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21st January 2019

St Audry’s, Melton – Workhouse to Asylum


In March the Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group returns to Leiston to hear David Phelan’s talk on St Audry’s Workhouse / Asylum.

This talk covers the history of St Audry’s from 1765 when the Melton Workhouse (House of Industry) was opened. The Workhouse closed in 1826 and reopened in 1829 as The Suffolk County Asylum for Pauper Lunatics. In 1993 the site was closed and redeveloped for housing, and is now known as Melton park.
What were Houses of Industry? Why were they established and how were they run? What was it like to be an inmate? David Phelan examines the Victorian attitude to poverty.

Asylums are regarded as being grim places, and many were. But it was different at St Audry’s, which was one of the biggest employers in the area. St Audry’s had a reputation for being a progressive regime – why? What caused it to be different?

Asylums gave way to Care in the Community. Has it worked?

David Phelan spent his career in banking in the UK and in Spain. On moving to Melton, he became a volunteer at Sutton Hoo, then a guide, then the National Trust speaker for Sutton Hoo. He lives at St Audry’s.

The meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 20th March at LEISTON UNITED CHURCH (URC/Methodist), High Street, Leiston, IP16 4EL Entrance is not at the front of the church, but on the left hand side as you face the building. Parking is available in the Co-op/Solar car park which adjoins it, but you must sign your vehicle in at the tills in the supermarket or face a charge of £60.
Visitors welcome. Admission: members £1, visitors £3, incl tea/coffee.
The Group will continue evening meetings in Leiston until next winter.

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