Richard's Retirement Blog

Southwell

June 2011

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I came for the Folk Festival, and found it to be a very attractive town. The minster is very splendid - sadly, I only got a very brief look round because a graduation ceremonty was about to begin when I called. And the street opposite is lined with the very splendid houses of the collegiate Prebendaries, each called after the prebend wich provided an income.

Less honourably, perhaps, Southwell was the prototype for that Victorian horror, the workhouse. The idea was thought up by a clergyman: it beats me how anyone could think it in keeping with the teachings of Christ to trap the poor into what was effectively a prison, separated from spouse and children, and with little chance of getting out again because once in, there was no way of seeking employment outside. Human Rights Act? Not on your nelly.

I didn't get round to photgraphing the workhouse: the fine brick building is a mill, build astride the stream which powered it.

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