Simon Fowler is editor of the genealogy magazine Ancestors and writes widely on family and social history topics. Previous books include the successful Family Skeletons with Ruth Paley, as well as The Joys of Family History and several of the National Archives’ prestigious Pocket Guide history series. His articles have been published widely in popular history magazines including BBC History and History Today.
Workhouse: People Places Life Behind Doorby Simon Fowler
Workhouses cast deep shadows over Victorian Britain and terrified the poor for generations. Known for their soul-numbing routines, deprivation and cruelty, they were after 1834 almost the sole source of relief for paupers across the land. For old couples and orphans, starving families and single mothers, these institutional monsters became what the New Poor Law intended—the last resort of the desperate.
Workhouse takes you behind the stern doors to reveal the reality behind the legend. It explores all aspects of institutional life, from everyday details of food, uniform and the daily grind to the scandals that shocked society and were an impetus for change. The narrative traces the experiences of guardians and staff who governed inmates’ fates, drawing on dramatic personal accounts from the anonymous ‘Indoor Pauper’ to famous figures such as Charlie Chaplin. It shows how the grim buildings fascinated Charles Dickens and George Orwell, were condemned by celebrities such as Florence Nightingale, and yet became deeply rooted in their communities.
- National Archives (PRO), The
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- 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)
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