Workhouse bell card

Workhouse bell


On display


This large bell, from Brownlow Hill Workhouse (1771-1928), is inscribed, ‘Liverpool Workhouse, cast 1782, re cast 1868’. Brownlow Hill Workhouse became one of the largest workhouses in the country. At its most crowded it housed up to 5000 poor people (paupers). Any destitute or homeless person seeking assistance up until the 1940s would generally have no option but to enter a local workhouse or ‘poorhouse’. They were deliberately designed to deter anyone other than the truly needy. Life in workhouses was coordinated by the workhouse bell, signalling when to rise, work, eat and sleep.