Christmas in the Leeds Workhouse 1875

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This Christmas and New Year we are taking a voyage back in time to see what was happening in the city during Yuletide in times gone by.

Leeds Intelligencer Monday 27th December 1875

Leeds Workhouse

Christmas Day. Roast beef and plum are provided out of the rates, and whatever is wanted in the way of trimmings is readily provided by the guardians and a few philanthropic Individuals, whose visits to the workhouse are neither infrequent nor unwelcome.

Half past twelve o’clock on Christmas Day found in the dining hall of the Leeds Workhouse the customary gathering of guardians, medical officers, and other officials and gentlemen who, with their families, make a point to be present at the Christmas dinner.

Friends had been lavish in their gifts of evergreens, and the walk through the entrance hall and corridor down to the dining room was through a mass of verdure, framing inscriptions, picking out architectural lines, and commingling with scarlet in varied picturesque devices.

Scarcely a square inch of the dining room wall and open raftered roof was uncovered so profuse were the tasteful decorations, and at the head of the room, offering a hearty welcome to all, stood a life-sized figure of old Father Christmas, rubicund of visage and of jolly aspect.

After morning service at the chapel, the inmates took their seats at the tables, and soon huge joints of beef, steaming bowls of potatoes, and immense globes of plum pudding were being served out, medical men and guardians not disdaining to become servitors or to help the master and matron and their cooking staff in the work of carving and dispensing the fare.

All the inmates were upgrown, except a tiny foundling which was picked up in Briggate a short time ago, wrapped in a newspaper, and which received no end of pretty little attentions from the visitors.

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