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As noted above, the former Gilbert Union workhouse at Milnthorpe was retained by the Kendal Union for accommodating the aged and infirm, infants, able-bodied women, and unmarried mothers. The site included a block at the south with a semi-hub at its centre — a relatively unusual feature in workhouses of this period but found at a few other places such as Caistor. In 1918, the site became Milnthorpe Hospital for the Mentally Subnormal, later Milnthorpe Hospital.The workhouse was situated at the east of Kirkgate Lane. Kendal Milnthorpe workhouse main block from the south-east, 2001. A central wing from its rear, now demolished, may have contained the workhouse dining hall and kitchens. A single storey lodge at the west of the workhouse is dated 1869. The hospital closed in 1960 and the surviving buildings have now been converted for use as housing known as Chelsea Court.
In 1861, Nicholson's Annals of Kendal described the workhouse as: ...a large, uniform building, two stories high, occupying three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth, which is the entrance, being open to the street.It contains, for the purposes of the paupers, one large general dining-room, kitchens, store-rooms, sick-rooms, &c.on the first floor ; and on the second floor thirty-five well-ventilated lodging-rooms, which contain eighty-nine good beds, supplied with sufficient comfortable clothing, and capable of accommodating two hundred persons ; together with suitable apartments appropriated to the use of the governor and his family.Some able-bodied women "of good character" were sent to Kendal as servants for the workhouse there.