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Workhouse highlighted in new podcast

Posted onPosted on 17th Jun

In its latest series, the National Trust Podcast has shone a spotlight on The Workhouse and Infirmary in Southwell, which this year marks 200 years since it opened.

Curator and presenter James Grasby was transported back to 1871 to see for himself what life would have been like for a single male ‘inmate’ forced to knock on the door and ask for help.

James is shown around the site by Fiona Lewin, collections and house officer, and learns how families would have been separated and children would have been schooled, before heading upstairs to the dormitories to learn more about what happened to the building once its Workhouse days were over.

Michelle Douglass, senior podcast producer at the trust, said: “We love to tell stories about people and places to really bring our history and heritage to life.

“Recording on location gives that extra depth to our storytelling and can transport a listener back in time. We’ve wanted to make an episode at The Workhouse and Infirmary for a few years because it’s such a unique building within our care and tells the stories from a part of history that a lot of us can relate to and trace our own roots to.

“We’ve been working with Find My Past to better share how people can look back at their family trees and what lives their ancestors led.

“It’s fair to say many more of us can trace our roots back to The Workhouses than we can the grand country houses.”

The Workhouse and Infirmary opened in 1824 and was considered a forerunner to the workhouses that opened once the New Poor Law of 1834 came into play.

Fiona added: “The Workhouse was built as a place of last resort for the destitute. The system implemented here was developed by the Rev John T. Becher and George Nicholls and their ideas shaped the way in which the poor were treated during the 19th Century.

“To have the National Trust Podcast make one of their episodes here, in our anniversary year, helps keep the stories alive for generations to come.”

In addition to the podcast, The Workhouse and Infirmary are marking the 200th anniversary with special displays and storytelling talks and tours.

The National Trust Podcast can be found via all the normal podcast apps as well as the NT Podcasts webpage on and also via: