The original workhouse dates from 1745 which was a thatched barn standing on the site of our art gallery. The current museum was first built as a workhouse in 1764.
The workhouse would have housed the poor, although everyone who was able had to work to earn their keep. Up to 200 men, woman and children lived in these buildings at one time!
After the Poor Law Act in 1834, when the Christchurch & Bournemouth Poor Law Union was created, families entering the workhouse would have been separated. The workhouse would have provided health care and education for the children. In 1881 a new workhouse was completed on Fairmile Road, now Christchurch Hospital, and the Red House became the home for the Vicar of Christchurch, the Reverend Bush.
Audio-tour which will guide you around the Red House Museum pointing out the harsh reality of life when the building was a Workhouse for the poor.