Record Details

NHER Number:9770
Type of record:Building
Name:Former Henstead Union Workhouse and Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe


Henstead Union Workhouse was built in 1836 to house a maximum of 250 inmates, although numbers were usually between 60 and 70. The building was constructed on a double cruciform plan of around a million bricks which were made in Swainsthorpe brickyard and carried across the fields direct to the site. It was designed by John Brown, the Norfolk county surveyor. In 1948 it became part of the NHS as Vale Hospital, providing care for the elderly mentally ill. The hospital was closed in 1984 and the buildings converted for residential use.


  • Henstead Union Workhouse, late Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe.  © Norfolk County Council


Grid Reference:TG 2120 0122
Map Sheet:TG20SW

Full description

Vale Hospital, former Henstead Union workhouse, 1836. Red brick three storey central block with projecting south wings. Two storey wings to east and west with upper windows rounded, and further north and south wings from these. The water tower, monolithic in red brick, stands immediately behind but on a steep hill so that its base is level with the roof.
Visited by E. Rose (NAU), 15 March 1979.

Architects plans (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NAU).

Converted to residential use before 1996, when seen only in passing. Externally at least this seems to be a good conversion - including the water tower.
Compiled by E. Rose (NLA), 2 May 1996.

Monument Types

  • (Former Type) WORKHOUSE (19th Century to Mid 20th Century - 1836 AD to 1948 AD)
  • WATER TOWER (19th Century - 1836 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Former Type) HOSPITAL (Mid 20th Century to Late 20th Century - 1948 AD to 1984 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2101 A,B.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 686.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Swainsthorpe.
<S1>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.

Related records - none

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