Neath Union Board of Guardians Records

Scope and Content

Records of Neath Poor Law Union, 1853-1955, including minutes, 1853-1930; financial records, 1917-1930; inmate registers and records, 1867-1940; workhouse administration records, 1912-1946; Bryncoch Cottage Homes registers, 1877-1955; Bryncoch Cottage homes accounts, 1901-1955; outdoor relief records, 1913-1934; vaccination registers, 1853-1948; Neath Rural Sanitary Authority minutes, 1876-1893.

Administrative / Biographical History

Until the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, relief of the poor was the responsibility of the parish. Following the Act, parishes were grouped into Unions that were charged to provide a workhouse for the relief of the able-bodied poor. Neath Poor Law Union was formed in 1836 and operated in the parishes of Aberavon, Baglan Higher, Baglan Lower, Blaengwrach, Blaenhonnda, Briton Ferry, Cilybebyll, Clyne, Coed-ffranc, Dyffryn Clydach, Dulais Higher, Dulais Lower, Glyncorrwg, Llanfihangel-ynys-Afan, Llangiwg, Llansamlet Higher, Llansamlet Lower, Llantwit, Lower, Margam, Michaelston-super-Avon, Michaelston Higher, Michaelston Lower, Neath, Neath Higher, Neath Lower, Resolven and Ynys-y-mond in Glamorgan and Ystradgynlais Higher, Ystradgynlais Lower and Ystradfellte in Brecknockshire. The Union workhouse was situated in Neath and was opened in 1838. The Board of Guardians responsible for the Union had other duties from time to time, including the registration of births, marriages and deaths, vaccinations, assessments of rates, sanitation, school attendance and infant life protection. The workhouse was closed in 1924 and the remaining inmates were transferred to the Union Infirmary, later Neath General Hospital. In 1876-1877 the union built three cottage homes for children in Bryncoch. By the time of the Local Government Act 1929. Unions were abolished and their duties transferred to County Councils, with responsibility for the poor being transferred to the Public Assistance Committee until 1948.


Arranged into the following: Minute books; Financial records; Administration - inmates; Administration - accounts; Bryncoch Cottage Homes; Pictorial; Outdoor relief; Vaccination records; Neath Rural Sanitary Authority.

Access Information

Items under 100 years old containing information on named individuals may be restricted in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Acquisition Information

It is the policy of the West Glamorgan Archive Service to withhold the names of depositors.


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: West Glamorgan Archive Service, Neath Poor Law Union Board of Guardians, catalogue; The History of Poor Law website (, viewed 28 October 2005.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy is available at the West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at West Glamorgan Archive Service have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Geographical Names