From ‘Institution’ to ‘Hospital’
After the official ending of the ‘workhouse era’ in 1930 the institution became the responsibility of the local authority and, eventually, part of the National Health Service. It was renamed the ‘Beeches Hospital’ and continued thus until the early 1990s when it was leased into private hands and became known as Lincoln Grange. Apart from a few minor alterations and additions (such as the building of a Nurses’ Home in the grounds) the original plan remained largely unaltered and Lincoln Grange is probably the most complete and unaltered example of a workhouse building of its type.
The photo shows the Madeley Union Workhouse Board of Guardians (1930) – click to enlarge.
Today, Lincoln Grange lies within the parish of Ironbridge just outside the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site (designated 1986) with its wide range of significant buildings and landscapes with whose history the story of Lincoln Grange is inextricably bound.
Since the 1990s it has functioned as a private nursing home but the lease has now ended and the Borough Council is considering the future of the site with the probability that it will be sold to private developers as a potential housing site.
During its time as a hospital The Beeches fulfilled an important local function by providing employment for up to 200 part-time workers at any one time. This was a region where the dominant male-orientated industries (mining, foundry work, brick and tile-making) were in steep decline and The Beeches was able to offer the life-line of part-time employment to large numbers of women (it is estimated that 4 out of 5 employees were women) becoming one of the largest employers in the area.
All supplies for the hospital were originally sourced locally, boosting local suppliers, and there are few people in Madeley who cannot claim a connexion with the hospital either through personal involvement or through relatives or close friends.
In the next section are some of their memories and personal anecdotes of an institution which played a significant role both in their lives and in the life of the local community.