Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Knighton and district
The Union Workhouse
  Presents for the workhouse children

The official records of the early years of the Knighton Union workhouse have not survived, unfortunately. The oldest of the remaining Minute Books dates from the end of the Victorian period, when the treatment of the poorest people in the community had become much kinder.
The Minute Books recorded the regular meetings of the Union officials at the workhouse. This example is from 1901...

Palatable - good to eat
17th October
Minute book entry

17th October - "The workhouse master reported that Dr Hutton had sent presents to the children and Inmates of the workhouse and it was ordered that the thanks of the Board be conveyed to him for his kindness".
In the earlier years of the workhouse the aim was to make life as harsh and unpleasant as possible for the people living there - and there were no presents !
There is an entry in the same book later that month which reads -
"The Visiting Committee brought before the Guardians for their inspection a sample of the cake supplied to the Inmates and the Clerk was directed to ask the Contractor to see that the ingredients were properly mixed and the cake made more palatable".
So the officials in charge of the workhouse in 1901 were insisting that the cakes for the people living there should be tastier. At the start of the Victorian years they were given old bread, thin soup, and just enough food for survival !

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