Record Details

NHER Number:6572
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Erpingham Union Workhouse and Beckham Hospital

Summary

Erpingham Union Workhouse was designed by William J. Donthorne and constructed at West Beckham in 1851, replacing two former workhouses at Sheringham and Gillingham (NHER 15848). In April 1888 the building was partly destroyed by fire, but although the workhouse was soon restored to accommodate 539 inmates by 1890 there were only 78 occupants. In the early 20th century the building became Beckham Hospital, which included an isolation unit for TB sufferers, and the hospital continued to operate until the 1950's. For a short time the buildings housed servicemen from nearby bases, but by 1962 the building had again become a hospital and around this time it was renamed ‘Beckham Palace.’ However, by the 1970s the workhouse buildings were derelict and were progressively demolished. By 1994 only the derelict Hospital Block (the former north wing of the workhouse) remained.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 1476 3862
Map Sheet:TG13NW
Parish:WEST BECKHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Erpingham Union Workhouse was designed by William J. Donthorne and constructed at West Beckham in 1851, replacing two former workhouses at Sheringham and Gillingham (NHER 15848). A chapel was added in 1868 and on 1 April 1888 the building was partly destroyed by fire. The workhouse was soon restored to accommodate 539 inmates, but by 1890 there were only 78 occupants.

In the early 20th century the building became Beckham Hospital, which included an isolation unit for TB sufferers, a section for adults with learning difficulties, a maternity unit with provision for unmarried mothers, a geriatric section and an infirmary. In the late 1950s the building was closed and for the next ten years housed servicemen from nearby bases, but by 1962 the building had again become a hospital and around this time it was renamed ‘Beckham Palace.’

During the 1970s the buildings were progressively demolished and by 1994 only the derelict Hospital Block (the former north wing of the workhouse) remained.
Information from Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.
Photographs (S1), press cuttings (S2) and (S3), architects drawings of north wing (S4) in file.
E. Rose (NAU).
Updated H. Hamilton (HES), 28 May 2014.

8 July 1974. NAU air photography (S5).
Building. Hospital, former workhouse, in derelict state, prior to demolition.
D. Edwards (NLA), 16 February 1998.

2002.
Pews from chapel now in Bodham Church.
E. Rose (NLA), November 2001.

Monument Types

  • HOSPITAL (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1851 AD to 1990 AD)
  • SITE (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1851 AD to 1990 AD)
  • WORKHOUSE (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1851 AD to 1990 AD)
  • (Former Type) CHAPEL (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1868 AD to 1990 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Photograph: Durst, M.. [unknown]. Photographs of Erpingham Union Warehouse / Beckham Hospital prior to demolition..
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1975. Palace by any other name. 14 August.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1994. Any offers for two run-down Victorian workhouses?. 25 August.
<S4>Graphic material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
<S5>Aerial Photograph: TG 1438 G-L, A+B.

Related records - none

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