Life of Workhouse woman explored at new Southwell Workhouse exhibition

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THE role of women in The Workhouse’s recent past is being brought to life during a new exhibition at the poular National Trust attractionin .

The Woman in The Workhouse exhibition opens on 8th March to mark International Woman’s day.

Drawing on oral history archives, the exhibition focuses on the involvement of women in a wide range of areas through testimonies, including those of a former matron, nurse, seamstress, hairdresser, cook and inmate, to vividly tell the tale of life at the harsh Workhouse.

Visitors can discover moving accounts from those who have lived, worked or provided services to The Workhouse, which have been collected by volunteers over the past 15 years.

It is hoped that the exhibition will act as a stimulus to visitors to share their memories of the institution.

Samantha Ball, a volunteer who has been closely involved in researching the exhibition, said: “Oral history provides a realistic record of the good things and the bad, the kindness and the cruelties and seemingly insignificant details which help us interpret the real story of the workhouse.”

Those who are inspired to find out more about workhouses in their own area can search a special database and discover what became of these imposing buildings.

Women also played an important role in bringing about change within the workhouse system through their involvement as social reformers and Guardians.

The exhibition is brought up to date with current staff reflecting on their roles and what The Workhouse means to them.

Visitors to The Workhouse can see the exhibition as part of their house tour from 8th March to 3rd November 2013.

Normal admission price to The Workhouse is £7.50 for adults and £3.75 for children. National Trust members are free of charge.

The Workhouse, Southwell opens to visitors for the 2013 season on Wednesday 27 February.