Men weaving baskets in the Occupational Workshop, Barnhill Poorhouse, c 1920. Their products would be sold to raise funds for the institution.
Adults at Barnhill were put to work if they were able. Men helped with the maintenance of the building and, where possible, followed their own trades. Unskilled men would be required to make up bundles of firewood or were sent to work as stonebreakers, with production targets to be met. Women worked in the laundry, cleaned, cooked and sewed. Not even the elderly were exempt, with old men expected to carry firewood and old women to knit.
The poorhouse had to tread a delicate line between offering a refuge for the genuinely needy and ensuring that those who were capable of earning a living did not stay longer than was necessary. Inmates were often admitted at a time of crisis and then discharged, only to be re-admitted later when their personal circumstances took another turn for the worse.
Reference: Heatherbank Museum of Social Work, print 975
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow Caledonian University, Research Collections, Heatherbank Museum of Social Work
Barnhill Poorhouse, basket weaving, occupational therapy, paupers, poor relief, poorhouse workshops, poorhouses, workhouses