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Manor Park Hospital 3898

Brief Description

This record refers to Manor Park Hospital, one of two neighbouring hospitals with contiguous grounds. There is 19th century parkland with mature specimen trees and a lime avenue dating from 1870.Hospital closed, site now occupied by various Health Service departments.(Record updated May 2010)


Manor Park Hospital was first built as Stapleton Prison in 1779.

Detailed Description

Both this site and the adjacent Glenside Hospital are crown property administered by Frenchay Area Health Authority.

The Manor Park building is much older than Glenside, with some later additions. The main block is in plain stone, and still reflects its origin as a prison.

The large area covered by the two hospital sites, the extensive use of local stone in their construction, the ornamental woodland walks by the river and the mature trees mean that Glenside and Manor Park Hospitals contribute much to the character of the environment of the Stapleton and Frome Valley Conservation Area.

Both sites are well-maintained by a team of gardeners. The wooded slopes down to the River Frome were rejuvenated in the 1980s by a Manpower Services team after many years of neglect. The clearance work has uncovered original footpaths and retaining walls and seats.

  • Hospital (featured building)
  • Description: The building was originally a prison, and has since been a workhouse and a hospital.
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  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: Lime avenue dating from 1870.
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Detailed History

Manor Park Hospital was first built as Stapleton Prison in 1779, when it housed military prisoners from the wars with the American colonies, France, Spain and Holland. The claim by Elliott (see references) that ‘the building was probably an old mansion converted to this use' is probably erroneous.

The inmates consisted of 774 Spaniards and 13 Dutchmen in 1782. The unusual design and method of construction of some of the stone walls in the vicinity are suggestive of foreign builders. It is likely that foreign prisoners were put to work in this way. When the foreign wars ceased, the buildings were used as a marine school for 10 years.

French prisoners were also put to work by Bristol Corporation in the construction of the Floating Harbour and the New Cut. From 1815 the prison was used as an Ordnance store by the Admiralty. It was then hired in 1833 by the Bristol Corporation of the Poor, who purchased it in 1837. It became the local workhouse.

Between 1861 and 1865, £26,000 was spent in practically rebuilding and enlarging the premises, now known as the Stapleton Institution. In 1898, the Joint Board of Guardians for Bristol was established. Stapleton Workhouse became a shelter for the sick and needy as a Workhouse Infirmary.

During World War 1 the premises provided a considerable number of beds for the war wounded. Between the wars it continued as a workhouse infirmary. After World War 2 it was absorbed by the N.H.S. as a hospital for aged patients suffering senile dementia and the mentally disturbed.


  • Victorian (1837-1901)