Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Workhouse, Southwell

Very much in evidence at the Lowdham Book Festival on Saturday were these characters from The Workhouse, Southwell. (One of the paupers asked me for a penny, but she would only have spent it on gin.)

This museum's website invites you to:

Discover the most complete workhouse in existence. Meet the Reverend Becher, the founder of The Workhouse, by watching the introductory film and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere evoked by the audio guide. Based on real archive records, the guide helps bring the 19th-century inhabitants back to life.

Discover how society dealt with poverty through the centuries. Explore the segregated work yards, day rooms, dormitories, master's quarters and cellars, then see the recreated working 19th-century garden and find out what food the paupers would have eaten

Sounds a fun day out!

Incidentally, there are several workhouse museums in Britain.

1 comment:

Helen Pender said...

I had been brought up to believe the Workhouse was an inhumane way of dealing with the impoverished. However what I witnessed in Grantham Job Centre led me to reassess my views. A jobless man, with mental health problems, had not received his Job Seekers Allowance for six weeks. He was penniless and unable to pay his way when staying with friends. He had spent a very cold icy night on the street and was talking of topping himself. I was told by Job Centre staff that here are no hostel places around Grantham. I asked if I could drive him to the nearest hostel and was told there were absolutely no places available anywhere. I then suggested under the mental health Act he could be Sectioned and found a place in a hospital. No - apparently it would take two weeks to get a doctors appointment. Now tell me that the Workhouse was worse than the system we currently have in place in the 21st Century.