Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The workhouse at Forden
Care of the poor
  A workhouse for the Union  
Workhouse drawing
To find out more about workhouses in general, click on the image above

The first workhouse in Forden union was built as a "House of Industry" in 1794-5. It cost 12,000 and was intended to house about 1000 inmates from the border parishes. This is an awful lot of people from a sparsely populated rural area. It seems that the authorities were keen to get poor people shut away where they could not be seen.
Once in the workhouse they were men were housed separately from the women and children so that families were split up. The food and accommodation kept people alive but were very basic. The idea was to provide a "safety net" so that really poor people did not actually starve to death, but it was meant to be more like prison so that people would try very hard to avoid it.
In the early days inmates could be whipped or put in the stocks, or be forced to wear a scolds bridle. (left)
(Click on the image to see more about the bridle from Forden workhouse)

  Once inside the inmates had to work hard to pay for their keep. Local craftsmen and women were employed to teach them new skills and get them producing goods which could be sold.
Forden inmates made clothes, shoes, straw bonnets, and spun linen yarn. They worked in the gardens and on the workhouse farm and were taught how to butcher animals.
  house of industryThe tithe map for Forden parish shows the House of Industry around 1840. (We have coloured the actual buildings in to make them stand out.)
You can see the gardens to the right of the building, and the burial ground. (marked 638 for inmates who died at the workhouse. Over 60 inmates died in one particularly bad year in the early 19th century).

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