Poor Law Unions in North Antrim and East Londonderry c.1860

Poor Law Unions came into being after the Poor Law Act of 1838 and the building of workhouses in the 1840s. The new Poor Law Unions were based on the main market towns throughout the province and each Union was subdivided into a number of District Electoral Divisions which elected members to the Boards of Guardians which were responsible for the running of the workhouses and the operation of the Poor Law generally.

Often Poor Law Unions crossed county boundaries. This was the case with the Ballymoney and Coleraine Poor Law Unions. The map of Ballymoney and surrounding Poor Law Unions c.1860 shows that the Ballymoney Poor Law Union crossed the county boundary into County Londonderry to include areas around Garvagh, Kilrea and Tamlaght O'Crilly. Equally the Coleraine Poor Law Union crossed the county boundary into County Antrim to include areas around Portrush and Bushmills. This all changed after the County Council Act of 1898 when Portrush and Bushmills became part of Ballymoney Poor Law Union and Kilrea became part of Coleraine Poor Law Union.

After 1851 each Poor Law Union was further divided into Dispensary Districts which doubled as Local Registrars' Districts [after 1864] where births, marriages and deaths were registered. Each Dispensary [Local Registrar's] District was further sub-divided into Electoral Districts [usually referred to as DEDs]. These subdivisions have not been included on this map. They are, however, included in the c.1900 map for North Antrim.

Copyright 2009 W. Macafee.