Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteNewcastle on Tyne


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteNewcastle on Tyne


Newcastle on Tyne Union Workhouse

The Union Offices are located on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle.
Newcastle-on-Tyne Union contains the parishes of St Andrew, St John, St Nicholas and All Saints, and the Townships of Byker, Elswick, Fenham, Heaton, Jesmond, Westgate and Benwell. 

Union Officers 1893 (Kelly's Directory)
Clerk to the Guardians and Assessment Committee John W. Gibson
Treasurer George A. Fenwick
Relieving Officer - No. 1 District James Veitch
Relieving Officer - No. 2 District Robert Henry Howliston
Relieving Officer - No. 3 District Walter Gladstone
Relieving Officer - No. 4 District George Martin
Relieving Officer - No. 5 District John Lightfoot
Vaccination Officer William C. Leech
Superintendent Registrar Morison Johnston

The Workhouse is located on Westgate Road, Newcastle.


Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
Newcastle on Tyne 45 35 80
Source: 22nd Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

Newcastle upon Tyne - Proposed Hospital

Seven or eight years ago it was proposed to erect a hospital in connexion with the Union Workhouse, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; but, for wise economical reasons, that which was necessary then has not been erected yet. An opportunity, however, occurred, - an opportunity in such excellent harmony with guardians' economy - that the hospital committee could not let it pass without making another effort to obtain the long neglected requirement. Acccording to the testimony of one gentleman, "the plans had been drawn by an inmate !" If this should turn out to be correct, surely the Newcastle Guardians, who are about to expend from 10,000 to 12,000 over an erection to accommodate 250 patients, may justly be blames for so recklessly risking the ratepayer's money as they appear to have been accused of doing so by some of their co-guardians.

It is but fair, however, in explanation to say that another architect - not an inmate - has been requested, on the understanding that his commission should be reduced to 2 and a half per cent, in consideration of the work previously done, to revise and improve the designs of the hospital according to the matured instructions of the hospital committee. And it was on the occasion of the approving of these designs that what the local papers call "a scene" took place in the board-room of that august body. One gentleman, who advocated the pavilion plan, complained of the want of through and through ventilation - of out-shoots in the shape of large day-rooms, "which prevented the air from going all round the building" - of the situation of the water-closets, which were close to the wards, and under certain circumstances, which were of very frequent occurrence in all hospitals, impure air therefrom would readily get into both wards" - and also of the position of the building on the site, owing to which "some of the windows would face the north, and consequently be entirely deprived of sunshine" The chairman of the committee, in reply, said that "although several of them might have been objections to certain portions of the plan, yet they considered it was a compromise of their various views; and that, having determined on the shape and position of the hospital, all they had to do was to give an architect instructions how to carry them out; and a better course for the interest of the ratepayers could not be pursued than the one they had followed, either by having competition, or any other mode of getting plans" After all that has been written and said upon the question of hospital construction, we fear the Newcastle guardians are behind what they ought to be as to the best mode of securing the best hospital for the least money.
Source: The Builder 1868 Vol XXVI .
7th March 1868 p.181
Submitted by Alan Longbottom

Newcastle upon Tyne Poor Law Union Workhouse 
New Hospital for The Foundation stone of the new hospital in connexion with the Newcastle upon Tyne Poor Law Union Workhouse was laid on the 9th inst. The hospital is intended for the accommodation of 200 patients, being sick and infirm inmates of the workhouse ; and the estimated cost of its erection is 14,000. The building forms three sides of a quadrangle, the latter being open towards the south. The east and west wings will be two stories in height, each containing two sick wards 94 ft long, 24 ft wide and 14 ft high. The range on the north side of the quadrangle will also be of two stories in height, and contain two wards on either side of the centre building, 88 ft long, 24 ft wide and 14 ft high. The centre building will be three stories in height, and is appropriated to nurses' rooms, sculleries, surgery, committee-room, etc. The walls will be of stone, and the style may be called Domestic Gothic. Mr. Robert Robson of Wideopen is the 
contractor; the architect, Mr. S. Oswald, and the clerk of works, Mr. George Nixon. 
The Builder 1869 Vol XXVII 9th January 1869 p.032
Submitted by Alan Longbottom. 

Workhouse Staff 1893 (Kelly's Directory)
Forster Potts Workhouse Master
Rev. Thomas Averell Chaplain
Thos. Anthony Dodd Medical Officer
Robert F. Craggs Medical Officer
Mrs Mary Ann Potts Workhouse Matron
William J. Wilson Schoolmaster
John H. Greig Schoolmaster
Miss Caroline Wilson Schoolmistress
Miss Emma Dobson Schoolmistress

A large number of beds in the Poor Law Infirmary were utilised by the War Office during WWI, for the use of members of the Armed Forces. 

The Poor Law Infirmary on Westgate Road, became the Wingrove Hospital around 1920, and developed into Newcastle General Hospital around 1930.

From the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 the Hospital was administered by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital Management Committee.

The Bed compliment at this time was a total of 841 beds, including 627 Acute, 68 Maternity, 75 Chronic, 25 Mental and 46 Private.

Hospital is approved by General Nursing Council for England and Wales for Nurse Training

Hospital former Public Assistance Institution designated as Mental Hospital accommodation.


Northumberland Record Office, 
Melton Park, 
North Gosforth, 
Newcastle upon Tyne 

Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office, 
Borough Council Offices, 
Wallace Green, 
TD15 1ED

Tyne and Wear Archives Service, 
Blandford House, 
Blandford Square, 
Newcastle upon Tyne, 
NE1 4JA.

Page updated March 12, 2008

Copyright Rossbret 1999-2005. All rights reserved.

If you have any information or photographs that you can add to this site, please email