NORFOLK Museums Service
A plan of Gressenhall Workhouse

A History of Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse

In 1776 the combined parishes of Mitford and Launditch bought Chapel Farm at Gressenhall to build a ‘house of industry’ for the poor.

In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act led to the transformation of the house of industry into a workhouse. The aim was to keep costs low by making life for the paupers so unpleasant that people would do everything they could to avoid having to live there.

A new system of classification separated men, women and children. Work included breaking stones, pumping water, carting gravel and oakum picking for men and domestic chores in the kitchens, laundry and female wards for women. The only benefits were the health care and education.

The workhouse closed in 1948. After a short period of time as a home for the elderly, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse opened as a museum in 1976.

In 2015, there will be big changes happening at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. “Voices from the Workhouse” is a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded project which will transform the museum displays telling the real stories of the people who lived and worked in the workhouse.

While we are working on these displays some parts of the site will be closed or empty. To find out more about this work and the new displays, events, activities and digital resources, please visit our Voices from the Workhouse webpage.

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