17 June – 1 December 2019
On display at the Workhouse Museum, Prison & Police Museum and Courthouse Museum
Vagrants, tramps, rogues and vagabonds, beggars: the ‘houseless poor’ have regularly been the target of government legislation and police attention. Ripon Museum’s exhibition explored vagrancy during the Victorian period within the workhouse, prison and court systems, and examines the realities of homelessness today.
Visitors were encouraged to explore all three museums and look out for the logo to trace the story of historic and contemporary homelessness.
In the Workhouse Museum, displays in the vagrants’ cells explored the realities of life for vagrants, including their food, clothing and work.
In the Magistrate’s Room of the Courthouse Museum, visitors could read the stories of vagrants tried in the courthouse before tracing the history of vagrancy laws in the Courtroom.
In Gallery 3 of the Prison & Police Museum, visitors discovered how vagrants were treated by the police and how they were punished.