Birmingham Union Workhouse

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Birmingham Union Workhouse
Birmingham Workhouse 02 CROP.JPG
The last-surviving building in September 2013
General information
Type Workhouse
Location City Hospital
Town or city Birmingham
Country England
Coordinates 52°29′19″N 1°55′46″W / 52.4886°N 1.9294°W / 52.4886; -1.9294Coordinates: 52°29′19″N 1°55′46″W / 52.4886°N 1.9294°W / 52.4886; -1.9294
Design and construction
Architect John Jones Bateman and G Drury

The Birmingham Union Workhouse was a workhouse on Western Road in Birmingham, England.[1] It was built between 1850 and 1852 under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, to designs by John Jones Bateman and G Drury.[1] The main entrance building, though derelict, survived until demolition in September 2017. Its arched entrance was known as "the arch of tears".[2] The remainder of the workhouse was demolished in the early 1990s.[1]

In 1889 a hospital was built as an extension to the workhouse.[1] This still exists, much developed, as City Hospital.[1]

Despite its age and social significance, calls by the Victorian Society and Birmingham Conservation Trust, for the workhouse entrance building to be listed, were turned down by English Heritage in 2010.[1][3]

Earlier Birmingham Workhouse Infirmary[edit]

The Birmingham Union Workhouse was constructed to increase the capacity of the pre-existing Birmingham Workhouse Infirmary, a workhouse constructed in 1734 on the site of the present day Coleridge Passage, now opposite Birmingham Children's Hospital.[2] This previous institute had hosted the medical lectures of Mr John Tomlinson, the First Surgeon of the infirmary; these lectures, commencing in 1767 were the precursor to the foundation of the Birmingham Medical School in 1825 and were among the first formal medical lectures held outside London and Scotland.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Birmingham Union Workhouse and Infirmary". Pastscape. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "The Workhouse in Birmingham, Warwickshire". The Workhouse. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Archway of Tears". Birmingham Conservation Trust. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Mason College". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  • Hetherington, RJ (1991) Birmingham Workhouse Records by (in Midland Ancestor, 9).