Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteBlackburn


1891 census

Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteBlackburn


1891 census

Blackburn Poor Law Union and Workhouse

Situated on Haslingden Road from 1864 it was renamed under the NHS as Queens Park Hospital.

The new union Workhouse, was constructed on a thirty- acre site on a hill to the south east of the town center, at a cost of 30,000. It opened on the 2 April 1864 and was designed to hold 700 inmates.

It was deliberately built in such a prominent situation to serve as a continuing reminder to Blackburn's population of the consequences of failing to work hard.

Source: Submitted by Matt Sowerbutts  

Link to Photo Album with photograph of Blackburn Workhouse

Commissioner in Lunacy


In the workhouse, containing 218 patients classed as of unsound mind, there is only one paid officer by day and one at night in each division. 3 pauper inmates assist the male officer by day and the female officer has 5 to help her. One of each sex assist the night attendates, there are 35 male and 30 female epileptics,it is quite that the work of supervision, attending the sick and bedridden( of whom there were 8 on the male and 14 on the female side) taking the patients out for walks and superintending the bathing, must be beyond the powers of the paid officers, and a second attendant on each side seems to be absolutely needed.

During my visit I noticed as requiring in my opinion asylum care, William Dawson,  Pat Ryan, John Tayor,  Emily Aspin, Annie Deakin and Mary J Riding,  I doubt the insanity of James Holland who seems to me to be a idle lazy fellow.  I detect no unsoundness of mind in William Rushton, who I think was temporarily affected by drink. F. J Connor's case seems to me hard, and I would ask the guardians if they can see their way to petition the secretary of state to restore him is pension, he was a sergeant in the army and retired on a pension.
He was tried for fowl stealing, he was undoubtedly guilty and sentenced for the felony to 6 months hard labour, thereby forfeiting his pension. He is quite recently liberated, and judging by his state at the present,
there can be hardly any doubt that he was insane when he committed the theft, but his insanity was not recognised.

One of the matters  which I wish to urge upon the committee, is the desirability of collecting together in one room all those in each division requiring constant supervision by night and this be easily done. The tell tale blocks are so placed that the night watch man on the male side need not enter the dormitories at all, and the female side need only enter but not pass through. Means of escape by staircase from the extreme ends of either building is required. The fire buckets were not as they should have been in the male side they should have been filled with water. And the screens in the female bathroom have not yet been provided.

A fair proportion of patients are usefully employed, about 40 men work out of doors, and about 25 in the wards, and dormitories etc, from 40 to 50 women are engaged at the laundry, kitchen and domestic duties, or knitting and needlework. Nearly 100 of both sexes attend Church, and 20 at the Roman Catholic Chapel.

The men's shirts were as a rule dirty, and I think every patient ought to have 2 clean shirts a week, or at any rate every working patient. At the present the privilege of having more than one shirt a week is confined to the dirty destructive, and demented patients. If another day attendant were appointed in each division and the epileptics all brought together to sleep under continuous supervision by night and an exit made to render the patient safe in the event of fire, I could then report that I considered accommodation in the workhouse very good, and that all reasonable steps had been taken to promote the care, comfort and safety of the imbecile poor at the Blackburn Union. 

Source: Submitted by Joan Law

Page last updated 12 March, 2008 by Rossbret