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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)

Pauper picnics

Enjoy the liberties of modern life and bring a picnic to munch on in the open air. If you want inspiration for doing it Victorian-style, download this PDF:

Back in time

We were featured on 24 Hours in the Past on 19 May at 9pm. If you missed it, you can catch up on demand to see how six celebrities survived life as Victorian poor.

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