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BIRMINGHAM UNION WORKHOUSE AND INFIRMARY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  CITY HOSPITAL, BIRMINGHAM UNION WORKHOUSE, DUDLEY ROAD HOSPITAL
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Birmingham Union Workhouse was built between 1850 and 1852 to designs by J Bateman and G Drury. It was extended in around 1866, with some later additions, and a large infirmary was added in 1888 to designs by W H Ward. Later additions in the 20th century were made by the same architect. The buildings are of pale brick with courses of blue brick and white-painted stone sills and other dressings, the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have been demolished and the remaining ones are in use as part of City Hospital (2005).

The building plan is H-shaped with a central through carriageway in a projecting porch, with rooms to either side on the ground floor, and cross wings to each end. The building is of two storeys with a pitched roof and the end cross-wings and porch have gables to the facade. The central, Perpendicular-style carriage archway is set in a projecting two-storey porch with canted sides to the ground floor, each with a pedestrian arch. The cross-wings have groups of three windows to the facade, separated by brick mullions. There is stone coping to the gables, which are finished with wrought iron finials. Rising from the roof adjacent to the cross-wings are Tudor-style chimney stacks of one flue in width and nine flues depth. The cross-wings have small, two-storey gabled projections to the north and south elevations. Some original fittings remain including one fireplace surround and a staircase.

It was one of the largest of such institutions to be erected in the 1850s under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The workhouse, designed by John Jones Bateman (1817-1903) was built in the corridor style with a central large open rectangular well. The whole of the workhouse, with the exception of the gatehouse known as the Archway of Tears, was demolished in the early 1990s.

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