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Workhouse - part 3

60 second histories

This video covers:

A description of how whole families often had to go into the workhouse and once there, they were separated and made to work for no pay

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We couldn’t help what happened to us, we were desperate. My husband was a farm labourer and our house was tied to his job. When the farmer brought in some new fangled machinery that could do the job of dozens of men, he sacked my husband and we lost our house, so here we are in the workhouse through no fault of our own. When we first arrived, they sent my husband to the men’s block and two of my kids to the children’s block. I got to keep my baby at first but now she’s in the nursery and I only see her to feed her. They cut my hair and changed my clothes for a grey woollen dress, an apron and a white cap, all stamped with the name of the workhouse. I know I should be grateful but the food here’s so bland, they don’t use salt see, so porridge in the morning has virtually no taste. My job is to work in the kitchen, other jobs are to sort rags or to break stones to repair roads, but I’m really glad I don’t have to pick oakum ‘cos it really hurts your fingers.
Eras: 
Victorian
Topics: 
Poverty
Farming & Food
Character: 
Workhouse inmate
Key words: 
Victorian, workhouse, inmate, labourer, block, grey woollen dress, apron, white cap, stamped, porridge, bland, food, oakum, road stone, Poverty, Farming, Work, lifestyle, KS3, Key stage 3, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9,