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! * * *

An 1861 survey detailed all 14,216 adult workhouse inmates in England & Wales resident for over five years. All the names can be viewed via a link in the 'Inmates' section towards the end of each union's individual page.


NEW! Workhouses of London and the South East documents the story of the workhouse in the capital and the historical counties of Berkshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. Includes a guide to the establishments that operated in each locality and over 100 illustrations of the buildings and their inmates. More...


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

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

Know about workhouses? — try the Workhouse Quiz.

Enjoyed this site?


The Victorian Slum: Common Lodging Houses and Model Dwellings


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


Search Billions of Historical Records

Search now



300x250 Free trial