St Columb Major Poor Law Union

  • Created: 9 May 1837
  • Date Abolished: 1930
  • Workhouse: St. Columb Major
  • Poor-rates in 1862, £6,239.
  • Pop. in 1841, 16,167; in 1861, 16,754.
  • Houses (1870), 3,472.

Parishes in St Columb Major Poor Law Union

Poor Law unions Adjacent to St Columb Major

  • Bodmin
  • St Austell
  • St Columb
  • St Columb Minor
  • Truro

Health and Living Conditions within the St Columb Major Poor Law Union 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 St Columb Major poor law union.

Mr. Hugoe, medical officer of the Padslow district, St. Columb Major union, says

“During the period within which I am required to report, there has not occurred a single case of contagious disease within this district, the absence of which I attribute principally to the cold wet weather we have had. Some years since typhus was always prevalent during the summer months when the heat was greatest, induced in my opinion by the filth allowed to accumulate in the streets and bye places of the towns and villages. The streets are constantly covered with refuse, animal and vegetable matter; and I doubt not, should the coming summer prove hot we shall have a return of that form of fever above alluded to. The population of the parish of Padstow is 1822. In the year 1833 cholera prevailed: in that year 70 deaths took place. In the preceding year typhus fever produced the same rate of mortality, and in 1831, 43 deaths from typhus and scarlatina. The year after the cholera prevailed, viz 1834 only 31 deaths are recorded. There were 31 deaths in 1835, and 35 in 1836. During these years, immediately after the prevalence of cholera much greater attention was paid to cleaning the streets and the removal of various nuisances; but there still exist many causes likely to produce disease, should we have a return of very warm weather favouring the production of miasma. The local advantages for draining and cleaning the town are great, from the excellent supply of fresh water which might easily be made to pass through every street; and there is a gradual descent towards the sea. All obnoxious matters might by that means be washed away, instead of being allowed to accumulate as at present, rendering the streets alike disgusting to the senses of smell and vision.”

Mr. J. Fry, medical officer, St. Breock district, St. Columb Major union, says—

“Heaps of dung with vegetable matter deposited near the dwellings of the poor (and such houses are not sufficiently ventilated) have been heretofore the cause of fever spreading.”