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In 1839 the Newcastle Board of Guardians decided to build a Union Workhouse on Westgate Hill to centralise facilities for Newcastle's poor. The first buildings to be completed were the Administration Block, a school for children and the workhouse which was to give accommodation to the able-bodied poor and care for the sick poor, maternity cases and imbeciles. By 1859 it had become apparent that facilities for the sick were most undesirable and so the Board of Guardians gave the go-ahead for a separate hospital to be built. The hospital was designed by the Newcastle architect Septimus Oswald and was officially opened on 7 December 1870 by Thomas Ridley, Chairman of the Board of Guardians. By 1914, much development had taken place providing about 500 beds in 5 buildings. In 1921 a separate hospital administration was set up and it was renamed Wingrove Hospital. In 1930 under the new Local Government Act it was handed over to the City Council and the name changed to The General Hospital.