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Beverley History – The Workhouse

A workhouse was set up in Beverley in 1727 following Knatchbull’s Act of 1723, which allowed parishes to combine for this purpose. The joint parish of St Mary and St Nicholas together with St Martin operated a combined workhouse until 1795 when the premises were divided in two.

The opening of Beverley’s workhouse in Minster Moorgate was the subject of a report in the second edition (1732) of An Account of Several Workhouses…dated March 25, 1728. The workhouse appears to have been highly effective in reducing the number of claimants on the poor rate.

In 1860-61, after the Beverley Guardians had finally agreed to the erection of a new building, a workhouse for 189 inmates was erected at Westwood, at the south-west of Beverley. The red brick Tudor-style building cost £5,500 and was designed was by John and William Atkinson of York.

The workhouse later became Beverley Public Assistance Institution, but was taken over as a hospital in 1939. During the Second World War, the site was a base hospital of the Emergency Medical Scheme and in 1940 eight timber-built ward blocks were erected at the north of the site. After 1948, the site became known as Westwood Hospital.