Employees of the Workhouse

Before the workhouse could open it was necessary to appoint staff to manage it. Advertisements were placed in local papers. The salaried officers of the union included the union clerk; treasurers; medical officers; master and matron of the workhouse; porter; chaplains; schoolteachers; rate collectors and relieving officers.

The boards were responsible for interviewing the respective applicants and deciding on the appointments. This could prove to be a contentious issue not within the boards but between the guardians and the poor law commissioners. The commissioners recommended that a married couple be appointed as master and matron for the workhouse and further recommended that where possible a military gentleman should be appointed as master as it was believed that a person with military training would be much better at maintaining discipline and order among the inmates.

Milford Union ignored this recommendation of the poor law commissioners although in this instance the commissioners did not oppose the appointment. Two married couples applied for the positions of master and matron of the workhouse, Sergeant Major Savage and his wife and Mr John Buchanan and his wife Mary. After both couples had been interviewed the matter was put to a vote. Even though the poor law commissioners had requested that military officers be appointed where possible, Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan were appointed by a majority of seventeen.


Advertisement requesting proposals from people capable of acting as union clerk (Londonderry Journal, 14 September 1841)

Extract from the minutes of a meeting of the guardians, stating that a married couple would be preferred for the positions of master and matron of the workhouse, and a copy of the advertisement to be placed in the local newspapers, (BG/119/1/1, 8th Dec 1845).

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Master and Matron of the Workhouse Image - Copyright of Donegal County Archives Service. No reproduction without permission

Advertisement for the position of Union Clerk - Copyright managed by the Library Council

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