A City Guide To Matbari for In London, the population more than quadrupled from 1800 80. When workers were left with no means of support, the government used Poor Laws or public workhouses as a way to deal with the poor and unemployed. The results were often degrading and inhumane for the workers and their families. Writer Charles Dickens described his experience as a young boy in a workhouse in his novel Oliver Twist. Essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle estimated that, at one point, over 2 million of England’s 15 million workers were housed in workhouses and poorhouse prisons. Generally, the poor were willing to do almost anything to stay out of workhouses. Some of the poor already had jobs, but the pay was insufficient to support the workers and their families. A City Guide To Matbari 2016.