Selly Oak Hospital

The first buildings on the site of Selly Oak Hospital were those of the King’s Norton Union Workhouse. It was a place for the care of the poor and was one of many workhouses constructed throughout the country following the introduction of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. This act replaced the earlier system of poor relief, dating from 1601.

The rising costs of poor relief had become a national problem and the new act sought to address this. Throughout the country, parishes were formed into larger unions with the power to raise money from rates on property to pay for the poor. King’s Norton Poor Law Union was formed from the parishes of Harborne, Edgbaston, King’s Norton, Northfield and Beoley. Each of these five parishes had individual workhouses.

These were replaced in 1872 by the new, much larger one at Selly Oak. It was built to accommodate 200 pauper inmates. Central supervision by the Poor Law Commissioners in London ensured that all workhouses were administered similarly by a set of rules and regulations. How humanely these were interpreted depended entirely upon each local board of Poor Law Guardians, who were local worthies. They were elected annually and gave their services voluntarily.

The hospital closed in 2012 upon completion of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Relocation of the first services from Selly Oak began during the summer of 2010 when its A&E department moved to the new Q.E.Hospital on 16 June and over the next 7 days Critical Care and other departments moved step-by-step the 1.5 miles to the new hospital. On average one inpatient was moved every 5 minutes between 7 am and early evening On the morning of 23 May 2010 a 'Service of Thanks' was held at Selly Oak Hospital to celebrate a century of caring and this was followed by a fun fair at which staff and patients were invited to
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