Kitchens and Wash-house/Laundry

By Averil Staunton

The wash-house and laundry were to the rear of the main building behind the boys’ and girl’s day rooms with a yard/shed for drying laundry between them. The paupers were excluded from the kitchen area unless employed to work there. All water had to be drawn from the wells by hand which was to the rear of the site.

The kitchen and scullery were in the area adjacent to the dining hall where inmates ate their meagre rations of food in silence. A serving area provided an ‘entry and exit’ facility for paupers to pick up their food. The mill was located adjacent to the kitchen.

Large vats were used for cooking the stirabout, a type of porridge made from Indian meal served during the famine. Similar pots were used for boiling water for use in the laundry area for washing clothing and bedding.

Wilkinson’s plan for 400 to 800 inmates (Fifth Annual Poor Law Report 1839
Cooking pot in kitchen area at Portumna Workhouse. Photo Averil Staunton


Course: Remembering our Heritage – Ballinrobe Workhouse

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