Workhouse by Norman Longmate
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By Norman Longmate

The Workhouse

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Format: Paperback

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Workhouse by Norman Longmate

Book Description

Everyone has heard of the workhouse. But what exactly was it? Who went there? And how did an institution so universally hated come to be set up? Surprisingly, no full-scale history of the workhouse has ever been written. A year after the re-opening of the workhouse at Southwell by the National Trust, this book fills the gap and tells the full story from its first beginnings in Elizabethan times until the final reluctant demise of 'the union' in the 1940s. The book concentrates, however, on the Victorian workhouse in the years of its tarnished glory. It describes the combination of circumstances which in the 1830s led to the opening of 600 new workhouses, against astonishingly little effective opposition, and it explains why radicals like Francis Place and humane reformers like Lord Brougham supported the New Poor Law, while a handful of Tories like Disraeli and arch-reactionaries like Colonel Sibthorpe fought against it. It records the riots, the protests, the pleadings, with which the poor challenged their virtual enslavement, and the misery of their daily life when they were finally incarcerated within the workhouse walls. What did gruel taste like? Why was workhouse uniform so uncomfortable to wear? How did it feel to pound bones all day, or grind corn, or scrub floors? How was Christmas Day in the workhouse celebrated in reality? Norman Longmate has, by exhaustive research into long-neglected sources, managed to answer all these and many more questions, in the words of those who experienced the workhouse regime. All the essential facts - of legislation passed and numbers admitted - are here, presented in a concise and lucid form which will make this book valuable to the serious student, but they are illustrated throughout by a wealth of anecdote, which reveals in human terms the meaning of the laws and regulations which previous historians of the Poor Law have so often merely catalogued.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780712606370
ISBN-10: 0712606378
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 153mm x 25mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Jun-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Norman Longmate

Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate Real Dad's Army, Paperback (January 2016)

A history of the Home Guard from its creation in May 1940 to the end of the Second World War written by Home Guard Veteran Private Longmate, then aged 17, the same age as Pike!

If Britain Had Fallen by Norman Longmate If Britain Had Fallen, Paperback (January 2012)

It is good to see this book back in print ... a distinguished contribution to the canon of alternate histories.

Hitler's Rockets by Norman Longmate Hitler's Rockets, Paperback (August 2009)

Norman Longmate tells the story of the V-2, the ancestor and forerunner of all subsequent ballistic missiles. He reveals the devious power-play within the German armed forces amd the Nazi establishment, which so influenced the creation of the rockets.

How We Lived Then by Norman Longmate How We Lived Then, Paperback (July 2002)

Compiled by the historical adviser to the TV series "The 1940s House", this is an engagingly written social chronicle of wartime civilian life in England from September 1939 to August 1945 - from the grandeurs of the Blitz to the miseries of dried egg powder - with numerous individual testimonies.

» View all books by Norman Longmate


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Author Biography - Norman Longmate

Norman Longmate was born in Berkshire, and educated at Christ's Hospital. After war service he read modern history at Worcester College, Oxford. He subsequently worked as a journalist in Fleet Street, as a producer of history programmes for the BBC, and for the BBC Secretariat. In 1981 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and in 1983 he left the BBC to become a full-time writer. He has written more than twenty books, mainly on the Second World War and on Victorian social history. He has frequently been employed as an historical adviser for film and television.

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