Infirmary and Master's House

The Infirmary from the North East D012

The main infirmary building, in its final form, was the largest on the site.

The initial phase had contained 4 wards on 2 floors with room for 66 patients. It was formally opened on 10th December 1906. The central section contained the operating theatres, on the ground floor, and other general service areas with 7 nurses rooms above in a heightened attic space. Washrooms and toilets were in 'turrets' projecting to the north.

In the late 1920s the building was extended at both ends, the additional space used as day lounges.

Master's House


The Master's House from the North D051
The extension on the left was part of the 1988 development. This house replaced the Master's quarters in the old main building.

The new Master's house was to the west of the main workhouse and laid back from the Lower Hillmorton Road. It was on the extra land bought by the Guardians around the 1st World War.

On conversion to the Child Development Clinic in the 1980s single storey extensions were added.



Casual Ward and Cottage

Casual Ward from the South East D015

This was built in about 1896 to replace the accommodation in the east wing of the main block. This design of casual ward was for operating the double cell system for labour tasks, especially stone breaking as used by the Rugby Union. It was adopted as the preferred design by the Central Board in 1874. Double cells were not needed for women and they shared normal rooms on the first floor. The Labour Master also lived in the building.

Cottage / Workshop

Workshop from the South West 1993

Built between 1851 and 1886 the original purpose of the building is unknown. The 1933 plan shows 3 rooms, the outer rooms were bedrooms, each with a private toilet. The most likely use was accommodation for either staff or possibly married couple paupers.


Board Office Block

West elevation of Board Office Block D032
The wall under the pediment was part of the original building.

The Board Office Block occupied a prominent position on the Lower Hillmorton Road, on the town side of the site. In its final form it had architectural aspirations. This was very different to the cross shaped building erected in 1849. The pediments probably define the length of the original walls. How much of this structure remained is questionable as the building had been much altered.

In 1903 the final expansion of the building took place, due to the increasing number of Guardians, and the northern end extended to its final form.

The board room was on the first floor and offices on the ground floor. The board room doubled as the chapel with the altar in an enclosed area at the north end.


Rear Block

This range of buildings ran east / west across the middle of the compound, parallel to the main front block.

Rear Block Eastern Extensions

Rear Block from the South East, 1992, D073
Showing inmates dining room with ward above, also note covered way to infirmary and office building.

The block was extended to the east in at least 2 stages, probably as part of various enlargements carried out in 1873 and 1895 to provide more space for the sick ward without having a new building. It also had an unusual projection at 45° from the south east corner containing toilets.

After the opening of the Infirmary, the ground floor became the men and women's dining rooms. The top floor became accommodation for infirm inmates, and later became Ward 5.

Western Extension

South Side of the Western Rear Block,1992, D038
The Children's Block is on the left, the kitchen at the right end,
note the many window styles due to its piecemeal development.

The western part of the original block was much extended and became the main kitchens. The gap between the rear block and the Children's Block had been in-filled with a range of toilets and washrooms by 1886. Later a first floor was added to provide accommodation for a live-in member of staff.

By 1992 the toilets had been remodelled to provide a corridor between the kitchen and the Children's block which was then the staff dining room.


The Site & Buildings

Based on Warwickshire County Council Site Plan. Drawn when the County Council took over the site, the plan was maintained for some years so the date is not that accurate.

The exact shape of the site purchased in 1818 is not known. In 1828 the land outside the main compound was sold off as two fields. The areas occupied by the Masters House, (now the Orchard Centre Clinic ) and the Temple Street frontage, were purchased around the first world war.

The original building of 1818-19 probably consisted of the front block, the two main rear wings and the separate committee room. The earliest detailed plan dates from 1837.

By the change of the Union in the mid 1830s the east wing of the main building had been added. In 1849 the first phase of the present Board Room block was constructed and the first of many alterations were made to the rear block. By 1851 extensions to the N.E. wing of the main building had also been made.

By 1887 the Children's block had been built and the rear block extended further. The main building had expanded with the N.W. wing added and the N.E. and S.E. wings extended further. The 'cottage' building had also appeared.

By 1923 the Board Room and Rear Blocks had reached their final forms. The Laundry had been built as had the first phase of the Infirmary. The S.W. wing of the main block had been demolished.

The dividing walls between the various yards - which included the area around the infirmary building - were still in place in 1923 but were probably demolished during the 1930s.

By 1933 the Master's House and the Surveyor's office had been built and the Infirmary had been extended. By 1938 the Ambulance station had been started and part of the N.E. wing of the main block had been demolished. During the 1940s the Temple Street Clinic was built and the ambulance garages completed.

In 1982 the original main building and any remaining wings were demolished.