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In the vagrant wards, inmates were given a night's lodging and then required to perform three hours work before leaving — two hours before breakfast and one after. Guisborough appears to have been regarded as a model workhouse by the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners who visited it.

It had water closets (then a novelty) and a slipper bath.

In 1814, Danby erected a new workhouse under Gilbert's Act of 1782.

It was a substantial stone building costing £1,007 accommodating up to 50.

A new Guisborough Union workhouse was erected in 1838-9 on the corner of Northgate and what is now Church Lane. The original sick wards were in a separate block at the north of the site. It had separate male and female entrances at either side of the central block. Guisborough 1894 infirmary and 1912 nurses' home from the south-west, 2001. For its first ten years, the new workhouse was somewhat underused, with the average number of inmates being about 30.

It cost about £2,629 and could accommodate about 130 inmates. By 1867, the average occupancy had risen to about 90.

In addition, an Assistant Matron and the Head Nurse resigned.

In the 1920s, the Master and Matron arranged dances in the workhouse dining-hall to which local townsfolk were invited.

Another 75-year-old found it so demanding that he cut his own throat.According to (Chadwick, 1996), the Guisborough workhouse, "an old tumbledown cottage", was "no regular workhouse but a house for the reception of paupers".A paid manager was employed by the parish's Select Vestry to run the establishment but it appears not have been a popular job.These usually took place on Tuesday evenings with women inmates helping with the supper.The money raised was often used to take children from the union homes on holiday to Marske or Redcar.

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