Saturday, 7 September 2013
A refuge of sorts
My visit to The Workhouse really gave me food for thought. I've also been watching the TV series 'The Mill', a dramatisation of life in a Cheshire cotton mill in Victorian times. (It had poor reviews by the critics but I've found it watchable and interesting. It's based on the historical archive of a real mill.) It shows how closely the lives of some of the mill workers were linked to the old workhouses. When extra labour was needed, the mill-owners sent to the nearest workhouse to 'buy' people out. If you received an injury or proved otherwise unfit for work, you were likely to be sent back to the workhouse. Reasonably enlightened employers like Sir Titus Salt were not in the majority, and it made me realise afresh the importance of his vision for Saltaire, in the context of the times.