Workhouse Food, 1823

This is a table showing the food allocated to workhouse inmates in 1823 by a Chelmsford parish. In fact, the food seems much more varied and healthy than that offered to Oliver Twist. This is perhaps because this document was produced prior to the 1834 Poor Law amendments, which had caused conditions in the workhouses to deteriorate. The chart shows that bread, milk and porridge were given for breakfast every day. For dinner on Sunday, 10 ozs. of beef or mutton was given to inmates of the workhouse over 12 years, plus 1 pound of vegetables and 2ozs. of bread and 1 pint of beer. Children under 12 years received less food. On other days, the diet at dinner varied between bread, cheese and beer, or suet pudding, vegetables and beer. Supper consisted of bread and broth, or soup or gruel.