Workhouses In The Victorian Era

1320 Words6 Pages
Workhouses in Victorian England The Victorian era was an extremely harsh and dreadful time because people were without jobs, electricity, and even transportation. Workhouses were invented for those who had had no income or place to live. They earned themselves a place to stay by performing certain jobs in the workhouse. In these workhouses were different groups of people, from orphans to disabled elderly and even widowed mothers. Often prisoners and wrongdoers were sent to workhouses as punishment. The poor and old feared the workhouse because for them it meant the end of the line. People incarcerated in workhouses had to survive harsh punishments, daily routines, and possible death. Orphans were subjected to child labor inside of workhouses.…show more content…
If the workers did not obey these rules, then there was a certain punishment enacted upon. The heads of the houses set rules for each house and the punishment if rules were broken. All healthy people were to arrive at work by six o’clock a.m. Every poor worker had to be in bed by eight o’clock p.m. during the Summer and seven o’clock p.m. during the Winter. All people that were healthy were to attend church at least twice a Sunday and those who didn’t return wouldn’t receive the next meal of the day. Anybody poor found demolishing the rules were fed only water and bread for the next two days. The workhouse was made up of two brackets, disorderly and refractory conduct. “After 1834, the breaking of workhouse rules fell into two categories: Disorderly conduct, which could be punished by a withdrawal for food “luxuries” such as cheese or tea, or the more serious Refractory conduct, which could result in a period of solitary confinement (Rules and Punishments pg. 3). Misbehavior was not tolerated in workhouses under any circumstances whatsoever. For instance, if you were noisy and swearing, you could be locked up for twenty-four hours with only bread and water. If someone broke a window they could be sent to prison for two months. Refusing to work, had the punishment of cheese and crackers for supper and no breakfast…show more content…
When a person died, their family was notified and could have a funeral themselves if they could afford one. The workhouse would arrange for the deceased to be buried somewhere if the family could not afford a funeral. Some workhouses had their own cemetery to bury them on site. If the workhouse oversaw the deceased’s funeral, then it would be very inexpensive with no gravestone. Multiple bodies could be buried at one spot at a time. There was certain amount of time for the families to claim the body of a deceased worker. “Under the terms of the 1832 Anatomy Act, bodies unclaimed for forty-eight hours could also be disposed of by donating them for use in medical research and training ‒ this was not specific to workhouses, but applied to any institution whose inmates died while in its care (Death in the Workhouse
Open Document