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Oldham former workhouse - main block (composite image) from the south-east, c.1975. A schoolmaster appears in the list of staff in 1863 indicates that educational provision was made for children in the workhouse prior to the construction of the school in 1886.The main building at the centre of the site had male and female imbecile wards to its north and south, and male and female infirmary blocks at the south-east and north-east. In 1893, with the school up and running, a Superintendent and a Matron of the school are also listed.
Smallpox, cutaneous affections and various other loathsome diseases have so raged that nine out of the nineteen paupers have died in a few weeks. It was situated on Oldham Road in Shaw Side, in the area where Sumner Street and Longley Street now are.
They are allowed to go out when their work is done, on asking leave, and the governor said that bad consequences seldom followed the indulgence. As a result the poorhouse had to be divided into two sections, one for use by Middleton paupers, and the remainder of the premises shared by the other parishes.
There is a complete separation of the sexes, except in cases of old married people, who are allowed to live together: young married persons are separated. A journalist visited the poorhouse in 1841 found that in the Middleton section: all the inmates, nineteen in number, were crammed in one small sitting roam, the only apartment on the ground floor, the dimensions of which are under five yards square; there are also only two bedrooms, each of the same extent.
Designed by Travis and Magnall, architects of Manchester, it was completed in 1851 at a cost of £13,305.
In 1855, special accommodation for lunatics was built, and in 1877 sick wards were added.
Later additions included workshops, kitchens and a boiler house.