« 2022. # 3 (165)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2022. № 3 (165), 622—632

UDK [930.2:316.3-058.34](410)”18″




  • ORCID:
  • Student of the master’s program «History and Archeology»
  • The Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,
  • Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Foreign Countries,
  • 1, Universytetska str., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: е-mail:

Abstract. Introduction. The problem of poverty and the fight against it was relevant in Britain in the XIX-th century, as it developed rapidly economy and industry, which in turn increased social inequality and poverty. One of the main ways to combat poverty at that time were Workhouses which aimed to «re-educate» the poorest classes of the population through hard physical labor and strict discipline.

Problem Statement. After the legislative reform of 1834, stricter rules and regulations began to be introduced in the Workhouses throughout the country, which made life much more difficult for the poor who found themselves there. Inadequate treatment of residents by staff was not uncommon and had not been addressed at the state level for a long time. However, the paupers themselves could often deliberately disturb the order in the Workhouses in order to improve their conditions.

Purpose. In the article on the basis of digitized archival records Commissions for the poor is analyzed the daily experience of the inhabitants of the English Workhouses.

Methods. The general scientific methods of analysis and synthesis, as well as special scientific comparative-historical and chronological methods are used in the work. The author adheres to the principle of historicism. Also was used the method of «total institutions» of the Canadian sociologist Irwin Hoffman.

Results. It was found that the main problem of Workhouses was not so much the living conditions as the deindividualization and dehumanization of the inhabitants of these institutions. The same uniform, strict agenda, lack of personal space, all these attributes haunted the Workhouses during the XIX-th century and have not been resolved to the end.

Conclusion. Workhouses were one of the most controversial aspects of British social policy in the XIX-th century. The reform of 1834, which introduced the practice of providing assistance to the poor exclusively in Workhouses, was often criticized and further tried to supplement.

 Strict regulation of daily affairs, uniforms, system of punishments and rules of conduct — all were everyday and traumatic experiences of residents.

Keywords: British social policy, poverty, pauperism, Victorian England, workhouses, history of everyday life.

Received 4.05.2022


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