At The Overseers Door

The story of Suffolk’s Parish Workhouses

This book tells the story of the Suffolk’s parish workhouses, from their introduction in the mid Elizabethan period until the advent of the New Poor Law Act in 1834, which initiate those cumbersome Union Workhouses.

Considering the age and size of these relatively diminutive former  ‘Houses of Industry’ it is surprising just how many still survive, from small labourer’s cottages such as at Badingham and Snape, to the medieval guild halls of Hadleigh and Pakenham. They stand as a legacy to a time long ago.  and a quality of life far removed from that of their 21st century residents.

The book is divided into nine chapters including ones on Acquisition, Management and Inmates. The final one giving a brief account of the 179 parish workhouse thus far identified to have existed in Suffolk: from Barrow to Beccles; Cavendish to Chillesford; and Snape to Stowmarket.

Location maps in the front and back chart the spread of these parish workhouses around the county. There is a reference and source section which allows anyone interested in a particular parish to delve deeper.

This is an enthralling read for anyone interested in this little known portion of Suffolk’s rich local history.

Printed by Lavenham Press, The book has an A5 sized soft cover with 96 pages of text (30,000 words), together with sketches, maps and illustrations throughout.

Priced at £9.95 plus £2 p&p