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Birmingham Workhouse And Cape Schools

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
There are close connections with the Cape Schools as mentioned in the extracts below from Medicine and the Workhouse by Reinarz & Schwarz. The old Cape School was taken over for additional workhouse accommodation when the new Cape Hill School opened in 1864. Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This drawing of the workhouse in 1852 shows, what I think is a school to the left. Would this be the first Cape School ? And therefore the building taken over by the Workhouse in 1864 ? Viv.

image.jpeg
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I did wonder about the Cape Hill reference. It seems most likely as no other reference seems to be available.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
From the Peter Walker archives - a comprehensive description of the Workhouse through time. Paragraphs 4 and 5 describe the schooling arrangements :

The new Workhouse of 1852
Birmingham's Local Act status made exempted it from the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and the workhouse continued unchanged but increasingly overcrowded the late 1840s, when it was decided that a new workhouse was needed. A competition was held in 1848 and 1849, with the eventual winning plans being submitted by J J Bateman. The foundation stone of the new building was laid on 9 September 1850 on a site at the junction of Dudley Road and Western Road at Winson Green, and the building was opened on 9 March 1852. It accommodated 1610, comprising 602 adults, 601 children, 310 in the infirmary, 80 tramps, and 17 officers.

The central three-storey part of the building housed adult males and females. A feature was the 460-feet long corridor, ten feet wide, open from the floor to the roof, with galleries on the second and third storeys, running the length of the building, to ease supervision and promote ventilation. The corridor separated the able bodied paupers from the aged and infirm. Separate day rooms and dormitories were provided for each class, and each adult pauper had a separate bed. A dining hall seating 1000 persons was over the centre of the corridor for easy access, and officers could supervise the occupants during meal times from a gallery.
The Infirmary was detached, for general cases of both sexes; and building for the epileptic and insane, detached fever wards, a separate hospital and wards for sick children, as well as for lying-in, consumptive and other cases.

The Chapel, in the perpendicular style, which accommodated 500 adults and 500 children, was located facing the road.

The Childrens' department consisted of a main building with two wings. The ground floor was devoted to separate class and work rooms, and day rooms for the boys, girls and infants also served as play rooms in wet weather. In these rooms children had their own numbered seat with a little box for playthings, and a clothes hook. There were three dining halls - one for children over seven years of age, another under-sevens, and a third for infants. The dormitories were upstairs.

The erection of new schools for boys was already planned, contemplated, but it was not until January 1880 that 14 new cottage homes were opened at Marston Green, together with a probationary home, schools, infirmary, and a supplementary house, residence for the Superintendent, workshops etc, by the Birmingham Board of Guardians. Each of these homes maintained 30 children, drafted from the Birmingham Workhouse, and is under the care of Foster Parents. The boys learned various trades, and the girls household work. A Chaplain attended regularly to give instruction and conduct religious services.

In time, more and more room was needed for the sick, and calls were made for a separate infirmary. This was opened on an adjoining site in 1889, designed by W. H. Ward architect, and it had a corridor a quarter of a mile long linking nine pavilions, based on a model recommended by Florence Nightingale. This became later known as Dudley Road Hospital, now City Hospital.

A report in the Birmingham Daily Post for 22 April, 1890 described the relationship between the Workhouse and the Infirmary: "Patients ... after medical examination are allocated according to their ailments to the different wards in the main building. Persons suffering from smallpox, scarlet fever and similar complaints are not allowed to pass the receiving house, but are sent to the City Infections Hospital whilst those afflicted with contagious diseases such as erysipelas, ophthalmia and minor infectious diseases such as measles, are transferred at once to wards in a detached building in the Infirmary grounds.

"There is only one way, officially speaking, into the infirmary, and that way lies through the Workhouse Gate, for it is only as an adjunct to the Workhouse that the infirmary is recognised by the Poor Law. A patient who is not an inmate of the older institution (the workhouse) must be seen by the workhouse Doctor and formally relegated by him to the Infirmary. The ambulance is then dispatched along the Infirmary Drive and stops under the archway of the receiving house, which stands on the boundary between the grounds of the two establishments. [/i]

Later history of the Birmingham Workhouse.
The Workhouse and Infirmary continued to function moreorless unchanged for decades. The Board of Guardians was replaced by the Public Assistance Committee in 1930 and, following the Introduction of the NHS in 1948 Birmingham Workhouse became Summerfield Hospital, under the Regional Hospital Board, and it continued to develop as a Geriatric Centre. In spite of the change in name to Hospital, buildings were set apart for the able-bodied elderly paupers which was called Part III Accommodation, and the Tramps and Casuals, called Part II Accommodation. These units continued for many years. Dr. Ellis, the Chief Medical Officer appointed Dr. Nagley to Western House in 1937, and although the appointment was initially for one month Dr. Nagley stayed for over forty years

There was great overcrowding in the Hospital, but the contribution by Inmates could not be ignored, for example, the Gardening and Cleaning of the Hospital. The Hospital also had a fine Orchestra and Cricket Team. Improvements and additional buildings were erected to accommodate the 1250 patients, but the system was obviously old and in need of constant repair. The number of available beds was gradually decreased, until in 1975 there were 452.

In 1974 Summerfield Hospital was integrated into Dudley Road Hospital becoming the Dudley Road Department of Geriatric Medicine. Changes in funding and regulations in 1984 allowed Social Security Departments to meet the cost of those in need of long term care. A number of Private and Voluntary Nursing and Residential Homes were set up to accommodate this need.
Summerfield Hospital has since been demolished, leaving one solitary building in the grounds ~ The Archway of Tears. The Workhouse Infirmary became Dudley Road Hospital, later re named City Hospital, Dudley Road.

Sources:
Hutton, William: An History of Birmingham, Pearson and Rollason, 1783, reprinted EP Publishing, 1976
Kelly, Wm & Co: Post Office Directory of Birmingham with Staffordshire and Worcestershire, 1849, copied on CD by Midlands Historical Data, 2003
White, William: White's Directory of Birmingham . . . . the Hardware District, 1873, copied on CD by Midlands Historical Data, 2003
Kelly, Wm & Co: Kelly's Directory of Birmingham with its Suburbs and Smethwick, 1943, copied on CD by Midlands Historical Data, 2003
Dent, Robert K: Old and New Birmingham, Houghton & Hammond, 1878 -1880, reprinted EP Publishing, 1973
Gill, Conrad: History of Birmingham, Volume 1 - Manor and Borough to 1865, Oxford University Press, 1952
Briggs, Asa: History of Birmingham, Volume 2 - Borough and City 1865 - 1938, Oxford University Press, 1952
Upton, Chris: A History of Birmingham, Phillimore, 1993

'Political and Administrative History: Local Government and Public Services', A History of the County of Warwickshire: Volume VII: The City of Birmingham (1964), pp. 318-53. URL: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=22973. Date accessed: 28 June 2005.
Birmingham Archives, Central Library, , URL: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/genealogy

postie, Sep 3, 2016EditDeleteIP
#1Like+ QuoteReply
CHINCH, sospiri and Astoness like this.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
At a special meeting in August 1865 to discuss increasing the accommodation of the Workhouse it had been suggested that the schools should be removed. Mr Jones...

“...The boys had been removed to the Cape School in consequence of the prevalence of small pox last year....this could only be temporary for the building at the Cape was not fitted for the permanent use for such an adjustment...”

33F7E3A5-30FA-4442-AC63-4FD530541FBE.jpeg
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
the chapel of the workhouse....as we now know the last bit of it (the archway of tears) was shamelessly demolished recently

lyn

chapel birmingham workhouse.jpg
 

Roger Blower

proper brummie kid
Sad to hear of the chapel being demolished. I was a choirboy during the early sixties, from memory '62 - 65. My mother nursed at Summerfield hospital and I was cajoled into joining the choir. Sunday morning services were held at the old chapel and Sunday evening service held at the more modern chapel within the Dudley Road hospital.
We had regular attendees for the morning service and part of the choirboy role was to go out on the wards and collect patients. Some patients enjoyed being raced in their wheelchairs across the hospital grounds and we boys were happy to oblige! Obviously the more delicate church goers were treated gently.
The evening service at Dudley road was quite different with patients being more mobile and changing regularly as their stay in hospital was usually short term.
I seem to remember choir practice was on Tuesday evenings and attendance at practice and the 2 services on Sunday went towards your points score for payment. Again from memory, I think we were paid every quarter - a small brown wages envelope with £3 or £4 odd, depending on attendance.
Living in New Spring Street, the hospital grounds were on the doorstep and going through the old archway was like entering into another world.
We used to watch the football games held on the pitch within the grounds and eventually I played for a team which seemed to consist of a mix of young medics and ambulance service.
Looking back, seems odd to have had a football pitch within the grounds but thought nothing of it at the time.
 

Old Boy

master brummie
Sad to hear of the chapel being demolished. I was a choirboy during the early sixties, from memory '62 - 65. My mother nursed at Summerfield hospital and I was cajoled into joining the choir. Sunday morning services were held at the old chapel and Sunday evening service held at the more modern chapel within the Dudley Road hospital.
We had regular attendees for the morning service and part of the choirboy role was to go out on the wards and collect patients. Some patients enjoyed being raced in their wheelchairs across the hospital grounds and we boys were happy to oblige! Obviously the more delicate church goers were treated gently.
The evening service at Dudley road was quite different with patients being more mobile and changing regularly as their stay in hospital was usually short term.
I seem to remember choir practice was on Tuesday evenings and attendance at practice and the 2 services on Sunday went towards your points score for payment. Again from memory, I think we were paid every quarter - a small brown wages envelope with £3 or £4 odd, depending on attendance.
Living in New Spring Street, the hospital grounds were on the doorstep and going through the old archway was like entering into another world.
We used to watch the football games held on the pitch within the grounds and eventually I played for a team which seemed to consist of a mix of young medics and ambulance service.
Looking back, seems odd to have had a football pitch within the grounds but thought nothing of it at the time.
Hello Roger and a hearty welcome to The Birmingham History Forum. I well remember the football pitch within the grounds. I played for Birmingham (D Division) in the MIdland Police league whose matches were held in midweek. The home ground of C Division was the one at Dudley Road and we played them there. I too wondered what a football pitch was doing in hospital grounds and assumed that it was probably used by hospital teams at the weekend. Mostly the police teams used pitches borrowed from local firms. D Divisions home ground was at Metro Cammell in Washwood Heath
Chris Beresford (Old Boy)
 

Diane1947

knowlegable brummie
I started my nursing career at Dudley Road Hospital. I did not have the qualifications at that time to commence my RGN training, but pasted to start my SEN training. Out of the 2 years of that training I spent 3 months of each year at Summerfield Hospital as a pupil nurse. The years 1967 to 69.
The old saying then was if you were admitted you never came out, and more often than not that was true.
If my memory serves me right at that time there were around 1000 patients .
I worked my first Christmas Day there under a very enlightened Sister Clay. She was ahead of her thinking in older people's care.
That Christmas on a 30 bedded ward the nursing staff managed to get everyone up, washed, dressed and in new clothes that somehow Sister Clay had acquired . She also brought every patient a small gift. I remember everyone was up by 10, had their Christmas dinner at 12, and by 2 we started to put patients back to bed.
This was the days before electronic beds, and hoists lol.
I would like to say all the wards were like that at Summerfield unfortunately that was not the case, and often even the basics like flannels, and soap were not available. Wipes and gloves that are second nature today did not exist for cleaning patients then.
On a more cheerful note in 1998 I became a RGN, and when I retired 2007 was working in elderly care in a hospital trying to keep the elderly out and not in,
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello diane and thank you ever so much for that insight into summerfield hospital...what a wonderful lady sister clay was...i am sure we have many members on this forum that will be glad to know that it was not everything was lacking at the hospital and that there were staff like yourself and sister clay that really did care

thank you

lyn
 
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