Workhouse plan testifies to bleak life

"It is Christmas Day in the workhouse, And the cold, bare walls are bright With garlands of green and holly, And the place is a pleasant sight..."

Evoking the spirit of George R Sim's grim Victorian poem, the 8ft by 4ft plan shows the bleak environment of workhouse ground floor kitchens, dining areas and infirmary wards at Hull's Sculcoates Union Workhouse.

A year after the last traces of the workhouse disappeared for a secondary school to be built on the site, the plan has been presented to the city archive service.

Sculcoates Union Workhouse was built in 1843-45 to the design of Henry F Lockwood to house the destitute of Hull's suburbs and the surrounding villages. It was later extended several times and the plan shows it as it was in 1899.

In 1948 the workhouse became Kingston General Hospital but last year the hospital was knocked down for the building of Endeavour High School.

The hand-tinted plan – which was owned for many years by Coun John Fareham – joins the administrative records of the workhouse authority in the city archives.