Willcocks Case Study

Chichester Workhouse
Willcocks Patient
Workhouse Minutes
Vote of Sympathetic Motion

William Charles Willcocks


Mr Willcocks took up employment as Master of Chichester Workhouse on 14th October 1901 – together with his wife Mary, who acted as Matron. They arrived in Chichester after having served at Shifnal Workhouse in the same capacity from 1898.

In 1910 Mr Willcocks suffered his first attack of ‘melancholy’. His condition deteriorated and he was committed to Graylingwell on 13 December 1911 after trying to commit suicide by swallowing Carbolic acid.

Mr Willcocks’ employers, the Chichester Board of Guardians, did not immediately stop his salary and he continued to be paid until 1st March 1912, when his condition was communicated to the Board by Dr Kidd as being incurable. Mr Willcocks died in Graylingwell Hospital from General Paralysis of the Insane (Syphillis) on 24th May 1913.

Mrs. Willcocks (after a short interruption to her employment) was re-instated as Matron in May, 1913. Her brother-in-law Robert Willcocks took the post as Master. They both left the Workhouse on 31 December 1916, Mr Robert Willcocks to take up employment as temporary Master of the Workhouse in Crediton, Devon. It is not known if his sister-in-law moved with him.

Documents on Display:

Photograph of Charles Willcocks

Graylingwell Hospital archive [PE/38, p.95 WSRO.]

Patient Record of Charles Willcocks [PE/38, pp.95 WSRO.]

Map of Chichester Workhouse

[MP 6637 OS MAP 1875, WSRO.]

Workhouse Minutes: Chichester Board of Guardians

[WG5/1/27, p.401 and p.403.]

Chichester Workhouse Service Record [WG13/1/117, WSRO.]

Death Certificate Charles Willcocks

[PE/38. p.95]

Details of Robert Willcocks – not shown:

‘Appointment to Crediton Workhouse’, Western Times, 2 March 1917, p.11.