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Atmospheric Victorian workhouse

Walking up the paupers' path towards The Workhouse it is easy to imagine how the Victorian poor might have felt as they sought refuge here. This austere building, the most complete workhouse in existence, was built in 1824 as a place of last resort for the destitute. Its architecture was influenced by prison design and its harsh regime became a blueprint for workhouses throughout the country.

This rural workhouse was designed to house around 160 inmates. They lived and worked in a strictly segregated environment with virtually no contact between the old and infirm, able-bodied men and women and children

The stories of those who lived and worked here in the 1840s help bring the building to life and prompt reflection on how society has tackled poverty through the centuries.

'An empty workhouse is a successful one' - Rev. J T Becher (founder of Southwell Workhouse)

Workhouse events

 Start planning ahead and take a look at our exciting programme of Workhouse events including living history days, storytelling, special tours and activity sessions for children.

Our collection

 From slipper pans to a harmonium, our collection contains a fascinating range of objects. Browse our online collection to delve deeper into Victorian Workhouse items.

Share your thoughts

 Keep up-to-date with all the latest news and share your experiences of The Workhouse on our Facebook and Twitter pages. View visitors' photos and add your own to our Flickr group.