High Hall Bainbridge 1809-2007

High Hall Bainbridge from beginning to end.

Winter 2004






Hush-a-bye baby, on a tree top,
When you grow old, your wages will stop,
When you have spent the little you made.
First to the Workhouse
And then to the grave.
Ripon Museum (in a new window)

  • The Reform Of The Poor Law
  • The first workhouse in Bainbridge was built in 1740
  • High Hall Residential Home was built as a workhouse in 1809 and
    could accommodate up to sixty inmates.
  • The building largely erected with local labour cost £1, 473.
  • John Lightfoot Apothecary from Askrigg was involved in the plans to
    form a Union Society Workhouse at Bainbridge. Unfortunately
    John died before his plans were completed.

1812 The Gilbert Act

  • The Bainbridge Gilbert Union was formed and the workhouse was then
    called the Bainbridge Incorporation Workhouse.

The Workhouse gave shelter, relief and employment to the poor of Bainbridge, Askrigg, Hawes, Aysgarth, Low Abbotside, Thoralby and Burton-Cum-Walden. Under the Gilbert Act the Gilbert Union was formed and the workhouse was called the Bainbridge Incorporation Workhouse.


  • Grinton and High Abbotside joined the Incorporation workhouse.
  • In 1824 Carperby became part of the Incorporation.
  • The workhouse remained a Gilbert Union until 1869 when the
    remaining Gilbert Unions were abolished.

Bainbridge Union Workhouse coloured red in 1856

This is a map of Bainbridge showing the location of the workhouse in 1856.
Note the difference in size and shape to the later workhouse plan. 1910
Note also another pub is located over the bridge called The White Lion Inn.

Aysgarth Union Workhouse coloured red in 1910


  • November. The guardians unanimously decided that they would no
    longer be responsible for payments to the casual poor.
  • Each parish would be directly responsible for the relief of their
    own casual poor.


  • A Medical Officer of Health was appointed for the workhouse.


  • In 1862 it became the law that all pauper children should be


  • In 1869 the Gilbert Union was abolished and the Aysgarth Poor Law
    Union took over the workhouse and it became the Aysgarth Union
  • The Aysgarth Union was managed by a Board of Guardians made up of
    16 local people from the 12 parishes served by the workhouse.


Dr Thomas Grime 1890

Thomas Jackson Grime MD and surgeon was the medical officer from Hawes district for the Aysgarth Union Workhouse. He lived at the Holme, Hawes.

If anyone has an early photograph of High Hall (before the extensions were added) please could you contact AngelaKershaw (in a new window) or e-mail angela@kershaw.org

Also any help, information or corrections will be appreciated.
Comments can also be added to the bottom of all our pages.

An impression of what the workhouse may have looked like using a little artistic licence.

Angela Kershaw 16th Nov 2004

High Hall as you’ve never seen it before

The milkman Mr. Alderson
http://sycamoreclose.com/files/milkman.jpg (in a new window) from Walden is delivering the milk today!!

The usual milkman (who was he?) must be away on holiday.
A maid from Flanders Hall has joined the workforce.

Check out Stan who lives at Sycamore Close and goes to the day centre. He is creating a personal history page. Stan comes from West Burton.


The newly created Ministry of Health was made responsible for poor law administration.

The workhouse in circa 1924

Workhouse at Bainbridge in 1924 genuine but not a lot of detail.

To the very right of the photograph near the greenhouse are the pig sties and vegetable garden for the workhouse.

Most of the vegetables for the workhouse were grown here by the inmates and casuals.

Beyond there you can clearly see the large sycamore tree in the field before Sycamore Close sheltered housing was built. Hence the name Sycamore Close.

Close up of pig sty and vegetable garden

October 2004


  • Boards of Guardians gave power to the Minister for Health to
    replace elected Boards of Guardians by nominees of his own.
  • This led to a tightening up of the administration.


  • The Local Government Act.
  • Responsibility for the workhouse was given to the County Council.


  • Poor Law Act follows the 1929 Local Government Act.
  • Now relations of the poor would look after their own outside of the
    workhouse together with financial assistance if necessary.
  • Admissions to the workhouse were now restricted to the elderly and
    the infirm.



In March the workhouse closed for approximately 9 months and the residents were transferred to Leyburn workhouse. The workhouse reopened at the beginning of the war.


  • National Health Service Act
  • Now pauperism had been abolished and medical treatment was free a
    Medical Officer for Health was no longer needed.
  • Dr. Pickles and Dr. Coltman continued to look after patients in the
    Public Assistance Institution that became a Welfare Home after


  • Since 1948 the sick have been sent to hospital, casuals are no longer admitted, and the number of beds has been reduced from 44 to twenty beds for men and to sixteen beds for the women. It is no longer called the workhouse, institute or as the locals called it “the Spike”, but High Hall County Home for the Aged. The master is the superintendent and the mistress the matron.
  • In 1952 the interior had a complete overhaul; the equipment was modernised, and the rooms were decorated with flowery wallpaper. Fires are lit in the bedrooms, all the food is cooked on the premises, radios may be switched on, and the atmosphere is one of warmth, comfort and kindness.
  • On arrival the old people, if necessary receive a complete outfit of clothes. They go out when and where they please, if they wish to work they are paid, and they all enjoy an annual holiday for which, if they cannot pay, about £5 per head is raised by whist drives and other fundraising.

note from Yorkshire Village by Marie Hartleyand Joan Ingilby


  • The National Assistance Board becomes the Supplementary Benefits
  • County Welfare Officer is a Mr. Harrison.

High Hall Old Peoples Home before 1966

This photograph was taken before 1966. Does anyone remember when the alterations were done?
The alterations were done in 1958/59 by a firm called Jacques, I believe of Spennithorne.(Thanks Paul)

The building has been extended (right of photograph) to make new living quarters for senior staff.
The front wall has been lowered and all the buildings that were directly behind the wall have been demolished. The two main buildings have now been joined together with a further extension.

The top floor extension was where the matron lived. The ground floor accommodation was for the assistant Matron.

The Coroner held a temporary coroners’ court in the building if there were any accidental or unusual deaths.

It was held in the now sitting room next door to the office.

The Aysgarth Parish Council meetings were also held in that room at a charge of 3/6 per month.

If you went through that sitting room you were in the assistant matrons’ quarters.
The Matrons’ quarters were directly above on the first floor.

Part of the long low building at the front of the picture is the chapel of rest.


Christmas Dinner

Matron Joan Bucks’ first Christmas.

Christmas lunch at High Hall Bainbridge December 1966.
From left to right,

The Reverend Malcolm Stonestreet, Dr. Coltman, Matron Joan Buck.

The liquid refreshment is good old Newcastle Brown Ale.


  • The Health Services and Public Health Act.


Christmas lunch

Still plenty of liquid refreshments available.
The man in the centre of the photograph is a Mr. Guy from Swaledale.


  • Local Authorities Social Services Act including recommendations
    from the Seebohm Committee(1968)
  • Local Authorities had to provide for the welfare of the elderly.
  • A Social Services department is now responsible for care of the
  • The Director of Social Services is a Mr. Brown.
  • Home help services, cleaning, laundry etc had to be provided where


Christmas Lunch High Hall

Staff from left to right
Mr. and Mrs. Davey, Assistant Matron and husband.
June Burton Cook, Mrs. Iveson care Assistant.
Joan Buck Matron
Ernest Metcalfe carer, handyman and accordion player.


  • The post of Medical Officer for Health is abolished.

Dinner Gong

Does anyone have any information as to the history of this gong?
I know it used to be used to summon people for meals
but that’s all I know.
Where did it come from?

Aerial Photograph HIGH HALL

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