Prestwich Poor Law Union
Constitiuent parishes[edit | edit source]
Blackley , Bradford, Cheetham Crumpsall, Failsworth , Harpurhey, Great Heaton, Little Heaton, Moston, Newton , and Prestwich
The remaining townships became the Prestwich Union. In 1858 Beswick became part of the Union as did Clayton in 1894. Great Heaton and Little Heaton were removed from the Union in 1891.
In June 1865, the Prestwich Board of Guardians agreed to erect a new building at Crumpsall to the North of Manchester, on a site adjacent to the Manchester Township workhouse.
The Crumpsall Workhouse[edit | edit source]
In 1915 the three poor law unions were amalgamated into the single Manchester Union and at Crumpsall the dividing wall between Prestwich Union Workhouse and the workhouse and infirmary of the old Manchester Union was demolished. Although the workhouse continued to function as a poor law and later public assistance institution until around 1940, it was the infirmary and the provision of medical care that saw real development. Crumpsall benefited greatly from the amalgamation of 1915. The Prestwich Union Workhouse became Crumpsall Infirmary Annexe and was used mainly for incontinent and chronically-sick patients. In total Crumpsall had around two thousand hospital beds and a separate accommodation for mental cases. In 1923 a pathological laboratory was opened at Crumpsall which dealt with pathological work from all the poor law hospitals in Manchester, work previously done at the Public Health Laboratory. Crumpsall Infirmary was also a recognised centre for the treatment of venereal disease and accepted patients not only from the Manchester Union, but also from other poor law unions in Lancashire (ref: M326/3/5/1 Manchester Archive).
From 1922 an auxiliary hospital for paying patients was developed in the institution building which created the anomalous situation, reported on in the Manchester Guardian, 4th July 1935, in which private patients were sharing wards with those too poor to pay for treatment. The Auxiliary Hospital, Crescent Road, as it was known, had a separate maternity ward and there is a surviving register of patients which may refer directly to this ward (ref: M326/3/3/1). The collection also includes some registers from Beech Mount Maternity Home, formerly North Manchester Maternity Home (ref: M326/7/1/1-2). It was not part of the hospital, but was a typical municipal maternity home for non-paying and also paying patients set up to provide an alternative environment for childbirth to the hospital wards.
Records[edit | edit source]
• Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives), 56 Marshall Street, New Cross, Manchester, M4 5FU. The relatively few surviving records include: Year books (1889-1914); Lists of Guardians and officers (1889-1914); etc.
Websites[edit | edit source]
For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: www.workhouses.org.uk and http://www.workhouses.org.uk/index.html?Prestwich/Prestwich.shtml
http://www.manchester-family-history-research.co.uk/new_page_5.htm Gerard Lodge’s excellent website has images and further information about Manchester Workhouses and the history of the two Crumpsall sites.