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.