TABLE OF CONTENTS
HR3/1 ADMINISTRATION 1929-1967
HR3/1/1-16 ADMINISTRATION: MINUTES 1948-1967
HR3/1/17-1/22 ADMINISTRATION: REPORT BOOKS 1948-1967
HR3/1/23-1/28 ADMINISTRATION: POOR LAW INSTITUTION AND HOSPITAL 1929-1958
HR3/2-11 REGISTRATION 1893-1973
HR3/2/1-2/10 REGISTRATION: BIRTHS 1893-1964
HR3/3/1-3/5 REGISTRATION: DEATHS 1893-1971
HR3/4/1-4/9 REGISTRATION: RELIGIOUS CREED 1904-1951
HR3/5/1-5/3 REGISTRATION: INMATES OF THE POOR LAW INSTITUTION 1930-1940
HR3/6/1-6/4 REGISTER OF INMATES AND RECORD OF RELIGIOUS CREED 1943-1958
HR3/7/1-7/6 REGISTRATION: ADMISSION AND DISCHARGE BOOKS 1934-1953
HR3/8/1-8/4 REGISTRATION: WESTERN HOSPITAL PATIENTS, GENERAL 1958-1973
HR3/9/1-9/6 REGISTRATION: MENTAL DEFICIENCY 1929-1962
HR3/10/1-10/13 REGISTRATION: MATERNITY 1955-1967
HR3/11/1-11/10 REGISTRATION: OPERATIONS 1928-1962
HR3/12-18 WARD RECORD BOOKS 1950-1972
HR3/12/1 WARD RECORD BOOK: GENERAL 1959
HR3/13/1-13/27 WARD RECORD BOOKS: WARD 2 1966-1969
HR3/14/1-14/45 WARD RECORD BOOKS: WARD 3 1961-1968
HR3/15/1-15/35 WARD RECORD BOOKS: CHILDREN 1950-1969
HR3/16/1-16/8 WARD RECORD BOOKS: HAWTHORNE 1969-1970
HR3/17/1-17/5 WARD RECORD BOOKS: OAK 1969-1972
HR3/18/1 WARD RECORD BOOK: MALE HOUSE 1939-1966
HR3/19/1-2 HOSPITAL FARM 1952-1967
|Administrative / biographical background:
Western Hospital, Doncaster originated as the workhouse of Doncaster Poor Law Union. Located in Springwell Lane, Balby, it was built in 1897 to designs by J H Morton of South Shields to replace the original workhouse built by the Board of Poor Law Guardians on Cherry Tree Lane, Hexthorpe. (The redundant buildings were sold to the Great Northern Railway Locomotive Engineering Works - the 'Plant' - to extend their premises. A copy of the sale catalogue can be found amongst the archives of J Dawson and Sons, Doncaster Archives reference DY/DAW/9/103. It includes a plan if the site but not a photograph.)
The new workhouse comprised a 'main building' (the workhouse) cottage homes for elderly married couples, an infirmary and building containing 'lunacy wards'. Twelve plans for the new workhouse, dated 1896, are to be found at Doncaster Archives reference DZ/P/110.
Like all workhouses, it was renamed as a Poor Law Institution, by virtue of the Poor Law Institutions Order, 1913 issued by the Local Government Board. On the abolition of Poor Law Guardians from 1 April 1930, (under the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1929), responsibility for the Institution, known as Springwell House, passed to the Doncaster County Borough Council. The Public Assistance Committee of the county borough council had oversight of the administration of services inherited from the Guardians. These minute books are held by Doncaster Archives.
In 1945, the Hospital Survey of the Sheffield and East Midland Area published by the Ministry of Health made the following comments on the Springwell House Public Assistance Institution:
The Doncaster Public Assistance Institution, Springwell House, has not been appropriated because of the poor quality of the accommodation. The accommodation, in two main blocks and a maternity block, is nominally for 146 patients. The work is at least three fifths chronic, although there are a resident medical officer and a visiting surgeon. Acute medical and surgical cases are mixed in the wards. The surgeon visits thrice weekly and other consultants including an obstetrician may be called although rarely a physician. The wards are poor and cannot be made into good hospital accommodation; yet 1,069 admissions were recorded in 1938 and a average stay of only 28 days.
The statistical table in the survey show that there were 146 beds in all, comprising 57 'Interchangeable General Beds', 6 for child medical and surgical cases, 4 for maternity
cases, 12 for tuberculosis, 6 for venereal cases, 4 isolation and septic beds, and 57 for the chronic sick. (This report is amongst the archives of Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Doncaster Archives reference HR2/4/45, pages 25 and 128.) However, despite the statement made in the Survey of 1945, the premises were taken over by the National Health Service and were designated as the Western Hospital in 1950.
(In addition to Springwell House, Doncaster county borough also provided a municipal maternity home at Hamilton Lodge, Carr House Road. The Hospital Survey of 1945 showed this as having fourteen beds (page 128) and wrote of both Doncaster's and Barnsley's 'small homes in converted premises, formerly private houses....They are in unsuitable premises' (page 25). A medical register of births 1950-1953 from Hamilton Lodge is to be found at HR3/10/1 below.)
The archives of the Doncaster Poor Law Union have not been preserved, and so the principal source of information about the workhouse, apart from that which may be found in local newspapers and other unofficial sources, is to be found in the records of Doncaster poor law union workhouse, which form part of these surviving archives of the Western Hospital.
The most significant of the surviving records of the workhouse are the registers of births (section 2 below) and deaths (section 3 below), both beginning in 1893, and the registers of religious creed (which begin in 1904, see section 4 below). The latter are essentially a register of all those who entered the workhouse. These continue as registers of the Doncaster borough public assistance institution.