Our outing this month saw us making our way to Ripon.

It was a cold day, but again the sun shone for us.

We were greeted into the town by the ‘matron’ of the workhouse, dressed in a long grey dress and white cap.

We formed an orderly line and followed her around the corner into the Workhouse building.

We were served in the refectory with delicious jam and cream scones and plenty of tea and coffee. We then split into 3 groups and had an amazing tour and insight into the harsh life that the inmates would have experienced.

The building has had a huge Heritage Lottery Grant and work to bring the building back to its former state is still ongoing.

There were even kitchen gardens, which the residents would have been expected to tend to grow fruit and vegetables. These gardens are still in use and produce is sold to the villagers to earn an income to help the restoration.

Clive couldn’t resist walking past the piano in the Master’s sitting room, and his group were entertained with a sing-a-long led by one of the curators.

There was a ‘boardroom’ where the guardians would meet to decide who was going into their care and to plan for their future, and there was segregation between males and females.

School children visitors get the chance to do hands-on cooking as they are learning about life in an institution but use a new Aga rather than the original stoves – (H&S you know!).

We then had 2 ½ hours of free time, to wander around Ripon, and get lunch. It was market day and there were lots of nice tea rooms. Nearly everyone visited the beautiful Cathedral – a great imposing building, now used for music and theatre as well as church services. The whole town was covered in knitted poppies which were knitted for the Centenary of the British Legion but kept and brought out this year again for Armistice Day.

We all met up again at the Magistrates museum, at the side of the Cathedral.

Here, everyone sat in the courtroom, and then volunteers were called to re-enact a court case.

Adrian Ellis was the judge, and naughty Pete Wilson and Jim Cook were accused of pinching tools from a local shopkeeper, Ken Wilson.

However, the final verdict was that they were both guilty, but Pete was banished to Australia for a few years, and Jim got a month’s hard labour. I have heard from Pete since, and he said he was very sea-sick on the crossing!

We had a very pleasant ride home with Dave our driver, and look forward to our next outing to Wold Top Brewery next month.