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In 1810, Brighton parish became incorporated under a local Act and responsibility for the workhouse passed to a board of thirty Directors and Guardians of the Poor.One of the board's first tasks was to try to make the poorhouse diet more economical by reducing the consumption of bread (an expensive commodity during the post-Napoleonic period) and substituting rice or herrings in its place.As well as the workhouse, the new buildings included a two-storey, gable-fronted Town Hall (where the town scales were located) and a dungeon (known as The Black Hole).

In the same year, town butchers were requested to submit fixed prices for meat and suet, and grocers and mealmen to do likewise for wheat, flour, cheese, butter, malt and hops, oats and peas, candles and soap and coal.

Some idea of the poorhouse uniform can be gained from the schedule of goods given to the town drapers — quotes were asked for: Women & Girls Check for aprons and handkerchiefs Dowels for shifts Yarn for stockings Linen for round frocks Straw for hats Men & Boys' Blue Honley Felt for hats In the early 1800s, the Market Street workhouse had been enlarged to accommodate around 150 inmates who now wore brown uniforms.

In 1818, the Guardians decided that a new workhouse was need to cope with increasing numbers.

In 1820, a nine-acre site was purchased for £1,400 at the intersection of Church Hill with a minor road which led over the Devil's Dyke to join the road to Henfield and Horsham.

Increasing numbers of poor around this time, compounded by a fishing war with continental fishermen, led to substantial increases in the town's poor rate.

Taking advantage of Knatchbull's "Workhouse Test" Act of 1723, a new workhouse was erected as part of a new complex of buildings, again on the Saint Bartholemews site at the west side of Market Street.

Behind that was a high ceilinged kitchen, wash house, brew house, bake house and a laundry.

In addition, there were other apartments for males able to work, the upper floor being sleeping rooms, while the lower floor contained additional workrooms, a school room (probably for girls and infants) and a further eating room.

A further £10,000 was allocated for the new building which was designed, after much competition, by London architect William Mackie.

The building work was carried out by John Cheesman, a member of an extensive family of local builders, carpenters and manufacturers of cement. Churchwardens Edward Blaker, Robert Ackerson, Richard Bodle.

His replacement was Mr Samuel Thorncroft, who had held a minor position in the old poorhouse.

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