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Death in the workhouse

Workhouses were often equipped with their own mortuaries to deal with their own dead. If an inmate died then the family would be notified and if they wished, or were able to, they could arrange the funeral themselves. If the family were not able to organise the funeral the Board of Guardians would arrange to have a burial, which would usually take place in a local burial ground or cemetery. The grave would be an unmarked pauper's grave, and several coffins may be placed in the same graveĀ at the same time.

Sometimes unclaimed bodies would be donated to medical institutions to be used in research and training.

There is no record of the deaths in the Hereford Workhouse between 1836 and 1851, but it does appear that individual parishes were responsible for the pauper burials of their own parishioners.

[Original author: Miranda Greene, 2003]