Workhouse Museum

Explore the Victorian Workhouse and discover real stories of Yorkshire’s most vulnerable.

See how people lived and worked in the workhouse, meeting interesting characters and exploring stories of poverty, separation and social inequality. Enjoy family trails, fun drop-in activities, and thought-provoking exhibitions. Experience what life was really like in Victorian Yorkshire —it’s an educational adventure for all ages!

National Trust members receive a 25% discount at the three Ripon MuseumsThe Workhouse Museum  The Prison & Police Museum  The Courthouse Museum

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Workhouse Museum


The Workhouse Museum occupies two buildings in the centre of Ripon.

Your visit starts in the original Gatehouse building, where you can follow an inmate’s journey through the workhouse, from admittance in the Guardian’s Room, through the indignity of the baths and fumigation process, to the cells where vagrants slept.

Then take a look around the Main Block where you can see the Master’s study and dining room, the pantry, classroom and inmates’ dining hall. Outside the building, you’ll find the Master and Matron’s front garden, which was restored in 2018 with authentic planting.

During your visit save some time to look at the original Workhouse Kitchen Garden, located to the rear of the Workhouse Site, this would have been tended by the inmates and been used to feed them and we use 1860s gardening techniques to cultivate heritage crops.

The Workhouse Museum does not have a cafe, but you can relax and reflect on your visit with a cup of quality Rijo coffee and a biscuit at the end of your visit.

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