Pontypridd Poor Law Union, and Workhouse/Public Assistance Institutions, and Cottage Homes, Records

Scope and Content

Records of the Pontypridd Poor Law Union and of the Workhouse/Public Assistance Institutions and Cottage [Children's] Homes, 1863-1963, including: Board of Guardians minutes, 1863-1930; ledgers, 1863-1930; records relating to officers and probationer nurses (including salaries registers), 1893-1928; registers of lunatics, 1887-1930; records relating to children under the control of the Guardians, 1895-1929; records relating to settlement, 1910-1926; records relating to liable relatives, 1907-1930; registers of overseers, 1906-1926; contracts relating to maintainance of property, 1892-1925; printed Lists of paupers and abstracts of accounts, 1900-1915. workhouse admission and discharge and creed registers, 1897-1931; registers of births, 1865-1948; registers of deaths, 1891-1926; account books and inventories, 1892-1939; Cottage Homes admission and discharge, creed, and attendance registers, 1892-1962; register of deaths, 1895-1920; register of young persons hired as servants, 1912-1951; superintendent's report books, 1903-1935; account and inventory books, 1892-1963; Llwynypia workhouse/hospital creed registers, 1903-1931; register of births, 1914-1933; account and inventory books, 1907-1926; medical superintendent's reports, 1924-1925 and 1926-1927; relieving officers' abstracts of outdoor relief lists, 1912-1942; vaccination contracts, 1899-1927; [rating] assessment committee minutes, 1863-1927; papers relating to assessment of collieries, 1902-1927; rural sanitary authority minutes, 1867-1894; letter books, 1884-1889; minutes of Ystradyfodwg Parochial Sanitary Committee, 1873-1877; school attendance committee minutes, 1877-1903; bye-laws, 1880; maps and plans, including plans of the workhouse, 1863-1905, and building plans submitted to the rural sanitary authority for approval, 1878-1898; photographs of members of the Board of Guardians, [c. 1870]-1930, and of the Cottage Homes [early 20th century]; printed books, 1858-1913

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1836, the County of Glamorgan was divided into five Poor Law Unions: Bridgend and Cowbridge, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath, and Swansea. The Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil Unions were both very large, and in 1863, three parishes were taken from each to form the Pontypridd Poor Law Union. The new Union extended from Llantrisant in the south and Caerphilly in the east to the heads of the Rhondda valleys in the north, covering the parishes of Eglwysilan, Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre (previously in the Cardiff Union) and the parishes of Llanfabon, Llanwonno, otherwise Llanwynno, and Ystradyfodwg (taken from the Merthyr Tydfil Union). The Board of Guardians of the Pontypridd Union consisted of a number of members for each of its constituent parishes; the total number of Guardians varied over time, but was about 50 at the end of the nineteenth century. Most poor relief matters in the early years were dealt with in the main meetings of the Guardians, but separate committees later set up to deal with specific aspects of the work of the Guardians. Separate committees also dealt with the Board's non-poor law functions of vaccination, rating assessment, school attendance, and its responsibilities as rural sanitary authority. A Union workhouse (later known as the Central Homes) was built in Courthouse Street, Pontypridd, in 1865; extended several times, by 1920, it had room for 500 inmates in the workhouse itself, and for a further 100 in the infirmary and accommodation for mothers and young babies in the nursery. Further accommodation for children up to the age of five years was provided at the Maesycoed Homes, which, although situated half a mile from the main workhouse building, were an integral part of the institution. Cottage homes were built for older children at Church Village, the first eight cottages being opened in 1892, and a further four cottages being added later; by 1920, 250 children could be accommodated. A school for the children was also provided on the site. A subsidiary workhouse was opened at Llwynypia, in 1903, and an infirmary added to it about 1909; the infirmary became an increasingly important part of the institution, and by 1927 it had been converted to a general hospital, although still under the control of the Board of Guardians. Outdoor relief was administered by local relieving officers, each responsible for a relief district. In 1930, the poor relief responsibilities of the Pontypridd Board of Guardians were taken over by the Public Assistance Committee of the Glamorgan County Council, which continued to run the Central Homes (now referred to as a public assistance institution rather than a workhouse), the Cottage Homes, and Llwynypia Hospital, as well as providing outdoor relief. In July 1948, responsibility for the Central Homes and Llwynypia Hospital passed to the newly-formed National Health Service, the Central Homes becoming Graig Hospital. The cottage homes (renamed `Garth Olwg' in 1950) continued to be run by the County Council, which retained responsibility for the care of children; the homes closed in 1963. As far as non-Poor Law functions of the Pontypridd Board of Guardians were concerned: from 1840, until 1930, they were responsible for vaccination in the whole of the Union (responsibility for this function passed to the Glamorgan County Council); they were responsible for supervision of rating valuation throughout the Union from 1862 until 1925 (when this duty passed to the Pontypridd and Caerphilly Area Assessment Committees, advised by the Glamorgan County Council); in 1872, they became responsible, as the rural sanitary authority, for matters relating to public health in all of the Union (two urban sanitary authorities were subsequently created (the Pontypridd Local Board, set up in 1873, and the Ystradyfodwg Local Board established in 1877); these urban sanitary authorities were excluded from the rural sanitary area); in 1895, the Guardians' responsibility for public health in the remaining areas of the Union passed to the newly-created Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre Rural District Council; from 1876, until 1903, they were responsible for school attendance in those areas of the Union not covered by School Boards (this responsibility passed to the Glamorgan County Council and the Rhondda Urban District Council in 1903).


Since the original order of the records had been lost, they have been arranged by the function of the Board of Guardians to which they relate, and within each function by the officer who created the records. Maps and plans and photographs were arranged separately.

Access Information

Items containing information on named individuals may be restricted in accordance with the Data Protection Act and GA policy.

Acquisition Information

Minutes, registers and other records relating to poor relief kept by the clerk to the Guardians were deposited by the Glamorgan County Council Area [Welfare Services] Officer in 1947 (accession number 12) and by the Director of Welfare Services in 1965 (acc. no. 2701). Registers and other records relating to the workhouse were deposited by the master of the Central Homes in 1947 (acc. nos. 13 and 17). Registers and account books relating to Llwynypia Hospital were deposited by the Steward of the Hospital in 1947 (acc. no. 14). Board of Guardians Ledgers were deposited by the Glamorgan County Treasurer in 1947 (acc. no. 75). Cottage Homes records were deposited by the Superintendent of the Homes in 1949 (acc. no. 163) and 1956 (acc. no. 900), and by the Glamorgan County Council's Children's Officer in 1963 (acc. no. 1715). Board of Guardians Assessment Committee minutes were deposited by the Clerk to the Pontypridd Area Assessment Committee in 1948 (acc. no. 163), while further material relating to assessment was deposited by the Clerk to the East Glamorgan Valuation Panel in 1961 (acc. no. 1422) and by Rhondda Urban District Council/Borough in 1949 and 1973 (acc. nos. 209 and 3014). Rural Sanitary Committee minute and letter books were deposited by the Clerk to Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre Rural District Council in 1951 (acc. no. 294).


Compiled by Hayden Burns for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Glamorgan Record Office, Schedule of Records of the Pontypridd Poor Law Union and of the Workhouse/Public Assistance Institutions and Cottage [Children's] Homes; Riden, Philip, Records Sources for Local History, (London, 1987); Stephens, W.B., Sources for English Local History, (Cambridge, 1981).

Archivist's Note

Compiled by [INSERT NAME] for the Glamorgan Archives, with reference to [NAME ANY PUBLICATIONS USED].

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records have been retained.

Custodial History

The custodial history of this collection has not been documented, but it appears that they did not remain together as a record group but were divided between the different successor bodies to the Board of Guardians. Most of the records of the clerk to the Board of Guardians relating to poor relief passed into the custody of the Public Assistance Department (later the Welfare Services Department) of the Glamorgan County Council, remaining in the Board of Guardians offices in Courthouse Street, Pontypridd, which became the Area Offices for the Public Assistance Department. Records relating to the workhouse seem to have remained in the custody of the master, records of the Children's Homes remained in the Homes, and records of Llwynypia workhouse/hospital in the hospital. The ledgers of the Board of Guardians, however, appear to have been transferred to the custody of the Glamorgan County Treasurer at some point after 1930. The minutes and letter books of the Pontypridd Rural Sanitary Authority were transferred to the Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre Rural District Council in 1895, while the minutes of the Board of Guardians Assessment Committee seem to have passed to the Pontypridd Area Assessment Committee in 1927. Several other items relating to rating valuation seem to been passed to Rhondda Urban District Council. In spite of these different custodial histories, the records were reunited on deposit in the Glamorgan Record Office and arranged as one collection.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Further material is Glamorgan Archives, GCPA, Records of Glamorgan County Council, Public Assistance/Social Welfare Committee; GCCH, Records of Glamorgan County Council, Children's Committee; GDS, Records of Glamorgan County Council, Public Assistance Department; RDLL, Records of Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre Rural District Council; GCRA, Records of Glamorgan County Council, County Rate Assessment Committee; GCCV, Records of Glamorgan County Council, County Valuation Committee; and ASPP, Records of the Pontypridd Assessement Committee.

Geographical Names