Borrisokane Workhouse is one of Eight Workhouses in Co, Tipperary, the other seven being in Carrig-on-Shuir, Cashel, Clonmel, Nenagh, Roscrea, Thurles and Tipperary Town.The designer of the building was an English man named George Wilkinson (of named the Blade family) who was also responsible for the design of the rest of the Workhouses in Ireland. 32 Counties and 130 in Total. The builder of Borrisokane Workhouse was John Hanley from Nenagh.
The Building opened in June 1853, to cater for 600 poor souls. It stands pm 8 acres, 3 Roods and 1 perch, On Land bought from Henry Owen Saunders of Killavalla house to Borrisokane. The total cost of the building was 6,805 pounds & the extra fittings cost 1,330 pounds. Following the opening, additional adjoining property was required as sites for ancillary Buildings, and for the Work House burial ground. Prior to the erection of the Umon Workhouse there were eight auxiliary Workhouses in the Town.
In 1850 there were 365 persons registered and in October of the same year the count was 967, and in May 1851 a total of 1,184 were being catered for in these Workhouses. These auxiliary Buildings were located where the Convent School, The Barracks, P.J. O’Meara’s Pub, Crawfords finnoe Road, Darcy’s beside P.J. O’Meara’s Pub, Mick Hogans finnoe Road and Eithne Cleary’s now stands.
The Workhouse was in its own way very sufficient. It had its own water supply, Lavndery, Chapel, bakery, infirmary, and Doctor on call, Day and Night Porter, School teacher, Workhouse Master, (the Matron) also deputised for the master. Clerk to the board of Guardians, Treasurer of the union and wardens. The duties of the master were laid down in great detail. The master was responsible for: the admission of paupers to register in name and religion of every pauper to enforce industry, Order, punctuality and cleanliness. To read papers before breakfast and after supper every day to the inmates, and inspect the paupers everyday it was the order that it may be seen that each individual is clean and in a proper state.
To provide and enforce employment for all able bodied adults and to allow no idleness at any time. They had to inspect all the male wards every day at 11 o’clock; male dress inspection was also his duty and also the dining hall.
The Book keeping of accounts, roll call, diet books, the purchase of all provisions and clothing, were also part of his job and all these were entered into the master’s journal. He had thirty daly duties to carry out and all this for a salary of 20 pounds per year. An assistant master was also appointed with a salary of 15 pounds per annum.