The Workhouse: a half-day workshop with tutor Alan Crosby, Wednesday 18 March 2020 1.30- 4pm
In 1834 the Poor Law system, which had operated with modifications since the beginning of the 17th century, was radically overhauled, reformed and reorientated. It was redesigned on the principle that seeking poor relief or other assistance should be the last resort, so the system needed to be a deterrent rather than a comfort. The consequence was the building of the massive barrack-like workhouses which became part of our folklore, folk memory and literature, as well as our townscapes and our health services.

This workshop, which uses original sources including those from Blackburn Workhouse (currently being indexed by FLA volunteers), explores the 1834 new Poor Law and the huge quantity of documents which it generated, and shows how in Lancashire and Yorkshire the response to the 1834 legislation was definitely not what the government had intended.

Bloody-minded northerners subverted the system and helped to bring about its downfall!

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Header image from Tony Worrall
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