West Bromwich Pauper Memorial - Commemorating and Remembering
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West Brom Pauper Memorial:
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The Poor Law
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History of Sandwell Priory
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History of All Saints Church
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West Bromwich Poor House
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Wigmore Schools
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Heath Lane Memorial
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The Paupers Trail
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Welcome to our web site. This web site has been produced by The West Bromwich Union Pauper Memorial Group with the help of the Local Heritage Initiative. It has been created to share the work of the group with anyone else who has an interest in the project.

EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS
The Memorial is now in position in Heath Lane cemetary - find out more here.

Get the latest news on the project by visiting our Noticeboard page, including a story about the newly installed Blue Plaque commemorating the workhouse.

LATEST PAUPER TRAIL PUBLISHED - Visit the Paupers Trail page for a downloadable version, or to see a printable page.

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Location of West Bromwich

To give you some background West Bromwich is one of the five townships that make up the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell. The Borough is situated between Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the cemetery where the Memorial is to be sited is just two hundred yards from where the centre of the old Borough of West Bromwich was, and the Parish Church of All Saints still is.

It boasts a long and vibrant history of first of all agricultural activities but with the coming of the Industrial Revolution the population expanded at a great rate and, with the fluctuation of industry, people lived from time to time in abject poverty.

Some means of looking after the people who were without any means of support either by infirmity or lack of work had to be found and in later years the workhouses fulfilled this need.

The Pauper Memorial

Paupers are people who are very poor and are in receipt of poor-law relief. When they die they have to be buried at the public expense and by law are not allowed to erect a head stone or grave marker to their memory.

In West Bromwich we know that over 2,500 paupers have been buried in Heath Lane Cemetery, in many cases in mass graves where they have been buried 20 deep. Although records have been kept there are no markers to say who is buried in which grave, so that people who come to pay their respects have no focus as to where their loved ones are buried.

The idea of a memorial to all those who were buried in unmarked graves came as a result of the question being asked “Where can I pay my respects to my ancestors?” We felt that a memorial would supply that need and be a focus for relatives.

The Pauper Memorial Project will consist of a permanent installation in Heath Lane Cemetery, West Bromwich, which will commemorate all paupers buried in the pauper Burial Ground, at public expense, and especially those who died as inmates of the West Bromwich Union Workhouse.

 

The memorial in place at Heath Lane cemetary

The Memorial is now in position at Heath Lane Cemetary

The plaque beneath reads:

"This memorial stands in recognition of the people who passed through the workhouse system and to the memory of all those buried unmarked in paupers graves."

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on the 21st November with local MPs, The Mayor, Professor Carl Chinn and a crowd of about 250 to witness it.

The unveiling made the local television news and appeared in a number of local newspapers.

The project has also had a blue plaque unveiled on the Guardians Boardroom and a further plaque is waiting to be put over the entrance archway into Wigmore District School.

We are now drawing to the end of our project - after five years of hard work and persistence.

See more of the unveiling here.

 

The Poor Law
Find out about The Poor Law and what it meant for the people of West Bromwich.

  History of Sandwell Priory
Learn more about this important building and its part in the history of the area.
  History of All Saints Church
Find out all there is to know about this famous landmark building.
  West Bromwich Workhouse
A building to dread or a place of haven? Find out here.
  Wigmore Schools
The Schools are important to the history of the area.
  Heath Lane Memorial
We are planning to erect a unique memorial to those buried in pauper graves.
  The Pauper Trail
We are preparing a trail that takes in the historical landmarks relevant to paupers in the area.
 
 
   
  The content of this website is copyright of the West Bromwich Pauper Memorial Committee and the Local Heritage Initiative, 2006 - 2008