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Forge Green - Old Dalston Workhouse





Forge Green


In connection with a proposal to designate the one-time Workhouse at Forge Green as a "listed building" the following information has been extracted from the parish archives.

The building was constructed to a design by Mr. Thomas Martin of Dalston on a piece of waste ground, later known as Forge Green, between June 1826 when the plans were approved and the early part of 1828.

At the vestry meeting which approved the tenders of local builders and gave work to Henry Tiffen of Buckabank on 26 June 1826, it was recorded that he was to build according to the plan and specification with the exception of the north end where he was to build a wall with blank windows the same height as the other part of the court wall and uniform with it. Money for payment of the cost of building the workhouse to the total sum of £400 was raised on a mortgage by the vestry for 10 years.

After 1838 when the Carlisle Union took over the functions of the old parish of Dalston the workhouse was occupied by James Finlinson, the assistant overseer, presumably as a private house.

In 1844 the vestry considered selling the workhouse, but decided against it and took up James Finlinson's offer of £6 a year to rent the kitchen, vestry room, the lodging room above the vestry, and a small lodging room for one bed off the room above the kitchen, the garden and one outbuilding. The dayroom of the workhouse was to be divided into two rooms for the use of the Relieving Officers of the parish for which they were to pay an annual rent of £5. The remaining parts of the building were to be turned into cottage dwellings and an outside staircase was to be built.
In 1853 the workhouse was conveyed to the trustees of Dalston Grammar School by whom it was managed until the building was sold to the Parish Council in 1895. Under the new arrangement two rooms were let to the overseers of the poor for the use of the Relieving Officer and the remainder to Mrs. Finlinson, Christopher Sproat, Sarah Pugmire and Miss Hoffer. Some further alterations were made between 1855 and 1856 to accommodate fewer tenants, but it is not clear how this affected the structure of the building. In 1879 the terms of letting the property were again revised. Under these new terms the vestry room and a small bedroom to the west end of the building with an outside stair was reserved for the parish and the remainder of the premises were let to William Scott, a joiner. William Scott continued to be tenant of the property until the Parish Council acquired it in 1895.
In 1890 the vestry book notes that the property suffered a fire as a result of having been struck by lightning, but the damage must have been small as the cost of repairs amounted to £5 or so.