-> 2011 -> The Islay Workhouse/Poorhouse

Dimàirt, 23/Aug/2011

The Islay Workhouse/Poorhouse

Islay Links in stencil

Back in July 2009 I posted an entry Islay on Old Ordnance Survey Maps. In it I mentioned “In Bowmore you'll find a ‘Combination Poorhouse’ where the Islay hospital is today”, something I'm going to come back to today. I didn't pay too much attention to it back then, but have now learned more:

Screenshot of an old OS map showing the poorhouse in Bowmore, Islay

Let's start with a definition: According to Wikipedia a workhouse (the English, Welsh and Irish term) or poorhouse (the term usually used in Scotland) ‘was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment’. Their first known use seems to go back to 1631, the last ones didn't disappear until the very late 1940s. The certainly seem to have been controversial.

Now to the Islay Combination Poorhouse:

I think I've come across the site at some point previously, but I don't seem to have looked at it much and not mentioned it so far either: Peter Higginbotham has created a very extensive website about workhouses. Of interest for this blog is of course the page The Workhouse in Islay, Argyllshire. There are two pictures, various other information and data about staff and inmates from the Islay Poorhouse 1881 Census. No information about the living conditions I could see, but still some interesting bits about a small part of Islay's history. I hope some of you will find it interesting.

Share ‘The Islay Workhouse/Poorhouse’:

Opening up the discussion. Have your say:



[Previous entry: "Kite Surfing in Kilnaughton Bay, Islay"] [Home] [Next entry: "Bear Bones at Wickerman 2011"]