24 Hours in the Past – The Workhouse

One of the great things about winter is that I am not running as much as I do in the summer. This means I have time to write….and get over the cold that Wilfred Allen gave me at the Winter Farmers’ Market last Saturday.  He did *warn* me not to hug him as he had a cold…..

So while I’m in bed with my dogs, snotting, nose blowing and whining about this cold, I started watching this series called 24 Hours in the Past. It is a small group of 21st Century people who spend 24 hours at a time in the Victorian Age. They do what 75% of the people of England did in that era – the dirty, stinking mucky industrial labour. If you watch it, you’ll understand why the average age at death was 46 years.

The fourth episode shows them landing at their lowest point after they’ve been fired for poor work performance and trying to organize labour against the industrial bosses…they end up at The Workhouse.

As most of you know, Nova Scotia’s poor farms were based on the English Work Houses that were developed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Edward Cornwallis brought the concept of these institutions with him when he arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749 from England. Punishment for Poverty was the key to workhouses and poor houses. We still carry on the idea that people are poor because of the choices they have made and, therefore, they must be punished. It is unbelievable that we are still following those beliefs 500 years later.

The episode is 59 minutes long. If you get the chance, watch it HERE.  What an eye opener!

VictorianWorkHouse
Just one of the hundreds of Workhouses across Victorian England

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