The Village, Alstonefield

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Date:1960

Description:The three houses on the right-hand side date were originally one building. Its earliest use is thought to have been as an inn, but it is best known as the old parish workhouse, part of the Ashbourne Union. The inmates of the workhouse comprised of those who could not support themselves financially, extremely poorly paid workers such as farm labourers, the sick and infirm, and the dependents of these people. The regime was deliberately tough and repetitive, to discourage people from having to go there. All the inmates had to wear a uniform, and they were fed the same flavourless food. They worked long hours, rising at 5am between March and September and going to bed at 8pm. For the other half of the year they were allowed to lie in, and didn't have to be up until 7am! The physically able men spent their days polishing limestone, while the women and girls did housework, cooking and laundry. Children had the best existence and spent a least three hours daily in lessons on reading, writing and religious instruction, so that they could grow up to be useful individuals, and maybe get a job as a servant.
The workhouse closed in 1868, and over the years has been occupied by various individuals including Susan Carver, a cowkeeper, and a butcher. It was also a cakeshop at one time.
The building on the extreme right of the picture is the old barn where it is thought that Methodism was introduced to the village. Since this picture was taken the barn has been converted into two houses.
The main road in the centre of the picture leads past the Post Office and shop (now closed), and up to the George Inn. To the far left the road takes you onto Lode Lane heading towards Ashbourne.

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Creators: F. Frith & Co. Ltd. - Creator

Donor ref:FF1 (28/5435)

Source: Leek Library

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