Cork City & County Archives

Cork City CouncilCork County CouncilUniversity College Cork
Funded by Cork City Council, Cork County Council & UCC
Parchment Sample


Local Government Archives: Poor Law Union/Workhouse Boards of Guardians

The Archives holds the surviving records for most of the poor law unions in the Cork region. Poor law unions and their workhouses were established by the Poor Law (Ireland) Act, 1838, as a response to widespread poverty, and were each governed by a Board of Guardians. Minute books, recording the proceedings of meetings are the largest series of poor law archives that survive, however workhouse registers, financial accounts and correspondence and several other series also survive for some areas.  Many subjects are recorded, such as the struggle to both fund and manage the workhouse and related services, attitudes to poverty, developments in public health provision, and the care of the infirm, the destitute, children, and the mentally ill. From the 1880’s, glimpses of the rise of nationalism may be found in some collections.  

(For information on workhouse/poor law records here relevant to family history and genealogy, see our genealogy page)

Full descriptive lists are now available for the following collections:

BG 42    Bandon Board of Guardians   BG 42 List

BG 43    Bantry Board of Guardians    BG43 List

BG 59    Castletown Board of Guardians    BG59 List

BG 65    Clonakilty Board of Guardians     BG65 List

BG 69    Cork Board of Guardians   BG69 List

BG 83    Dumanway Board of Guardians    BG83 List

BG 89    Fermoy Board of Guardians    BG89 List

BG 98    Kanturk Board of Guardians  BG98 List

BG 108  Kinsale Board of Guardians      BG108 List

BG 115  Macroom Board of Guardians    BG115 List

BG 116  Mallow Board of Guardians      BG116 List

BG 118  Midleton Board of Guardians  BG118 List

BG 145  Schull Board of Guardians    BG145 List

BG 163  Youghal Board of Guardians  BG163 List