Aberystwyth Workhouse Soup

This recipe was used in Bronglais, Aberystwyth Workhouse in 1884. The quantities are enormous so I scaled them down to make soup for one or two. The recipe is in pounds and ounces but converting the quantities to grams is a great maths exercise.


Workhouse soup recipe

I used beef (stewing steak), green split peas and a tiny quantity of onion, carrot and turnip. I omitted the bones (they would have been used to add flavour and removed before serving). I used a pinch of dried mixed herbs, some salt and pepper, and a part of a beef stock cube instead of the ‘meat liquor’ (which would probably have been made from beef).

I cut the beef into tiny pieces, and the vegetables. I then added the meat liquor, the split peas and the oatmeal, the dried herbs and some pepper and salt. And then I simmered it on the stove for ages. In the end I left in on ‘low’ in the slow cooker overnight . Rather to my surprise it has a nice taste, but is a rather unappealing colour.

Here is a short film featuring the soup, other workhouse food, and the County Archivist.


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1 Response to Aberystwyth Workhouse Soup

  1. Sarah Chubb says:

    We have a similar recipe in Derbyshire Record Office dating from about 100 years before this, so the diet didn’t change much over the years. Our recipe involves a small amount of meat and pease, boiled for 3 hours the day before, to which is then added flour, which has been soaked for a day in cold water, more water, vegetables, plus nearly four more hours of cooking – with boiled potatoes added towards the end. I’ll have to give it a go, too, and see how it turns out!


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