The Manchester Union workhouse was originally situated in New Bridge Street (built 1792). When the building proved inadequate for its purpose a new workhouse was built in Crumpsall in 1855 on a site adjacent to the Prestwich Union Workhouse just north of Crescent Road.
In 1915 three poor law unions in the area were amalgamated into the single Manchester Union. At Crumpsall the dividing wall between Prestwich Union Workhouse and 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 benefitted 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 GB127.M326/3/5/1).
From 1922 an auxiliary hospital for paying patients was developed in the institution building which created the situation reported on in the Manchester Guardian, 4 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.
Like Withington Hospital, Crumpsall Hospital was recognised as a training school for nurses and midwives by the General Nursing Council and the Central Midwives Board and this is reflected in the nurses' registers that have been deposited (ref GB127.M326/4/1/1-12).
By 1930 the Manchester Union Workhouse had become known as Crumpsall Institution. It was renamed Park House Hospital in 1939, and with the introduction of the National Health Services in 1948, became Springfield Hospital. The Infirmary later became known as Crumpsall Hospital. In 1975 the Springfield Hospital and Crumpsall Hospital amalgamated with Delaunay's Hospital to form Manchester General Hospital as part of the NHS reorganisation.
We have some records for Crumpsall Workhouse and Hospital (ref GB127.M326). No records of inmates survived prior to 1907. However a small proportion of inmates in Crumpsall can be found in the New Bridge Street creed registers 1881 to 1914. Records include:
- Registrar's records: birth registers 1934 to 1948, death registers 1933 to 1945, death register indexes 1929 to 1954.
- Hospital and institution registers: indexes to patients (male) 1907 to 1934, indexes to patients (female) 1912 to 1944, admission and discharge registers (hospital) 1937 to 1949, admission and discharge registers (institution) 1933 to 1938, register of admissions to the receiving wards 1944 to 1946, mortuary particulars book 1946 to 1948.
- Medical registers (restricted access): operation registers 1927 to 1947, ward registers 1926 to 1958, record of maternity cases (institution/auxiliary hospital 1917 to 1952, register of patients: prisoners of war and army 1944 to 1959, index to venereal disease register 1920 to 1953.
Records of New Bridge Street Workhouse are available in the Manchester Collection on findmypast.
How to access
For a history of the workhouse see Mark Greenwood Springfield Hospital: The Human History, 1855-1995 (Manchester Health Authority, 1997), (ref 362.21Gr).
For a history of the hospital see Susan Hall and D.L. Perry, Crumpsall Hospital: "The Story of a Hundred Years, 1876-1976" (Upjohn and Bottomley,1976) which is held by us (362.11Ha).
Location of the site