The Workhouse, Southwell, Newark-on-Trent

#1 of 6 in Historic Sites in Newark-on-Trent
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Workhouse, also known as Greet House, in the town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England, is a museum operated by the National Trust. Built in 1824, it was the prototype of the 19th-century workhouse,

and was cited by the Royal Commission on the poor law as the best example among the existing workhouses, before the resulting New Poor Law of 1834 led to the construction of workhouses across the country. It was designed by William Adams Nicholson an architect of Southwell and Lincoln, together with the Revd. John T. Becher, a pioneer of workhouse and prison reform It is described by the National Trust as the best-preserved workhouse in England.

The building remained in use until the early 1990s, when it was used to provide temporary accommodation for mothers and children. Its acquisition by the National Trust reflects that organisation's wish to broaden its interests and to ensure the continued existence of a Grade II* listed building that was potentially to be turned into residential flats.

Restoration work began with roof repairs in 2000 and is ongoing. Many rooms have been redecorated as they would have looked in the 19th century and buildings, walls and privies, which had been demolished in the 20th century, have been reinstated.

In 2015 the property was featured in the four-part series 24 Hours in the Past, in which six celebrities experienced what life was like in Victorian Britain

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1,071 reviews
  • The staff at this site were extremely helpful and kind. There is disabled parking near the entrance (which was invaluable for me, as I cannot walk far). The building itself is original and gave a...  more »
  • Hidden gem. Fantastic guides. We stumbled across this place on the internet the day before as we were looking for something to do in the area on a Sunday during covid restrictions. The museum is...  more »
  • A lot of effort has gone into this place. Easy to navigate around without getting lost. Loads of interesting display techniques and facts. The kids loved the digital tour guides as they were not just things with headphones, but something to look at and read as a family. The cafe was great. Lovely cake, coffee and service.
  • A well thought out National Trust property, telling the history of the site through a range of different medias including interactive information points (via individual tablet computers), art installations, and oral histories. Lovely and helpful staff available but not intrusive. Small cafe with reasonable priced drinks, sandwiches and snacks and National Trust shop on site.
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