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Powys Digital History Project
Care of the poor
  A Master and Matron for the new workhouse  

The Rhayader Union managed to get the authorities to let them build a smaller workhouse for just 40 inmates, claiming that the local population was small, and a large building wouldn't be needed.

Rhayader workhouse
as it appears today
The Union did need a Master and Matron to run the workhouse. It was usual for a married couple to be chosen.
The inmates of the workhouse were kept separate, the men in one part of the building and the women and children in the other. The Master would look after the men's side and the Matron would look after the women and children's side.
Photograph by
kind permission of
Mr Winston Collins
The Union appointed a farmer and his wife from St Harmon to be the Master and Matron, but the authorities in London stepped in and insisted that a couple be chosen with experience of running a workhouse.
As none of the men who ran the Union had any experience either, this was probably a good idea! A Mr and Mrs Rose were finally appointed.
Rhayader workhouse staff

We do not have any photographs of them, but the photograph above shows the Master and Matron with an inmate just after the Victorian period.

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