Definition of casual ward in English:

casual ward

noun

historical
  • A ward in a workhouse providing accommodation for those temporarily unable to support themselves.

    • ‘Many people incorporated the workhouse into personal survival strategies, using the casual ward system to sustain them in their wanderings in search of work or going inside as a refuge from inclement winter weather.’
    • ‘In January 1866, on a bitterly cold night, a man dressed in ragged clothes begged for a night's lodging in the male casual ward of Lambeth workhouse.’
    • ‘We knew that the casual wards were overcrowded; also, that if we begged from farmer or villager, there was a large likelihood of our going to jail for fourteen days.’
    • ‘Overnight accommodation varied, from the the casual wards of local workhouses to more friendly lodgings and municipally-arranged feasts.’
    • ‘This need was satisfied around 1837 when casual wards were provided within each workhouse union.’