Celebrate 10 years with Southwell Workhouse
On 13 March 2002, Southwell Workhouse opened its doors as a National Trust property after lengthy restoration work.
Now widely regarded as the best preserved Workhouse in England, the heritage of the venue was under severe threat at the start of the 21 century. Developers at the time considered turning the property into flats for the area of Southwell but thanks to the intervention of the National Trust, The Workhouse has been available for everyone to experience over the past 10 years.
The Workhouse at Southwell was originally built in 1824 for the poor and homeless of Nottinghamshire. In the early ages of the Industrial Revolution, this building was a pioneer in dealing with the poor and destitute of the time and was used as a blueprint for other institutions.
The whole concept was that people who were poor and homeless would be sent to a Workhouse to be ‘re-habilitated’ so to speak. The people would be fed, cleaned and housed but in return they would be expected to work.
Whilst some principles behind workhouses seemed honourable, they generally and almost deliberately weren’t pleasant places to stay. Most famously portrayed in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Workhouses have been seen in quite a bleak light over the years.
Interestingly though, the Workhouse at Southwell continued to be active well into the 1980’s before it came under threat.
Since the property was opened to the public in 2002, over 350,000 people have visited the attraction and The National Trust this year are celebrating in style.
The site re-opens to the public after the winter break on Wednesday 29 February offering free entry to all visitors who arrive on this special leap year date. A new exhibition is available at the venue too entitled ‘10 years of Housekeeping at The Workhouse’.
Further events continue throughout 2012 as property manager Rachel Harrison explains,
‘As well as the ever popular Graft, Gruel and Good-For-Nothings Days, Family Fun Days and Easter Trails we have special events planned for 2012 including a Victorian Village Fete and Community Drama Weekend, we hope as many people as possible will come and celebrate with us’.
Please see the brand new Workhouse web site for more details of events for this year, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/theworkhouse.