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The Workhouse, Southwell, Southwell

4.2
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Historic Site Tourist Spot
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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716 reviews
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4.3
  • My wife and I visited this National Trust Property last summer. Having a long standing interest in social history, the Workhouse system has always seemed quite draconian and must have been the great f...  more »
  • It is so good that the National Trust have managed to obtain an original workhouse and have it available for the public. It has been largely restored which is a bit of a pity as it sanitises it but wa...  more »
  • A complete workhouse - amazing - the audio tour was irritating - needs greater creativity but fantastic pkacr  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.