Kent Poorhouses & Workhouses

About Me & My Research Services

About Me

My name is Deborah Collins and I have lived all my life in Kent, as have the majority of the 13 generations of my family. From an early age I have had an interest in history, especially local history, and a natural extension of this was to research my own family’s history.

As with many people researching their family I came across relatives who had spent time in the workhouse and at first did not look too deeply into it other than to think how dreadful it was to have someone associated with the workhouse (although the schoolmistress connection was alright!). Later, as I looked into the Union records more closely, I found information which solved a puzzle I had had for some time. As I was searching I came across records that mentioned parish poorhouses which up to then I was not even aware of existed, let alone the fact that poor relief had existed before the time of the Union Workhouse. It also opened my eyes to the fact that the workhouse depicted by Charles Dickens in “Oliver Twist” was not necessarily the true picture of workhouses in Kent.

This sparked my interest to find out more about the world of the Kent parish poorhouse and eventually inspired me to want to write a book about this transition from the small parish poorhouse to the large Union Workhouse. However, as my research advanced I was coming across many details of the lives of people who were connected to the Union. That is where the inspiration for this website came from – to enable other people to solve family history puzzles and to educate about the parish poorhouses and Union Workhouses of Kent.

I hope in time to produce a series of books on my research but I fear at the moment that this may be a little way off!

My Research Services

Once the searchable database is up and running it will be free to search. However, should you wish to have a copy of the transcribed records a small fee will be charged (yet to be confirmed but probably £15 per surname).

Alternatively, should you wish to engage my services for a personal search of the Union records my charges are £15 an hour, or part thereof, plus the cost of any copies of documents at the rate charged by the organisation concerned (where this is allowed).

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