What was it like for a Victorian child in a workhouse?

Upon entering the workhouse, the poor were stripped and bathed (under supervision). The food was tasteless and was the same day after day. The young and old as well as men and women were made to work hard, often doing unpleasant jobs. Children could also find themselves ‘hired out’ (sold) to work in factories or mines.

How many hours did children work in the workhouse?

Many children worked 16 hour days under atrocious conditions, as their elders did. Ineffective parliamentary acts to regulate the work of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day had been passed as early as 1802 and 1819.

Did workhouse children get paid?

The education of children presented a similar dilemma. It was provided free in the workhouse but had to be paid for by the “merely poor”; free primary education for all children was not provided in the UK until 1918.

What were the punishments in a Victorian workhouse?

Punishments: Punishments inflicted by the master and the board included sending people to the refractory ward, and for children, slaps with the rod; or for more serious offences inmates were summoned to the Petty Sessions and in some cases jailed for a period of time.

What did they eat in the workhouse?

The simplest diet was No. 3, which offered an unvarying menu of bread and gruel for breakfast, and bread and cheese for supper, Midday dinner was also bread and cheese five days a week (with extra soup on Thursdays), and meat and vegetables on the other two days.

What was life like inside a workhouse?

The ‘idle and profligate’ (another name for unemployed) were occupied with dull tasks, such as breaking stones for roads and pulling rope apart. Aspects such as education, medical care or diet may actually have been better inside The Workhouse than for the poor in their own homes.

Where did they sleep in the workhouse?

For vagrants and casuals, the ‘bed’ could be a wooden box rather like a coffin, or even just be a raised wooden platform, or the bare floor. In some places, metal rails provided a support for low-slung hammocks.

What was the worst Victorian punishment?

The penalty for the most serious crimes would be death by hanging, sometimes in public. However, during the Victorian period this became a less popular form of punishment, especially for smaller crimes, and more people were transported abroad (sometimes all the way to Australia!) or sent to prison instead.

What punishments did they have in the workhouse?

Punishments inside of Victorian Workhouses ranged from food being withheld from inmates so they would starve, being locked up for 24 hours on just bread and water to more harsh punishment including being whipped, being sent to prison and meals stopped altogether.

How many children lived in workhouses in Victorian times?

Workhouses and children’s homes in Victorian times. Charles Dickens presents a topical chat show about workhouses in Victorian times. In 1861, 35,000 children under 12 lived and worked in workhouses in Britain. A workhouse boy, very like Charles Dickens’s famous character Oliver Twist, reports on the living conditions there,…

What did children do in the workhouse in the 1840s?

Try 3 issues of BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed for only £5! In the 1840s, the government began sparing Britain’s most deprived children the Dickensian hell of the workhouse and placing them in schools that promised good food, healthcare and an education. But did the reality live up to the ideal?

When did Charles Dickens do the workhouse show?

Charles Dickens presents a topical chat show about workhouses in Victorian times. In 1861, 35,000 children under 12 lived and worked in workhouses in Britain.

Why did the Victorians want to get rid of workhouses?

They feared that the ingrained immorality of the workhouses’ older residents would rub off on young paupers, turning them into prostitutes or criminals. They also believed that the poorest children were in need of education to “eradicate the germs of pauperism” and fit them for a productive life.