St Michaels Hospital / Aylsham Workhouse – Norfolk

Starting life as Aylsham Union Workhouse, the impressively imposing building was built in the 1840s. In 1930 it became a Public Assistance Institution and then St Michaels Hospital. The main building closed in 2005. Tiny bits have been demolished since, making way for a road for the new housing estate on the grounds.

This is definitely a case of “don’t judge a book by the cover” – outside looks awesome. I’ve seen photos of this hospital when it was empty in 2007. I wish I went then – it was full of bits like signs, lights, plaster on the walls (!), and even an XRay machine. The building is now totally stripped out.

The two turrets on the main front bit contain some tight spiral staircases. I didn’t find this out until I got home though!

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The corridors were long and gloomy.

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The hydrotherapy pool was the only item of interest left in the entire hospital.

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Totally stripped rooms…

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There were a few interesting staircases (aside from the ones I missed).

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The hospital is built around a central octagonal hub. Some time in the past this formed an atrium but the floors have been boarded over since.

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12 Responses to St Michaels Hospital / Aylsham Workhouse – Norfolk

  1. Mrs Shiela Martin says:

    Heart breaking to see what has happened to my beloved St Michaels. where I had beenpriviledged to have worked for many years. Nursinf care was second to none. Staff were grewat to work with. I am pleased to me in contact with lots of people I was priviledged to know

  2. Rachel Oliver says:

    As a Venture Scout I used to take the payphone round for patients to use at christmas time.
    I had cause to visit the hospital this week and was saddened to see the state it is now in.
    Does anyone know if it is going to be converted into anything or just left to crumble away?

    • david lee says:

      i am currently working on the hospital site, in answer to your question yes it is to be turned into flats/ town houses.

  3. Paula Yallop (Nee Kerry) says:

    My great grandmother work within the workhouse and gave birth to to a son Peter Kerry who would be my great uncle is there any way i could find out names etc of people who were in the workhouse. And is there any pictures of the workhose as it was while a workhouse. If anyone could help it would be great as i would like to know what would of happened to my relations while in the workhouse. If anyone could help that would be great.

    • John Cook says:

      I knew nothing of my grand father, but I have found out that he died in the workhouse in Aylsham, which became St Micheals hospital, I have found his grave in Wroxham and he died in 1946 but the workhouse closed in 1930, Also my dad was in a childrens home at the back of the workhouse with his younger brother. Can anybody give me any information on the above to help me with my search.

  4. julie edmunds nee thornley says:

    I worked for many years at Aylsham and hav lots of happy memories of working there as a newly qualified nurse, and for many years after. It is such a shame to see what has happened to the buildings now.
    My Great Grandmother was admitted there many years ago and was apparently in tears before she went as she remembered it as a work house and thought they were going to cut off her floor length hair!
    It’s a shame the buildings could not be left in place and allowed to linger with dignity

  5. Tim says:

    Scheme Description
    Scheme comprises demolition of buildings and conversion of former hospital building to provide 39 flats, construction of 90 residential units, 40 affordable homes and 30 affordable care flats, community centre, health centre, 70 bedroom care home and ancillary facilities, footpaths, cycle paths, car parking and garaging, drainage and services and public open space. Scheme includes infrastructure, sewer systems, enabling works, access roads and landscaping.

  6. Ann says:

    I like Rachel used to go around the wards with the telephone trolley. I also did a lot of volantry work in the hydrotherapy pool with Miss Marriner. I am so glad the main clock tower is remaining, but, it is so sad the hospital has finished. The staff were very friendly and kind, nothing was too much trouble. I have visited quite a few of my relatives who were treated and cared for with love and compassion.

  7. Paul Groves says:

    I remember St. Michaels with great affection, My mother Sister Mary Groves was there for many years right from its opening as a hospital with a short break to have children she returned and stayed until her retirement in 1985, she was on Ward 3, Ward 1 and i believe an early stint in the cottage hospital when they had children there. she loved the hospital dearly and all it stood for in Aylsham and would be so sad to see it in its current state. in its heyday it was full of pupil/student nurses some of whom i am still in touch with.

  8. Damon says:

    This becomes an all too common situation for our old hospitals, they were constructed with excellence and were very elegant. It’s a sad waste to see these deteriorate they are part of our history and deserve to be saved from demolition.

  9. LINDSAY says:

    My Great great grandmother and her mother were both in Aylsham workhouse. The surname was Leacock, Sarah (ggg), married a Thomas Glister and settled in Calthorpe. Can anyone please direct me to finding out more information about the Leacock family or workhouse records. Much appreciated.

  10. janet hignett says:

    My father , Charles Slater, worked at S Michaels from 1962 until his retirement in 1987, working initially as night superintendent & later as nursing officer rheumatology.I have fond memories of going round the wards with him as a child. Rh patients often had multiple admissions, & I’m sure they much prefered being cared for by staff who knew them well & created a happy atmosphere rather than amidst the impersonal surroundings of the N&N. A great deal of teamwork went into creating a dedicated rheumatology unit complete with its own orthopeadic theatre- its so sad to see it all end in the name of centralization, & I’m glad dad didn’t have to watch it all go

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