The Life Of Louisa Ledger

By The Workhouse Network

A creative interpretation of the life of Louisa Ledger, inmate at Leeds Union Workhouse (now Thackray Museum of Medicine). Researched and
created as part of the More Than Oliver Twist project by The Workhouse Network,
funded by Arts Council England.

Illustration - Louisa Ledger (2020) by Mel RyeThe 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. Louisa Ledger's exhibit contains material some may find upsetting: prostitution.

Illustration by Mel Rye.

Radio Interview - Louisa Ledger (2020) by Morgan Tipping and Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

Hear about Louisa Ledger's life in this radio interview.

Audio by Morgan Tipping.
Illustration by Mel Rye.

Illustration - Louisa Ledger (2020) by Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

A full, referenced biography researched and written by Lesley Collins of Thackray Museum of Medicine is available at:

Google Streetview of the exterior of Leeds Union Workhouse, now Thackray Medical Museum.

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

Visuals by Mel Rye.

Del on Louisa Ledger's Story (2020) by Morgan TippingThe Workhouse Network

Del, a mother of 4 originally from Jamaica, shares her thoughts on Louisa Ledger's life.

Audio and animation by Morgan Tipping.

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

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

Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum seekers:

St. George’s Crypt:


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

Visuals by Mel Rye.

Lesley Collins on Louisa Ledger (2020) by Morgan TippingThe Workhouse Network

Experienced family historian Lesley Collins talks about her research into Louisa Ledger's life at Leeds Union Workhouse and her own surprising connection to the More Than Oliver Twist Project.

Audios and animations by Morgan Tipping.

Making More Than Oliver Twist (2020) by Megan Dennis, Wednesday Batchelor, Morgan Tipping, and Mel RyeThe Workhouse Network

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

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:

Storyteller and research volunteer Belinda May for Thackray Medical Museum talking about Louisa Ledger’s life.

Del for sharing her perspective on Louisa Ledger's story.

Family historian Lesley Collins for Thackray Medical Museum discussing the research process.

Regional Contacts, Mentors and Volunteer Researchers:
Regional Contact: Laura Sellers and Emily Coulthard
Regional Mentor: Hannah Jones and Lesley Collins
Research Volunteers:
Alan Gratian, Ann Lightman, Barbara Winfield, Belinda May, Carolyn Huston, Diane Hartley, Dorothy Moss, Jacqueline Saville, Jane Collins, Judith Devine, Karen Mackie, Mary Dailey, Maureen Jessop, Samantha Ford, Sue Millard, Tiantian Han and Wendy Wyatt.

Thanks to the ‘radio’ host Lucy Barret introducing Louisa Ledger’s 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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