Workhouse shame not the answer

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I don’t think that Vin Malone’s explanation for why “2/12 Herries Road” appears on people’s death certificates (Letter, June 8) really cuts the mustard.

He says it was done to disguise the fact that they had died in the workhouse.

This doesn’t explain why it appears on the death certificate of a relative of mine who died in the late 1950s, well after workhouses had disappeared.

Nor am I convinced that there would be any great stigma attached to dying in a workhouse infirmary as, in those days, they offered poorer people who were sick or dying treatment that wasn’t available anywhere else.

I understand that, from 1929, local authorities were allowed to take over workhouse infirmaries as municipal hospitals, which is probably what happened in the case of what is now the Northern General.

Also, burial records for St Michael’s Cemetery at Rivelin – available through the Sheffield Indexers website – contain numerous entries from the 19th and early 20th centuries stating “Died at Union” (ie workhouse).

If there was no attempt to disguise the place of death at that time, why should the authorities do so later, particularly when workhouses no longer existed?

Paul Kenny