An exhibition about life in the workhouse is to be held at the Florence Nightingale Museum, accompanied by a series of talks.
This spring, the Florence Nightingale Museum at 2 Lambeth Palace Road, London (open daily from 10.00-17.00) will host an exhibition that explores the experience of the unfortunate inmates of the workhouse in 19th century Britain.
The workhouse will be brought to life by examining the design of the buildings and the inmates’ diet, their work and their health. Real life stories will be drawn upon to counterbalance the often sentimentalized and sensationalist portrayal in the press and literature of the time. Combining rare workhouse artefacts, documentary firsthand accounts, pictorial representations and publications, the world of the workhouse will be vividly brought to life.
The Florence Nightingale Museum is also running a season of public events in tandem with the exhibition, including lectures by historians Ruth Richardson and Peter Higginbotham, among others. Themes covered include food served in the workhouse, how to trace ancestors who were workhouse inmates and the workhouse’s role in medical care. The full events programme can be found at the museum’s website.
Natalie Conboy, Curator of Workhouse, says: “We are really excited about Workhouse – Segregated Lives because it explores the social history of the local area here in Lambeth – we’ve had terrific input from neighbouring museums, libraries and archives. We are aiming to provide a balanced view of what life was really like for those in need, and what alternatives people had to entering the workhouse.”
Natasha McEnroe, Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum says: “This much-needed exhibition will illuminate the health of the very poor in Victorian Britain. Nightingale’s influence on workhouses is unjustly neglected, and this exhibition goes some way to redress that.”
Workhouse – Segregated Lives is curated by Natalie Conboy and Katie Edwards.