Great Barr Park Colony, Staffordshire
In the same year, the Committee purchased Great Barr Hall and the surrounding 447-acre Great Barr Hall Park estate at the north-west of West Bromwich. The Hall was erected in 1777 as the home of Sir Joseph Scott. In 1912, the main building was converted for use as a home for children under five.
In 1918, the site began began to be used for the accommodation of "mental defectives". A horseshoe of houses for females at the south of the Hall was completed by 1930, and a row of houses for males at the north of the Hall by 1937. The local architect Gerald McMichael was responsible for most of the scheme.
Later illustrations of the site indicate that males occupied buildings at the eastern side of the main horseshoe.
Females at the colony provided the domestic labour of the establishment, such as kitchen and laundry work and sewing.
After 1948, the site joined the National health Service as St. Margaret's Hospital. The Hall was vacated in 1978 although other buildings continued in use until the 1990s. After falling into dereliction, the site is now being redeveloped with all the old buildings being demolished.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Walsall Local History Centre, Essex Street, Walsall WS2 7AS.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
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