©  COLIN BAKER   2007                                                                                       

Highcroft Hospital was founded in 1836, it was formally known as the Aston Union Infirmary, later it became known as Erdington House then Highcroft Hall Hospital (usually shortened to Highcroft Hospital).

In 1836, the Aston Poor Law Union, which was established following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, took over an existing workhouse which had been in use for about 100 years, known as the Aston Parish Workhouse.

It was followed by a larger workhouse and infirmary built in 1866-69 to a design by Yeoville Thomason, (later to design Jaffrey Hospital and the Council House) at a cost estimated at £35,000.

By 1873, it was reported that it had nearly 300 people in the workhouse with 160 children in the workhouse school.

The workhouse and infirmary continued to increase in size and in 1905, a chapel was built

In 1912, the Aston Poor Law Union amalgamated with Kings Norton and Birmingham Unions to form the Greater Birmingham Poor Law Union, and the workhouse was renamed Erdington House.

During the First World War, patients were transferred to Erdington House from Dudley Road Infirmary and other hospitals when they were handed over for use as War Hospitals, and forty beds were reserved for civilians, should they be required.

In WW2 Erdington House suffered extensive bomb damage, but the war casualty wards and the maternity wards remained open throughout the war.

With the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 the workhouse and infirmary buildings became Highcroft Hall Hospital, and the hospital was re-graded as a psychiatric hospital caring for “long-term chronic and short-term acute patients with mental and nervous disorders”

It closed in 1996, as a result of the “Care in the Community” Consultative Document Study in 1981, which brought about the closure of most of the Mental Hospitals.

In Birmingham, six other Hospitals were closed as a result of the study, Monyhull, All Saints, John Connelly, Rubery, Hollymoor and Midland Nerve Hospitals

The majority of the hospital building have been demolished or renovated for modern housing.


Extracted from the book

Highcroft: From Workhouse to Modern Mental Health Service by Highcroft History Group Edited by Mike Hinson.