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Secrets From The Workhouse

Published: Wed 12 Jun 2013

The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing - in the public domain - until Tuesday 18 June 2013.
 
Secrets From The Workhouse
 
Starts Tuesday 25 June at 9pm on ITV
 
In Victorian society the workhouse represented the underbelly of society, where anyone who was poor, homeless, unemployed or ill was sent to live.
 
With no benefits system in place, destitute people were either left to starve on the streets or forced to submit themselves to the harsh conditions of the workhouse where they worked ten hours a day doing menial tasks such as breaking rocks up or picking apart ropes.
 
Now, in this brand-new two part series, presenter Fern Britton, actress Kiera Chaplin, actor Brian Cox, actress Felicity Kendal and author Barbara Taylor Bradford go back to the sites of the workhouses where their ancestors lived to find out what happened to them.
 
In the first episode, Fern Britton is shocked to discover one of her ancestors was dissected for medical research because his family couldn’t afford a funeral for him.
 
Brian Cox learns that his great grandfather was branded a malingerer by the workhouse when they refused to believe he was really ill. 
 
Barbara Taylor Bradford discovers her grandmother was forced into the workhouse to give birth to two illegitimate children.
 
And Kiera Chaplin discovers her grandfather, Charlie, was sent to a school for poor children when his mother was taken away from him and put in a mental asylum.