A workhouse built in Neo-Jacobean style between 1838-40 for 300 inmates, it was built on an H plan with a four storey symmetrical centre block, an ambitious stone front and three storey projecting ranges terminated by single storey Bound Room and Chapel, which were not joined to the archway. Expenses were authorised at £6,830 in 1838 although it cost another £2,000 to complete the building, not helped by the bankruptcy of the original contractor during the build. Scott found that with competitions in particular, the Guardians would select the most attractive looking building: ‘external appearance began to timidly to be thought of and estimates stealthily to creep upwards and many a row and uproar did this produce, to the joy of disappointed competitors’. Amersham, Dunmow, Billericay and Belper were all overspent on their original authorised grant and additional money had to be obtained from the Poor Law Commissioners to complete the works.
Scott’s Recollections, I 285.