Friday, 11 July 2014

Ring of despair

This sign is on the upper floor of the Southwell Workhouse in Nottinghamshire. The building is run by the National Trust, and is the most complete workhouse in the country.

Most of the building has been restored to how it would have looked to its inmates when it opened in 1824, but the upper floor has been left as it was found when the Trust took over in the late 1990s. The dismal sign caught my eye – there is something of a cry for help in it. It seems to scream despair, even though it probably dates from more recent times when the room was used as offices rather than a dormitory for paupers. 

The workhouse later became an infirmary and a home for the elderly. The building was in use until the 1980s, as a hostel for the homeless and a home for single mothers.

Go if you can - it's worth a visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/workhouse-southwell/


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