TH2023 Ep04 Farnham Workhouse

Season 2023 – Talk 04 – Secrets of the Farnham Workhouse

In Secrets of the Farnham Workhouse Ian Wallace tells us a story that is not for the faint hearted. He reveals the workings of the Farnham Workhouse in the nineteenth century.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Good Intentions:

In the mid-19th Century Farnham is a prosperous town. Historically wealth had come from wool, then the corn market and between 1600 and the 1970s from hops and brewing.

1849 sees the arrival of the railway and in 1854 the opening of the army town, just to the north, in Aldershot. To this day Castle Street shows the historic wealth of this market town.

Farnham believes it looks after the poor. An example of this is the Andrew Windsor Almshouses dating from 1619. A new workhouse is built in 1791 to replace one in the town centre.

Report on the Farnham Workhouse:

Drs Joshua Stallard and Francis Anstey publish a report in 1867. The report criticises virtually every aspect of the workhouse. The report notes that it is:

  • Poorly ventilated with dirty walls and narrow beds.
  • Poor sanitary facilities, two towels per week for each ward and no toilet paper.
  • Only one nurse during the day, none at night.
  • No forks for the inmates to use when eating food.

According to the report, the master of the workhouse, James Sargent, could easily come from the pages of Dickens. The guardians  dismiss him after the furore following the report. According to the Daily Express he was the great, great grandfather of Jeremy Corbyn.

Health care:

Virtually nil at the time of the report. Florence Nightingale, who has local connections, and Louisa Twining are involved in moves to improve healthcare in Britain.

Listen to the podcast and hear the whole story from Ian.

About this podcast:

This is an edited recording of a talk given to the Farnham u3a World History  Group .

It is not always possible to use all of the images presented in the original talk because of copyright reasons.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, PodchaserSpotifyStitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use the music in this talk.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2023

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.