The Life of Harriet Perkins

A creative interpretation of the life of Harriet Perkins, inmate at Llanfyllin Union Workhouse (now Llanfyllin Workhouse). Researched and created as part of the More Than Oliver Twist project by The Workhouse Network, funded by Arts Council England.

By The Workhouse Network

This exhibit is part of More Than Oliver Twist, which combines audio narrative and visualisations that interpret historic biographies of UK workhouse inmates from the 1881 census and relates them to 21st century lived experience. We invite you to encounter the multidimensional lives of the people known then as ‘paupers’. The work is drawn directly from the research, museum collections, workhouse buildings, volunteers’ experiences and related contemporary lives. Harriet Perkins' story contains material that some may find upsetting: illegitimacy and mental health issues.

Illustration by Mel Rye.

Illustration - Harriet Perkins (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Listen to Home With Health Radio to hear about the life of Harriet Perkins.

Audio by Morgan Tipping.
Illustration by Mel Rye.

Radio Interview - Harriet Perkins (2020) by Morgan TippingThe Workhouse Network

A full, referenced biography researched by Linda Sterry and written by Martin Davies of the Llanfyllin Workhouse is available at:

Illustration - Harriet Perkins (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Google Streetview of the exterior of Llanfyllin Union Workhouse.

Visuals by Mel Rye.

People's Perspective - Harriet (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Former nurse and mental health support worker Jeanne shares her thoughts on Harriet Perkins' Life.

Audio and animation by Morgan Tipping.

Jeanne on Harriet Perkins' Story (2020) by Morgan TippingThe Workhouse Network

If you have been affected by any of the issues touched upon in Harriet's story, you may wish to explore these organisations:


Llanfyllin Dolydd Building Preservation Trust:

Share Your Thoughts - Harriet (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Visuals by Mel Rye.

Researcher's Voice - Harriet (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Retired nurse Linda Sterry shares the discoveries she made about her great-grandmother's life and how this led to researching her great-great-grandmother Harriet Perkins' story.

Audios and animations by Morgan Tipping.

Linda Sterry on Harriet Perkins (2020) by Morgan TippingThe Workhouse Network

Explore behind the scenes of the Making of the More Than Oliver Twist exhibits.

Making More Than Oliver Twist (2020) by Megan DennisThe Workhouse Network

Credits: Story

Enormous thanks to everyone involved in the project across the six sites who made invaluable contributions through many hours of research into the biographies, and by supporting the development of the creative commission.

In this exhibit, special thanks go to:

Retired nurse and family researcher Linda Sterry for Llanfyllin Workhouse discussing Harriet Perkins’ life and sharing the story behind the research process.

Jeanne for sharing her perspective on Harriet Perkins' story.

Regional Contacts, Mentors and Volunteer Researchers:

Llanfyllin Workhouse:
Regional Mentors: Martin Davies and John Hainsworth
Research Volunteers:
David Burton, David Brandreth and Linda Sterry.

Thanks to the ‘radio’ host Megan Broadmeadow introducing Harriet Perkins’ story.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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