Workhouse  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Under the Poor Law systems of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland a workhouse was a place where people who were unable to support themselves, could go to live and work. The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest reference to a workhouse dates to 1652 in Exeter. There is, however, some written evidence that workhouses existed before this date. Records mention a workhouse in 1631 in Abingdon. The vagrants' and casual workers' ward of a workhouse was colloquially known as a spike, from the tool used to unpick oakum.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Workhouse" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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