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In the 1730s, Ecclesfield erected a workhouse in a building on the site of former almshouses at the west of St Mary's Lane.

The Workhouse stands in a good situation, and the lodging rooms are tolerably comfortable, but not sufficiently sub-divided.

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There is no central heating or central hot water scheme, the hot water for baths being in most cases from gas geysers." The buildings at this date were all lit by gas which, in many cases, was said to be "inadequate".

The casual ward had been closed and was occupied by the union's Relieving Officer.

By 1971, there was accommodation for 208 patients, with men placed in the former workhouse buildings, and women across the road in the annexe.

The main workhouse block was then described as "a Dickensian workhouse which remains a grim, dark inconvenient Victorian building...

The entrance block is all that now remains of the workhouse era.

From 1930, the site became Grenoside County Welfare Institution and provided accommodation for what were then termed "mental defectives" .

It was due to be closed in 1940, but with the onset of the Second World War was kept open with 44 beds.

It was strongly recommended that a completely new and modern institution be be built.

A plan of the site made in 1930 shows, in addition to the buildings, an extensive kitchen garden, a greenhouse, cold frames, and piggeries. In fact, the old buildings continued in use for another half a century.

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