Raymond Sears and Jonathan Foster bring to life the history of Waltham abbey with their wide collection of publications.
Waltham Abbey Publications
|"To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right."
"Women know what men have long forgotten. The ultimate economic and spiritual unit of any civilization is still the FAMILY. .
~Clare Boothe Luce
The FAMILY is the school of duties... founded on love. . ~Felix Adler
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one~jane Howard
A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril
Other things may change us, but we start and end with FAMILY.
~Sir Winston Churchill
Whilst visiting the Metropolitian Archives in London last year my father and i were looking through the Stepney Workhouse records to look for my third great grandmother. Turning the pages of the book opened my eyes to a time that has been almost put to sleep and when you ask people about the workhouse many have never heard of it. There were lists of names of people who lived in this place for years and some like my grandmother who died there.
The workhouse was the place designed for the poor people living in Britain. To describe many of these buildings they were almost shut away from the rest of the world and it was like a place of punishment, punishment for being poor. You would be taken in and stripped, bathed (under supervision), and then given a workhouse uniform. If you were married or went in with your children or parents you all would be seperated into to different sections being what your gender, age and if you were able bodied. Everybody there had to work and for the women this could be needle work, cooking, darning, weaving or cleaning and men may of had to work outside gardening, peeling potatos, bone crushing, corn grinding or stone breaking. It was a long hours for people and they were not allowed to interact with eachother due to the very strict conditions.
The daily routine consisted of being woken up to the sound of a bell that would wake all inmates up around six o clock and the bell would ring also for meal times where you all would sit together in rows in a large room or hall. The food was very plain and as food goes it probably didn't have much flavouring, they would dish up Broth and watered down porriage, which both were big favourite work house meals.
When my grandmother died I expect like most workhouse deaths, the family or close relatives if there were any, were informed and they may of had arranged a private funeral for her. However most inmates were buried within the workhouse grounds. Like a paupers grave, many were buried together and there were no mourners or grave stones. In some cases the bodies were donated to science and medical research which under the terms of the 1832 Anatomy Act, if unclaimed for forty-eight hours then the workhouse or infirmary could do so.
If you are looking at workhouse records and have ancestors who were in one I highly recommend visiting www.workhouses.org.uk
a website that is packed with information and photos on different workhouses throughout the country.