Building record M3330 - THE WORKHOUSE


WORKHOUSE (Georgian to Mid-20th Century)


Grid reference Centred SK 71147 54284 (54m by 32m)
Map sheet SK75SW
District Newark
Civil Parish Southwell, Newark
Civil Parish Upton, Newark


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Site of Southwell Union Workhouse. 2 pumps on site. Remaining buildings now part of Greet House. (1)
[The] former Thurgarton Union Workhouse. 1824, brick, three storeys, with seven bay wings flanking a full height canted bay faced with a blind-arched recess. (2)
Named 'Incorporated Workhouse'. (3)
Designed by William Nicholson … for Rev. J. T. Becher. At west end, later C19 outbuilding with pyramidal roof. (4)
The description of the Registered Historic Garden notes that "the site continued in use during the … C19 and early C20, becoming a residential home for the elderly in the 1950's." (5)
The Workhouse at Southwell was built in 1824 to the designs of George Nicholls, J.T. Becher and the architect William Nicholson. It embodied changing approaches to the provision of welfare for the poor, with the increased emphasis on the identification of different classes of paupers, and the aim of reducing the cost to tax payers of sustaining the able-bodied unemployed. This involved the creation of an isolated, enclosed workhouse complex, with segregation of male, female and infant residents, as well as further division between the able bodied ‘undeserving’ poor and infirm and elderly ‘deserving’ poor. The Workhouse was set in grounds that included kitchen gardens and orchards, in which the able-bodied poor laboured to produce food for the table, as well as enclosed work and exercise yards. Service outbuildings were initially physically linked to the workhouse enclosure, with later outbuildings extending the accommodation for infirm and elderly residents, as the focus and population of the insti-tution changed. (6)
The design and principles of The Workhouse at Southwell were highly influential in the amendment of the Poor Laws in the decade after its construction, as it was seen to provide a relatively simple, and easily applicable solution to the rising costs of poor relief across the country. The exceptional preser-vation of the structure and internal layout of the main workhouse complex allows for clear interpreta-tion and understanding of the early 19th-century regime and attitudes to the poor. There have been extensive early 21st-century restorations by the National Trust to recreate the elements of the original structure that were demolished in the second half of the 20th century, including the walls surrounding the work yards, privies in the exercise yards, and part of the range of outbuildings at the northern side of the yard. These alterations were undertaken in line with historical and archaeological evidence, where available. The building and grounds are considered to be of national heritage value, including a mixture of grade II* and grade II listed buildings, and a grade II* registered garden. (6)

Listed buildings slides, (Photograph). SNT2648.

<1> OS, 1919, 1:2500, County Series 1919 (Map). SNT1028.

Other Refs: 29/16

<2> Pevsner N, 1997, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire (with corrections), p 334 (Monograph). SNT1734.

<3> Sanderson G, 1835, 20 miles around Mansfield - 2 in (Map). SNT48.

<4> DOE, Listed Building Description (Published document). SNT228.

<5> White J, 2004, Pers Comm (Personal comment). SNT1728.

<6> ArcHeritage, 2017, The Workhouse, Southwell: Archaeological Survey (Unpublished document). SNT4861.

Sources/Archives (7)

  • --- Photograph: Listed buildings slides. .
  • <1> Map: OS. 1919. 1:2500, County Series 1919.
  • <2> Monograph: Pevsner N. 1997. The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire (with corrections). p 334.
  • <3> Map: Sanderson G. 1835. 20 miles around Mansfield - 2 in.
  • <4> Published document: DOE. Listed Building Description.
  • <5> Personal comment: White J. 2004. Pers Comm.
  • <6> Unpublished document: ArcHeritage. 2017. The Workhouse, Southwell: Archaeological Survey.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jan 19 2023 7:34PM

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