Report - - Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - Aug '15 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - Aug '15


Irregular Member
Regular User
Explored with @AuntieKnickers @Lost Explorer and @The Stig


The original buildings on the site of the Selly Oak Hospital were for the King’s Norton Union Workhouse. It was a place for the care of the poor and among many workhouses constructed throughout the country following the introduction of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The rising costs of poor relief had become a national problem and the new act sought to address this. Throughout the country, parishes were formed into larger unions with the power to raise money from rates on property to pay for the poor. King’s Norton Poor Law Union was formed from the parishes of Harborne, Edgbaston, King’s Norton, Northfield and Beoley. Each of these five parishes had individual workhouses. These were replaced in 1872 by the new, much larger one at Selly Oak. It was built to accommodate 200 inmates. Central supervision by the Poor Law Commissioners in London ensured that all workhouses were administered similarly by a set of rules and regulations. How humanely these were interpreted depended entirely upon each local board of Poor Law Guardians, who were local worthies. They were elected annually and gave their services voluntarily. The aim of the Poor Law Amendment Act was to deny any form of relief except through admission to the workhouse. Generally it was assumed that the able-bodied poor could find work and if they did not then they should be forced to work within the confines of the workhouse. It was thought that if conditions in the workhouse were really bad then the poor would be deterred from seeking relief. However, by the late 18th century it became apparent that the majority of workhouse inmates were the most vulnerable people in society; the young, the old, the chronic sick and the mentally ill. Various Acts of Parliament ruled that separate provision should be made for children and the mentally ill. The sick poor were to be accommodated in separate infirmary blocks. These were often built adjacent to the workhouses and were the forerunners of many great hospitals of today.

King's Norton Union Infirmary, 1897
At Selly Oak, a separate infirmary was built in 1897 at a cost of £52,000. It was the subject of much heated debate as the original estimate had been £18,000. It was a light, clean and practical building, and generally a source of much pride. The Guardians took great care and gathered information from other infirmaries to ensure that the final design, put out to a competition and won by Mr. Daniel Arkell, was up-to-date and modern. The Infirmary accommodated about 250 patients in eight Nightingale wards and smaller side wards and rooms. There was also provision for maternity cases. Between the two main pavilions were a central administration block, kitchens, a laundry, a water tower, doctors’ rooms and a telephone exchange. There was no operating theatre or mortuary and, in the workhouse tradition, the internal walls were not plastered, painted brick being considered good enough for the sick paupers. The workhouse and infirmary were separated by a high dividing wall and were run as separate establishments.
In the early 1900’, the population of the King’s Norton Union increased dramatically. In 1907, extensions to the infirmary and the workhouse made provision for the growing numbers of poor people. This doubled the size of the main hospital building. The Woodlands Nurses’ Home was built at the same time to accommodate forty nurses. A small operating room was added to the infirmary. There was a resident nursing staff of eight trained nurses and nineteen probationers who were supervised by the Matron.
In 1911, King’s Norton, no longer a rural area, left Worcestershire and became part of the City of Birmingham. The Birmingham Union was formed from the unions of King’s Norton, Aston and Birmingham. The King’s Norton Workhouse Infirmary was renamed Selly Oak Hospital. Over the next two decades facilities improved with the addition of an operating theatre, plastering of internal walls, and the introduction of physiotherapy, pathological and X-ray services.

Children's Ward, Date Unknown
Attitudes to the poor changed gradually and measures to relieve poverty, such as old age pensions and National Insurance, were introduced before The Great War. By 1930, the administrative structure of the Poor Law was finally dismantled. Selly Oak Hospital and the Workhouse, renamed Selly Oak House, came under the administration of Birmingham City Council. Selly Oak House was administered separately and used for the care of the elderly chronic sick. Selly Oak Hospital continued to grow, new operating theatres were added in 1931, and the biochemistry and pathology laboratories opened in 1934. Nurses had been trained at Selly Oak since 1897, but it was not until 1942 that the School of Nursing was opened. In 1948, when the National Health Service was introduced, Selly Oak Hospital and Selly Oak House were amalgamated.
The hospital closed in 2012 upon completion of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Relocation of the first services from Selly Oak began during the summer of 2010. On the morning of 23 May 2010 a 'Service of Thanks' was held at Selly Oak Hospital to celebrate a century of caring and this was followed by a fun fair at which staff and patients were invited to "Take a Trip Down Memory Lane", sign a memory wall and contribute to an online memories website.

It was announced on 24 February 2015 that contracts had been exchanged for the sale and redevelopment of residential housing on the site. The site already had outline planning permission for 650 homes.


Iraq Veterans at Selly Oak, 2009

Selly Oak Hospital was well renowned for the trauma care it provided and had one of the bestburns units in the country. It was also home to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, which cared for injured service men and women from conflict zones, as well as training service medical staff in preparation for working in such areas. In March 2007, the Hospital was alleged to be not properly treating Iraq war veterans.The hospital has also appeared in national newspapers with stories of servicemen being verbally abused in the hospital by members of the public opposed to the war. A report published by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee blamed the allegations against the hospital on a smear campaign and praised the clinical care provided to military patients.


With Stig and AK visiting the Midlands again, this was an oppotuntiy not to be missed.
In the morning we heading straight to Selly Oak. We started in the morgue, which to my astonishment still had two of the three slabs. After the usual escapades, we continued to the main block. After the Out-patient and X-Ray Departments, we entered the A&E waiting room. After a few snaps, myself and Lost Explorer headed forward ahead of AK and Stig. As we approached some double doors to continue down the corridor, a hi-viz jacket came flying through the doors. The 'security guard' then tried to wrestle LE to the ground and take his camera. LE obviously objected to this request and held his camera towards me, then a second guy(looking like your typical Saab owner) came running in and tried to grab my camera. I politely told him that I would not adear to his request. At this point Stig and AK came through wandering what the fuck we were shouting about. We all agreed to place our cameras on opposite side of the corridor from where we were instructed to stand. After a breif chat with mission control, the 'security guard'(who had a hilarious lisp) marched us towards the main entrance. As they took our details, Stig requested to see our lipse-stricken security guard's ID. "I left it at home". Following Stig informing him on the fact that he is legally required to wear his ID, we were ordered to go.
Really narked off with myself about getting caught. But I'm glad I was with people who kept their cool. If anyone wants to visit here, be wary.





















Cheers for Looking :thumb



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice report, shame about secca. Im yet to meet a dick, but ive only been caught twice at derps.

The Stig

Urbex = Nosey Bastard
Regular User
Ho ive been busted so many times, I could write a book on how to get busted :D