Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteSheffield


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteSheffield


Sheffield Poor Law Union and Workhouse

Sheffield Poor Law Union was declared 5 June 1837 and comprised the parishes of Attercliffe cum Darnall, Brightside Bierlow, Bradfield Urban, Ecclesall, Handsworth and Sheffield.

'Memories of the Old Workhouse & Hospital at Fir Vale'.
Compiled & edited by Lyn Howsam.
Published by ALD Design & Print. ISBN 1-901587-22-3 price 4.95.
The hospital started out life as a workhouse in 1878 with the official opening in 1881. Now the Northern General Hospital Sheffield. It has also been known as the Fir Vale Infirmary, Fir Vale Institution and the City General Hospital.
Lyn Howsam


The Northern General Hospital Archive Project


Many people visiting the hospital today have little knowledge of its humble beginnings. The Northern General Hospital, Sheffield began life over 120 years ago and has a fascinating history having started life as the Fir Vale Workhouse in the days prior to free medical care for all.
Photograph courtesy of Local Studies Library

 Over the years many changes have taken place. Even as late as 1967 when the two hospitals that had originated from the Workhouse, the Fir Vale Infirmary and the City General Hospital, were renamed the Northern General Hospital many of the older generation were still afraid of entering its doors. Looking back to the days of the workhouse and all that it entailed it is easy to understand why these fears remained so strongly and so long in people's memories.

On the 31st March, the Sheffield Star carried an article about the change of name and ended with these words

'The change of name will finally kill the workhouse stigma of Fir Vale that has haunted so many old folk on the brink of needing permanent hospital care.'

The stigma may have gone now but there are still people alive today who have personal memories, photos and memorabilia of the Workhouse, Fir Vale Infirmary & City General Hospital or who have heard from parents and relatives of how things were.

The Archive project aims to

Collect and preserve memories, photos and items of memorabilia so they are not lost to future generations.

Display items of interest in display cases at various safe locations around the hospital.

From time to time hold exhibitions to stimulate interest and knowledge in the hospital's history.

Do you have memories, memorabilia or photos of the hospital or the people who worked there?

Are you willing to share them with us?

Items of interest can be left at the Clock Tower Reception Mon Fri 10am - 4pm or posted to - Northern General Hospital Archive, c/o Clock Tower Reception, Northern General Hospital, Herries Rd, Sheffield S5 7AU

Or Email:



Page updated March 12, 2008

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