Cleveland Street Workhouse 1770-?
A campaign is underway to save one of London’s most important sites for the history of medicine, public health and welfare reform from demolition.
The building has stood in Cleveland Street (which runs beside the rubble of the Middlesex Hospital) since the 1770s. It was built on the fields, and is older than nearby Fitzroy Square. The workhouse has stood on its site for 230 years, during four centuries: when the New Poor Law came in, in 1834, it became the Strand Union Workhouse, and after that Cleveland St Infirmary, then it was absorbed by the Middlesex Hospital as its maternity/surgical annexe, and (up until 2005) its Outpatients’ Department. So it embodies in its fabric the entire history of health-care for Londoners through the Old & New Poor Laws, LCC, voluntary hospital, and NHS. It is a genuinely extraordinary survival.
The campaign has produced letters in The Times (9 Nov) and numerous articles, including this in the BMJ by Ruth Richardson and Brian Hurwitz.
For more information, media coverage and ways you can help, see: