The Workhouse, Southwell, Southwell

The Workhouse, also known as Greet House, in the town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England, is a museum operated by the National Trust. Built in 1824, it was the prototype of the 19th-century workhouse, and was cited by the Royal Commission on the poor law as the best example among the existing workhouses, before the resulting New Poor Law of 1834 led to the construction of workhouses across the country. It was designed by William Adams Nicholson an architect of Southwell and Lincoln, together with the Revd. John T. Becher, a pioneer of workhouse and prison reform It is described by the National Trust as the best-preserved workhouse in England.The building remained in use until the early 1990s, when it was used to provide temporary accommodation for mothers and children. Its acquisition by the National Trust reflects that organisation's wish to broaden its interests and to ensure the continued existence of a Grade II* listed building that was potentially to be turned into residential flats.Restoration work began with roof repairs in 2000 and is ongoing. Many rooms have been redecorated as they would have looked in the 19th century and buildings, walls and privies, which had been demolished in the 20th century, have been reinstated.In 2015 the property was featured in the four-part series 24 Hours in the Past, in which six celebrities experienced what life was like in Victorian Britain
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The Workhouse, Southwell Reviews
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  • The NT is to invest in new resources for The Workhouse with project Re-imagine. We hope it includes a lot more about why the Victorian era of the Industrial Revolution failed hundreds of thousands of ...  more »
  • Well worth a visit. Introductory talk and film very interesting. Visit supported by audio talk too which was helpful. It's a shame that most of the rooms have very little in them but you still get a g...  more »
  • This place is so unique - the history is amazing, and it played a pivotal role in the health and welfare state of the country. I highly recommend the audio guide, which is included in the entry price,...  more »
Google
  • Not your normal NT property! Great written tour, audio tours also available. Parallels are drawn to today's way of life and questions are asked of you that make you think hard.
  • A very educational place. Take the audio tour it's much better as it lets you feel like you are there.
  • Excellent insight into the way the poor were treated so badly until fairly recently. Also questions today's values surprisingly.
  • Very good audio tour, but felt place was a bit clean and bare; so not very atmospheric nor representative of workhouse conditions.
  • Fantastic place to visit. The tour at 11am starts an hour before the house opens. Its highly recommended as it gives a great insight into the people who came to the workhouse and the owners who managed them. Definately do the audio tour once you commence the house tour as walking round without a guide wont be as an engaging an experience. Great little cafe just recently opened. Everyone at Southwell were superb. Very friendly and engaging and always willing to provide you information on the history of this wonderfull property.

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