Friday 19 November 2010

Follow Friday - The Workhouse

Now celebrating 10 years online, The Workhouse is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the Poor Law. That is pretty much anyone researching in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland. Even if none of your ancestors were not among the poor (lucky you, lucky them) they will have been involved in its operation. Workhouse masters, medical staff, contractors, Guardians of the Poor and a host of clerical staff can be found in the records. And even those not directly concerned in the administration were ratepayers.

The site is an astonishing achievement, as is largely the work of one man, Peter Higginbottom. He has not only researched and written the content of the site, he has photographed many of the buildings too. There are countless maps, pictures and old photographs too.

This is not the place to look for lists of names, although there are some; it is where you will find out how the poor were looked after - or not - back through the centuries. It's also a great way to find out what records exist, and where you can find them. I keep returning to the site because there is always something new to discover. 

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