Conditions in Llanfyllin Workhouse
Workhouses continued to be grim, forbidding places in 1891, although conditions had improved from earlier in the century. They had been deliberately built to resemble prisons, with strict, harsh rules, strict segregation of men, women and children, meagre rations and grinding, relentless work. The idea behind this was to encourage people to strive to help themselves, as the consequences of failing to do so would mean admission to the workhouse.
An entry from the Llanfyllin minute book on 5th March 1891 shows that vagrants were still being set to work breaking stones for roadmaking:
This was a useful source of income for the Union:
Another common task performed by both men and women was that of picking oakum. This was the fibre created by picking old rope to pieces. It was used for caulking (stopping up seams in ships), and as a waterproofing material. Additionally, all inmates other than the very young or infirm were required to help out with tasks necessary to run the workhouse.
The master at Forden Workhouse was the subject of a complaint from one of the paupers because of a punishment he had administered:
However, all was not work and misery for the inmates at Llanfyllin, as some
efforts were being made to improve their lot. The post-Christmas meeting reported:
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