Explore a different side of The Workhouse

A door opens to show a dilapidated pink bathroom at The Workhouse

There are opportunities to explore The Workhouse inside and out, as well as further afield, during May and June.

Visitors don’t usually get to see the top floor of the The Workhouse building which is used by volunteers for costume-making and for storage of items from the handling collection. Volunteer-led tours of the rooms, explain some of the tasks which take place and highlight volunteering opportunities. Maybe something will take your fancy, as we need more volunteers in a range of areas. Tours will take place during National Volunteers Week on 1,4,7 and 10 June please check the website nearer the time for more details and timings.

Further afield
The Reverend J T Becher, founder of The Workhouse was also a prominent member of local society. A guided walk around Southwell, led by a costumed volunteer,highlights his connections with the town and one of its famous inhabitants, the poet Lord Byron. Tours will take place on 15, 21, 24 and 25 June at 1.30pm, no need to book but numbers are limited.

A costumed volunteer playing Thomas Becher will lead the local walk
Costumed volunteer playing Thomas Becher, founder of The Workhosuse
A costumed volunteer playing Thomas Becher will lead the local walk

Visitors can explore life beyond the town of Southwell too, as there will be showings of short documentary films about the local village of Laxton in 1935 and welfare and poverty in St Ann’s (Nottingham) in the 1960s. During the 1930s The Workhouse was still operating as an institution for those in need. While during the later period it was providing care for the elderly and temporary social housing for families. The 1970s bed-sit can still be visited on the first floor of the main Workhouse building. The films will be running on 10 and 11 June between 12.30pm - 1.45pm and 2pm - 3.15pm in the main Workhouse building.

Explore your creative side
Whether you are an aspiring photographer or have an interest in rural crafts there are opportunities to get hands-on as part of two creative initiatives. On Saturday 24 June The Workhouse in Focus event encourages those with a camera to explore the building and gardens and swap tips with other keen photographers. As part of the Re-imagining The Workhouse initiative a Focus on Furniture on Saturday 10 June gives visitors the chance to see a traditional cabinet maker in action and try their hand at pole lathing. 

Museums at Night
If you have missed the Museums at Night event in May there is another the opportunity to book tickets for this year’s second Museums at Night event on Saturday 28 October which updates the story from 1860-1900. The focus is on Master and Matrons Misbehaving, as it’s not just the paupers who sometimes behaved badly, the staff had skeletons in their cupboard too. However, things are not always what they seem, hear the perspective of various characters involved as you are guided from room to room, and then make up your own mind. Booking is essential and costs £10 for adults, £5 for children (suitable for over 12 years) 5% booking fee applies, please call 0344 249 1895.

Master repremands a pauper
Master repremands a pauper
Master repremands a pauper


Why not discover more about The Workhouse building, current activities and help shape future plans in the new ‘Then, now and next’ exhibition on the second floor? There is also a new selection of objects as part of ‘The Workhouse in 20 objects’ exhibition in Master’s office, so why not come and cast your vote? There are object colouring sheets to keep younger visitors entertained too and they can nominate their favourite object at home, current favourites are all types of technology and bed!