Stourbridge Poor Law Union, Worcestershire
The poor-law union of Stourbridge comprises 14 parishes or places, containing a population of 47,948.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 229-234. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51310 Date accessed: 27 April 2011.
The old central building of Wordsley Hospital was a former workhouse. Its central block, with two shaped gables and tower, was built in 1904. The land on which it stands was originally called Stream Piece and was owned by Thomas Downing. On 5th April 1776 he sold the land to the Earl of Dudley for £173.17s. The original workhouse was administered by Kingswinford parishioners.
Following the Introduction of the Poor Law Reform Act in 1834, it became a Union Workhouse and took inmates from Kingswinford to the Birmingham boundaries including Stourbridge, Cradley and Halesowen. Stourbridge Poor Law Union was formed on 13th October 1836. During the nineteenth century extra land was purchased and in 1837 £3950 was spent on new buildings.
The Stourbridge Union Workhouse site became Wordsley Hospital.
The Board Room was built in 1861 to serve the Union Workhouse, which attracted inmates from a wide area and was administered by the Board of Guardians. The former Workhouse was used as a military hospital during both World Wars. During the Second World War the Americans paid to have the annexe built for their wounded soldiers and it was they who introduced the new plastic surgery techniques for which the hospital was a noted centre of excellence.
Following the expansion of the more modern Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley Health Authority began transferring services away from Wordsley during late 2004 and early 2005. The hospital is now closed and the land is to be redeveloped.
Parishes in the Union
Amblecote, Staffordshire Brierley Hill, Staffordshire Brockmoor, Staffordshire Cradley, Worcestershire Halesowen, Worcestershire Kingswinford, Staffordshire Kingswinford St Mary, Staffordshire Langley, Worcestershire Lye, Worcestershire Old Swinford, Worcestershire Pensnett, Staffordshire Quarry Bank, Staffordshire The Quinton, Worcestershire Wordsley Holy Trinity, Staffordshire