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.


  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. 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. 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.

  6. This wohttps://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.7556994,-1.5014453,56a,35y,23.74h,74.2t/data=!3m1!1e3uld be todays view, Skelton Grange Power station long gone.

  7. Hi my name is David Parkin, my Dad was Harry he was head porter for many years at St. George’s. I was born in the hospital lodge house, and spent the first seven years living there. Many happy years playing in the grounds with my mates from the village school

  8. Was employed at the LGI as a radiographer from early 1980 was put up in the nurses home supposedly for a couple of months. Was there for 2 years before moving out. Some fond memories. I recall the lady who managed the nursing home was Mrs Thompson and the cleaner was called Marion. Also recall George the gardener and Mick a kitchen porter

  9. My dad was Harry Jeffrey who worked there from 1967 until 1978, we lived in the Matrons house until 1970. Lily Lawton was the matrons maid and looked after me as a baby and toddler when my parents were working. After we moved out my mum and I still attended all the functions there and every Christmas day we used to go round all the wards to greet the patients. Lovely memories of the staff there.

    • Your dad gave me a job there when It felt like I couldn’t find work anywhere and I was at the lowest point of my life. Thanks to him and his encouragement I went on to do nurse training and had a forty-five year career in the profession. I still remember him him well.

  10. My mam and auntie worked their from the 60s to the early 80s her name was Maisie Tomlinson and her sister was Irene Hargreaves I remember going over the fields from belle Isle before the motorway opened with my dad to meet her sometimes in the school holidays she would take me to work with her.

  11. I worked at St Georges from 1977-79 as a Nursing Auxiliary and went back in 1980-81 once I qualified (I only had to do 6months to qualify) I have great memories and photo’s of me playing guitar and singing with the Consultant (cant remember his name) and the Ward Sister Amy in the day room of ward 6….and dancing with Susan Sheard and the patients. I lived in the nurses home and remember Mrs Thompson very well . Others I remember are Barry Shingles, Sister Esler Mondisa, Jim Heptonstall. My maiden name was Linda Shaw. I would love to have a catchup and especially if anyone knows of Susan Sheard? She went on to be Nanny for Dana’s children (Yes as in the song – All Kinds Of Everything). Very special times.

    • I worked as a nursing assistant at St George’s between March 77 and October 79 before I went off to train as a nurse in Calderdale. I worked on wards 2 and 8 and in the Central Day Room with Sue Sheard. We had a great social life with lots of staff outings as well as all the events we organised for the patients. It was one of the happiest times of my life.

    • Dave Clegg was Charge Nurse on ward 4 when I was there with his trusty sidekick Pete Battle – had some great laughs with these two

  12. My grandfather and grandmother were master and matron in the early 1930s. I would love to find out some more details from that time. Their names were Mary and Allan Sandeman

  13. I used to work at Rothwell Library and every Monday afternoon we would take our trolley of books around the wards. We visited those in the elderly wards, some not having regular visits from their families, we used to have a laugh with them and hopefully cheered them up. I remember all the men like to read large print westerns and thrillers. One lovely well spoken lady loved her Agatha Christie novels. She reminded me of Miss Heversham !!

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