Accidental link

By David Jolley

It is down to Sue that we have discovered this link to our past: http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Chorlton/

Sue was looking for other things and came first across the link to the register of residents of the Chorlton on Medlock Union 1881 – a daunting list of inmates and staff. The base description of the history of the workhouse site and buildings is full and fascinating. Much of the content reminds me of a booklet which I used to look through at the library of Withington Hospital in the 1970s. The booklet was not available to buy at the time and I failed to get organised to copy it for personal study. With changes which took the University of South Manchester and the library to Wythenshawe, I lost track. The internet can be a friend to lost souls.

The Union became known locally as ‘Nell Lane’ – the name of the road where it stood. It grew to include an array of hospital wards which were visited by, and commended by Florence Nightingale as a model to be followed elsewhere.

During the 1960s plans were laid to extend the activities on the site so that it became Withington Hospital, the University Hospital of South Manchester. Chairs in General Medicine, Surgery were established and John Brocklehurst was appointed to the first Chair of Geriatric Medicine in England.

I came to the University Hospital of South Manchester in 1970 as a Senior House Officer to join the department of psychiatry which was awaiting completion of a building to hold be the base for a comprehensive mental health service which would serve the local population of South Manchester (200,000), take a lead in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates, and conducting clinical research.

So much has followed – so much from what was the local workhouse

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