Workhouse Visiting Society

Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

Organisation set up in 1858 and existed "to improve moral and spiritual improvement of workhouse inmates" in England and Wales.

- Workhouse Visiting Society

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Louisa Twining

English philanthropic worker who devoted herself to issues and tasks related to the English Poor Law.

Louisa Twining c. 1906

In March 1861, she helped to establish a home for workhouse girls sent out to service, in 1864 the Workhouse Visiting Society, in 1866 the Association for the Improvement of the Infirmaries of London Workhouses and in 1879 the Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association.

Catharine Tait

British philanthropist.

Engraving of Tait published 1879

Her experience was consulted when Louisa Twining formed the Workhouse Visiting Society with wider ambitions.

English Poor Laws

The English Poor Laws were a system of poor relief in England and Wales that developed out of the codification of late-medieval and Tudor-era laws in 1587–1598.

Although many deterrent workhouses developed in the period after the New Poor Law, some had already been built under the existing system. This workhouse in Nantwich, Cheshire, dates from 1780.
The Poor Laws in the aftermath of the Black Death (pictured), when labour was in short supply, were concerned with making the able-bodied work. (also see: Sturdy beggar)
The Old Poor Law or Elizabethan Poor Law is sometimes referred to as the "43rd Elizabeth" as it was passed in the 43rd year that Elizabeth I (pictured) reigned as Queen.
Advertisement for builders to build a new Workhouse in north Wales, 1829
Nassau William Senior argued for greater centralization of the Poor Law system.
Infighting between Edwin Chadwick and other Poor Law Commissioners was one reason for an overhaul of Poor Law administration.
David Lloyd George, architect of the Liberal welfare reforms which were implemented outside of the Poor Law system and paved the way for the eventual abolition of the Poor Law.
Punch criticized the New Poor Law's workhouses for splitting mothers and their infant children.

The Workhouse Visiting Society which formed in 1858 highlighted conditions in workhouses and led to workhouses being inspected more often.

Madeleine Shaw Lefevre

The Principal of Somerville Hall for its first 10 years, from 1879 to 1889.

Madeleine Shaw Lefevre, 1890 portrait

The Countess was a founding member of the Workhouse Visiting Society, and through this connection Shaw Lefevre became a member of the central committee of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants.

Workhouse infirmary

Workhouse infirmaries were established in the nineteenth century in England.

Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

The Workhouse Visiting Society was set up in 1858 exposed the poor standards of nursing care.