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The workhouse system was set up in England
and Wales under the Poor Law Amendment Act
1834, although many individual houses existed
before this legislation.  Outdoor relief was very
much discouraged and each group of parishes
had to provide a workhouse.  Under the 1834
system individual parishes were formed into
Poor Law Unions, each Poor Law Union was to
have a union workhouse.  In 1836 the Board of
Guardians of the Poor of the Wirral Union was
established and a workhouse and small
infirmary was to be built on the Wirral
peninsula.  A workhouse, otherwise known as a
'spike', was a place where people who were
unable to support themselves could go to live
and work.  A site had to be chosen to build a
work house and infirmary.  The site selected
was along the side of the River Clatter just next
to the old bridge.  The theory of this was that it
would be roughly in the centre of the peninsula
and on the high road from Birkenhead to
Chester, an increasingly busier road.  In 1837
the first building was completed and 130
inmates were admitted, along with 1 nurse on
the payroll.  The building was running on a loan
of £2500 from a local clergy man, Reverend R.M
Fielden.
The workhouse and infirmary were taken over by Cheshire County Council in 1930 at which
time the institution changed its name to Clatterbridge County General Hospital.  With a large
push from the Council the catchment area of the hospital was increased and as a result a
huge building project commenced.  The sum of £250,000 was pumped into extending and
altering the buildings infrastructure and helped construct a new surgical block of 3 floors
providing 105 beds, an extension of the maternity block,  new twin operating theaters, an X
Ray department, an Out patient department, addition nurses homes, Catering and Dietic
buildings, Staff dining rooms, additional offices, Staff accommodation, a new boiler house, a
swing room and new stores block.  The new hospital was finally upgraded and completed
around 1940 with a compliment of 313 beds.   In 1944 an additional 4260 were admitted top
the general hospital with 874 confinements and 1888 operations took place.  

As a result if the war, in 1941 the Ministry of Healthy added an emergency hospital on the
farm lands adjoining the hospitals grounds.  The new hospital consisted of a line of wooden
hutments and an operating theatre and X Ray block.  Towards the end of the war in 1944 the
patients were evacuated and control of the emergency hospital was given to the Americans
to use as a Military Hospice.  Shortly after the Americans built further buildings this time from
concrete and made more penitent structures.  After the war ended the Americans decided to
knock down the wood huts and use the concrete buildings as a prisoner of war camp  and
headquarters for territorial army units.  The general hospital a few years later purchased 2
wards from the Americans hospital and incorporated it into the general hospice which then
took the compliment of beds up to 441 patients.  Over the period of the next 2 years the rest
of the POW camp and various other American owned buildings were also incorporated into
the general hospital and a new ward for paediatrics was created.  By the 1960 all of the
American hospice was back in control of the Management Committee and as a result the
hospice stretched over 65 acres of land.  

Over the forthcoming years Occupation therapy units and Nurses Training units were all
established and the American Hospice buildings were turned into a Radiology Department .  
By now the hospital has a compliment of 820 beds.  Next came the division of the Geriatric
Unit and the Maternity unit which began to operate as separate functions with their own
independent matrons.  In 1950 Clatterbridge County Hospital was chosen as the site to build
the new Liverpool Radium Institute which boosted the amount of beds and various buildings
were added to help deal with this new specialist function.  In 1966 a Radio therapy centre
was added and continually developed over the next few years.  During the 1960s a further
unit was added for the provision of Physically disabled people which was met by the cost of
various local charity's.   Today Clatterbridge is renowned around the UK and abroad for its
research and treatment for cancer patients.  Most people around the Wirral will agree that
the hospital does a great job, the staff are well trained and very helpful, and the wards
themselves are very clean.  
Nurses at the Hospital
The Old Pavillion Ward now Demolished
The Foundation Stone Ceremony  for the Maternity Hospital in 1924