The architect, RP Browne, later described his design as as 'plain but cheerful and almslike'.Greenwich Woolwich Road workhouse from south-west, 1844.Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 20 in number, representing representing its 4 constituent parishes as follows (with numbers of Guardians for each): Greenwich (8); St Nicholas, Deptford (3); St Paul, Deptford (4); Woolwich (5).The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 62,009 — ranging from St Nicholas, Deptford (population 6,036) to Greenwich itself (24,553).
The Greenwich Poor Law Union was formed on 18th November 1836.A portrait of life in the workhouse and its school in the early 1860s, from a child's point of view at least, appeared in the Poor Law Board's Annual report in 1874. Describing himself as "a ragged little urchin without shoes and cap", he recalls his arrival at the workhouse at the age of seven: After dinner an old woman came and took all my clothes and then showed me into the bathroom, telling me to get in and not be afraid.It was written by a former inmate, who signed himself "W. R.", and who later graduated to the large district school run by South Metropolitan School District of which Greenwich was part. I should think I was not afraid, indeed, I had been too much used to water.Various rooms opened off the central corridor for the various classes of inmates, including ones for 'bad women'. Greenwich Woolwich Road part of ground-floor plan, 1844.To the rear, at the south of the site, separated from the main block by the inmates' exercise yards, stood the infirmary block which was adjoined by wash-houses, laundry, work-rooms, and the mortuary. — doesn't explicitly name the workhouse but it was clearly located three miles from Woolwich so was almost certainly Greenwich.