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How effectively did the workhouse deal with the needs of the poor?

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Introduction

Question Two How effectively did the workhouse deal with the needs of the poor? The phrase 'needs of the poor' means the condition of the poverty and what is needed in order to survive. The poor themselves and the ratepayers would see the 'needs' different. The ratepayers would think basic survival was enough, whereas the poor would think more was needed - their families should stay together, shelter, food and clothing etc should be good and sufficient. What they were already used to before included; begging, low wages, child labour, no education etc. The Southwell workhouse compared to others, in particular the Andover workhouse, was much better - fairer and less harsh. ...read more.

Middle

Southwell workhouse did and did not provide certain things for the poor. One thing it did provide was shelter. Allowing them food, a place to sleep/live and clothes, provided this. Although the families were split up, the food always the same - boring and plain (gruel, cabbage etc), no individuality, por washing facilities and humiliation, it was a much alternative to outside. Some groups of the poor were looked after differently and sometimes better - this was mainly the sick, the elderly and the children. They were given certain treatment that the other groups would never receive. They would have had a better life inside the workhouse. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was very humiliating. One thing the workhouse did provide was education for the children. However, the education was very basic and didn't really help the majority of children to learn the skills, which would help them to make the change back into society. The children outside the workhouse at this time did not usually have any education though. The idea of a good workhouse is an empty workhouse was often seen to be more important than offering the chance to return back to normality. The workhouse was effective for the ratepayers and it was well organised. It sent out the right message to the poor and helped them realise finding work is better then laziness. However, the poor may have disagreed because of their treatment. It didn't tackle the cause of poverty. ...read more.

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