Victorian Era Workhouses Food

During Victorian times, workhouse used to be a place that sheltered the poor people. These workhouses provided a place to live and also gave work to the poor people. The workhouses functioned under the Poor Law systems prevailing in Britain.

Victorian workhouse

1652 was the year where the oldest workhouse was started. Although there are records which suggest that such workhouses existed even before that. The Poor Law of 1601 in England introduced the concept of the state providing relief to the poor and placed a legal responsibility on every parish to take care of the poor that fell within its territory.

How was typical Victorian workhouse’s food taste?

The food provided to the inmates of the workhouse was generally tasteless and was the same every day. The food given to the poor at the pauper house had no nutritional value and thus, the health of the inmates was often bad which exposed them to a number of diseases. Many suffered from fatal illness as very basic treatment given to them failed to cure the ailment.

The diseases that the inmates suffered from were Cholera, Measles, Small pox, Scarlet fever, Dysentery etc. The diet of the people living in the workhouse was the same.

What was the typical Victorian workhouse food?

The food primarily consisted of bread, cheese, broth, rice, milk, potatoes and gruel which was like thick porridge. There was limited food for the inmates as the food was rationed.

This meant that these people did not get sufficient food to fill their stomach and which in turn led them to eat animal bones that were given to them to be crushed. There was no cutlery available at the pauper house and therefore the inmates were forced to eat the food with their bare hands. Other than food, the only thing accessible them to satisfy their hunger was water.

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