Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanfyllin and district
The Union Workhouse
  A Victorian prison for the poor  

For many years the usual way to provide help for the very poorest people in the community, including those who were very old and very sick, was to pay for them to stay in their homes.
The money for this came from the Poor Rate, collected from the people of the parish, and this system of caring for the poor was called 'Outdoor Relief'.
But there were many complaints from parishes about the cost of the poor rate, and wealthy landowners were among those demanding a cheaper way of dealing with the poor.
The government's Women in a workhouse answer was a new Act of Parliament in 1834 which forced parishes to combine together into Unions and build large workhouses for the whole area. These were almost like prisons, with bare walls, hard beds, and little food. Family members were split up and could never meet as long as they were in the workhouse. People were terrified of being sent to the workhouse - and who could blame them ?
One of these awful places was built in 1838 just outside Llanfyllin, and you can learn more about it from these pages...

There is more
on our
'Care of the
Poor' pages
Welcome to the workhouse
Work for a pauper child
Child servants from the workhouse
Breaking stones for breakfast
Deaths from disease
Punishments for the poor
Cold rooms and cold baths
Roast beef for Christmas

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