Time to Explore Northumberland & the Scottish Borders Derek Sharman MBE. Tour Guide since 1988  Telephone 01289 330218
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Pity The Poor Paupers


Investigating the Victorian Poor Laws on Tyneside

This project involved Tyne & Wear Archives and Newcastle University Special Collections working with the Hotspur Primary School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Directed by drama practitioner Neil Tonge, students from the Performing Arts Department of Northumbria University played roles in dramatic recreations of events relating to the death of Elizabeth Graham, a case of neglect in the Newcastle workhouse system in 1839.

Living history activities were staged in various locations including Newcastle’s historic Guildhall, the Discovery Museum and Tyne & Wear Archives.

The children investigated conditions in the workhouse, questioned the characters in the case and acted as the jury deciding the result of the inquest.

The children also produced a series of tableaux illustrating the Victorian poem ‘Christmas Day in the Workhouse’.



Research at Tyne & Wear Archives

Exploring Ideas for the Drama

Performance at The Discovery Centre

Interactive Workshop at The Guildhall