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BETHNAL GREEN WORKHOUSE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  WATERLOO HOUSE
DESCRIPTION + /

Bethnal Green workhouse was erected between 1840 and 1842 and designed by Mr Bunning. Little information currently exists on the workhouse but an ordnance survey map of 1870-6 (1:2500) indicates the main block of the workhouse was a long building with connecting ranges to the east and surrounded by courtyards with planned garden areas. The map also shows that the infirmary was located to the north-east and a chapel was placed centrally within the main building.

There were several later alterations and additions. There was a tender for additions to the infirmary in 1870 awarded to the architect William Mundy and a new mortuary and contagious diseases ward in 1881 awarded to S & W Stone. The 'Bundle Room' (for sorting and bundling linen before distribution to the wards) was built in 1888 and a large remodelling by W A Finch occurred in 1902 which saw new casual wards, enlargement of the dining hall, new kitchens and store rooms, a new wing for 100 female inmates, modern padded rooms and new bath and lavatory buildings. In 1903, maternity wards and sanitary rooms built of red and yellow brick were added in lands adjacent to the workhouse.

In 1908, there was an 'Offers to Let' on the workhouse and it was deemed that there was no longer a use for a workhouse accommodating 170 people.

It is unclear whether the site currently includes any of the original workhouse structure. The latest Ordnance Survey mapping (1:2500, 2005) shows that there are number of large houses such as Maitland House to the east, Ponsonby House to the south, Halkett House to the north and Colville House to the north-west, situated on the site of the workhouse grounds.

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