Gledhow Wing, St James's Hospital, Leeds LS1 3EX
Leeds Workhouse Infirmary (remains of)(Henry Walker, 1872-4)

The new workhouse in Leeds opened, after much dispute and delay, on Beckett Street in March 1861 (the building is now home to the Thackray Medical Museum).  Unfortunately it was soon overcrowded, and as the sick and able-bodied poor were not effectively separated, diseases spread rapidly.  The answer was the construction of a workhouse infirmary, opened in 1874.

In 1871 Heaton had been made a Justice of the Peace (magistrate) of the West Riding of Yorkshire.  As a JP, he became ex officio one of the Poor Law Guardians, and so was invited to the opening of the Workhouse Infirmary in December 1874.

Given the task of responding to the customary toast to the magistrates, Heaton records that the toast, by a Mr Smith, ‘was altogether contemptuous & derogatory of the magistrates to an extent which was almost insulting, tho’ meant to be funny, so that, in responding to the toast . . . I had rather to make an apology for my body than to acknowledge a compliment.’ (Journal, iv. p. 324).

Most of the infirmary was later demolished to allow for the construction of the Gledhow Wing of St James’s hospital.  However, this small block remains to the NW of the chapel, and is a grade II listed building.

Further information, including images of the infirmary buildings, may be found here.

Further Reading:

Pennock, Pamela M. (1986), ‘The Evolution of St James’s, 1845-94: Leeds Moral and Industrial Training School, Leeds Union Workhouse and Leeds Union Infirmary’, Publications of the Thoresby Society, 18:2.