Ripon City Centre is home to a trio of museums which explore the fascinating theme of law and order in the Victorian era.
Beginning at the Workhouse Museum, visitors can journey back in time to experience the ‘grim atmosphere’ that has been carefully maintained to provide a sense of what life would have been like for the less fortunate in the 19th Century. Captivating stories are told about the people who arrived at the workhouse from far and wide - some even walking the 25-mile journey from Leeds.
Volunteers at the museum offer guided tours, often dressed for the occasion, to provide a great insight into everything that happened to those who arrived at the Victorian Workhouse - from the initial interview process to the rules they had to abide by, what they ate, what they wore, their gruelling daily tasks and where they slept.
The Workhouse also has its own Kitchen Garden, which would have been kept by the inmates and used to feed them - thanks to volunteers, the garden has been fully restored to its former glory with 1860’s gardening techniques being used to cultivate heritage crops.
Just around the corner from the Workhouse is the Prison and Police Museum, which offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into harsh Victorian prison regimes and policing. Families can explore the old police station, complete with cells, whilst reading all about the people who were imprisoned and worked there. Another short walk around the corner and visitors will reach the Courthouse Museum, which offers an opportunity to learn all about what would have happened in a courtroom in the 1800s. There’s even a chance to stand in the dock and imagine what it would have been like to await sentencing, which often resulted in convicts being sent to Australia. The Elegant Georgian building remains virtually unchanged since it was built in 1830.
FACTFILE: RIPON MUSEUM
Address: The Workhouse Museum, Sharow View, Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LE
Opening times: Open 7 days a week. Workhouse Museum 11am-4pm; Prison and Police Museum and Courthouse Museum 1pm-4pm.
Find out more: Yorkshire.com