Union Workhouse, Blacker Lane, Birkby
- location: off Blacker Lane (now Blacker Road), Birkby
- status: no longer exists
- category: municipal property
It is believed the earliest workhouse on the site was built in the mid-1700s and the capacity was reported as being up to 60 inmates in a 1776 report.
The 1851 Town Plan shows a large rectangular building with a separate hospital and wash house.
The 1868 Poor Law Inspectors report for the workhouse was critical of the building:
Workhouse accomodation for 121 inmates ; workhouse erected, unknown ; land, seven acres. A detached building is used as a hospital or infirmary. It is wholly unfit for the purpose, and quite devoid of comfort and convenience. There is a paid nurse, who doubtless performs her duties as far as it is practicable for her to do so. The medical officer considers that this building is quite insufficient for the purposes for which it is used. There is however a detached fever ward. Some of the aged men sleep together in the same bed. All the beds are much too close, and too much crowded together. The dayrooms are much too small, and are very seriously crowded. There is no classification beyond an imperfect separation of the sexes. The men and the women complained of the violent conduct of two insane or idiotic inmates, one in each ward. The house, beds, bedding, &c., was very clean, and in as good order as it could be kept. The inmates, with the above-named exception, seemed to be quite satisfied and contented with the condition in which I found them.
Following the opening of Crosland Moor Workhouse in 1872, the Poor Law Guardians requested that the Birkby Workhouse be sold. The workhouse hospital was later converted into an isolation hospital by 1878. By 1910, the entire site had been cleared to make way for a new elementary school designed by borough engineer Kenneth F. Campbell.
Notes and References
- Pray Remember the Poor: The Poor Laws and Huddersfield (2004) by Allan Place.
- "A Small Pox Hospital at Birkby" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jan/1873).
- "New Elementary School for Huddersfield" in Yorkshire Post (10/Jun/1910).