Bodmin Poor Law Union

  • Created: 1837
  • Abolished: 1930
  • Workhouse: Bodmin
  • Poor-rates in 1866, £10,710.
  • Pop. in 1861, 19,691.
  • Houses (1870), 4,019.

Parishes in Bodmin Poor Law Union

Poor Law unions Adjacent to Bodmin

Health and Living Conditions in the Bodmin Poor Law Union and Area

The 1842 Sanitary Enquiry contains reports by various medical officers that give us an invaluable insight into the general living conditions within the area covered by Bodmin poor law union.

M. F. Trevan, medical officer of the third district, Bodmin union, gives a return of 12 cases of typhus fever “amongst labourers residing principally in narrow lanes in a small and dirty fishing town.” Mr. Trevan says —

“I believe the cause to be a disregard of ventilation, want of sewers, the formation of cesspools, the effluvia arising frorn the approximity of pigsties with accumulations of filth composed of animal and vegetable matter in a state of putrefactive decomposition.”

Mr. Ward, medical officer of the town of Bodmin district of the Bodmin union, gives a return of 15 cases of typhus and 30 of synochus occurring in the old workhouse and town of Bodmin. Mr. Ward says

“In the outcases the majority occurred in St. Nicholas-street, where more or less fever of a typhoid character generally prevails. At the rear of the houses there is a good deal of wood and thicket with considerable accumulations of filth from the houses, cowhouses, stables, pigsties, &c. The malaria arising from the decomposition of animal and vegetable matter is, in my opinion, the chief cause of keeping up the infection. Three of the five cases of death took place in this street in one family of five persons occupying one small room (having no other to sleep in), damp and ill-ventilated.”

Mr. Belling, medical officer of the Lostwithiel district, Bodmin, union, says

“Three of the four first cases” (in his return, viz. typhus) “which occurred in the Lostwithiel poor-house were evidently produced by miasma or putrid effluvia arising from accumulated filth, and which, if not removed before next spring, will certainly cause a return of the disease.”