The years following the wars with Napoleon were times of great distress among the poor. Charitable people opened soup kitchens in Bull Entry and Bank Street. The Bull Entry kitchen was established in 1817, with specially made equipment that made on average 15,000 quarts daily, and it was said could make three times as much if needed.
An account of the kitchen describes it thus: .... it was originally three tenements, the dimensions of which are 50ft. long by 17ft 6ins. deep. The partitions were many years ago removed and it was occupied as a plumber's casting shop, and the chamber floor of the tenement, at the east end, being also displaced, ample scope is furnished for the kitchen, with all its appurtenances, which also admits of an extensive maze, whereby the poor are enabled to stand under cover, till served in rotation as they enter the maze.
The upper room is used as a store room, a small apartment being partitioned off for the manager to sleep in. The steam boiler, with flues and brickwork is 6ft 1in. in breadth and nearly 6ft high, and contains 300 gallons. The rent of the premises is seventeen pounds per annum. (There is a rota of gentlemen to supervise).
Coal was given by Lord Ward, the committee paying the carriage, and coal was also delivered to the homes of the poor at 12 cwts. for 17s. 6d. Subscriptions in the first year amounted to one thousand nine hundred pounds and sixty nine pounds, and in the second to two hundred and sixty four pounds. Cash in from the poor for coals amounted to four hundred and twenty pounds and for soup, seven hundred and sixty three pounds.