Amersham Workhouse
Union Workhouse, Amersham (1910)
Credit: George Ward/Amersham Museum
The Amersham Workhouse was situated on the site of Amersham Hospital.

The Union Workhouse was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott who also designed the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park and St Pancras Station in London. It was built in 1838 and served a number of local parishes and provided basic care of the elderly and those unable to work.

It was built following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 which obliged parishes to form a "union" to build a workhouse. The Amersham Union included the parishes of Chesham, Beaconsfield, the Chalfonts and Penn. Typically, a Union Workhouse was built in the largest town of the Union. In Amersham’s case this should have been Chesham, but Amersham was chosen.

The Union Workhouse replaced the many work houses around the parishes, with the "inmates" being moved from their local towns, sometimes leaving them for the first time in their lives. Owing to the location of the "union" Workhouse, Whielden Street was for a time known as Union Street. The name reverted to Whielden Street (named after a previous land owner) in 1930 when Bucks County Council took over the site replacing the Union. Life in the Union Workhouse was tough, the inmates having to wear uniforms, work hard and were forced to church on Sundays. Men, women and children were housed in separate wards. There was also an infirmary and tramps and vagrants wards.

It was originally the Workhouse for the Amersham Union of Parishes and then became Amersham Hospital.

The building is now Gilbert Scott Court.

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