"And it was saddening to see the conditions inside the workhouse. The walls were drabbed a dull yellow colour and the stairways were all of stone. The women often could be seen scrubbing the stone, either the stone floors or the stairs or the woodwork.
None of them looked happy. Their clothes was drab and likewise the men.
You couldn't see many men during the daytime at the workhouse because they were working in the workhouse fields. Because Lofty Gardens actually was a plot of land. Now this plot of land was situated between Union Road, which now is the extension of St Mary's Road, reaching from Garden Road to Fernside Road. There was a large tract of land owned by the Workhouse Guardians – of many acres – and all the vegetables for the workers were grown by the men.
Another point was the appearance of the men – occupants of the workhouse. They were allowed a few hours out once or twice a week and they were always discernible by their dress. One looked upon it as a uniform. It consisted of a brown corduroy suit – trousers and jacket. And the poor occupants, the wearers of these clothes, they suited what the dress itself looked like, they looked sad."
Working all hours? Try out a 1950s clocking-in machine at Poole Museum...