Conservation work of Firbeck Infirmary at The Workhouse

Wall showing exposed skirting boards next to an air vent

Firbeck was empty for 10 years. A range of conservation techniques and processes are required before it opens to the public in spring 2019.

The previously unexplored Firbeck Infirmary had been unused from 1987, when it closed, to 1999 when the National Trust acquired the property. Even then, it remained empty until 2012 when funding was obtained to convert part of the infirmary into staff offices. Part of Firbeck is also now open to the public as this is where our café is housed. 

We want to ensure the original properties of this building are restored and maintained to allow our visitors to gain a full picture of what life here was like. Here is an idea of a few of the hurdles we have unearthed and are beginning to tackle;

  • Repointing and brickwork by qualified stonemasons, including research on identifying the best plaster to complement and replicate the building as it once was. 
  • Construction of sash windows by joiners off site at Clumber Park which will reincorporate the historical glass before being re-instated at Firbeck House.
  • Protection and conservation of the original vintage wallpaper. This includes archiving and displaying the wall paper for the public. 
  • Installation of electrics in keeping with the original building.
Electric light switches and vintage wallpaper in Firbeck
Light switch against vintage wallpaper depicting flowers and buttterflies
Electric light switches and vintage wallpaper in Firbeck
  • Protection of floor tiles on the installation of the lift (this will give access to both floors of Firbeck allowing it to be accessible to all in a way it never was for its inmates.)
  • Repairing of rotten beams in the first floor area.
  • Removal of floorboards for the treatment of damp and woodworm within the ground floor.
  • The re-use of original radiators, incorporating modern day techniques to ensure they are economically efficient. 
Damaged floorboards in Firbeck Infirmary
Rotten floorboards
Damaged floorboards in Firbeck Infirmary

There will be opportunities for visitors to book onto hard hat tours of the infirmary during the reconstruction work. These tours will enable you to see how your donations for the project are being used as well as inform you on our plans to make your visit to The Workhouse more enjoyable and relevant. Keep an eye on our What's on page for details of these tours.

A room in Firbeck Infirmary with peeling wallpaper

The Workhouse – not just papering over the cracks  

Learn more about how you can donate and reveal the history and significance of The Workhouse site.