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Old Workhouse

Take me here now

Newport Workhouse

In your hour of need

The workhouse entrance, 1900s

Newport people too poor, young, old or alone to support themselves could choose to live in a Workhouse. Workhouse inhabitants of the 1800s would easily recognize St Woolos Hospital as their one-time home. The building’s exterior has barely changed since being rebuilt in 1837.

For supper and breakfast paupers sat down to a meal of bread, butter and cheese. Lunch was boiled meat with vegetables. 

The uniform of female inmates of the 1900s was a full-skirted dress, apron and bonnet.

Many people feared poverty. ‘Going to the workhouse’ brought shame and split up families. Some women went to work as maids, with a few sent overseas to America – a rare and daunting thrill.