Unveiled: the dark secrets of 100 Fishponds Rd

March 03 2017

A POPULAR local talks series will explore the shocking tale of the Fishponds workhouse this month.

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A POPULAR local talks series will explore the shocking tale of the Fishponds workhouse this month. 

The People’s University of Fishponds will host the talk on Sunday March 12 at the Kingfisher Cafe.

It will explore the scandal of the unmarked graves of inmates from the Victorian workhouse, at 100 Fishponds Road, and discusses what life was like in this grim institution.

Fishponds Library is supporting the talk by exhibiting books and information on this shocking era of local history.

Roger Ball and a team of researchers revealed that more than 4,000 men, women and children were interred in unmarked graves behind the huge workhouse, which in 1847, was the largest workhouse in Bristol.

In its day, there were over a thousand inmates at one time, including those without jobs or homes, abandoned or orphaned children, unmarried mothers, the elderly, the sick and the mentally ill. Before the welfare state, the poor and vulnerable grew up in the ‘shadow of the workhouse’ with a constant dread that some accident or illness would lead to shame and destitution and to that forbidding, segregated and often cruel place.

Ball and the team campaigned to get this history recognised and now a plaque marks the spot of this infamous building.

Tickets are £3 from the Kingfisher Café and is advance booking only as this is very likely to sell out. People’s University talks take place at The Kingfisher Café from 7-9pm, various dates.

For more information on this and future events see www.peoplesuniversityoffishponds.com

The next People's University of Fishponds event is on Saturday March 25 and is called This Is Exile, an award-winning short documentary film screening and discussion with Dr Steve Presence. The event is in collaboration with Save the Children and Bristol Radical Film Festival. It takes place at the Kingfisher Cafe from 7-9pm and is free. Donations are welcome.