The Kingfisher Cafe, 8 Straits Parade, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2LE
In 2012 some radical historians poring over old maps came across a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green close to the site of Eastville Workhouse at 100 Fishponds Rd. Over the following years a team of local researchers revealed that more than 4,000 men, women and children, inmates of Eastville Workhouse, were interred in unmarked graves in Rosemary Green from 1851-1895.
Eastville Workhouse, constructed by Clifton Poor Law Union in 1847, was the largest workhouse in the Bristol area. Housing over a thousand inmates, it was an institution produced by the introduction of the New Poor Law in 1834. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence this talk looks at what life in the Victorian workhouse was like, who the inmates were and how they were treated. It considers their life chances once they entered the institution and what happened to them after they passed away.
The book 100 Fishponds Rd: Life and death in Victorian Workhouse is a summary of the research and a history of Eastville Workhouse in the Victorian period. It also forms part of a community history project to both name the forgotten paupers of Rosemary Green and to memorialise them.