From the Gates of Poverty to Heaven's Door
So, with a remit to take in nearly 2000 years of human settlement within an area less than one kilometre square, Albus, myself and my two YA daughters who volunteered to come along, set off for our first walk determined by the special places people had shared with us.
With blue sky, sunshine and a gentle breeze the weather seemed in stark contrast to our starting point. We began at the gates Southwell's Workhouse, now run by the National Trust, built in 1824 under the direction of Southwell resident and social reformer the Rev. John T. Becher. On a beautiful summers morning before opening hours it was tranquil and looked quite beautiful outside with its classical symmetry and extensive vegetable gardens. However, conditions were deliberately harsh and segregated when it was a functioning workhouse, in order to deter the ‘idle poor’. Entering these gates would have been a last resort for the desperate poor of the 19th century. D 1 & 2 both remembered previous visits inside learning of the desperately sad stories of inmates, particularly the children separated from their parents. With a shiver, we left it’s shadow and turned towards the town centre.