The Poor Law Unions of Hertfordshire

Watford Union


The Watford Poor Law Union comprises the parishes of Abbots Langley,

 Aldenham, Bushey, Rickmansworth, Sarratt and Watford.

From Atlas to the Topographical Dictionaries of England & Wales

Watford Union Workhouse 
in Vicarage Road
From 1896 Ordnance Survey ( (Godfrey Edition reprint)

The Unions were originally set up in the 1830's to run workhouses and look after the poor, and were later used as a basis for civil registration and the censuses. The following extract from the 1882 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire gives some idea of what they did.

See Aspects of Nineteenth Century Watford for a detailed account, with plan, of the establishment of the Workhouse 1835-1838

See New Year at Watford Workhouse for a press report from 1893

See Rev. Henry GOODWIN, Chaplain to Watford Union Workhouse, 1880-1908

Web: The History of the Workhouse contains significant information about the workhouse.


Board day - alternate Wednesdays at 11 am in the Board Room in the Workhouse. [These meetings would normally be reported in the local press]

The union comprises six parishes - viz Abbots Langley, Aldenham, Bushey, Rickmansworth, Sarratt and Watford; the population of the union in 1881 was 31,276; rateable value 156,759.

Clerk to the Guardians, Henry M Turner, 66 High Street.

Collectors of Rates, John Bonaker, Abbots Langley; Zachariah Hollier, Aldenham; John Middleton, Bushey; James Wellings, Rickmansworth; James Webb, Sarratt; William Graves, High Street, Watford.

Relieving Officers, T W Bailey, Watford; & T Paramor, Croxley Green.

Vaccination Officers, H Beeson, Bushey; Samuel Chivers, Rickmansworth; J Bonaker, Abbots Langley.

Medical Officers,

Abbots Langley district, R Wotton, Kings Langley.

Bushey District, G A Hicks MB; Bushey district.

Rickmansworth north district, A D Murry M B, Rickmansworth.

Rickmansworth south district, G W Whitely, LRCP Edin., Rickmansworth

Sarratt district, J Wrixon, Sarratt.

Watford distract. A. T, Brett, MD, Watford.

Public Vaccinators, A. T, Brett, Watford; G A Hicks, Bushey; A D Murray, Rickmansworth, F C Fisher.

Superintendent Registrar, Henry M Turner, 66 High Street.

Registrars of Births & Deaths,

Abbots Langley sub-district, John Bonaker, Abbots Langley.

Bushey sub-district, Henry Beeson, Bushey Heath.

Rickmansworth sub-district, Samuel Chivers, Rickmansworth.

Watford sub-district, William Graves, High Street, Watford.

Registrar of Marriages, John Squire, 7 Estcourt Road.

Workhouse, George Mount, master; Rev Henry Goodwin, MA, chaplain; A T Brett, MD, surgeon; Mrs Mary Mount, matron.

Kelly's Directory 1882

Similar information is recorded in each issue of Kelly's Directories for Hertfordshire

Shrodells - The Workhouse in Vicarage Road
from Watford - A Pictorial Record

Page amended August 2008