Shropshire Routes to Roots
|Routes | Victorian crime | The Workhouse|
1. The Workhouse experience
What will happen to the Davies family in the workhouse?
The Story of the Davies Family
The Davies family have gone to a workhouse near where they lived because they have nowhere else to go. Their desperate times were so severe that they would have starved otherwise.
It's your task to find out more about workhouses and workhouse life in the next few pages. You can then write the rest of the story yourself and decide what happened to the Davies family once they arrived at the workhouse. There are questions for you to think about on all of the pages, which should give you some ideas for your story.
These pages will use the Cross Houses workhouse near Shrewsbury as an example, to give you some general ideas about what life was like in a workhouse. But don't forget that the Davies family wouldn't have been sent to Cross Houses workhouse. You will have to make up a workhouse near their home for them to go into.
In 1834, the Poor Law Amendment Act was introduced in England to alter the way poor people or paupers were looked after. The Act tried to encourage people to look after themselves, rather than asking for help from the Poor Law Guardians. The law said that only the most 'needy' (poorest) people were entitled to receive any help and that this help should be given in the form of entrance to a workhouse or assistance to find employment. The Poor Law Guardians thought that if they only offered people entrance to a workhouse, which was an awful, hard life, they would be encouraged to find employment, rather than asking for poor relief and costing the rate payers extra money.
In the eighteenth century, workhouses were often called Houses of Industry and were run in a slightly different and tougher way. During the nineteenth century, the term House of Industry was still used in some areas to describe their workhouses.
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Page created 2003 and last updated 27 July 2007