This Day in History: 1898-09-17

On 17th September 1898, ‘The Builder’ magazine reported:
‘WORKHOUSE EXTENSIONS, PONTEFRACT. — The vagrant wards, a new lunacy block, and a new laundry department added to the Pontefract Work- house are now rapidly approaching completion. Altogether the additions will cost something like £10,000 (£1.3 million in today’s money). The new vagrant block contains twenty- seven bed-cells, connected with which are apartments for stone-breaking, and a large shed. Stone- breaking is carried on to a considerable extent in Pontefract Workhouse, owing to the fact that the Corporation takes the material for road- mending. There are also spacious association wards, in which the casuals who remain more than one night in the house may spend their time when their task is done; and the block is fitted with lavatories, baths, disinfector, &c., as well as heated by hot water. The new wards for casual females are pretty much on the same plan, all being roomy, light, and airy. In the newly-erected block there are eight cells. The alterations include a new committee-room for the guardians, for which the old tramp ward has been called into service; an extensive laundry; new porter’s lodge; and new offices for the Master, the latter commanding a view of the entrance-gate and the task sheds.’