The story of the hospital itself started back in early 1902. Towards the end of the workhouse era, this district of County Durham was part of Lanchester Poor Law Union. Smallpox and various other diseases were ripe across the country and spread like wildfire amongst poorer communities, threatening local economies with very few facilities for containment let alone treatment. In 1891 the only hospital provision for the poor was in the workhouses, but obviously putting someone with an infectious disease in a workhouse could lead to an epidemic. So workhouses had remote out-stations
where they put their infectious patients. The collective out-stations for
Lanchester Workhouses lead to Lanchester’s
Infection Hospital board being formed.