Tag Archives: museum

Workhouse

Before the welfare state Britain had the workhouses. These were places were the indigent could be taken off the streets and provided with food and shelter.

This is the workhouse in Ripon in Yorkshire. It was built in 1854. Part of it is a museum and the rest is used as accommodation for Ripon’s Social Services Departments.

Workhouse 40x

Workhouse 39x

Life in a workhouse was intended to be harsh, to deter the able-bodied poor and to ensure that only the truly desperate destitute would apply.   Poverty was seen as the fault of the poor and deserving of punishment. A philosophy that would seem familiar to some US Republicans and UK Conservatives.

Demand for accommodation often exceeded its supply so supply was rationed by making the workhouses unpleasant. Sometimes very unpleasant.

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Ludwigsburg Prison Museum

This is the second of two posts about Ludwigsburg Prison Museum.  The first post dealt with capital punishment exhibits. This one deals with the museum’s corporal punishment exhibits.

Whipping Bench

A culprits head and wrists would be put in the pillory at the head of the bench. The bar at the bottom would be closed over their legs.

Hazel cane and birch rod

Prison Welcome

New prisoners were given a ‘Welcome’ of  12 to 40 strokes of the hazel rod or birch.  For example, den einfachen wilkomm of 15 strokes. If a welcome was given in public female culprits would wear ‘whipping drawers’ and be beaten with a hazel rod [see picture]. If the welcome was given in private it would be administered on the bare skin with a birch.

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Ludwigsburg Prison Museum

This is the first of two posts about the prison museum in Ludwigsburg,  a small town north of Stuttgart. A  building has been converted to a museum with two floors of exhibits. There are two guillotines and a number of other exhibits relating to capital punishment. The second post will cover exhibits relating to corporal punishment.

I do not read German so I am not sure if this guillotine was actually used at Ludwigsburg.

The rear of the guillotine, showing the splash guard and the tray for heads

A more basic guillotine from Moabit prison in Berlin

A list of executions

Print of an earlier method of decapitation

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