1 historical (In the UK) a public institution in which the destitute of a parish received board and lodging in return for work.
- Unlike Boston, which had the financial resources to build more than one public institution for the poor, many towns in New England only built one institution, either a workhouse or an almshouse.
- The overarching vision of a totally deterrent New Poor Law where relief would only be administered in the workhouse clashed with local parish budgets and the reality of the family wage economy.
- But at the time the only alleviation remained the institution of workhouses, although philanthropists were constructing almshouses, cheap housing for the poor.
2US A prison in which petty offenders are expected to work.
- There were 400 there, including 46 inmates at the workhouse.
- No matter how we felt about the workhouse the inmates who had been there quite awhile, like myself, had learnt not to even mention running away.
- Individual supervisors of public works or of workhouses might be named, but there was no global critique of political institutions.
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