Lluesty General Hospital, as it was known for 60 years, is more notably remembered for it’s history of being a former workhouse. Built between 1838 and 1840 in South Holywell, North Wales, the Holywell Union Workhouse was designed by John Welch and cost £6,200 to construct. It was designed to accommodate 400 inmates and favoured the popular cruciform (cross-shaped) layout of the day, with separate wings for different classes of inmate. Inmates were divided by gender and able-bodiedness.
The entrance and administration block laid to the east as a three-storied building in the centre, flanked by two-storied wings. The main accommodation block ran north to south with cross-wings at each end. To the rear of the main block, stood a three-storied building connecting to the central supervisory hub with observation windows that gave a clear view over all the inmate’s yards.
1834 Poor Law Amendment Act
The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 was believed to reduce the cost of looking after the poor, takes beggars off the streets and encourages paupers to work hard to support themselves. It ensured that the poor were housed, clothed and fed in return for unpaid labour.
One opposer to the new Poor Law was notable 19th century worker’s rights advocate Richard Oastler, calling them ‘Prisons for the Poor’.
On 25th February 1837, the Holywell Poor Law Union was formed. It was overseen by 27 Board of Guardians, representing 14 constituent parishes.
Other Notable Dates
- In 1883-4 a chapel was added to the north of the site.
- Buildings were expanded in 1902.
- Electricity was installed in 1912 to replace the paraffin lamps.
- 1913 saw a large infirmary added to the south.
- In 1917 the infirmary was commandeered for military use during WWI.
- In January 1919 the last of the 500 treated soldiers left the infirmary.
- Passed to local council control in 1930 as a Public Assistance Institution
- Became part of NHS with it’s creation in 1948.
- Closed 2008