Deanhouse Workhouse, Netherthong

Deanhouse Workhouse, occasionally referred to as the Holmfirth District Workhouse, was a former workhouse situated to the west of Thongsbridge on Miry Lane, between Oldfield and Deanhouse, in the township of Netherthong.


Deanhouse Workhouse was designed by local architect John Kirk and was constructed between 1861 and 1862. Initially built to house around 200 inmates[1], a casual ward block was soon added to accommodate another 20 people.

The 1868 report by the Poor Law Inspectors was critical of the workhouse:

This is a new workhouse, but it is much to be regretted that so ill-arranged and incomplete a building was ever erected. Owing to its original imperfections and to the exigencies of the union, parts of the house have been converted to uses for which it was not originally intended they should be applied. The vagrant wards have been converted into men’s sick wards. The female receiving ward, in accordance with a suggestion of a Commissioner in Lunacy, has been made into a bathroom for female idiots. The male receiving ward is used as an infirm ward. The children, of whom there are 24, go to the village school, and when not there, are under pauper superintendence exclusively. They have no dayrooms. The boys associate with the adult male paupers, the girls with the able-bodied women; they are not separated at night. The ventilation is most imperfect. All the waterclosets are so constructed that the foul air is drawn inwards and into the main body of the house. None of the skylights are made to open to the external air. A ward (B) is especially defective in ventilation ; a close unwholesome odour pervades the whole ward. The lying-in ward is wholly unventilated. I was assured that each inmate had the authorised cubic space of sleeping accommodation. They have not, however, sufficient area space. Many of the beds touch ; most of them are too close together. The sick wards are especially faulty in construction ; they are small square rooms containing from three to four beds in each. The fireplace and the doors (there are two in some rooms) take up so much space that the beds cannot be properly separated and arranged. Nothing can be more inconvenient and uncomfortable than the interior of these rooms.

The workhouse was further extended by the addition of a separate infirmary in 1880.

By the 1930s, the buildings had become St. Mary's Hospital.

The hospital was eventually closed in early 1968 and was sold to Mr Dunford of Flockton for £8,500. Dunford demolished the main buildings on the site and began constructing the housing estate which currently occupies the land.

Further Reading



Notes and References

  1. Some sources state 172 inmates, whilst other that it could accommodate over 200.