What they were fed on in Hedon!

FOR THOSE currently putting themselves through the regime of a gruelling weight-loss diet, spare a thought for those who used to live at Hedon Workhouse during the 1830s, who were put through a diet of gruel.

A valuable document at the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service reveals the bland food that was served up to inmates on a weekly basis.

Breakfast would consist of milk and 6oz of bread each morning, whilst evening supper would be the same meal, with milk substituted for broth every Wednesday and Friday.

Women were treated to tea instead of milk at breakfast and supper. The dinner menu was, by comparison, more varied and ran as follows:

  • Sunday: beef and potato pie
  • Monday: pea soup or broth, and 6oz of bread
  • Tuesday: suet pudding
  • Wednesday: broth, 6oz of beef, 4oz of bread, and a portion of potatoes
  • Thursday: rice milk and 4oz of bread
  • Friday: broth, 6oz of beef, 4oz of bread, and a portion of potatoes
  • Saturday: furmenty (a type of sweetened porridge), and 4oz of bread.

Sam Bartle, collections officer, said: “Today, we can usually choose whether or not to restrict our diet, but the workhouse inmates were faced with the prospect of eating the same meals week-in and week-out.”

The Hedon workhouse was home to the poor and destitute and would have included the very old, the sick, unmarried mothers, the blind and the unemployed, anyone without the means to look after themselves.

Life in the workhouse was akin to a prison and yet the so-called ‘inmates’ had committed no crime.

The pauper’s diet (pictured below) is one of a number of fascinating documents about the history of Hedon, which can be ordered by researchers at the Treasure House, in Champney Road, Beverley.

2 replies »

    • Good question, Anita! I’ve heard two stories, one that it stood on Souttergate and the other that it was on George Street!

      Hopefully someone else reading this will know the history – or I’ll have to do a bit of digging!

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