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Report - Birch Hill Hospital, Rochdale, June 2015

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by ZerO81, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 7, 2010
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    Birch Hill Hospital



    In 1871, the Union purchased a 24-acre site on the slopes of Birch Hill and Starring Hill at Dearnley for £2,500. The following year, building work began on a large new workhouse.

    In March 1873, the old Spotland workhouse partially collapsed, possibly because of subsidence due to an old coal-pit beneath the building. However, since the new workhouse was far from ready, the Spotland building had to be patched up and was used for another four yours. Even then its days were not over — in 1881, Rochdale Corporation were forced to rent it for use as a temporary isolation hospital during a smallpox epidemic.

    The new workhouse, designed by George Woodhouse and Edward Potts, was originally intended to accommodate 632 inmates but by its eventual opening in November 1877, various extensions had increased the capacity to 847, including 29 officers. The total cost of the buildings and land was £85,000. The building was officially opened by the Mayor of Rochdale, Alderman T Schofield, on Wednesday 19th December 1877.
    In 1902, a 172-bed infirmary was built at the north of the workhouse. It had a central administration block with male and female ward pavilions to each side.

    During the First World War, part of the site was taken over by the military who also erected tents in the grounds.

    In 1930, control of the site passed to Rochdale County Borough, with the Poor Law Institution being run by the Public Assistance Committee and the Hospital being run by the Health Committee. With the inauguration of the National Health Service in 1948, the site became a single hospital known as Birch Hill.

    Birch Hill Hospital in 2001 was reviewed by English Heritage and it wasn’t granted a ‘listed’ building status, this lead to the uncertainty of the former workhouse. By 2012 the hospitals services had been upgraded and also transferred to local Infirmary. The land had then been bought and planning permission was granted for the Building of houses.

    The Visit

    Been after seeing this place for a while, after seeing some great photos from True British Metal, but the place was either locked up, or busy with the on-going renovation/demolition work, but one Sunday morning, luck was in, as we arrived at the site, we found it totally abandoned, but with the front gate swinging in the wind.

    As you can see from the following photos, there is pretty much nothing left to remind you of the former purpose of this hospital, but I still found the visit quite entertaining, so much so, I ended up going back a couple of weeks later and noticed some bits I missed the first time round.


    [2] & [3]
    IMG_26814.jpg IMG_26817.jpg

    [4] & [5]
    IMG_26832.jpg IMG_26838.jpg


    [7] & [8]
    IMG_26871.jpg IMG_26853.jpg




    [12] & [13]
    IMG_26935.jpg IMG_26981.jpg


    Full gallery HERE

    Alessio1st, Ferox and The Kwan like this.

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  2. The Kwan

    The Kwan Easily Led
    Regular User

    Mar 28, 2011
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    Looks cool mate, especially love the processing on the clock face shots.
  3. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Apr 28, 2014
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    Cool pics as usual Zero81, looks nice this one :thumb Had a look at it back in August but did not have a crack in the end. Did not like where it was stuitated :eek:
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