Our Aim
The aim of this site is to collect  information in the form of History- Personal Stories- Photographs- Maps  to tell the next generation THE WAY WE WERE

ARCHWAY OF TEARS                                                                                                      ENTRANCE TO THE WORKHOUSE,



The Archway of Tears is still there, boarded up, when I last visited the site. There is a a fence all the way round the outside of the building where it now resides in the centre of a car park accessed from Western Road. Ted Rudge June 2015.

                                                        June 2015


2003                         COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE         June 2008                     2007

   2010                                    2008                              2008

Ken Grinnell, Andrew Simons, Gordon Smith and Ted Rudge have supplied the photos of what's left of the Archway of Tears in various stages through the years. Historian Professor Carl Chin open the Commemorative Plaque situated alongside of the building in memory of the people who spent time in the workhouse 

If you are interested in supporting a campaign to try and save the building please send us your comments ASAP



ARCHWAY OF TEARS LATEST NEWS                                                                                 Following a meeting at the hospital on 8th March 2010 the following has been issued to keep you updated.   We still need your comments either below or to our site

The Archway of Tears at the City Hospital, Western Rd--Dudley Road, Birmingham

Birmingham Conservation Trust have secured funding to carry out an Options Appraisal on the Archway of Tears at the City Hospital on Dudley Road. This is the initial stage in a proposed larger project to restore the Archway of Tears - the entrance to the former Birmingham Union Workhouse.

The building was designed by J.J. Bateman and completed in 1852. It was here that people driven by poverty and circumstance arrived to be assessed for entry to the workhouse. Its evocative name reflects the sorrow suffered by new arrivals as families were split by gender and age to relevant living and working areas. 

We will look at ways to re-use the building in a sustainable way and we also will tell the story of the Workhouse in some way. 

If you or your family have any memories or artefacts you want to share with us, please get in touch.

Lucie Thacker

Project Officer

Birmingham Conservation Trust

Tel: 0121 675 3772




We have recently met again with Graham and other Estates staff at the hospital regarding the Archway of Tears and we are now looking into sources of funding for an Options Appraisal and a Conservation Management Plan. This will also include a structural and condition survey so we will know the extent of the restoration required. Funding won't be easy to access in these constrained economic times and the building is unlisted but it's such a great place so we will keep asking!

We need to make the building and its past attractive to funders and bring it to life for them so we are really keen to lay our hands on any information you might have about the social history - stories or photographs - of the place and the people who used it? Basically we are looking for anything we can include in bid submissions.

Letters need to be addressed to me, Elizabeth Perkins, Trust Director at Birmingham Conservation Trust, 12th Floor, Alpha Tower, Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham B1 1TU. 

Elizabeth Perkins

Trust Director

Birmingham Conservation Trust

Tel: 0121 303 2664


15/01/09 Carl Chinn had a meeting last week with the chief executive of the City Hospital and reps of Heritage Lottery Fund and Birmingham Conservation. They are now exploring various options re funding etc. Carl will let you know how things transpire.

27/11/08The chief executive of the Trust at City Road Hospital is setting up a meeting with Carl Chinn, Heritage Lottery and the Birmingham Conservation Trust early in the new year. He is keen to do something positive.



Archway of tears SUPPORT 08/01/2011

I live just a short walk away from City Hospital and the Archway of Tears and visit quite regularly, it's a pity to see this beautiful, history-rich building in such a dilapidated condition. I have links, through my grandmother, to the old workhouse and my own daughter was born in City Hospital. She's now, at the age of 16, showing a keen interest in local history and hopes as much as I do that the building can be saved and possibly turned into a workhouse museum. We both offer our full support and will gladly donate the time to help raise awareness if needed.Regards  Joanne


Archway of tears SUPPORT 07/08/2010

I to have a lot of connections with city hospital and the archway of tears

My two older brothers my older sister my self and my younger sister where all born at Dudley Road hospital as it was called then in the 50's and the 70'

I have just recently found out that my great great grandmother died in the Birmingham union workhouse which stands on the site of city hospital

It would be a crying shame to lose such a stunning building to many of our historical building are lost to bull dozers and planners because they are trying to improve the surrounding area these building are our history even if sometimes the history might not be very nice and they should be saved to educate to next generation and also for the memory of those who passed away there through no fault of their own

Cecilia Morrall Tamworth  celia_morrall@hotmail.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT 06/09/09

Re your website about the archway of tears, I am very keen to try to save this and see it be turned into a workhouse museum.

I dont have any photos but my great grandmother was born in this workhouse in 1879 as her father died whilst she was in there, some 2 months before the birth, making the family destitute. I have the death certificate marriage and also birth certificate and a photo of Nellie- birth certificate states aston workhouse municipal as it was then called ?.

If I can help please let me know. P G philuk8@hotmail.co.uk


Archway of tears SUPPORT 21/08/09

My Mum, her mother and her 2 brothers and sister were in the work house my Mum would have been 71 this year but passed away in 2001, she had a very hard life after her father left and the family ended up there. My mum went on to Father Hudson's homes with her sister and her brothers went to live in the cottage homes in Erdington. 

I intend to go to the central library in Birmingham and try to find some records. I have a photo of my mum and her siblings dressed in rags I could scan it in and send it on if you are interested. I have never seen the arch but intend to pay it a visit, there should be a permanent reminder and I whole hearted support your cause, 

DEBORAH DOUGLAS deborah.douglas@btinternet.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT 01/03/09

I have just found the website and have spent a while reading the comments. 

I was brought up in Clissold Street but when researching my father's family I found that his mother was born in the Workhouse. Not sure what I could do from New Zealand but I heartily agree that it should be preserved. 

Audrey Scasbrook (nee Spriggs) skaz@wise.net.nz


Archway of tears SUPPORT 11/12/08 I think we should be able to sign a petition online to save the Archway of Tears. Demolishing it would be like forgeting the poor people who were incarcerated there. It would be a disgrace.There should be a register available to trace who was actually in there with dates etc.. 

Yours very sincerely  Brenda Roberts. brendaroberts100@yahoo.co.uk


Archway of tears SUPPORT 12/10/08

I was born in New Spring St, Brookfields. I now live in Sheffield but frequently visit my family in Brum.

I am interested in workhouses and am planning to visit the archway of tears - so I was saddened and cross to hear that it might be demolished. I think these places should be preserved as a monument to the people who spent miserable, humiliating years there - many of them after working hard all their lives as servants etc.

I am a writer and singer/songwriter and wonder if there is anything I can do to promote the cause of saving this building. Maybe a fundraising concert or something, or I could write a song about it? I wish you well with it.

Tina McKevitt tinamckevitt@hotmail.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT 27/09/08

Too many of our old buildings in Birmingham have been lost to the bulldozer, we must save this one The Workhouse in the grounds of City Hospital, let me know if there is anything I can do to help save it.

Sincerely  Phil O'Dell 


Archway of tears SUPPORT 10/08/08

I have just discovered my 2xgrandmother ended her days at the Birmingham Workhouse at the great age of 83 in 1894. Although she thought she was in her 90s its taken me three years to track her down. She once lived near the workhouse in Farm Street and Northwood Street.

We are losing our roots and even though these places were sad if they hadn't been there then some of our ancesters would have not recovered enough to have gone back in to the world and produced us

Elaine, great great granddaughter of Ann Hollington(Oxby) terry.grange@tesco.net


Archway of tears SUPPORT 04/07/08

Tracing back my family tree, I found that my Grandmother together with my Great Grandmother and family went through the Archway of Tears on two occasions. It is a big part of our ancestry, however sad, and we have all worked so hard to find out more detail. As a result it has brought so many of us together. Three generations on, our family members can see this piece of our own history. If it is taken away, as so much is these days, we have nothing but photographs to pass on. If this applies to my family, it must also apply to so many others. 

Libby Roberts . Libby.Roberts@dlapiper.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT 24/06/08

The building is without doubt one of the most important modern inner city historical sites within Birmingham and MUST be preserved and restored for future generations to appreciate. I totally support your cause and would, if required, offer time and effort in raising awareness. 

Good luck. Keith Acton


Archway of tears SUPPORT 24/06/08

I was shocked to see the recent photograph of the condition of the workhouse building and the "Archway of Tears". As a child in the fifties living on the Brookfields I remember it as Summerfield hospital? I think it was a geriatric hospital then and regarded with some dread. I thought that the commemorative plaque opened by Carl Chinn was a very fitting memorial to all those unfortunate souls who found themselves within those workhouse walls. Surely there is some way of preserving this piece of Birmingham's history and that of it's people? I will certainly support any campaign to save the building and I hope my comments will help. 

Yours sincerely, Mary Free


Archway of tears SUPPORT 19/06/08 We visited today with Year 5 from Matthew Boulton Community Primary School the entrance building to Birmingham Union Workhouse. As you will see from the attached photograph the building is subject to neglect by City Hospital. It is now very difficult for anyone to get near the building as cars are parked in front of the building and also a fence has been errected between the entrance and the building presumably to reduce the visibility of the building to people entering from Western Road. As you will also see the building is also now obscured by trees and bushes. I think we need to step up the campaign to save the building. What would you advise? andrew.simons@blueyonder.co.uk


(Ted Rudge 07/07/07) I spoke to  Carl Chinn and asked him if he knew what was the latest possition regarding the "Archway of Tears"


(Carl's  reply 07/07/07) "The building belonged to the national health service and he had been in touch with them over many months to try and find out what was planned for the building. The reply from the NHS was nothing was planned due to lack of money." 


Archway of tears SUPPORT

I am an old Brummie living in Tamworth now. I have seen what Tamworth Borough Council has done to this Ancient Town, covering it with concrete lumps. I am sure if our Castle could be sold and built on, it would be! I hate to think of similar happening to Brum. I don’t know what good this will do, but at least it is a bit of support, and who knows, if a campaign gets up and running, every comment might be important. 

Regards  Paul Higgins


Archway of tears SUPPORT 30/07/07

I have just discovered that my g-g-grandfather, Charles Murray, died in the workhouse infirmary in 1890, I feel that I  now have a connection with the building, I was born in brum but now live on the I O W, I do hope that they will leave it standing as a building of great historical interest.   Terry Glynn daddywarbuck@hotmail.co.uk


 Archway of tears SUPPORT 06/10/2006

No! this must stay. I understood it was to be renervated? not sure where I got this idea from. It is part of Birminghams history and we MUST KEEP IT. Let me know if I can help in any way. Regards Pat Smith


Archway of tears SUPPORT 26/10/06

I moved into Brookfield Road in 1990 and lived there only a few years but am very interested in the history of my first home. I also trained at what was  Dudley Road Hospital and remember much about the old buildings on the site especially the archway of tears that has fallen into disrepair I hope you succeed in ensuring it is kept alive in memory of all those who walked below it. I moved away but am now working again on the City Hopsital site and would hope to see it restored as a memorial Julie Winning juliewinning@btinternet.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT 06/04/06 The  Friends of Key Hill Cemetery support your cause - we have suffered enough demolition of our history, we are fully behind the campaign to save the workhouse entrance - IT MUST NOT GO, IT IS PART OF OLD BIRMINGHAM, AND LORD KNOWS, WE HAVE LITTLE ENOUGH LEFT. Pauline Roberts


26/06/05     My book,  Archway of Tears, is largely based around the area. 

It is published by Brewin Books. isbn 1-85858-184-2 David Conroy david.conroy6@btinternet.com


Archway of tears SUPPORT  29/05/05 My family have a long history with Hockley (Ford Street) and with Dudley Road Hospital and I would like to support your cause to keep the 'Archway of Tears' workhouse building.

Regards.  Gary Callaghan