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Changes at Gressenhall workhouse 1800-1900

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Changes at Gressenhall workhouse 1800-1900 Question 1 Under the old poor law the people were classified as idle poor or deserving poor, in this case the idle poor (fine, healthy, ableboided) were meant to be sent to house of correction, while the deserving poor (old or sick) were meant to be sent to a workhouse where they receive food, shelter, for doing a little work. The old poor law said that each parish is responsible for their own poor and money spent on them was received from the households (usually rich). In practise most of this rule was not followed as parishes preferred to provide outdoor relief where the poor got money for bread and social needs and stay in their homes rather than going to a workhouses or house of correction. However, by 1662, the acts got harsher and the act of settlement was made, this act said that every poor person had to be looked after in the parish of their birth. This lead to cruelty in some parishes as some parishes forced poor pregnant mother to leave their parishes. The 1722 workhouse said that all parishes must a workhouse but in reality, most did not as they were too expensive to build. While the 1782, Gilberts act allowed parishes to group together in order to build a workhouse for the poor. ...read more.


The conditions and rules of the workhouses were to be the same all across the country. The couples and families were to be separated because the government wanted to make workhouse place of hate breaking up families. This rules were strict and breaking them was bad and you will be punished for and to make things worse all the inmates had to wear uniforms now the workhouse sounded like prison to the people inside and outside and it also increased the fear of being in a workhouse. The diet had to be plain people have not been starved but also not given a lot of food. All inmates had to do work inside the workhouse. However, was the 1834 P.L.A.A {Poor law amendment act} accepted in the south? it was welcomed by the ratepayers, as it was their money that they were saving so they were happy with it, workhouses were built as the act said. however rising employment meant that many poor people did not enter workhouses. In the north the P.L.A.A. was criticised by the poor and many employer as they thought what was the point of the building a workhouses as the economy recovered later leaving the workhouse unused for the rest of the time and said that it was just a waste of the time and money and preferred outdoor relief. ...read more.


Schools were set up, orphans were placed in foster homes, and married couples over 60 years old were allowed to leave together in their own separate room. However, the stigma of the workhouses was still there. Gressenhall workhouse, which was also under the harsh poor law, was becoming much nicer. These are examples of where Gressenhall was fitting in with the new more generous attitudes toward from ratepayers. In 1853, building erection was built to accommodate elderly married couples and another building adjoining the southern boundary at the workhouse was built in 1871, as fever ward. The refractory cell was no longer considered as necessary and was converted into a washhouse for men and with new doorway providing communication with the exercise outside. Money was borrowed to improve the infirmary and kitchens and a main drainage and hot water supply were added. There were also some other things that did not fit in with the new attitudes e.g. the punishment did get little harsher and the job of breaking stones was stopped and was replaced with oakum picking which was particularly hated the inmates. The workhouse guardian was also getting more generous as in one letter he was asking government to improve the diet in the workhouse and replace uniforms with warmer clothes in winter time. Overall, the workhouse did improve a lot as the attitudes improved. The ratepayers now became keen on their money and harsher toward the poor. By Hussein Mahdi 11A 1 ...read more.

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