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Stapleton Workhouse, Hospital and Asylum

1. The parish Poor House (known to be in existence in 1773, probably much older) was in Poor House Lane, which has since been re-named College Court. It would probably have been run by Stapleton Parish on a charitable basis. This building eventually became a laundry and private house, and was demolished to make way for the modern flats. 

2. The Stapleton Workhouse, also known as the French Prison, The Stapleton Poor Asylum, Stapleton Institution, Manor Park Hospital, Blackberry Hill Hospital. Located in Manor Road. Built about 1779 to house French prisoners of war; in 1833 it was taken over by the Bristol authorities to due to overcrowding at St Peter's Hospital (there was at that time a cholera epidemic), and used to care for the sick, the elderly and disabled people. 
For some time it was run by the Bristol authorities under the Poor Laws (providing a home for the destitute, and basic care for those with disability or mental illness). By the 20th Century, it had become more of a care home than a "poor house"; the more able residents in the grounds or the wards, and the Institution was virtually self-supporting. By the 1950's it had become a hospital for the elderly. Some of the original buildings remain, although the buildings are now used for training purposes.

3. Snowdon Road Hospital, also known as Meadowsweet. I think is actually in Small Lane rather than Snowdon Road. This was an isolation (TB) hospital in the 1930's and 1940's; it later became a home for the elderly. Some buildings are still there.

4. Glenside Hospital, also known as Bristol Borough Lunatic Asylum, Stapleton Lunatic Asylum, is next to Blackberry Hill Hospital, on Manor Road and was built about 1850. This hospital was for people with mental health and psychiatric problems, and I believe there are still some patients being treated on the site.

5. Fishponds Lunatic Asylum, also known as Fishponds House, Mason's Madhouse (!) was in the area bounded by Oldbury Court Road, Elfin Road, College Road, and Fishponds Road. This was a private establishment, founded in about 1770 by Dr Joseph Mason. It closed in 1850, and the patients were transferred to the new Borough Lunatic Asylum (# 4 above). Demolished about 1880.

Source: Submitted by Marion in Wiltshire, UK

St Peter's Hospital
St Peter's Workhouse in Bristol is registered under District of Castle Precincts. This was attached to St Peter's Church and was all badly bombed in WW2 and only the shell of it is there now. 

"St Peter's Hospital, late nineteeth century. This ornate timber-framed house beside St Peter's Church was first mentioned in 1402 and rebuilt in 1612 by Robert Aldworth, a prominent merchant and several times mayor. After serving as a mint during the re-coinage of 1696-98 it was then purchased by the Bristol Corporation of the Poor (i.e. the Board of Guardians responsible for Poor Relief) for use as a Workhouse for the destitute and as a lunatic asylum. From the 1830's it was  replaced by a larger Workhouse at Stapleton and after 1865 used mainly for administrative purposes. It was destroyed during the  Blitz of November 24, 1940, arguably Bristol's greatest 
architectural loss of the Second World War."
Source: Lorraine Ottawa, Canada               


Workhouses, List of those visited in 1867 With Name of the Workhouse and numbers of  insane, idiotic, and imbecile inmates.
Bristol 58 97 155
Source: 22nd Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor. Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

Records Available

Bristol Record Office
B Bond Warehouse
Smeaton Road
Tel: 0117-922 4224
Fax: 0117-922 4236

Reading Material

"Landmarks of old Fishponds" by Peter Brown. 


Page updated December 19, 2006 by Rossbret