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The scene in the casual ward bathroom was extraordinarily repulsive. Fifty dirty, stark-naked men elbowing each other in a room twenty feet square, with only two bath-tubs and two slimy roller towels between them all. I shall never forget the reek of dirty feet. They all washed their faces and feet and the horrid greasy little clouts known as toe-rags which they blind round their toes because their boots are worn through so much walking and probably never fitted properly anyway.
When we had finished bathing, the official tied our clothes in bundles and gave us workhouse shirts - grey cotton things of doubtful cleanliness, like abbreviated nightgowns.
edited extracts from George Orwell's
'Down and out in London and Paris'
The following photos were taken in the Guildford Spike - see www.guildfordspike.co.uk, which has been restored on the original workhouse site. The model shown in one of the photos was life-size and appeared to be made of white unpainted plaster which very effectively harmonised with what was being portrayed.