At first glance they may seem drab and commonplace, but there’s something cool and confident about the clean lines of these imposing monoliths that dominate the Embarcadero.
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Lobby of the Ramova Theater in Chicago. Opened in 1929, the building was designed in the atmospheric style, where the patron would be whisked away from normal life and into a far flung setting to enjoy the film. Ramova’s interior featured a Spanish courtyard setting, with deep blue night sky ceilings that glittered with “stars” before the showing. The exquisite movie palace was quite popular through the 1940s, but began to show second run features in the 50s. It ended its career with a last showing of Police Academy 2 in 1985 before closing its doors for good.
It's purpose was to house, feed and provide work to victims of the Great Famine.
Entry to a workouse was the last option with no way out. Once inside, families were instantly split and not allowed to talk to each other, or else they woud have been punished.
They were forced to work everyday 7am-6pm. Bedroom blocks were cold and damp. Nutrition was beyond poor, mainly liquidy porridge, bread and cheese. People were not allowed to talk during the meals.
Inmates only had 3 belongings: mattress, blanket, uniform.
Workers were bathed and shaved once a week.
Because of the poor living conditions and malnutrition, the infectious diseases such as cholera, typhus and dysentery were spread easily.
There was shortage of food, clothes and bedding. New inmates could sometimes be given unwashed belongings of a previous inmate who died from an infectious disease. Due to shortage of land, bodies would sometimes be buried close to water supplies.
Despite the horrible situation at the workhouses, they were overcrowded to the point that some even refused to admit new inmates. That explains the degree of despair and poverty in the country at that time.
The road to a workhouse used to be called "cosan na marbh" (pathway of the dead), because more than 25% of inmates would die there.
This complex has been built by the Poor Law Union in 1852. It was supposed to house 600 inmates. The front section contained a school and children block. The T-shaped rear section contained kitchen, canteen and separate accommodation wings for adult men and women. The very last block was designed for hospital and morgue, with a burial ground nearby. There were 160 stones identified, possibly making mass graves.
The complex was burnt in 1921. The best preserved block is hospital and morgue, so most of the images were taken there.