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20 March 2017
Here are a few facts taken from our new displays which tell the tales of not so lucky children in Victorian Ripon…
#1 An Urchin is a young boy or girl, especially poorly or raggedly dressed
#2 A Sprog is a youngster, child, a baby, from the word ‘sprag’ meaning a slip or cutting from a plant
#3 Guttersnipe, is a street urchin, a gatherer of refuse from the street gutters
#4 Children were put into the Workhouse on their own because they were abandoned, orphans, physically or mentally disabled, illegitimate or left by parents unable to feed the child
#5 Ripon Workhouse appointed a trained teacher to give 3 hours schooling a day
#6 Regular excursions to Hackfall, Studley and Harrogate were organised.
#7 Innocent children of convicted women were transported with their mothers to Australia.
#8 Girls sent to prison worked long hours in laundry, picking oakum and plaiting straw for hats. Punishment for misbehaviour, unlike the boys who were whipped, was to be put in a straitjacket or given a diet of bread and water.
#9 Children of the poor were often organised into criminal gangs and taught to steal such as in Fagin’s gang in the Charles Dickens novel, ‘Oliver Twist’
#10 The worst punishment for children was to be put in the ‘dark cell’. This was a specially built very small cell with no furniture and totally without light.
Visit the museums, see our new visual displays, take a look inside our new dark cell at the Prison and Police Museum and follow the family 'picture' trail …
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