The Workhouse

Workhouse residence is usually reserved for the elderly, infirm, single poor, orphans, resident's children, the lazy, vagrant and imbeciles. Admission into the workhouse is, for the Victorian poor, the end of life within civilization. Once admitted into its walls, escape is often impossible for them. The long, hard work leaves them tired and drained, with little or no energy to earn their way out of this poverty trap by other means.

The living conditions within the workhouse can only be described as dreadful. Inmates are expected to work a ten to fourteen hour day and then to sleep around the machines and work areas. Wash and work areas are separate for men and women, although within these segregated sections there is little or no privacy. In rural areas, workhouses are still rare. Usually, there is a poor lodge for the destitute to live in, with meager food and shelter until employed.