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Social Conditions

Forden Workhouse

Forden Workhouse in 1907
Forden Workhouse in 1907
Powys County Archives

Forden was a large workhouse serving 20 parishes. On the 1891 census there were 50 men, 34 women , and 36 children - a total of 120 - residing there.

Compared to Llanfyllin Workhouse, it had a large staff who were resident in the workhouse.

1891 Census
Forden workhouse
Name Position in
Marital status Age Occupation Place of Birth English/ Welsh
George Fortune Head M 42 Master of workhouse Welshpool, Montgomery English
Fanny Fortune Wife M 42 Matron of workhouse Kerry Parish, Montgomery English
Norah Grey Fortune Daughter   5 Scholar Welshpool, Montgomery English
William Perey Fortune Son   1   Forden parish, Montgomery  
Attie Eliza Milnes Niece   13 Scholar Kerry Parish, Montgomery English
Jane Lewis Schoolmistress S 35 Schoolmistress Forden, Montgomery English
Mary Bright Officer S 21 Seamstress and porteress Chirbury, Salop English
Margaret Jane Breeze Officer S 30 Nurse Welshpool, Montgomery English
David Abraham Breeze Officer S 22 Porter Llansantffraid, Montgomery English
Charlotte Breeze Serv S   General cook Kerry, Montgomery English
Elizabeth Rogers Serv S 65 General servant Montgomery, Montgomeryshire English

In addition to the Master, Matron, Porter and nurses that Llanfyllin employed, Forden was able to retain its own schoolmistress, cook, general servant and seamstress/porteress.

Attitudes to workhouses were gradually changing, as can be seen in this comment from the 'Rambler's Weekly Diary' column of the Montgomeryshire Express & Radnor Times of 24 February 1891:

Rambler's Diary
Powys County Libraries
"What a wonderful advance humanizing influences and ideas have made during the last quarter of a century. I don't know whether any of Stead's "Helpers" have been moving about in this locality, but the amount of interest taken in the comfort and enjoyments of the poorer classes to-day, as compared with what it was formerly, is most remarkable. The Forden Board of Guardians - a body which does not as a rule act upon the side of generosity - has decided to purchase footballs, cricketing tack, skipping ropes, etc., for the use of the children in the workhouse. This is a step in the right direction, and one which will be warmly commended by all who are human beings first and ratepayers afterwards. The children of English workhouses in the past have understood (in all its severity) the law which visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, and poverty has been regarded as a crime to be punished in common with theft and vice of every kind; but I am glad to find that guardians such as Mr Miller and the Rev J Sawer have adopted a wiser and more human view of their duties."

Workhouse Staff

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