The Workhouse, Southwell – National Trust

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Visitors to Nottinghamshire wishing to experience a change from Robin Hood would do well to visit the market town of Southwell, 12 miles from Nottingham, home of the Bramley apple, a splendid Minster, founded in Saxon times and Nottingham''s "Cathedral" and the Workhouse. This building, built in 1824, was the main influence for the Poor Law, which established similar institutions across the country to house those in need. An audio or guided tour of the building, shows in graphic detail how the day to day lives of the inmates were run. Families were separated, men, women and children all had their own sections of the building and were never allowed to mix. Men did physical labour, women cleaned, cooked and laundered, children were educated , girls to go into service and boys to become apprentices. Visitors will be able to see how they ate, slept and worked and gives a comprehensive picture of life in Victorian England for the poor. This place is suitable for all age groups. Children will be fascinated by the schoolroom, to see how classes were taught before the age of computers and the clothes the inmates wore. Punishment for minor infringements of the rules were harsh and leniency was notably absent. In all, a very interesting and worthwhile visit , if only to enlighten us how hard life was for our ancestors.

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