Punishment at The Workhouse

Hanging out the washing at The Workhouse © National Trust

Hanging out the washing at The Workhouse

Rachel Revill, Pauper
The Workhouse

Date: 1 September 1852
Offence: Screaming and disturbing women in the house
Master’s Punishment: Three hours in refractory ward

'I am Rachel. I’m always in the refractory ward, sometimes for four hours or more. I don’t think I deserve it. Oh, how I hate that place. The cold seeps through your bones, every tiny noise makes you jump and the bodies next door….! I tell you, when you’ve been in there for hours on end your mind plays horrible tricks. What was that against my leg? A mouse? A rat? Something else? Thing is, I just can’t seem to be good. And when I’m disobedient, it’s straight into the punishment cell for me. But I’m not the only one.'