Life in the Workhouse

Life in the Workhouse

What of the actual living conditions of the paupers? The popular notion of the workhouse is that of a grim institution whose inhabitants had a harsh, spartan lifestyle. The records for the most part bear this out but some modifications may be made.

a) Clothing

As early as November 1840 a Committee was appointed to inspect samples of workhouse clothing. After advertising for tenders the following prices were accepted:

Sheets 2s. 10d. or 0.18
Bed ticks 4s. 2d. or 0.27
Men's shirts 2s. 1d. or 0.13
Women's shirts 1s. 8d. or 0.11
Men's trousers 3s. 10d. or 0.23
Boys' suits 7s. 9d. or 0.50
Petticoats 1s 10d or 0.11
Men's caps 0s. 4d. or 0.03
Girls' frocks 2s. 3d. or 0.14

Waistcoats were made available "for aged and infirm paupers". Shoes were also purchased. So, all in all, the inmates were well clothed by day and night.


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