Friday 1 November 2019

the workshouse, southwell

Last Sunday I visited The Workhouse, Southwell, a National Trust property in Nottinghamshire. This particular workhouse, though harsh from the vantage point of today was well organised & considerate towards those under its roof, providing hot meals, medical care, immunisation & an education for its children.  

Much time & money has been invested in the visitor experience on the 1st & 2nd floors but I found myself drawn to the upper floor, encountering breathing space after information overload. Each layer of paint held a story, sunlight traced time across walls, the floors revealed rows of bed sized shadows: the past in the present, ripe with my projections and romanticism. I thought about the people who slept in these rooms but they are impossible to conjure from the safety of (my) today.