Ther were about eighty workhouses in London during the 1700s and between one and two percent of the population ocupied them with an estimated total of 16,000 people. Workhouses were institutions that housed, fed, and worked the poor, they became the most common relief available. They varied in size from small houses containing twenty to thirty people to massive institutions holding hundreds of people.
The employees other than the master included clerks, matrons, assistant matrons, laundry maids, porters, schoolmistresses, and general maid servants. However along with these paid servants there were positions filled by the poor to. They were informed when it was meal time by a bell. The master gave punishments and rewards, the punishments usualy included being confined in a dark hole or denial of food privileges. The master also read prayers in the morning and everyone except children under four and the bedridden had to attend and the master could also give people permishion to enter or leave the home.
Above is a picture of women at a workhouse gathered in the dining area to eat.