details any orders received from the Poor Law Commissioners and letters sent to or received from the Commission. Signed by the Clerk, Chairman and some of the members of the Board. A weekly return of destitute persons relieved outside of the Workhouse is recorded from 1849 (BG/LISM/5). Includes minutes of the proceedings of the Board of Guardians in relation to the Medical Charities Act containing details of estimates for medicine requested by the Medical Officer and for supplies by the Committee of Management of the Dispensary, an account of expenses and a record of the ratepayers elected to the Committees of Management of Dispensary Districts. Proceedings of the Board of Guardians as Sanitary Authority are detailed providing the reports of Sanitary Officers, letters from the Local Government Board relating to sanitary matters and accounts of expenses incurred under the Sanitary Acts (BG/LISM/34). Records the minutes of proceedings under the Labourers Ireland Act (BG/LISM/46). Contains statistical minutes detailing the stock consumed during a week, the weekly cost of an inmate, the infirmary and the fever hospital and an abstract of accounts of the relieving officers (BG/LISM/66).
Reports are made to Dail Eireann instead of the Local Government Board (BG/LISM/76). Includes letters requesting outdoor relief from 1882 (BG/LISM/83) and a volume of plans of Labourers’ Cottage Allotments (BG-LISM/84) and file detailing the final payments to staff and closure of the Workhouse (BG/LISM/90).
Appraisal Destruction ↴
The collection has been arranged with the minute books for meetings of the Board of Guardians in date order, followed by the few other items surviving.
Some documents have been digitised on www.waterfordcoco.ie and www.learnaboutarchives.ie
IE/WCA/BG/DUNGN Dungarvan Board of Guardians Collection
IE/WCA/BG/KILTHOM Kilmacthomas Board of Guardians Collection
IE/WCA/BG/WATFD Waterford Board of Guardians Collection
Descriptive Control Area
IGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009.
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.