The parish of Holy Trinity, Clapham, opened a workhouse in around 1732.
A parliamentary report of 1776 listed parish workhouses in operation in Battersea (accommodating up to 70 inmates), Putney (70), Streatham (30), and Wandsworth (120).
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At all events, the expenditure on those commodities argues any thing but niggardliness in the guardians of the poor.
At my departure from the establishment, I could not help testifying my approbation of the general appearance and management of the house.
Each class of inmates — men, women, boys,and girls — occupied its respective division of the house, with an appropriate airing-ground behind.
In one apartment, I found about thirty elderly men picking oakum, a very light employment; and is another place there were some men, of greater strength, working a pump which propelled water to a cistern, at the summit of the building.
Occupying a somewhat elevated piece of ground, overlooking the rich and populous valley of the Thames, with Chelsea and the towers of Westminster in the distance, and closely environed with an extensive garden and shrubbery, the house enjoys a remarkably pleasant, and, I should think, salubrious situation; while the exterior, with its neat porter's lodge and railings, suggests much more the idea of is gentleman's residence than a receptacle for parish paupers.