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In 1800, the workhouse began the manufacture of 'hardens', a type of coarse sacking.
The Visiters and Guardians meet on the first Wednesday of every month, and the paupers are fed at the weekly cost of 2s. Milnthorpe could house up to 300 and was used for the aged and infirm, infants, able-bodied women, and unmarried mothers.
It is thought to have operated mainly as a casual ward. The Stricklandgate workhouse was built on a sloping site and had a somewhat irregular layout, the main part forming a U-shape open to the road at the south.
The workhouse location and layout can be seen on the 1911 map below. The main wing at the east contained accommodation for the elderly and infirm, dining hall, stores and workshops. In 1865, female orphans were placed at the new orphan home on Milnthorpe Road established by Mary Howard of Levens Hall. For the boys, a military-style band was established.
Subsequent to this, paupers were accommodated at Castle Park. for the week 3rd April are paid to a number of casual Poor, mostly for children, but the average for the previous ten weeks was £5 12s. The weekly pensions to regular Out-Poor amounted to £6 2s. The weekly charge for bastards out of the house was 17s. At a charity school 50 boys and 30 girls are clothed and educated, and there is a free grammar school for children of every description. In 1803, a code of rules relating to the workhouse was drawn up for the guidance of the churchwardens and overseers.
In 1767 Kendal promoted a local Act of Parliament to enable it to manage its own poor relief and other local affairs through a body called the Kendal Fell Trust. The deaths in the house were : 1791, 33 (a fever prevailed) ; 1792, 15 ; 1793, 15 ; 1794, 10. Eight poor widows are provided with cottages and receive 1s. In its introduction they were requested to: ...visit the house at least three times in the week, varying their days, to furnish all who want with proper clothing, to see that cleanliness is universally maintained (for which purpose they should look into every room of the house, and visit every part of the premises), to attend to the complaints of the poor, to see that all the officers do their duty, and in short, to know that all the rules are strictly fulfilled. In one week in May, 1819, a total of 13 men, 6 women, and six children were relieved by the office, at a cost of of 10s.8d.
The Act provided for: "...enclosing a piece of waste ground in the Borough and township of Kirkby in Kendal for the benefit of the poor, and cleansing the streets of the town, and for confirming a rule or order of assize and order of the high court of Chancery, relative to the rates and assessments to be raised for the relief of the poor, by the inhabitants of the said township, and the owners of lands, called Park and Castle Lands." Under this Act, the mayor of Kendal and twelve other inhabitants were empowered to make orders for maintaining and employing the poor, along with a range of other matters such as setting out roads, cleansing and lighting the streets, levying fines for nuisances, enforcing the payment of rates and penalties etc. A committee room was added in 1823, and fever wards in 1829.
In 1769, Kendal erected a workhouse on Stricklandgate — at the bottom end of House of Correction Hill — now Windermere Road. As was normal practice, Kendal workhouse tried to find places for older children as apprentices as demonstrated by a handbill, probably dating from the 1820s. In the township of Kirkland, at the south side of Kendal, a workhouse was established in 1809 at the head of what became Poor-House Lane, now Anchorite Place. Kirkby Lonsdale formed a Gilbert Union with sixteen other townships (in Westmorland: Barbon, Casterton, Firbank, Hutton Roof, Killington, Middleton, and Old Hutton; in Lancashire: Arkholm with Cawood, Burrow with Burrow, Cantsfield, Leck, Melling with Wrayton, Tunstall, and Whittington; in Yorkshire: Burton in Lonsdale, and Thornton in Lonsdale).
The cross wing contained the Master's quarters and office. Local people remember in the early 1900s groups of paupers sitting on Kendal Green breaking stones from the quarries.