Info on 1000s of former homes

The Workhouse evokes the grim Victorian world of Oliver Twist, but its story is a fascinating mix of social history, politics, economics and architecture. This site is dedicated to the workhouse — its buildings, inmates, staff and administrators, even its poets. Use the sidebar or Search box to find information.

* * * Explore a workhouse — take the Workhouse Tour! * * *
In BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are? I reveal the St Ives workhouse connections of paralympic athlete and Strictly star Jonnie Peacock. To watch the episode again (UK only) visit the WDYTYA programme page.

NEW! 'On the Road': First-hand accounts of Visits to Workhouse Casual Wards from Somerset to Yorkshire (1928-35) — This fascinating book describes the often appalling conditions and treatment in the vagrants' quarters at fifty different workhouses, written by those who actually stayed there. The three diaries, originally written in 1928-35, provide a vivid picture of life on the road at that period. The book also includes an illustrated history of the casual ward by Peter Higginbotham. More details...
'Magnificent' (Church Times)Children's Homes surveys the varied institutions that, over the centuries, substituted for children's 'natural' homes. As well as charitably funded orphanages, these included homes run by religious or occupational groups, institutions for those who had broken the law or otherwise gone astray, establishments for children with special needs, homes run by the poor law authorities and by local councils. Who operated all these institutions? Where have they all gone? What was life like for their inmates? And where can their records be found? Illustrated throughout, Children's Homes provides an essential account of the history of these British institutions. More details...

New! Some of my introductory presentations are now available online on my YouTube Channel

Voices From The Workhouse is a wide-ranging collection of first-hand accounts of the workhouse by those who knew it. Includes autobiography, letters, poetry, graffiti, inspection reports etc. — by inmates, staff, officials,and under-cover explorers. More....

For information on 1000s of children's homes, orphanages, reformatories, industrial schools, training ships etc. visit

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The Workhouse Encyclopedia. A fully illustrated A to Z of workhouse information plus fact-filled appendices of workhouse locations, statistics, maps, records, museums etc.

The Victorian Slum: Common Lodging Houses and Model Dwellings

Know about workhouses? — try the Workhouse Quiz.

Jeremy Corbyn's great-great-grandfather was the despotic master of the Farnham workhouse.

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