Workhouse Museum

Workhouse Museum

One of the most recent additions to Derry’s museums, the Workhouse Museum is a testament to one of the city’s harsher periods of history. First built in 1840 to house the poor and infirm, there were up to 800 people living inside at any one point.

It was closed, for this purpose at least, in 1947 but remained a hospital for another forty years until it was completely closed to public use in 1991. Saved by the efforts of local historians, it was renovated and reopened as museum in 1998 to allow visitors an insight to the sometimes untenable conditions of life in the workhouse that many unfortunate people were subjected to.

Containing many artifacts from its hey-day, also saved by historians, the Workhouse Museum is also home to an exhibition examining the pivotal role Derry played in World War II and the Battle of the Atlantic, when the city was home to American service personnel.

As well as its use as a museum, there is also the Waterside Library within. The available facilities consist of two large meeting rooms (seating up to fifty people each), educational tours for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils with support materials and specialist speakers on the World War II when arranged by prior notice.

Local lore surrounding the building also claims that the building is haunted, as many of the older areas of the city are, and locals allude to the whispered sobs and cries of people that spent their lives within the walls of the building. One such story claims that the ghost of a young girl who tragically died whilst playing a game inside still walks the grounds at night, chased by the apparition of a particularly cruel matron.

Workhouse Museum

Workhouse Museum Derry

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