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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)
Love is in the air
Join us for a new season from Saturday 14 February. Find out about segregation, the married role of Master and Matron and discover a love letter from the 1970s bedsit. Plan your visit
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.
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.