Powys Digital History Project

Care of the poor 16
Put to work

The casual wards
As can be seen on the previous page, the Rhayader workhouse was very busy with casual relief to tramps who needed food and shelter as they were passing through the area. This was provided in the casual wards of the workhouse in return for work breaking stones.
Local tradition has it that the tramps initially were fed first and then required to report to the yard at the back for a day's work. Not surprisingly the tramps would often eat first and then climb the wall and get away over the fields. The system was later reversed to prevent this.
The minute books record that from 1880, when the numbers of tramps claiming relief had greatly increased, they were accommmodated two to a bed overnight.
 The work sheds
at the rear of
Sheds behind the workhouseStone was bought from local quarries and brought to the workhouse especially for breaking up by the inmates.
They worked in this building at the rear of the workhouse, each with his own space before a window, breaking up rocks into small stones.
This smaller aggregate was then sold for use on the roads. Whatever care the inmates received at the workhouse - in the form of food and shelter - they certainly had to work hard for.

Grill through which the broken stones were pushed
The gloomy interior of the work sheds (right) where the inmates had to break rocks into stones small enough to pass through the grille.

Photograph by kind permission of Winston Collins

  There are 19 pages on Care of the Poor. Use the box links below to view the other pages