A workhouse offered shelter and work for those that could not provide for themselves. In 1702, funds from Worcester’s Hopmarket were used to construct a workhouse in the Foregate. Items such as cloth produced at the workhouse were not meant for sale, but intended to benefit the poor of Worcester. By 1777 Workhouses existed in St Martins, St Nicholas and St Clements, and 1794 saw the construction of a large facility on Tallow Hill capable of supporting over 200 workers.
The cottage homes were set up to provide a brighter future for poor and orphaned children. A master or superintendent and a matron headed a small team of staff that offered children some of the advantages that had been lost to them. A place to sleep, bathe, food to eat and the chance to learn a trade that might benefit them in later life. They were educated, given space to play, and even outings as a special treat. The Cottage Home that stood between Stanley Road and Midland Road in Worcester is no longer in existence, but the items that have been kindly donated to Worcester City Museum help demonstrate what a difference it made to the lives of the less fortunate. This year we received a framed address that celebrates Henry and Ester Farrington’s twenty one years of service as Master (Superintendent) and Matron of the Cottage Homes in Wyld’s Lane. Mention is made of the many children who had benefited from their care as well as a register of the children leaving the Cottage Homes and making their way in the world thanks to the support and training they gained while in residence.
The Master and Matron
For enquiries regarding the Social History collection at Worcester City Museums, David can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org