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  • Cheese, bread, and beer. The Poor are allowed to carry their breakfasts and suppers into their lodging-rooms ; but must eat their dinners in the hall, and leave on the table what they cannot consume. The dinners, at Easter, and Whitsuntide, are veal, bacon, and plum-pudding. The old people dine first: The food is plentiful and good. The West Bar area has been greatly altered and redeveloped in recent times but a car park records the former presence of the workhouse in the area.

    Sheffield's Workhouse Lane car park, In , during a national shortage of coins, Sheffield was one a several urban workhouses at that period to issue poor relief in the form of specially minted tokens which could be used at local shops and then redeemed by shop-keepers.

    The coin depicts a large building which was presumably the workhouse in use at the time. Sheffield workhouse token. The new premises could house about inmates. Kelham Street workhouse site, The Kelham Street workhouse clearly catered for a wide variety of inmates as indicated by the presence of blocks marked Hospital, Asylum, and Boys' School.

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    In , a parliamentary survey recorded workhouses in use at Attercliffe with Darnall for up to 24 inmates and Brightside Bierlow 24 inmates. In , Eccleshill had a workhouse on Sharrow Moor. The township of Brightside had its own workhouse in Pitsmoor, at the east side of Rock Street.

    It was a substantial establishment, complete with its own porter's lodge, and could accommodate up to although the average number in was Brightside workhouse site, Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 11 in number, representing its 3 constituent townships as listed below figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one: Attercliffe-cum-Darnall 2 , Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield 8.

    The population falling within the Union at the census had been 71, — Attercliffe-cum-Darnall 3, , Brightside Bierlow 8, , and Sheffield 59, The new Sheffield Union decided to continue using the Kelham Street workhouse and also retained the Brightside workhouse which was used for the accommodation of children. However, the building increasingly suffered from overcrowding, and also had no provision for caring for the sick. In , the Sheffield Board of Guardians were visited by the Poor Law Inspector for the district, Mr Farnham, who strongly encouraged them to build a new workhouse.

    The following year, the Board set about buying land for a new building. However, the local ratepayers were strongly opposed to the scheme and in and voted out the old members of the Board. In , the Board proposed buying additional land at Kelham Street to expand the workhouse site.

    However, the Local Government Board vetoed this and instead a green-field site at Fir Vale was found on which to erect a new workhouse. An ancillary workhouse was established on the site. Nearly the whole of the land was brought under cultivation and sub-let to farm tenants. The new venture was the subject of a report by The Builder magazine: Sheffield Hollow Meadows Builder report, In , the workhouse site became the Sheffield Truant Industrial School for Boys where persistent school truants were detained.

    The buildings were enlarged in and could then accommodate around 90 children. The site later became Hollow Meadows Hospital which was closed by The site was then sold for redevelopment and the buildings have now been converted to housing.

    Sheffield Hollow Meadows site, Sheffield Hollow Meadows site from the south-east, Fir Vale Workhouse The The foundation stone for the building was laid on 16th September by Alderman Searle, Chairman of the Sheffield Guardians. The formal opening was almost exactly three years later, on September 22nd , although the workhouse had actually already been in use since the previous year. At the time of the opening 1, paupers were in residence in the main building, with a further in the hospital.

    A contemporary account relates that: The visitors were conducted through the house by Alderman Searle. They were much interested, not only with what they saw in the aged and infirm wards, but with the departments for the able bodied, and especially the workshops, where the "timber merchants", as the industrious paupers were familiarly called, were busy cutting firewood, of which about five tons are sold weekly.

    In the female wards there were several curious incidents. One old dame, who had a clay pipe concealed in her bosom, pleaded earnestly for a bit of tobacco, and did not rest until she got it. Another poor woman, an imbecile, said, "I am going to heaven for twenty one years, and have some rags under my bed to clean the windows".

    In the hospital there were some pityful pictures of human suffering, but here, as is the case indeed throughout the vast building, every effort is made to lighten the burden of poverty and sickness.

    The gigantic kitchen aroused some wonder, and so did the bread store, where 2, loaves are cut up every week for use in the house. One of the most cheering sights was the school, where the boys and girls who had been busy at their lessons, sang admirably on the entrance of the visitors.

    They had spent a lot of money and the people of Sheffield would have to pay it.

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  • Laughter He could assure the ratepayers the guardians had been exceedingly careful how they had spent the money. They had not spent it recklessly, but had tried to get value for their money. They had spent the money well, and had got something durable. The buildings would not tumble down in a year or two, they were commodious and substantial , and second to none he had seen in the kingdom.

    Concluding, he hoped that, with the spread of education, pauperism would decrease, and that the people would be more careful, thoughtful, and thrifty, so that the time might arrive when the workhouse would not be required Applause.

    After other toasts and speeches, the evening concluded with a performance by Mr H Makin and his Glee Party.

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    The new building had six main sections: A main building which would accommodate up to 1, inmates. An asylum to the south, accommodating a total of in two pavilion wings, mean at the east, women at the west. A school building for children, situated to the north.

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    A hospital building to the west, accommodating patients in a number of pavilions. A fever hospital, further to the west. Vagrants' wards at the south-eastern entrance to the site.

    The layout of the site can be seen on the map below: Fir Vale workhouse site, Fir Vale entrance gates, c. Fir Vale main building from the north-east, Fir Vale main building entrance from the north-east, Fir Vale hospital pavilions from the north-west, Fir Vale fever hospital from the east, Fir Vale school building from the south-east, In the course of an investigation of the workhouse system, he visited Fir Vale and his account of what he found was sent to the Editor of the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.

    His lengthy report can be viewed on a separate page. The diet in the workhouse at the time of Mr Pye-Smith's visit comprised: Occasionally fish replaced the boiled beef.

    Supper at 6pm — as breakfast.

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    Meals were eaten in the large dining hall where males and females were segregated. The tip-up seats created a lot of noise when the inmates stood up. Fir Vale rear of main building and dining hall from the north, In , in order to provide work for the inmates and also a source of cheap fresh food, the Guardians took out a lease on Doe Royd Farm. A Farm Committee was formed to manage its acres and by the farm was running at a profit and also supplying all the workhouse's milk requirements.

    A nurses' home was erected in the late s at the south-west of the workhouse. On 21st March , the Local Government Board issued an order to separate the hospital from the remainder of the site, renaming it Sheffield Union Hospital.

    It gradually became known as Fir Vale Hospital. Fir Vale inmates, c. After the inauguration of the National Health Service in , the whole site became the City General Hospital, then in was renamed the Northern General.

    Fir Vale site, Lyn Howsam's study of Fir Vale reveals that virtually the only record of workhouse life is the punishment register: It seems on the whole to consist of people who were guilty of not returning on time after being allowed a pass to leave the grounds either to attend Church or visit friends and relatives. These were in the main the habitual offenders who persistently returned late and drunk, some just an hour or two late, others several days late.

    Some took their own discharge at this point and were to be punished should they bother to return at a later date. Many were not to be punished for being late as it was stated they were 'too feeble' or 'infirm' hence their lateness. Some, for that very same reason, were not to be allowed out again. William James Day, 72 years old, 'returned drunk and committed a nuisance in front of Nurse Dobson'.

    A few were arrested by the police. John Hamilton who returned late and worse for drink put the blame on his nephew for putting whisky in his tea. Tom Lilley was drunk and insulted not only his wife, but also the storekeeper, a nurse and some visitors on the drive.

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