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St John's Hill workhouse from the south-west, c.1913.

© Peter Higginbotham In 1841, a visitor described his experience of the workhouse: One day, while in London, I took the opportunity of driving a few miles west from Vauxhall, on the Wandsworth road, to visit the large workhouse of the Battersea district, lately erected, and in full operation under the new system.

In 1868-70, a much larger infirmary was erected at the north of the workhouse site on the ground previously used for the workhouse's gardens.

It comprised four three-storey ward pavilions linked to a central four-storey administration block. © Peter Higginbotham After 1886, when a new workhouse was opened at Garratt lane, St John's took on the role of union infirmary.

There were also four large day-rooms which, owing to overcrowding, were pressed into use as wards.