The Workhouse Museum is a recent addition to Derry’s museums, opened in 1998.
Built on the site of the original Derry Workhouse of 1840 in the Glendermott Road area of the Waterside, the museum tells a variety of stories.
The main theme is that of the Workhouse itself. Workhouses were found throughout Ireland in the nineteenth Century as a result of the Poor Law. The poor and the destitute were taken into the Workhouses, deloused and set to work at a range of menial tasks.
Discipline was notoriously strict and the atmosphere and surroundings were designed to make people leave the Workhouses as soon as possible. The Derry Workhouse was built to house 800 inmates and only officially closed in 1947, when it was taken over by the Waterside. The Museum gives an insight in to life and conditions in the Workhouse and contains many artefacts from the original site.
Also housed within the museum is an exhibition which examines Derry’s role in the Second World War and the Battle of the Atlantic when the city hosted many American service personnel. The building is also home to the Waterside Library and contains a history of the waterside area as a whole.