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Ross-on-Wye

Alton Street Union Workhouse

The following photos are of the site, taken in July 1992, just prior to redevelopment.

The upper building, which is still there today, can be clearly seen. The lower building, which has been demolished, had several of the hospital wards in it and was where the Alton Street Surgery now stands.

Dean Hill upper building
The front of the upper part of Dean Hill Hospital (Click for a larger image)
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]

Dean Hill lower building
The entrance road to Dean Hill Hospital (Click for a larger image)
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]

Dean Hill lower building
The front of the lower part of Dean Hill Hospital (Click for a larger image)
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]

Upper Dean Hill from the park
Dean Hill Hospital from the park
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
Lower Dean Hill from the park
Dean Hill Hospital from the park
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Upper Dean Hill during demolishion works
Upper Dean Hill after the lower building was removed
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

These shots were taken after the lower building was demolished and the site cleared.

The Alton Street Surgery was then built on the site whilst the Ross Community Hospital was built behind and alongside the upper building.


Dean Hill site cleared
Dean Hill site cleared
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Workhouses

People became residents of workhouses for a various reasons, most often because they were too poor due to high unemployment, old or ill to be able to support themselves and their family was either unable or unwilling to provide care for them. Another reason was that unmarried, pregnant women were often disowned by their families and during and after the birth of their child, the workhouse was the only place they could go for support.

The poor entering a workhouse were stripped, bathed under strict supervision, checked for medical conditions (and sent to the infirmary where necessary) and issued with a workhouse uniform, which was their only possession in the workhouse. Any items of their own were cleaned and disinfected and stored and were returned only when (and if) they left the workhouse.

Life in the workhouse was hard and governed by strict rules of conduct and for the daily routine. A typical working day (Monday to Saturday) ran something like rising at 6am with breakfast from 6.30 until 7, start work at 7am with an hour for lunch from 12 to 1 and then continue working until 6pm. Dinner would then be served from 6 until 7 and back into bed by 8pm. Each break or time was governed by a bell with roll-calls at various times resulting in strict punishment for being late. Each day before breakfast and after dinner, prayers where read with a special service on Sunday. This routine was a carried out 364 days a year with only the changes on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

This meant that moving into the workhouse really was the last resort and the act of a truly desperate person.

More details on workhouses and their conditions can be found on Workhouse - The Story of the Workhouse .




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[Page updated: Mar 01 2014 22:42:10]






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