Powys Digital History Project 

Workhouses 2
Places of last resort


A spartan regime for desperate people
The 1834 Act replaced the "Old Poor Law", dating from the time of Elizabeth 1. It was a deliberately ruthless measure, intended to wipe out "pauperism", which was judged to be caused by the idleness, fecklessness, drunkenness, and over-dependence on poor Workhouse for 200 paupersrelief of "the lowest class". This was to be brought about by building large, institutional workhouses which were intended to be so harsh and hostile that only the truly destitute would seek refuge in them. They were to be the places of last resort.

Separating families
Perhaps the cruellest aspect of the strict and spartan regime in these places was the practice of separating husbands and wives and parents and children. Not only were they forced to stay in different parts of the workhouse, but they were not even permitted to meet in the communal areas such as the chapel.

There are 5 pages on workhouses. Use the box links below to view the other pages.