New beginnings at The Workhouse - Past, Present and Future

The front of The Workhouse buidling against a bright blue sky

It is 22 years since The Workhouse came into the care of the National Trust and 20 since the acquisition of Firbeck Infirmary. This April you will see some exciting changes when you visit.

The Workhouse in Nottinghamshire is the most complete 19th-century workhouse in existence, built in 1824 as a refuge for the destitute. The austere architecture was influenced by prison design and its harsh regime became a blueprint for workhouses throughout the country. 

This spring, visitors will be able to see the results of a five-year Re-imagining project which has drawn on archival research to conserve the original 1871 Firbeck Infirmary building. The completion of the restoration means that visitors will have access to previous unexplored areas of the site. 

Unexplored areas of Firbeck will now be open to the public
Front of Firbeck Infirmary against a blue sky
Unexplored areas of Firbeck will now be open to the public

Firbeck Infirmary will be recreated with different spaces to chart how it might have looked at its start in the 1870s, to a later 1970s care ward, and including the room used by the last resident when the building finally closed its doors in the late 1980s. A library space will be available to explore Workhouse records including census returns, statistics and inspector’s reports along with workhouse reference books and genealogy books available to browse.

Events, activities and arts programmes are also planned to engage our wide audience of visitors as well as encourage discussion around poverty and social health care provision in the past, present and future. 

Join us on 23 April and experience the new layout at The Workhouse and the previously unexplored Firbeck Infirmary. Share your own experiences and get involved in today’s debates around poverty and welfare.

" We want to protect and enhance this special place so it can be explored by current and future generations. Once re-opened, The Workhouse will move visitors to understand more about the history of poverty and welfare, teaching us about our own links to the past. "
- Sara Blair Manning, General Manager at The Workhouse