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The workhouse: contemporary illustrations

Workhouses were hated universally by the poor because to enter a workhouse meant being separated from one's family and enduring the stigma of "the House". These illustrations show some of the conditions in the workhouses - which were made harsh deliberately, to deter people from entering them. In 1830, George Eliot described a village workhouse; 1850, Dickens wrote about conditions in a workhouse.

A Workhouse yard, c. 1840

Inside a workhouse
A new ward in a workhouse

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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