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What Is An English Workhouse? [SOLVED]

The medical care in workhouses had been poor until 1860. Nursing duties were usually performed by older female inmates who could not read or speak. Many of these inmates also suffered from visual impairment, hard of hearing and other disabilities. Medical wards were frequently cramped and poorly ventilated but, following a sustained campaign led by the medical profession during the 1860s, the government passed the Metropolitan Poor Act, forcing London’s workhouses to run separate infirmaries, preferably on separate sites. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Asylums Board (established in 1867) provided care for fever cases that would ordinarily have ended up in the infirmaries 👍 By the 1880s, the unions widely employed trained nurses, and the poor could increasingly visit workhouse infirmaries for treatment without having to formally enter the institution 🙌 [1]
St Matthew’s Bethnal Green Workhouse was first recorded in 1777 as a small, square-shaped building with an enclosed work-yard just across from St Matthew’s Church. Higginbotham describes a December 1816 incident in which Robert Pope was “dragged out of his ward and into the oakum basement by Thomas Kendall, James Saint and then beat him with the butter tub stave. He died soon afterward.” Pope’s beating came about after he had had reported his fellow inmates for breaking workhouse rules. This harsh punishment is made worse by the fact his two attackers were both acquitted for murder because they only “accelerated Pope’s demise.” This was brought to our attention by Stephanie Haywood of Banjarmasin in Indonesia. [2]
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As the workhouse grew, instead of being a workplace for the best-informed, it became an area where the sick and elderly could go to get help. Moreover, as the nineteenth century drew to a close, people’s attitudes were changing. It was becoming increasingly difficult to tolerate its cruelty. In 1929, new legislation was passed that allowed local authorities the right to take over hospitals and workhouses. Officially workhouses were shut down in the following year. However, there was still a large number of them. people caught up in the system and with no other place to go meant that it would be several years Later, the entire system was completely dismantled. [3]
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Summer Corcoran workhouses.org.ukThis article explains why state-provided poverty relief often dates back to Queen Elizabeth’s reign, 1601. The Act for the Relief of the Poor gave parishes legal responsibility for caring for their poor. It was paid for by the collecting of poor-rate money. tax from local property Owners (a tax which survives as the “council tax”. The 1601 Act made no mention of workhouses although it provided that materials should be bought to provide work for the unemployed able-bodied — with the threat of prison for those who refused. It also proposed the erection of housing for the “impotent poor” — the elderly, chronic sick, etc. Keyla Ruffin authored this article on January 31, 2020. [4]
The Londoners tried to establish city-wide workhouses or employment programs at regular times throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. problem of poverty and economic dislocation. Bridewell quickly developed into a combination of an institution for the correction of minor offenders and an institute school. It remained there until the 18th century. London’s next significant experiment of this type was Samuel Hartlib’s Corporation of the Poor in 1648. This organization was based on the work of Rowland Vaughn’s projectors. Hartlib’s experimental collective employment which at its worst aimed for the establishment of an egalitarian commonwealth, poor, only survived twelve years. Although the Act of Settlement gave the foundation a legal basis, Hartlib’s experiment in collective employment had collapsed by 1662. The Act also included the provision for the Corporation, which effectively made the venture public. The same legislation also empowered Middlesex and Southwark to establish their own corporations, and in 1664 Middlesex spent £5,000 creating a new workhouse at Clerkenwell, adjacent to the house of correction. In the beginning, the workhouse was used to provide raw materials for adult poor people who could work at home and shelter for “reception and raising up poor fatherless or motherless infants”. Last updated 43 days ago, Lizeth Early of Antwerp (Belgium) [5]

Refer to Article

  1. https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-workhouse/
  2. https://londonist.com/2014/04/punished-for-being-poor-londons-forgotten-workhouses
  3. https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Victorian-Workhouse/
  4. http://www.workhouses.org.uk/intro/
  5. https://www.londonlives.org/static/Workhouses.jsp
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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