“Workhouse” conjures up the harsh and squalid world of Oliver Twist – disgrace surrounded the very word. An early form of welfare, workhouses were the 19th century solution to the rising cost of caring for the poor. While there was no “typical” workhouse inmate, all were there because they were too poor to survive on their own. For some, workhouses must have been a sanctuary; for others, a place to dread and escape.
The Workhouse is dedicated to preserving an example of a once familiar building that loomed on the outskirts of every town, and to interpreting its historic meaning as both a refuge and a warning to the millions who lived near subsistence level in 19th century Britain.Home »