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Atmospheric 19th-century workhouse

Follow in the footsteps of the Victorian poor as they sought refuge at The Workhouse. This austere building, the most complete workhouse in existence, was built in 1824 as a place of last resort for the poor and needy. Its architecture was influenced by prison design and its harsh regime became a blueprint for workhouses throughout the country. You can immerse yourself in the building’s unique atmosphere and learn about the daily routine of those who lived and worked here in the 1840s, while reflecting on how society has tackled poverty through the centuries.

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 audio guide helps bring the 19th-century inhabitants back to life.

Explore the segregated work yards, day rooms, dormitories, master's quarters and cellars and then discover the recreated working 19th-century garden and find out what food the paupers would have eaten.

Christmas message

Thank you to all who have visited us this year, we look forward to welcoming you to The Workhouse in 2015. Start planning ahead by taking a look at our exciting range of events.


Workhouse Walkers

Every last Friday of the month

Join our friendly walking group for a free health walk around Southwell. Meet new people and enjoy the last colours of autumn. Find out more

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 page. View visitors' photos and add your own to our Flickr group.