Brownlow Hill Workhouse

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Workhouse
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Liverpool Brownlow Hill Workhouse

We shall be returning to the main Liverpool workhouse on several occasions in future posts. For now, note that it is located where the present RC Cathedral now stands. You can see the Medical Institute and Hope Hall (later Everyman Theatre) at the top of Hope Street. It remained open until 1928, housing some 5,000 people. It was virtually a small town. As well as providing a home for ‘paupers’ it also provided infirmary services for the poor. The history of workhouses is dense and goes back hundreds of years, so we will refer to sources we come across which deal with this history, and only select a few specific points on our own site. A good starting place is the brilliant workhouses.org site. The site contains details of the Liverpool workhouses¬†including the main one shown here. Some of the workhouses became hospitals, such as at Toxteth (Sefton General) and Walton. Closely related to the workhouses, in the context of the poor and sick, was the development of industrial schools and infirmaries. For instance, at Broadgreen, facilities for epileptics and TB patients eventually became Broadgreen Hospital. There is an excellent article by Mike Royden on the development of workhouse infirmaries and how this laid the basis for the hospitals that followed.

We shall be concentrating on the Brownlow Hill workhouse. Many individuals were involved here such as Florence Nightingale, Agnes Jones and William Rathbone. Their reforming work in many ways anticipated the modern welfare state. Several sites in the Hope Street area are connected with them.

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