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Local parish workhouses in operation in Wigan (for up to 200 inmates), Dalton (20), Pemberton (60), and Standish with Langtree (40).
The Wigan Poor Law Union officially came into existence on 2nd February 1837.
Initially, the new Wigan Union made use of existing workhouse buildings on Frog Lane and at Hindley. In 1855-7, a new union workhouse was erected on the Frog Lane site. It was designed by William Mangnall who was also the joint architect of workhouses for the Barton-upon-Irwell and Oldham unions. The buildings were constructed in red brick and accommodated 574 inmates.
The constituent parishes included:
Abram, Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire Ashton in Makerfield Holy Trinity, Lancashire, Aspull, Billinge, Lancashire including Billinge Chapel End, Billinge Higher End, Blackrod, Lancashire, Dalton, Haigh and Aspull, Lancashire, Hindley, Lancashire, Ince, Orrell , Parbold, Pemberton, Lancashire, Shevington, Standish, Lancashire including Standish with Langtree, Upholland, Lancashire, Wigan Wigan All Saints, Lancashire, Wigan St Catherine, Lancashire, Wigan St George, Lancashire Winstanley, Worthington, Wrightington.
From 1930, the former workhouse became Frog Lane Public Assistance Institution providing care for the elderly and chronic sick. After the setting up of the National Health Service in 1948, it became Frog Lane Welfare Home and later as Frog Lane Hospital.
Wigan Poor Law Infirmary
In 1906, Wigan Union opened a poor law infirmary on a separate site at the east side of Upholland Road.
The hospital later became Wigan's Billinge Hospital. It closed in July 2004.
Billinge Hospital was originally founded in 1837 as a Wigan Poor Law Union hospital and workhouse.
Opened in 1968, Billinge Maternity Hospital served as the maternity facility for the surrounding areas, including much of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, parts of the Metropolitan Borough of St.Helens and parts of the District of West Lancashire .
In June 2004, the maternity hospital was closed and maternity facilities were transferred to other units at hospitals in surrounding districts. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, who administered at Billinge Maternity Hospital, were transferred to a new maternity unit at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (more commonly known as Wigan Infirmary) in Wigan . Maternity care units were upgraded at surrounding hospitals, including Whiston Hospital, Ormskirk Hospital, Bolton Hospital, Salford Royal, Chorley Hospital and Warrington Hospital.
In 2010, the final demolition of buildings provided for house building on the site of the former hospital.
- Wigan Archive Service, Town Hall, Leigh WN7 2DY. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1837-1930); Register of inmates (1906-49); etc.
- Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2RE. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1837-1930); Ledgers (1836-61);
- Hitchcock, T.V. (1985) The English workhouse: a study in institutional poor relief in selected counties. l695-l750. (DPhil thesis. University of Oxford.)
For more information on the history of the Wigan workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: www.workhouses.org.uk/Wigan