Sampson Kempthorne's design of a "cruciform" workhouse from the 1835 Report of the Poor Law Commissioners.

The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 was responsible for the erection of 554 new workhouses throughout England and Wales. The Report of the Royal Commission into the administration of the poor laws had recommended the separation of inmates into different groups, which necessitated the building of workhouses that allowed for that to take place. Sampson Kempthorne designed appropriate buildings, of which this plan is one.

The cruciform building made it possible for able-bodied men and women and elderly and infirm men and women to be kept apart; each group had its own exercise yard that was surrounded by high walls. Rotherham workhouse was built to this plan. The other type of plan was the hexagonal workhouse which had only three wings.


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Last modified 16 November 2002