Lost Rothwell – St George’s Hospital

When it was finally confirmed that St. George’s Hospital was going to close in the early 90’s, there was tremendous public concern in and around Rothwell. And rightly so: for there have been some form of hospital facilities – for much of the period a workhouse – in the town since the 18th century.

The St. George’s complex that was eventually demolished in 1991 dated from the earliest days of the 20th century. The premises were built for the Hunslet District Poor Law Guardians and the foundations were laid in 1900. Phase One of the new workhouse was brought into use two years later and in 1903 the whole new development, built at a cost of £475,000, was officially opened by the Chairman of the Board of Guar-dians Mr. John Farrer, from Oulton.

The opening must have been quite an occasion, for to celebrate this historic event the Rothwell Temperance Band (Conductor Mr. T. Barthram) played daily on October 1, 2 and 3. The popular light music in their programme includ-ed Rimmer’s waltz “Bacchanale”, and a selection from Mozart’s “II Seraglio” (The Harem) – hopefully not a reflection on life in the workhouse!
A host of new facilities were included in the new unit – wards for the elderly; a vagrants department (with a tramps ward for both male and female residents); a workhouse; Darby and Joan cottages; a hospital for infectious diseases; and a Lunatic Block.

Under the care of the master and matron there were also styes for pigkeeping, stables for horses and a horse ambulance. Piped water was laid on from Leeds. There was even a pump house for sea water therapy, with the sea water brought from Scarborough to Rothwell!

In the early 1970s extensive modernisation was carried out to bring conditions at St. George’s up to more acceptable levels. But as standards improved nation-ally and treatment methods changed, the need for Rothwell in its present form had to be re-examined and closure loomed.

St. George’s, despite its somewhat grim exterior and workhouse past, was always a happy hospital. Excellent staff more than compensated for the superficially dour facilities. St. George’s always had a reputation as being the friendliest of hospitals: staff eager to do their best for patients and also to support the hospital itself by organising and attending summer galas and various fetes.

In between times civic visits for “milestone” birthdays among the patients and entertainment of varying degrees of hilarity and fancy dress all added to a rich vein of com-munity spirit within St. George’s. That sort of camaraderie, of course, is the life blood of a local hospital.

The proud days of St. George’s Hospital, Rothwell may be past, but the tower still remains as a proud mark on the local  landscape.

Did you work at St. George’s? What memories do you have of the old hospital, please let us know in the comments box below.

6 Comments on "Lost Rothwell – St George’s Hospital"

  1. These are great. In the pics with the cooling tower & power station, which was it and what direction is it in? I’d be grateful if you could confirm?

    • Hi Mark
      The power station I believe is the old Stourton power station (not sure if that was its official name). The view is looking across where the Rothwell Garden Centre is towards East Leeds, you can just make out Templenewsam House on the right.
      Today this picture would have the A1/M1 Link Motorway running from left to right across the picture.

  2. Rose Robinson (I was Rosemary Hartley then) | 27th February 2017 at 8:40 pm | Reply

    Some happy memories from working for 5 years at St George’s Hospital in the Rehab. Unit. I was there from about 1979 – 1984.

  3. The Power Station is Skelton Grange. There were two separate power stations Skelton Grange A and B. the A station had I think 4x60MW units and the B 4x120MW units. I spent some time in the B station in around 1971.

  4. Bryan Clarkson | 27th August 2017 at 5:06 pm | Reply

    Back in the summer of 1975, I had the privilege of going out with a nurse called Margaret..Remember the clock tower with the boilers situated at the bottom.of the tower..not to mention the nurses home..happy memories

  5. Was recruited from the West Indies. Did the SEN program. Had a great time training with students from different parts of the world. So sorry that I did not keep in touch with any. Mary Falan from Ireland, comforted me when I got home sick. I am now living in California, however think of the cute town of Rothwell. Too bad the hospital was demolished.

Leave a Reply to Rose Robinson (I was Rosemary Hartley then) Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*