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A small amount of residential accommodation was also provided for several employees including the overseers of the weaving and clothworking shops.
The workhouse was run by several "undertakers" — local clothiers, appointed by the Corporation, who organised the cloth production for which they received loans from the common stock.
Paupers had their weekly allowances doled out, in the overseer's office (also in that quarter of the town) on Sunday afternoons. The annual disbursements for the Poor, which were £369 odd in 1764, rose gradually till they reached £1,066 in 1780, and were £1,751 in 1795, which included £100 for a new bridge, and several small sums not immediately applicable to the Poor. This occupation continued for the next half a century.
Subsequent to this, paupers were accommodated at Castle Park. for the week 3rd April are paid to a number of casual Poor, mostly for children, but the average for the previous ten weeks was £5 12s. The weekly pensions to regular Out-Poor amounted to £6 2s. The weekly charge for bastards out of the house was 17s. At a charity school 50 boys and 30 girls are clothed and educated, and there is a free grammar school for children of every description. In 1803, a code of rules relating to the workhouse was drawn up for the guidance of the churchwardens and overseers.
Former scattered homes, 11-13 Milman Road, Reading, 2014. Former scattered homes, 82-84 Crescent Road, Reading.
and thereupon shall erect and build a strong house of Bricke fit and commodious for setting of the poore on worke therein; or else shall buy and purchase such an house, being already built, if they can finde one alreadie fitting, or that may with a reasonable summe be made fir for the said use; the same house to have a faire garden adjoyning, and to be from time to time kept in good and sufficient reparations by the said mayor and burgesses for the time being for ever.Only one night's stay was allowed, in return for which, a quarter pound of oakum had to be picked within four hours.Finally, in 1865, a site was bought for a new workhouse on the north side of the Oxford Road near Battle Farm. The workhouse site was finally handed back to the Board of Guardians in 1920.common stock to be employed and bestowed in trade of clothing, either in making of coloured cloathes, or whites, as the time shall require; and also in working of Wooll, Hemp, Flax, Iron, grinding of Brasill woods and other stuffes for Dying, or otherwise, as...shall seeme convenient for the employment of poore people, and for the preservation and encrease of the said common stocke.
They are chiefly employed in spinning hemp, but 2 looms for weaving sail cloth were lately erected. Dinner—Sunday, Thursday—Meat, pudding, vegetables and bread; Monday, Saturday Bread and cheese; Tuesday—Bread and broth; Wednesday, Friday—Cold meat. Old people are allowed tea, bread and butter for breakfast. The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1832-35 had been £8,179 or 10s.2d. For the first 30 years of its life, Reading Union made use of two of the pre-1834 parish workhouses which were adapted and enlarged: St Mary's (160 inmates) was for the aged, the infirm, the sick, mothers with children, and children without parents; St Laurence's (190 inmates) was used for able-bodied paupers and vagrants. In 1846, the Poor Law Commissioners expressed concern about sanitary conditions at St Laurence's. This suggestion dismissed by the guardians, although in April of the following year an additional workhouse was opened specifically to accommodate the 'wayfaring and vagrant poor'.