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Workhouse   Main Entrance
The Isle of Wight Workhouse Burial Ground Memorial
09 August 2013

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has just completed the installation of a new Memorial to mark and identify the ancient Burial Ground that is on the site of St. Mary’s Hospital dating from the time when it was the location of the Isle Wight Workhouse – House of Industry, 1774 -1930.

The Burial Ground contains the known graves of 3,223 persons who were residents of the Workhouse during these years from records kept between 1783-84 and 1813-71. Based on this evidence with the additional years included it is estimated 5,000+ persons are buried at this site.

The records identify many recognisable Island family names, including:

  • Atrill
  • Barton
  • Cass
  • Che(i)ssell
  • Chi(e)verton
  • Coterell
  • Dore
  • Humb(e)y
  • Joliffe
  • Mew
  • Morey
  • Noyes
  • Squibb
  • Westmore
  • Yelf

and would appear therefore to be a representative cross-section of Island family history.

Full details of the names of known persons buried at the site and a background to the history of the Isle of Wight Workhouse can be viewed on the NHS Trusts website www.iow.nhs.uk/healingarts news page or can be downloaded below.

Guy Eades, Healing Arts Director at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “This is an important heritage site for the Island.  We will be contacting Island societies with an interest in family history to discuss how they might be involved in the future use of the site.”

The memorial has been designed by the Island artist Brian Marriott and made by the Island firm of W.Stay & Son of Brading.  The memorial is an arrangement of the seven ‘steel formers’, made by British Steel, that were used in the 1980’s to make the original stainless steel panels for the current St. Mary’s Hospital.  Also included are three steel cutters that have been painted in primary colours to record the large number of children who are buried at the site.  Two new wooden benches have also been made for the site by Paul Sivell of the Island firm ‘Arbutus’.

Guy continued:  “Healing Arts is now seeking to raise charitable funds to plant a traditional Wild Flower Meadow on the grass field that is the burial ground, which will remain undisturbed.  The site is fully open to the general public and can be visited any day of the year. It is located adjacent to the new Helipad and pedestrian and wheelchair access is from the front of the hospital, via the duck pond garden area.”

Further details and enquiries can be made to Guy Eades at Healing Arts by e-mailing healingarts@iow.nhs.uk or telephoning 01983-534253.   The book ‘Life Within the Isle of Wight Workhouse – A history of the site that today is St. Mary’s Hospital’ by Bill Shepard and Brian Greening, available from Island bookshops, describes many of the circumstances in which Islanders would have entered the Workhouse and what would happen to them when they died.

The majority of services provided by Isle of Wight NHS Trust are commissioned and funded by Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England and Isle of Wight Council.

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