Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The workhouse at Forden
Care of the poor
  Apprenticed from the workhouse  
Workhouse drawing
To find out more about workhouses in general, click on the image above.
In the workhouses around Britain it was common for the workhouse authorities to try to place young inmates as apprentices with craftsmen in the area. Sometimes they would be sent far away to craftsmen and sometimes they would be sent as unskilled workers in dangerous factories where they could be injured or even killed. The parents in the workhouse had no say in the arrangement and would sometimes only be given time to say goodbye.
The Guardians of the Montgomery and Pool Union (later Forden Union) do seem to have been keen to set their youngsters up in proper useful trades.
In the entries below we can see some of their arrangements.
In Victorian times working people often tried to get their sons apprenticed to a local craftsman. This meant the boy would leave home and live with the craftsman who taught him all the skills of his trade. The family would have to pay the craftsman a fee and the boy would get little in the way of pay. At the end of the apprenticeship of several years he would be able to set up his own business and would have better opportunities than if he was an unskilled labourer.

The entry is from the workhouse records and it reads:
"Ordered that the master have authority to procure a suit of clothes for George Bevan a pauper of Worthen Parish now in the House but about to be sent to a situation at Stafford and that he be directed to pay the boy's railway fare to Stafford"
The next entry gives us details of another poor local boy.


It reads:
"Ordered that John Thomas a pauper inmate be supplied with a wooden leg and that steps be taken to apprentice him to a tailor"
We do not know how John came to lose his leg but accidents were common in Victorian times when safety was not taken as seriously as today.

In the 1870s the Forden Union fell out with its neighbour the Clun Union when a Montgomeryshire pauper was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Bishop's Castle. The Clun authorities felt this was "poaching on their patch"


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