Prudhoe Hall was built around 1870 for the industrialist coal mine owner, Matthew Liddell. The family only occupied the Hall for a short time (1878–1904) during which they maintained a strong association with Prudhoe, helping to finance the provision of schools and churches, including moving their Roman Catholic chapel from the Hall to the town in 1891.
Between 1904 and 1913 Prudhoe Hall was owned by Col. Henry Swan, the managing director of Mitchell, Armstrong, Whitworth and Co. in Newcastle.
In 1913, the Hall and its Estate were acquired for £19,19 by the Northern Counties Joint Poor Law Committee to form a residential 'colony' for children with learning difficulties. It was opened in 1914 based in the hall itself.
After the First World War, a number of additional 'villas' were erected housing more than 400 patients.
During the 1930s, the main Hall building was used as the administrative centre, with its walled gardens and greenhouses providing employment for the patients. Facilities based in nearby outbuilding included kitchens, bakery, workshops, stores, laundry, boiler house, power-generating plant, hospital and facilities for recreation.
In 1948, the site became part of the new National Health Service as Prudhoe Hospital. with further major construction between the 1950s and 1980s. By the 1970s Prudhoe had become the fifth largest mental hospital in the UK, with a staff of nearly 1000, and nearly 1500 beds for patients.
There were 38 hospital villas with four hundred children based in the Children's Village. The adults were provided with training and employment in an industrial and occupational therapy department.
Downsizing began in the 1980s and many of the buildings are currently empty and the site mothballed since final closure in 2005. Plans exist to redevelop the site, retaining the Hall, its walled kitchen garden and greenhouses, which have listed building status.
The Workhouse - Prudhoe Hall Colony Link
Prudhoe Historic Characterisation (English Heritage & English Partnerships) Link
Prudhoe - Wikipedia Link
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