Workhouse Schools

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Law - Poor Law

Workhouse Schools for the Poor

By 1839 almost half of the population of workhouses were made up of children.

  • Some of these children were orphaned but others entered with their parents and although families were split up upon entering the workhouse, if the child was under seven it would probably stay alongside it’s mother.
  • When the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 came into being it appears that little thought had gone into the plight of children. As time wore on though it became apparent that they needed some sort of educational instruction.
  • Poor Unions had to provide three hoours of schooling a day but even then questions were raised over whether pauper children should receive any education at all for fear it might place them above other middle class children who were not in workhouses.
  • They were to be taught, reading, writing, arithmetic, religious instruction and train them to be useful, industrious people.
  • Some workhouses had separate school rooms and employed school masters and mistresses but still within the confines of the workhouse.
  • Some set up totally separate schools and Industrial schools

The workhouse and related schools gave opportunities to poor children to be educated and depending upon the calibre of education afforded, could make a real difference.

More to explore:

A highly informative website of poor law establishments, workhouses and schools can be found at Peter Higginbothams site

Series Navigation<< Using Poor Law Records for Family HistoryPoor Law England 1601 >>Review of the Poor Law Act 1832 >>
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