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.

NEW! Visits to Workhouses includes over fifty first-hand accounts of visits to workhouses and their related establishments by journalists, inspectors, campaigners, 'social explorers', and authors such as Charles Dickens. Their reports often reveal fascinating detail about these institutions and the lives of their inmates. More details....

RECENTLY PUBLISHED! Sickness in the Workhouse: Poor Law Medical Care in Provincial England, 1834-1914 by Alistair Ritch illuminates the role of workhouse medicine in caring for England's poor. SAVE 35%! Click on the picture (left), add to basket and enter promo code BB813 to activate the discount.

NEW! Workhouses/Almshouses in New York and Boston USA.

* * * 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.

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

Search Billions of Historical Records

Search now

* * * Amazon US For US readers Amazon US * * *

300x250 Free trial