Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanfyllin and district
The Union Workhouse
  Beware of the Union workhouse  

The workhouse at Llanfyllin was built in 1838, not long after the harsh new rules for dealing with paupers were brought in under the hated New Poor Laws of 1834.
The new workhouses were meant to look like prisons, and many were boldly sited on high ground to serve as a warning to the community. This could be where they might end up unless they worked hard and avoided the evils of drink !
Most among the ruling classes in the early Victorian years believed that the poor were just lazy, workshy drunkards who chose to live off the parish instead of supporting their families.

shown in an
Llanfyllin workhouse

They mostly accepted that some of the very poorest people of the local parishes were unable to help themselves because they were old or sick or injured in accidents. These were called the 'deserving poor', but all other homeless people were harshly treated as 'rogues and vagabonds' or 'idle beggars'.
The cost of supporting the poor under 'outdoor relief' had been steadily increasing up to 1834, and parishes were objecting to the high charges of the Poor Rates.
The government's answer was to put all the people supported by the ratepayers into large bleak buildings - and spend as little as possible on them by putting them to work. Welcome to the Victorian workhouse !
There is more about the workhouse building on the next page...

How to design a workhouse...


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