Workhouse

(redirected from Workhouses)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to Workhouses: Poor houses

WORKHOUSE. A prison where prisoners are kept in employment; a penitentiary. A house provided where the poor are taken care of, and kept in employment.

References in classic literature ?
Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befall a human being, I do mean to say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred.
She kissed him, then seated herself again, and took another tablecloth on her lap, unfolding it a little way to look at the pattern, while the children stood by in mute wretchedness, their minds quite filled for the moment with the words "beggars" and "workhouse."
"Why don't you send him to the workhouse?" said Mr.
Mrs Plornish's father,--a poor little reedy piping old gentleman, like a worn-out bird; who had been in what he called the music- binding business, and met with great misfortunes, and who had seldom been able to make his way, or to see it or to pay it, or to do anything at all with it but find it no thoroughfare,--had retired of his own accord to the Workhouse which was appointed by law to be the Good Samaritan of his district (without the twopence, which was bad political economy), on the settlement of that execution which had carried Mr Plornish to the Marshalsea College.
'In the Workhouse, sir, the Union; no privacy, no visitors, no station, no respect, no speciality.
Upon my word, Miss Hepzibah, I doubt whether I've ever been so comfortable as I mean to be at my farm, which most folks call the workhouse. But you,--you're a young woman yet,--you never need go there!
Such too, to a greater or less extent, is the condition of the operatives of every denomination in England, which is the great workhouse of the world.
Micawber's feelings would never allow him to dispose of them; and Clickett' - this was the girl from the workhouse - 'being of a vulgar mind, would take painful liberties if so much confidence was reposed in her.
And also how I, who never did a stroke of work in my life, am overburdened with wealth; whilst the children of the men who made that wealth are slaving as their fathers slaved, or starving, or in the workhouse, or on the streets, or the deuce knows where.
I suppose the old ones went into the workhouse, and the young ones crowded the towns, and worked for men like my father in factories.
Our Victorian masters used the workhouses as a punishment for poverty.
It's still looks a pretty grim place even now, although no doubt some Victorian moralists thought having workhouses were a soft option which encouraged fecklessness among the poor.