A team of volunteers called “The Workhouse Storytellers” brilliantly recreated the lives and working conditions of the Southwell Workhouse at a meeting of Edwalton, Gamston & District U3A which was held at the Gamston Community Hall on Thursday 9 January. The presentation which was led by the Matron explained that the Workhouse not only educated boys for future apprenticeships and girls for domestic service but also provided free medical care for the old and sick. The Matron then introduced three of her “paupers”- Annie, Hannah and Will who all told of their own stories about Workhouse life.
Annie was constantly getting into trouble because her fiery red hair resulted in teasing from fellow paupers who accused her of being a witch.
Hannah had her comfortable life in a cottage completely uprooted when her father installed a framework knitting machine in their cottage and insisted that she marry the stockinger employed to operate the knitting machine.
Finally Will, who was made homeless after his father was killed in a freak farming accident, successfully trained as an apprentice blacksmith despite being left handed and went on to take over the smithy when the blacksmith died.
Groups and organisations who would like to learn more about life in the Southwell workhouse can contact [email protected] and anyone living in the local area who is retired or semi-retired can find out about the club programme and future activities by contacting the website http://edgamu3a.weebly.com