The workhouse became known as the Biggleswade Institution and was renamed St Andrews Hospital in February 1942. The main news in those days was the number of births in the maternity ward which opened on 15th June 1943. In a Biggleswade Chronicle report 18/2/1944 at The Board of Guardians Committee, no casuals had been admitted during the previous 2 months. There had been over a hundred births in the previous 12 months. The Guardians Committee met for the last time on 30th June 1948 when Mr S F Rogers The Master (he was still called the Master) reported that 63 casuals had been admitted since the last meeting. I am not sure what happened in the meantime, but it was renamed The Limes in 1951 and The Master became The Superintendent. The Hospital Board closed the maternity unit in 1949 in spite of public protests. The ‘old people’ were moved to Abbotsbury, a purpose built unit nearby in 1969 and it still exists today
The History Society does have some photographs of it, including aerial ones taken in the 1930’s; some of these are in our publications that we have for sale. Life would be much the same in the workhouses throughout the country with conditions quite dependent on the Master of course. We understand that the Biggleswade Masters were of a relatively kindly disposition.
Unfortunately early records are virtually non-existent, especially where admissions and discharges are concerned; this is not uncommon for workhouses.
Information at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives and Record Service:
1. Outdoor relief lists 1902-20 (part); relief order books 1894-1930; applications and report books 1898-1917 (part); admission and discharge registers 1912-30 (also for Hillcote 1922- 30 and Holmeside 1929-30); register of persons chargeable 1916-30; register of non-settled and non-resident poor 1909-15; register of boarded-out children 1928-30; payments to foster parents 1928-1930.
2. Minutes 1837-1930 (gaps); Committee minutes: Boarding-out 1911-30, Finance 1888- 1930, House 1914-5, SAC 1877-1903, Assessment 1862-1927; agreements 1910. 1926; out-letters 1842-1930 (gaps); PLC orders 1835; workhouse conveyances, mortgages etc. 1835-1915; treasurer’s books 1904-09 and accounts 1914-17; financial statements 1881- 1930; register of securities 1893-1928: relieving officer’s receipt and expenditure 1899-1918 (part): sup’an book 1898-1930: ledgers: general 1837-1930 (large gaps), non-settled poor 1873-97, parochial 1853-57, 1911-23; Ladies Visiting Committee report book 1893-1920; weekly returns 1867-69, 1891-1930 (gaps): pauper classification book 1900-01; staff appointments register c1887-1915.
Information at the Public Record Office, Kew:
Correspondence etc. 1834-1900 [MH 12/55-74]: staff register 1837-1921 [MH 9/2].