“ We are a small independent charitable trust and we open to the public daily from February to December, but we are willing to be as flexible as possible for filming. This location has been used for filming by the BBC and Wall to Wall Media. ”

Sue Dalton, Head of Museums

Architectural History

This site, on the northern edge of the medieval city, has been providing for Ripon's poor since at least the 1770s. The first Ripon poorhouse from that time, a collection of small houses and yards rather grandly called Allhallows Hall, was swept away in the 1850s and replaced with the current larger buildings. Ripon Union Workhouse occupies about 2½ acres. Its principal building has accommodation for the Master and Matron in the centre, with male and female inmates housed in separate wings on each side. Behind is the former Dining Room and Kitchen and there are separate buildings for the Laundry, Infirmary and Mortuary. At the back of the site is a Kitchen Garden and Piggery to provide food for the 120 or so inmates. The Frontage Building served to receive the paupers, to house the Guardians' Board Room and to provide accommodation for vagrants.

Architectural Features

Considering its grim purpose, the Workhouse is architecturally attractive, with Dutch gables and vaguely Jacobean features. It was designed by the leading institutional architects of mid- 19th century Leeds, Perkin and Backhouse. The buildings are modest in size, two and one storey, and set behind a small Frontage Garden with restored railings and gates. The impressive roadside Gateway, complete with a lanterned overthrow, leads to solid wooden entrance doors set in a stone archway. The Museum occupies the Frontage Building and the restored Victorian Kitchen Garden. A stone-flagged entrance Hall leads to stone steps up to the Guardians’ Room which has been set out as a board room of the 1860s with an exposed stained wooden floor and walls decorated in authentic period colours. Elsewhere, there are several small rooms, again in period decoration. The architectural highlight is the Vagrants' Night Cell Block which has an impressive run of a dozen whitewashed cells served off a tiled-floor spine corridor. Outside is a small Workyard with open lean-to roof where tramps were sent to chop wood or break stones.

Filming Attributes

The Workhouse offers an excellent domestic working class filming venue. Site access is good and heavy plant machinery and vehicles can be managed. When closed to the public, the Workhouse provides a suitably private space for filming. Night shoots and hot works can be accommodated, and animals are permitted in the building. There is 3G and normal mobile reception, but no Wi-Fi. There is a good natural light source. Willing and helpful staff would be made available to assist film crews.


Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base
  • Animals Allowed
  • Hotworks
  • Night Shoots
  • Weekend Shoots


The Workhouse is set back from a B road in the centre of Ripon, opposite a 1960s block of flats.

Crew and Relevant Links


Email: info@riponmuseums.co.uk

Phone: 01765 690799

Website: www.riponmuseums.co.uk