The Crickhowell Union Workhouse The Spike by Margaret Williams and Eliane Wigzell, 2018. 216pp
The ten parishes that fell under the responsibility of the Crickhowell Poor Law Union ranged from the remote and rural communities of Partrishow, Grwynefawr and Grwynefechan to the industrial towns of Brynmawr, Beaufort and Nantyglo and at their heart lay the market town of Crickhowell and its neighbouring village of Llangattock.
This book tells the story of the Union and its workhouse, set on the hillside of the Dardy, facing Crickhowell. Through original sources such as the Minutes of the Board of Guardians meetings, newspaper reports, and local school records, the development of the Union and its responsibilities is traced.
Interspersed between the reports of the often lively and sometimes argumentative meetings of the Guardians are glimpses of the lives of the inmates and poor residents of the area.
There are tales of marital breakdown, alcoholism, neglect, extreme poverty and abuse. Judgements passed are harsh, punishment is often hard labour.
The Crickhowell Union Workhouse uses original sources to present an invaluable local study of Victorian poor relief, the social attitudes that guided it and the social conditions it attempted to remedy and address.
Proceeds from the sale of this book go to support the work of the Bethesda Chapel in Llangattock and the Crickhowell District Archive Centre.