Final farewell to last remnants of hospital

The scene of the site of former Billinge Hospital
The scene of the site of former Billinge Hospital

Work on a housing estate that will see the last remnants of Billinge Hospital demolished has begun.

Morris Homes have begun clearing the site off Upholland Road, as it begins work to build 37 houses on the site.

The hospital in its heyday

The hospital in its heyday

It will mean the remaining buildings of the former hospital, a derelict red brick building and a 60s block used as nurses’ living quarters, will be flattened to make way for the new housing estate.

Planning permission was granted to Morris Homes in 2014, at the same time as an adjacent application to build 21 houses on a site further down Upholland Road.

A spokesman for Morris Homes said: “Morris was granted planning permission for a housing development on this site in Billinge and a neighbouring site in 2014.

“The development is now proceeding in accordance with that approval.”

Wigan Council confirmed that planning permission had been granted for the demolition of the remaining buildings, neither of which, it said, were listed.

The red brick building, which can be seen, from Upholland Road behind wrought iron gates, has fallen into disrepair since the hospital closed in 2004.

It has become a target for vandals who break into the site, leaving many of the building’s windows smashed.

Despite its derelict state, some residents, many of whom will have registered a birth there, will be sad to see it go.

Others will no doubt welcome the removal of what is regards by some as an eyesore.

One Billinge resident, who was born at the hospital, said: “It’s a real shame the final piece of the hospital is going to go.

“It’s a nice building which they should have renovated - and it’s sad a piece of Billinge history won’t be preserved.”

The two sites will book end The Coppice, a development consisting of more than 200 houses where the former maternity unit of Billinge Hospital once stood.

Hospital services had existed on the sites since 1837 when the Wigan Poor Law Union workhouse and medical facility was founded.

The maternity hospital, where thousands of expectant mothers from Wigan, St Helens and West Lancashire gave birth, opened in 1968.

Births were then registered in the red brick building and the site was also home to a mental health facility.

The hospital was closed in 2004, with maternity services being transferred to other hospitals. Demolition of the maternity unit began in March 2007.